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Washington Redskins 2013 NFL Draft Profile: Earl Wolff, Safety, NC State

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Could the hard hitting strong safety make an impact on a weak Redskins secondary?

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

Measurements: Height 5'11", Weight 209 lbs

Projected Round: 5-6

Why he would be a good Redskin:

NC State head coach Tom O'Brien referred to Earl Wolff as "the heart of the defense". That is certainly saying something considering that he played alongside top prospect David Amerson. However, Wolff was largely overlooked by NFL scouts until the pre draft process ramped up at the annual scouting combine. He had the best broad jump (134 inches), second best 40 time (4.44), and fourth best vertical jump (39 inches) among all safeties that participated in Indianapolis. Those numbers exceed the ones posted by many corners and are among the best overall regardless of position. Wolf also created a lot of buzz during East-West Shrine game week by picking off multiple passes in practice and one in the game. The exceptional speed and agility that he displayed at the combine served him well as a safety and valued special teams contributor at NC State. While there he looked every bit the part of a natural strong safety; using his instincts, physical style of play and tackling ability in concert to consistently make plays in the box against the run and short passes.

Why he won't be drafted by the Redskins:

The Redskins need help at both safety positions, but the more pressing need is clearly at the free safety spot; as the team's current top 3 safeties (Merriwether, Gomes and Doughty) are all much better equipped to play the strong spot closer to the line of scrimmage than they are in deep coverage. Unfortunately, the same is true of Wolff. He does not excel in coverage the way he does near the line of scrimmage, and despite possessing great speed he never really demonstrated a consistent ability to cover sideline to sideline when asked to protect the deep half of the field. Wolff is also not a big safety, and because of this he sometimes has issues with shedding blocks around the line of scrimmage and taking down bigger backs and receivers.

Bottom Line:

The shadow of former running mate David Amerson appears to have loomed large over Earl Wolff in the past. However, now teams are starting to take notice of him and they are realizing what Tom O'Brien already knew, which is that his physical hard hitting presence and first rate athleticism make him capable of becoming an enforcer and a leader on any team. The Redskins have strong safeties, but they need to find their strong safety of the future. If selected Wolff has the potential to be that player.