Strong Safety #8
Senior 6’2″ 201 pounds
- Productive four year career as the FBS’ active leader in interceptions
- Athletic player who had major Division 1 scholarships to play baseball in high school
- Was responsible for calling the signals for the secondary and getting the linebackers set up
- Has played both safety positions, closer to the LOS and in the slot
- Plus instincts to recognize developing runs and meet them downhill
- Ball hawk with elite ball skills, attacking the ball at its highest point and properly timing his break
- Works through the trash with quickness and focus
- Tracks the ball well and uses his range to go chase it
- Does a good job squaring his pads on contact
- Utilizes his hustle and closing speed to chase ball carriers
- Thin frame that likely played under 190 pounds
- Struggles to chase plays laterally with speed when he doesn’t have a good read on the play
- Too often looks to chop blockers down rather than take them head on
- Plays with improv and it will get him into trouble at times
- Below-average take on strength
- Pads will rise on tackle attempts and create drag-down tackles
- Doesn’t have the twitch and mirror-and-match footwork to play in the slot
- Range is just average as the throws get longer and wider
- Top-end speed to drive from the hash to the deep sideline is underwhelming
The Louisiana native was a dual-sport stud in high school and has quite possibly the best name in the 2017 draft. He played sparingly as a freshman before recording 38 starts and three straight All-MW appearances.
Steelhammer is a high-IQ player that the coaches trusted to set up the defense and verbalize the calls while his athleticism provided the Falcons with a movable defender that could be trusted with multiple responsibilities. He’s an instinctual player who rarely doesn’t have his eyes where they need to be, understands where quarterbacks want to go with the ball and picks up developing runs to make quick stops. The production matches the ball skills as quarterbacks need to know where Steelhammer is at all times.
While his weight is listed at 201 pounds, it’s hard to imagine he played at such weight based on thin his frame is. It’s concerning that he lacks the top-end speed to drive on plays across the field and chase ball carriers to the perimeter, eliminating his single-high use. He doesn’t possess much play strength either, and his tackling issues will almost make him a non-factor in the run game at the next level; his tackle production was inflated due to the fact that he spent quite a few snaps closer to the line.
Draft projection: 7th round-UDFA
The accomplished defender can do some translatable things, but he doesn’t have the size and innate traits to shuffle around a defense like he did at Air Force. With Steelhammer, a team gets an intelligent, instinctual player with a nose for the ball and the ball skills to flip the field. There are some talented back-end defenders in this class and Steelhammer could get lost in the shuffle, but he can provide an impact on special teams and be molded into a productive player.