IDDP: 5 Defensive Backs to Target
We have talked about the infantry (defensive lineman). We have talked about the field generals (linebackers). The mixture of them both creates the front seven. It is possible they become the force of the defense dominating any opposing team. What if they fail? What if they just are not strong enough? Maybe they are strong enough to stop the run. Not every team has a strong run game though. Some teams rely on the pass heavily. Meaning even a strong defense can be exposed through the air. That is where this list of 5 players comes in. The last line of the defense. The defensive backs play a pivotal role. The cornerbacks lock down opposing receivers. The safeties cloud over the top disrupting big play opportunities. This list of 5 defensive backs are some of my favorites in the class of 2024!
Wisconsin - Hunter Wohler
Currently my DB2 of the 2024 class.
Wohler was a four-star prospect out of Muskego, WI. Wohler has stepped into a different form this season. In his first two seasons he had a total of 38 total tackles. This season he is on pace for 113 total tackles. He leads the team in snaps playing 99.5% of them. He is a vocal leader on the defensive side.
Wohler is an effective tackler that hardly misses. Through nine games played he has a miss tackle rate of 7.9%. He can go heads up with any running back. As a safety he is second on the team in run stops with 28! He has the natural awareness to perform in coverage effectively. Wohler has allowed 71.4% of targets to be caught. Since week two he has not allowed a catch to go beyond 16 yards when targeted. This season he has showcased his ability to close in on the ball effectively. He can develop into a Harrison Smith type of safety.
Utah - Cole Bishop
Currently my DB3 of the 2024 class.
Bishop was a three-star athlete out of Fayetteville, GA. Bishop has been one of favorite defensive backs to watch. Maybe it’s because he’s been a nightmare for Oregon since 2021. Although his stats are projected to be lower than last year he should not go unnoticed. He has an IQ for the game, and it shows with him playing 84.3% of snaps. He has allowed only 45% of targets thrown his way to be caught for 87 yds & 1 touchdown.
He is an all around type of safety that can be used multiple ways. Bishop could be used to blitz the quarterback with his speed. He has the size to match up against the tight ends. With his fluid movement in his hips he is able to adjust accordingly finding the ball to make the play. If he is not lined up at the line his awareness allows him to be a threat when dropping into coverage.
Penn St - Kalen King
Currently my DB6 of the 2024 class.
King was a four-star prospect out of Detroit, MI. One of the lockdown “kings” of this class. Arguably the best in the class when it comes to coverage skills. He has allowed no touchdowns on the season. He has played 70.8% of snaps.
He is a natural hawk with vision always knowing where the ball is. He has the speed to go toe-to-toe with receivers. King has that instinct to adjust on the fly. He shifts his hips accordingly to track the receiver properly during the routes. His off ball awareness makes it difficult for receivers to make the catch.
San Diego St- Cedarious Barfield
Currently my DB10 of the 2024 class.
Barfield was a three-star prospect out of El Paso, TX. A defensive back that will be under the radar because of their school. He is quick & breaks down on the ball quickly. The last 3 seasons he has had at least 20 solo tackles in each. This season he came alive with 3 interceptions right now. Although he has only allowed 45.7% of targets to be caught, two of those receptions have gone for touchdowns. He does lead the team in snaps played with 92.1%.
His physicality made him become a safety from cornerback. He has strength behind his tackles. He cloaks his coverage well. Often being in coverage allowing his awareness to lead him to the play. He has the vision plus the footwork to adjust properly on the ball.
TCU - Josh Newton
Currently my DB14 of the 2024 class.
Newton was a three-star prospect out of Monroe, LA. He originally enrolled at Louisiana-Monroe in 2018 before transferring to TCU before the 2022 season. Last season was arguably his best yet as a defensive back. Although in the 2021 season he gained more tackles he had more pass deflections (12) and interceptions (3) in 2022. His stats this season may not show it but he is the best defender on the Horned Frogs. He is currently seeing 87.2% of snaps.
He is not the fastest on the field but has enough speed to keep up with the receivers. What he lacks in speed he makes up for with awareness. He leads the team in coverage with a grade of 84.9 on PFF. Newton has allowed 45.2% of targets to be caught with no touchdowns. He does have the physical strengths to press at the line. His bread and butter will likely be zone schemes. His natural instinct mixed with his off ball techniques will allow him to close in on the ball effectively. Watch out for his hands! If he gets the ball he shifts into a playmaker using agility to gain some yardage.
Those are some of my favorite defensive backs right now. If they are not on your radar I highly recommend adding them. I think each can transition well into a NFL defensive back.
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Peace & Love