Clayton Fejedelem, FS
School: Illinois | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 204 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Donte Whitner
Clayton Fejedelem is an all effort player that attacks every game and every opponent with a chip on his shoulder. Apparently before his growth spurt before the end of high school he was a short, skinny kid and always felt he had something to prove. Clayton collegiate career is unique in that he started it by playing for St. Xavier in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). His jump and success in the FCS shouldn't be taken lightly as players 2 levels down in the NAIA play recreationally in a sense and most aren't talented enough to make the jump to Division II much less Division I ball. He was a standout at St. Xavier and transferred to Illinois after his Sophomore season.
Fejedelem just has a nose for the ball. In 2014, he didn't even start for the Illini (except 1 game) and still amassed 49 tackles. In 2015, his first year as a starter, he made a whopping 140 tackles as a safety. He has good instincts, and exceptional closing speed and ability. The number of tackles is a reflection of a combination of things including not giving up on plays, taking the right angles, and being a superb tackler. But Fejedelem isn't just a box safety running down opponents he knows where the ball is in the air as well notching picking off a couple passes this past season and defending 7 more. He has experience playing in the box and single high at Illinois.
Had Fejedelem started his career at Illinois or another power conference school he likely would be in consideration as a higher round draft choice but with only one year as a starter on his resume and coming from such a meager conference its fair that he isn't getting the buzz he probably should. Fejedelem relishes the opportunity to work hard, earn his success, and make his presence felt and he's done that so far in his career and I expect it to continue in the NFL.
- Excellent play recognition. When playing the run he is decisive and closes the gap quickly and makes the tackle. In the air, he positions himself between the ball and the receiver.
- Has the speed and cover ability to stick with TE's and receivers down the field.
- Fundamentally sound as a tackler produced a high volume this year with very few mistakes.
- High effort, high passion, determined, non-stop motor guy.
- Would greatly benefit from a year or two learning from an NFL level DB's coach, refining his technique in coverage, hand placement on tackles, and ball skills.
- This is not a weakness but more a question, he brings the wood a lot and has been durable his entire career not missing a game, can it continue in the NFL?
- Can lose track of things in coverage when the play is extended, he needs to get better there.
Let's see his work:
Think Clayton Fejedelem is undervalued... Had a strong EW week and should have been at combine.... https://t.co/hHPXpaRQxG— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) March 10, 2016
It wouldn't be hard to make a strong case that #Illinois safety Clayton Fejedelem is the toughest prospect in this draft class.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 15, 2016
Player to keep an eye on during day 3 of the draft is S Clayton Fejedelem— John Blair (@nfldraftitwr) March 10, 2016
-140 tackles in 2015
-4.47 40-yard dash
-20 reps on bench
Fejedelem started off with 20reps of 225, a 40.5 inch vert and now a 4.50 forty. Seemed to prepare quite well for today. #proday— Christian Shanafelt (@ChrisShanafelt) March 10, 2016
EW Shrine - day 2- thoughts- Illinois saf Clayton Fejedelem always around football..can Stan WR Cajuste block enough to play H-back ?— Mike Mayock (@MikeMayock) January 19, 2016
Dude. I love this Clayton Fejedelem player. He sniffs out plays so quickly and his closing speed is whoa.— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) January 8, 2016
What a year Clayton Fejedelem is having for Illinois. Hard to believe that guy started his career in the NAIA. #ILLvsMINN— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) November 21, 2015
Christian Hackenberg at his best. Clayton Fejedelem (#20) late on the help read https://t.co/ZNAiFP1nsQ— Jeff Risdon (@JeffRisdon) November 12, 2015
Clayton Fejedelem Turnover Creation pic.twitter.com/ltxkngz7r5— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 31, 2015
Clayton Fejedelem pic.twitter.com/uUT1oI3Ln2— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 31, 2015
Clayton Fejedelem pic.twitter.com/rtYOQlHIVY— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 3, 2015
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
The Redskins are well stacked at SS and with Clayton's tackling ability I think it's normal to want to put him there but the kid has coverage skills that can be developed and improved upon if given the chance in an NFL system. Fejedelem would be a force on special teams out of the gate and would provide depth and physicality at the FS position especially while Kyshoen Jarrett recovers from his injury. Fejedelem is a smart, tough, instinctive player that has a solid foundation of skills that should have defensive backs coaches licking their chops to mold as they see fit. I think he presents a great value on the 3rd day of the draft and has the potential to be looked back upon as one of the steals in this draft class.