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Rereading NFL Draft profiles: S Jaquiski Tartt

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Hindsight is 20/20

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

We are a few weeks out from the San Francisco 49ers reporting to training camp. I thought it’d be interesting to look back at some NFL Draft profiles from a handful of players that the Niners have picked over the past few years. We’ll take a look at what the players’ strengths and weaknesses were heading into the league, and see how that has changed since they’ve played in the NFL. Let’s start with the second round pick of the 2015 draft, Jaquiski Tartt.

Here’s current Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on Tartt heading into the draft:

Tartt showed up at the Senior Bowl with an attitude. He is a big-bodied thumper, and more athletic than given credit for. The question is, what is his coverage skill set. What I do know is when he shows up, he shows up in a bad humor.” -- Mike Mayock

The draft is full of buzz words, and this is a perfect example of that. In English, Mayock seemed to think Tartt was a big-time hitter, that needed to improve his coverage skills. Here are Tartt’s strengths, from NFL.com:

Well-built with impressive overall size. Gets downhill quickly from high safety to mix it up in run support. Takes good angles to ball carriers and is an aggressive tackler. Willing to play through pain and compete. Fierce competitor. Plays with confident, clear eyes to diagnose and handle his responsibilities. Attacks the ball at point of catch to disrupt wide receiver and dislodge the pass.

When the first thing someone says about you is your size, that’s probably not a great indicator of your skillset. I’d say Tartt is an aggressive tackler and loves to stick his nose in there against the run. Missing tackles isn’t the problem. Last year Tartt only missed five. Missing games is the real issue. There will be mixed feelings about the “willing to play through pain and compete” line. The last line suggested that Tartt can develop into a ballhawk or have the ability to make plays on the ball. Tartt has yet to register more than three pass breakups in a season, but that goes back to his availability as well.

Onto the weaknesses. Here’s what was said about Tartt:

Gets caught staring into backfield as a single high safety. Will let post routes get behind him and doesn’t feature recovery speed to get back into that play. Becomes over-aggressive in space and will overrun tackles. Limited man-cover ability.

In 2018, Tartt played 290 snaps in the box/slot, and 111 from the true free safety position. This season we could see a more even split, as the safeties are supposedly going to be more interchangeable this season. I don’t think the weakness description is far off. I’d give Tartt more credit as a tackler, but that doesn’t make him a playmaker, either. Tartt’s coverage skills—especially over the middle as a “robber”—are impressive.

Here’s his draft projection and the final word on Tartt:

DRAFT PROJECTION Round 3 or 4

NFL COMPARISON Barry Church

BOTTOM LINE Tartt has terrific size and is a physical tackler but he must show that he can handle coverage responsibilities. Despite playing 2-deep and single-high coverage, Tartt’s size and aggressiveness as a tackler might be best utilized around the line of scrimmage or in a “robber” scheme. Tartt has the size, athleticism and overall talent to be an NFL starter.

Mayock believed at least a full round over drafted Tartt. Tartt has shown he can be a viable starter. He was very, very, good a couple of years back. His consistent health issues have made it difficult to buy in fully.

Do you think this scouting report is accurate?