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John Battle’s Versatile Skillset Allowed Him To Make Plays At LSU; How Could He Help The Redskins?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Chattanooga at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

John Battle IV, S
School: LSU | Conference: SEC
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 23?
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 201 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Adrian Phillips

College Experience

Player Overview

LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond was able to secure John Battle’s commitment to the program after a long recruitment process where NC State, USC, Tennessee among lots of other schools where trying to lure Battle to their programs. Raymond’s “DBU” pitch, citing how the program has developed secondary prospects and how many make it to the NFL won over Battle. Battle also really wanted to play in the SEC citing that it had “big boy football”. Battle joined a secondary that had future 1st round picks Tre’Davious White and Jamal Adams so he didn’t see much action until after the 2016 season. Once he stepped into the starting role he became a solid contributor to the LSU secondary. He’s was tasked with more responsibilities under defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. It required him to study more and to be more vocal on the field as he came up to the front and called checks for the defensive linemen. Battle posted below average scores at the NFL combine so I’m sure he’s hoping that people go back to the tape to assess his play. Battle figures to be a late day 3 selection who can come in and contribute on special teams to start off his career and potentially get some time on the field on defense as a 3rd safety.

Strengths

  • Good size, physicality, hands and length for the position.
  • Has ability to come downfield in a hurry to help with run support. Read and react ability is good and he takes good pursuit angles. He is successful more times than not when he’s one on one in open space and needs to make a stop. Has the ability to come up and play close to the LOS a la a nickel linebacker.
  • Shows decent fluidity and change of direction ability in coverage. Shows decent range when playing deep zone coverage. Shows good ability to track the ball and shows good hands.
  • Has worked to add strength and weight to take on lineman and work through blocks. Tasked with ability to relay key communication of adjustments to the defensive line.
  • LSU defensive scheme allowed for versatile interchangeable safeties. Battle has experience playing in the box and at free.

Weaknesses

  • High tackler who sacrifices leverage and power for contact. Looks like more of a big speed bump than powerful authoritative tackler.
  • Eyes can deceive him and he can bite on set up moves from receivers. Once he gets turned around he has trouble resetting his position locating the ball and recovering.
  • Can get lost out there when the play is extended by the QB. Loses where he is on the field in relation to the closest receiving threat and where the ball is. Coverage awareness is lacking.
  • Lacks second gear in his acceleration and agility you want to see at the position.

Let’s see his work:

More John Battle IV videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

Battle’s path to making an NFL roster is going to be through special teams. He is going to have to clean up his tackling technique, hand placement and leverage so he can get off blocks, awareness, and overall sense of urgency to make the final 53. I think a lot of his deficiencies are coachable but coming from DBU with proven position coaches I err on the side of that he has a clear ceiling in some of these areas. He lacks natural coverage instincts which is slightly surprising considering his background as a corner. I’m not sure how much this area can improve but if he could remain more disciplined with his eyes and learn some more technique work in coverage I’m willing to bet he would place himself in a lot of good positions when the ball comes in his area. When it does come to him he’s proven he can finish plays with takeaways. This could take several seasons though and I’m not sure I see him in any other role than a 3rd safety who plays in the box on sub package. The Redskins could still use a player like this to fill out the bottom of the depth chart and it would allow them some more versatility in certain sub packages. I still question if the Redskins want to expand their defensive play calling from the box it’s currently in so it’s quite possible a lot of these well built interchangeable safeties may not be that high on the board for them. Battle disappointed at the combine with his testing numbers but he’ll have a change to improve them so the look more in step with his game film at his pro day. If he can do that he can recapture the attention of a lot of teams including the Redskins.