Seventh Round: 248th Pick
Taking the JUCO route to Division 1 college football isn't the conventional way to do it, but Nebraska safety Daimion Stafford made it work. And now, Stafford has his sights set on the NFL.
Although he is unlikely to come off the board before Day 3, Stafford has some physical tools that simply cannot be taught.
Stafford has an impressive build for the safety position, which allows him to be physical at the point of attack. He plays downhill and loves making plays at the line of scrimmage.
He's at his best when playing in the box. While not a shutdown, man-to-man cover guy, Stafford was able to hold his own in man coverage, particularly against running backs.
Stafford is limited as a pass defender. He has stiff hips and isn't particularly quick to recognize route combinations. He shows inconsistency when judging the ball in the air.
His aggressive nature in the run game sometimes causes him to over-pursue and give up cutback lanes.
As a rotational safety playing mainly in the box, Stafford has the tools to be effective early in his career. At 6'0" 221 pounds, Stafford is built like a small linebacker, rather than a safety.
He lacks ideal speed and agility for the position, but his 21 reps on the 225-pound bench press prove his above-average strength.
Stafford got into a heated exchange with Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini in November. Both guys downplayed the confrontation, and there are no concerns regarding Stafford's character.
Stafford often lined up near the line of scrimmage in Nebraska's 4-3 scheme. He was rarely trusted to play in single-high coverage but held his own in two-deep coverage.
Playing the Ball
Tracking the ball in the air is one of Stafford's biggest inconsistencies. He had four interceptions this past season, but he could have had several more if he was consistent when playing the football in the air.
Against the Run
Stafford, being as big and physical as he is, excels as a run defender. He can be used effectively as an extra run defender.
Not only is he typically a sure tackler, but he's capable of delivering the big blow and forcing fumbles. Stafford forced three fumbles in the past two seasons.
He won't be asked to cover receivers man-to-man, but he is capable of covering tight ends and running backs on short pass routes. In the NFL, he'll rarely be trusted in man coverage.
Stafford has marginal range on the back end, so he wasn't trusted to play in single-high coverage. But in traditional cover-two sets, he was relatively assignment sure.
When shadowing short-to-intermediate routes, Stafford was at his best.
Stafford is a physical tackler but sometimes his aggressiveness causes him to miss tackles because he goes for the big blow rather than wrapping up.
Near the line of scrimmage, Stafford does a nice job of funneling runners to the perimeter.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Stafford certainly isn't the most versatile safety in the class. Regardless of the defensive scheme of the team who drafts him, Stafford is best-suited as an in-the-box, rotational safety who also plays on special teams. He's not an every-down safety at this point.