I decided to pop in the NC State/FSU game to check out Earl Wolff. He didn’t have a bunch of tackles in the game and FSU had a very good run game so I was curious what was going on. Plus. FSU has some serious athletes on offense.
Overall, he played well. He’s far from perfect, but you can see why the Eagles liked him. Some observations/notes:
* Wolff was credited with 6 tackles (2 solo).
* Plays boundary Safety. This means that he lines up on the short side of the field. In college, offenses/defenses have to make strategic decisions based on the width of the field. Defenses want 6 players to the wide side. Offense like to attack the short side since there are fewer players and more chances for big plays. The rule of thumb is to put the best tacklers and most physical players on the boundary side.
* Generally lines up 10 yards off the ball.
* In this game, Wolff was aggressive. There were a handful of plays where his assignment was to drop deep, but mostly his first step was going forward.
* He tackled well. I saw one missed tackle. RB Chris Thompson made an amazing play by the sideline to break free from a defender and then got by Wolff as well.
* My favorite play came in a 3rd/short situation. Wolff lined up close to the LOS. The play went to his left. He went over and put his shoulder into the RG. That clogged the hole and someone else got the RB from behind to force a punt. Eagles Safeties haven’t been real keen on engaging OL in recent years.
* Wolff did give up a short TD. He bought the play fake and took one false step. The TE/H-back got behind him and got the pass for a TD. Wolff was just a bit out of position, but his aggression got the best of him there.
* I still don’t have a good feel for his coverage skills. He wasn’t in man coverage hardly at all. There weren’t many good shots that showed him covering deep.
* Wolff didn’t have a chance for many plays. FSU ran to the wide side quite a bit.
* I thought Wolff generally took good angles. There were 2 runs by Thompson where he was a bit out of position, but I have to stress that this is due to Thompson’s explosive speed. Watching this game reminded me just how much I loved Thompson. If 100 percent healthy, he’d have been my #1 RB. Wolff adjusted to his speed and was better on other plays.
* Wolff didn’t have to deal with much in the way of trash or blockers. He got tangled up with a WR on one edge run.
* I love Wolff’s wrap-up tackling.
* No big hits, but he did come up very aggressively vs a WR and was going to pop him good, but the guy ducked. Too bad. Would have been nice to see what kind of hit that was going to be.
* Wolff is just a good, solid player. There is nothing compelling about him (size, playmaking, game speed, etc.). I think that is why he fell down to the 5th round. I think he has the potential to be a starter in the NFL. At the least, he should be a good backup and STer.
I’ve got a few more games to watch. Hopefully I’ll get a better feel for his cover skills and his ability to diagnose plays.