After not receiving a single scholarship offer from an FBS program, Jordan Kovacs decided he wanted to attend the University of Michigan, where his father played football decades earlier. After Mike Williams went down with an injury, Kovacs got his shot and has seized the moment.
He isn't the biggest, strongest or fastest kid, but he has overcome a lot of obstacles and seems to have what it takes to be successful wherever he ends up.
Does the former walk-on have what it takes to get drafted and contribute in the NFL?
+ Tough, energetic, hard-nosed safety
+ Pursues the ball carrier well
+ Wraps up consistently with good form
+ Team captain, good leader
- Lacks optimal height and length for a safety
- Does not have great quickness or speed
- Over-matched physically by bigger blockers/receivers
- Safety/linebacker "tweener"
Kovacs checks in at about 5'10", 205 lbs., which is a little short for a safety but not quite thick enough for a linebacker. He ran the 40-yard dash at Michigan's pro day, clocking in at a solid 4.57. He also had a 35-inch vertical jump.
But he really impressed in the three-cone drill, where he beat all the safeties in the NFL combine with a time of 6.70 seconds. His 16 reps on the bench press showed that he has adequate, but not great, strength.
Kovacs really seems to have it all together. He worked his tail off after suffering a knee injury during his freshman year after making the team as a walk-on, and he tried out and made the team again a year later. He was a team captain as a senior and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
He's an intelligent player who works hard and leads by example. He was also named team MVP this past season and has also proven to be extremely durable, playing in 45 games, just five short of Michigan's all-time record.
Kovacs played a good amount in a two-deep zone but was responsible for several different types of coverages. He also pressed up into the box often, acting almost as an extra linebacker against the run, which is a big strength.
Kovacs reads the quarterback well and can anticipate the receivers' routes. He often arrives before the ball to break up a play, and he always attacks a potential breakup hard. When the play is in front of him, Kovacs is extremely solid.
But when he has to flip his hips and track a ball down, he can get into trouble. His recovery speed is questionable, and he can get beaten down the field by faster receivers.
Against the Run
Kovacs is extremely comfortable moving around the field and getting closer to the line of scrimmage to stuff the run. He takes good angles to the ball and is skilled at avoiding and shedding blockers en route to make a tackle.
He has great instincts and breaks on the ball quickly without getting caught too high and over-running the play. He'll always get to a pile and stick his helmet in without reserve.
Kovacs has very good fundamentals as a tackler. He keeps his pads level and wraps up with good technique and effort every time, often aiming low and hitting the ball-carrier around the knees or getting him at the ankles.
He rarely arm tackles and will usually get overpowered when he does. He also occasionally waits too long to make a move and ends up "catching" the ball-carrier instead of attacking him. But he always seems to be around the ball, evident by his 331 career tackles, 12th best all-time at Michigan.
Potential NFL Role
Teams will look at Kovacs as a potential special teams ace. He would also be a serviceable backup safety who could thrive in a system where he gets to roam and press up against the run.
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