Jessie Bates NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for Cincinnati Bengals' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 28, 2018

Wake Forest defensive back Jessie Bates III (3) rushes with the ball ahead of Boston College tight end Korab Idrizi, left, after intercepting a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Mary Schwalm/Associated Press


—Bates is a quick, fluid, agile athlete who shows up in coverage looking like a cornerback.

—He's a hitter and doesn't mind throwing his frame around to make hits. He packs a punch.

—He's versatile enough to play any safety spot and can even lock up in man coverage if needed against slot receivers and tight ends.

—Teams running a zone defense should put a premium on Bates thanks to his range and instincts.

—Does a great job finding and getting to the football.



—Bates was just a two-year starter at Wake Forest and left school following his redshirt sophomore season.

—He has a lean frame with short arms (31 ⅝") and might need to add bulk.

—Reckless style of play is a concern with his frame and past injuries.

—Can get sucked into the box on play-action and misdirection.

—Saw his interceptions drop from five in 2016 to just one in 2017.



Jessie Bates is one of the better true coverage safeties in the 2018 draft class. He identifies routes well and is athletic enough to get into position to make a play on the ball or limit targets. A team needing an over-the-top safety early in Round 2 should be all over Bates.


GRADE: 6.75 (Early Round 2)

PRO COMPARISON: Reggie Nelson, Oakland Raiders

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