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Blake Gideon: 5 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

Dan HopeContributor IIIApril 24, 2012

Blake Gideon: 5 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

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    Blake Gideon never missed a game as a four-year starting safety for the Texas Longhorns. Over his 52-start career, Gideon established himself as a hard-nosed player and leader of the Longhorns defense.

    While there are some aspects of Gideon’s game that are good, he has significant flaws as an NFL draft prospect. In the following slides, both will be examined.

Strength: Instincts

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    Gideon’s best trait as a player are his instincts. Gideon does a terrific job of reading offensive plays, and is usually around the play because he gets himself into position where he needs to be.

    Gideon is a smart safety, and became a cerebral leader over the course of his four years on the Longhorns defense. His vision, intelligence and overall instinctiveness helped make Gideon a successful player who earned starting every game for four consecutive seasons.

Weakness: Tackling

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    Gideon is known for his hard-hitting play, but his overall tackling was very poor. Gideon missed far too many tackles during his career, and this will looked upon very negatively by NFL scouts.

    Gideon takes poor angles when going to make a tackle. He often gets his hands on an opponent but fails to make sufficient contact or wrap them up, allowing them to squirm through his tackle and keep going forward.

    Gideon’s lack of sufficient tackling severely inhibits his ability to even contribute on special teams at the next level. If Gideon is going to make it in the NFL, he must become a more sound tackler, a trait that has not developed well over four years of starting at Texas.

Strength: Experience

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    Gideon certainly has no shortage of experience. By starting right away as a true freshman and never losing his starting position, Gideon earned a great deal of valuable experience on the field, which helped him become a leader of the Longhorns defense.

    Gideon’s 52 starts include four bowl games, one of which was a loss in the BCS National Championship Game. Gideon knows what it is like to play in big games, and has even made big plays to affect the outcome of such games.

    While Gideon may not be ready to step onto an NFL defense, his playing experience will certainly help his chances of making a roster.

Weakness: Speed

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    Gideon is not particularly athletic for a safety. Gideon has subpar speed for a safety, a trait which hurts his ability in pass coverage.

    Gideon often gets beat by faster receivers, and lacks the recovery speed to track down players in the open field. As a result, Gideon is susceptible to giving up big plays in the middle of the field, and could be a liability in pass coverage.

    There is nothing special about Gideon athletically as a safety prospect.

Weakness: Playmaking

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    Blake Gideon made his splash as a playmaker in his sophomore season with six interceptions on the year. However, he only had 10 total interceptions and 22 total pass defenses over his four-year career.

    Gideon has good hands to make interceptions, but he does not have natural ball skills. Additionally, Gideon is not a threat to make a big play on a return once he makes an interception.

    Gideon only had two forced fumbles and 5.5 tackles for loss in his 52 starts. Gideon may be known for some clutch plays and big hits, but he is not a big-play defender.

Overall Breakdown

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    Blake Gideon had a solid four-year career for the Texas Longhorns, but he is not much of an NFL prospect. There is nothing in his game that stands out as especially impressive, while his lack of speed and poor tackling are serious deficiencies in his NFL game.

    Gideon’s best chance to make an NFL roster will be on special teams, but his poor tackling angles could spell the end to his career in that area. Gideon is unlikely to be drafted, but given that he earns a camp invite, he will really have to step up his game to convince a team to give him a roster spot.

    Gideon’s Grade: Seventh round or undrafted

    Positional Rank: No. 21 (Free Safeties)

    Overall Rank: No. 342

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