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3rd Round - Jordan Battle - Safety

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From Dane Burgler ....



BACKGROUND: Jordan Battle, who is the youngest of two boys, was born and raised in Broward County, just north of Miami near the Atlantic coast. His father signed him up for track at age 4, followed by football at age 6. Throughout the youth levels, Battle was a standout in both basketball and football and coached by his father in both sports until high school. He enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, a private Catholic school and football powerhouse, where he was a four-year varsity letterman. He was coached by Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor and was teammates with several current NFL players, including Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. and Browns wide receiver Elijah Moore. As a junior, he posted 55 tackles and four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. Battle was named an Under Armour All-American as a senior and finished the 2018 season with 27 tackles, 1.0 sack and three interceptions, adding a punt return touchdown and kick return touchdown. Aquinas had a record of 51-8 over Battle’s four years there. He also lettered in basketball.


A four-star recruit, Battle was the No. 2 safety in the 2019 class (behind only Daxton Hill), the No. 6 recruit in Florida and the No. 43 overall recruit nationally. As a sophomore, Battle received his first offer from Florida Atlantic, followed by Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Michigan. He picked up offers from Florida, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Texas and Ohio State as a junior and officially committed to the Buckeyes the summer before his senior year. However, Battle decided to flip to Alabama on signing day after Urban Meyer announced his retirement because of health issues. His father (Fred) played college basketball at Florida Memorial and is now a high school teacher and basketball coach. Jordan’s older brother (Jalen) played defensive back at FCS Illinois State (2013-15) and was part of Division II Davenport’s 2019 signing class. Battle graduated with his degree (December 2022). He accepted his invitation to the 2023 Senior Bowl but pulled out prior to the event


STRENGTHS: Well-strapped-together safety … smart run defender and fills quickly … takes practical pursuit angles and puts himself in position to make strong tackles on the move … does a great job cutting off outside speed to funnel ball carriers to his help … zone alert and tracks the quarterback to drive … stays balanced when covering tight ends and backs … tough, physical striker to lay out pass catchers … playmaker after interceptions, averaging 26.0 yards per return (6/156/3) … all three of his pick-sixes were 40-plus yards … zero penalties in 2022 … voted a 2022 team captain, and his coaches said they had to force him off the practice field … was a regular on special teams in college (789 career snaps and 14 tackles) … played in every game (54) the past four seasons, finishing his career with 37-straight starts


WEAKNESSES: Average (at best) range and play speed … not a true sideline-to-sideline defender in the back end … can be caught flat-footed and late to click and close cushion in man coverage … lacks the suddenness in his lower body to stay attached to NFL slot receivers … adequate breakdown and finishing skills in run support but will leave production on the field when tackling mechanics fall apart … hard to find examples of him blitzing on 2022 tape … below-average ball production (16 passes defended) for a defensive back with 44 career starts.


SUMMARY: A four-year starter at Alabama, Battle was the strong safety in head coach Nick Saban’s multiple scheme and switched between high and low alignments. He put together a veteran resume in Tuscaloosa as a two-time All-American and one of three captains in 2022 (along with Will Anderson and Bryce Young). Battle plays aware in zone coverage and assignment sound in the run game with accurate fits and the physical nature of a linebacker. However, he is a linear athlete with limited playmaking range and tackling inconsistencies. Overall, Battle’s tape and skill set scream “average,” but he is a smart, experienced safety with reliable football character and competitive toughness. He projects as a low-ceiling post/box starter in the NFL with core special teams skills.

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7 hours ago, Jamie_B said:

This dude isnt afraid to hit, gawd damn


got a little Vonn Bell in him?


Not sure you can replace what Bell brought in the locker-room, but Battle sure seems like the kind of player to try to do that with. In hindsight, if they re-sign Bell and lose Pratt we probably see a LB here instead. The loss of Bell was more of a blow to Lou than I gave it credit.


I have zero problems with a S coming out of Alabama who played as many snaps at as high a quality as Battle did. Daniel Jeremiah said immediately on the pick being announced that he can start week 1. Made me raise an eyebrow. 

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5 hours ago, happyrid said:

Gives them options moving forward. Nick Scott's deal is 3 years but only $2M of dead money after year one. 


I like the player a lot. Positional need wasn't near the top of my list but I can see the reasoning behind it. 

So...here's the thing. If you had asked me or, I think, any of us, pre-draft, what spot on D gives us the most worry heading into the season, with some thought the answer was probably safety. Hill getting his first chance at it and Scott, who has one year of starting experience after being, what, a late round or UDFA /special teams guy in his first few years backed up by Anderson (who didn't play last year as a rookie) and Uncle Mike (a special teams guy). 


Any injury to Hill or Scott and..then what? Now, with Battle, you have competition to start and for playing time this year, and legit depth. And they are not locked into Scott contract wise at all long term. 

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