It’s been a long time since the Dallas Cowboys put value into the safety position via the NFL Draft. While there is no Jamal Adams, Xavier McKinney, Derwin James, or Budda Baker in this draft class, there is some quality depth that can be had on day two and three of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Today, we’ll get to know Virginia Tech safety and chess piece, Divine Deablo.
Name: Divine Deablo
School: Virginia Tech
Class: RS Senior
Versatile back-end defender with excellent ability at, and beyond, the line of scrimmage. Scrapes off blocks well to close alleys against the run. Explosive downhill burst when attacking pocket as a blitzer. Showed a great improvement in 2020 at taking the correct angles to make plays in the backfield against the run, and when rushing the passer. While he won’t consistently win out on an island, showcased the ability to cover in the slot, as well as picking up tight ends and running backs in man coverage opportunities. Had success in “quarters” coverage at Virginia Tech, showcasing impressive processing skills that continued to develop throughout his career. Ball skills improved immensely over his final year as a Hokie. Plays with excellent length against both the run and the pass. Crowds throwing windows at the catch point with impressive arm length. Excellent special teams player, who takes pride in playing with high effort on special teams just as much as he does on defense.
Lacks the ideal fluidity in his lower half to flip his hips and change directions quickly in the open field. Long-speed will be a big question among scouts; will need to test well at pro day to silence some of the questions regarding his overall athleticism. Had a tendency to break-down a little late, which would allow ball carriers to change directions and avoid his tackle attempts. Tightness in hips showed up in man coverage reps against shiftier slot receivers.
In a safety class that lacks top-end talent, but quality depth, Divine Deablo fits in well as a day three developmental safety, who can find immediate success as a special-teams ace. While he does possess great versatility, Deablo’s ceiling in the NFL will likely rely on where he’s drafted. If Deablo is asked to play in the box, as a downhill player, and as a blitzer he could be a very good player in the league, but if asked to play single-high safety and cover numbers-to-numbers that could be an issue. While likely limited to a box-safety role, given his size, length, and instincts, a dime-linebacker role could also be an exciting prospect for the Virginia Tech safety. The former wide receiver is still developing as a pure-cover defensive back, but his traits and versatility, both on defense and special teams, will be highly valuable in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Divine Deablo qui intercepte Trevor Lawrence dans la end zone de Virginia Tech!!! pic.twitter.com/2nn3nxaHZa— The Trick Play Podcast (@TheTrickPlayFR) December 6, 2020
One player I’ve been watching closely is Virginia Tech’s CB Divine Deablo (@DeabloDivine). He’s having a really nice start to the week and had a great rep here against South Dakota State’s WR Cade Johnson who’s been having a nice week as well #TheDraftStartsInMobile pic.twitter.com/eTYVZ5IyOw— Chris Mallee (@mallee_chris_24) January 28, 2021