The Redskins' current Safety depth chart to put it bluntly is messy: Brandon Meriweather (recent law troubles), Tanard Jackson are penciled in at Free Safety, and Madieu Williams joins the two holdovers, Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes at Strong Safety. With 7th round draft pick Jordan Bernstine from Iowa trying to win a roster spot, I asked former Redskins and Hawkeyes' safety, Matt Bowen, what it'll take for him to excel in Washington:
Bernstine played both Safety positions at Iowa, which spot do you think he'd excel at most in D.C and the NFL? I tend to think in that SS Laron Landry role where he's physical and close to the line of scrimmage.
Bowen: Bernstine is an "in the box" safety at this stage of his development. At Iowa, the Hawks were a zone team and their core scheme was Cover 6 (Quarter, Quarter, Half). Bernstine is the type of safety that can align off the ball, read his run/pass key and fill downhill with speed.
Bernstine has special teams skills, but do you think it's enough to crack the 53-man roster or is he a practice squad guy?
Has to make it on special teams--and that applies to any DB scooped up late in the draft. After watching Jordan play, I would expect him to make his living early in his NFL career covering kicks. He has the ability to run, hit and explode on contact. Again, staying healthy in camp is the key and showing up on tape while covering kicks in the preseason will be the ticket to winning a job.
What are things he needs to improve on technique wise?
Like any rookie, he will need to develop his coverage skills (and footwork), but that will come with experience vs. the vets. And don't forget about film study and route recognition. This is a process for rookies when they see NFL speed for the first time.
Thanks to Matt Bowen for taking the time to respond. His excellent work can be read at National Football Post and he's on Twitter at @MattBowen41.