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Cowboys 2019 draft prospect: Safety Sheldrick Redwine

With Earl Thomas off the market, safety is still a need in Dallas.

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Tech Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Sheldrick Redwine
School: University of Miami
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 196 lbs

2018 stat line: 13 games, 64 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble

Combine results: 4.44 40-yard dash, 39” vertical, 130” broad, 4.14 short shuttle

The first week of free agency has come and gone and the only safety that the Cowboys signed was Darian Thompson, a special teamer they acquired last season. No safeties from outside the organization were signed, including Earl Thomas, who went to Baltimore. if the Cowboys don’t make a play in what is left of the safety free agent market, they will lean on the draft to secure a safety who can pair with Xavier Woods.

One potential prospect is Miami’s Sheldrick Redwine. On tape, Redwine appears to have most of the tools that you’d want from a box safety, but he can also cover, especially his man coverage skills. Redwine was recruited as a cornerback and didn’t switch to safety until the 2017 season, and that experience is evident when he’s asked to cover in man.

Redwine lines up well against tight ends or bigger receivers and can hold his own in taking them out of the play. Redwine makes good use of his length (his 31 3/4” arms help) to stick with the player he’s covering. He has an air of physicality to his overall game, and it applies to his man coverage skills, which projects well in Kris Richard’s style of press coverage.

Redwine’s zone coverage skills aren’t as great, though they aren’t bad by any means. In shallow zones or Cover 2 and Cover 3 concepts, Redwine does a good job of holding his zone and breaking out of it to make a play. However, Redwine displays a general lack of elite anticipation that leads to him sometimes being a bit too slow to move. This probably limits the amount of upside he can have as a single-high safety, but in Dallas that role could be manned mostly by Woods. Redwine is functional in other zone coverage roles, though.

Despite his slow anticipation, Redwine does have good athleticism for a safety. Once he makes the read and starts moving, he comes in hot. It just takes a while for him to move. In run defense especially, Redwine does a good job of picking up speed as he comes in for the tackle. He takes good angles and doesn’t miss too often. He generally goes low for tackles, but usually wraps up or delivers a big enough hit to bring the ball-carrier down.

Redwine’s aforementioned physicality makes him especially appealing in run defense. He seems to relish the opportunity to come up and make a hit, and is also unafraid of contact with blockers. Redwine’s nasty streak would offer an upgrade in that regard, with solid tackling fundamentals to finish the job.

In addition to Redwine’s below average instincts, he also isn’t particularly great at making a play on the ball. He prefers to rely on his physicality to break up the pass, either with a big hit or by knocking the ball away, rather than getting his head around to intercept the ball. His three interceptions in 2018 all came off situations where he was already facing the ball, rather than turning to get it, and that’s going to put off some teams.

Redwine will probably be a fourth or fifth round pick. He could potentially form a nice tandem with Woods that, with time to develop and adjust, could become high quality. If the Cowboys like what they see in Redwine, they can afford to prioritize other needs like slot receiver and defensive line earlier in the draft.

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