In a draft class that doesn’t have a ton of safeties that can cover, Rashaan Gaulden is not one of them. Gaulden is extremely sticky in coverage and can line-up literally anywhere in the secondary. The former Volunteer, lined up at outside corner, nickel corner, and even played some safety in his three years at Tennessee. I have evaluated Gaulden as a safety due to his ability to consistently make plays behind the line of scrimmage in the run game, his cover ability in the slot, and his range to make plays down the field. With that being said, he can line-up anywhere and be a day one contributor. His instincts are off the charts and he has a nose for the football. Can lay the wood for being only 195 pounds. While he never had great interception production, he does have extremely good ball skills and is going to test extremely well in this years combine. Gaulden is also a very strong special teams player that takes pride in making plays in that aspect of the game as well. You love what he brings on game day with his coverage ability and run support, but his attitude on the field may be his best trait. There’s no question who the leader of the Tennessee defense was over the last few seasons because Rashaan Gaulden wears that swagger on his face for the world to see. You know what they say, if you’re gonna’ walk the walk, you better be able to talk the talk… He talks it all right.
While he did suffer an injury in 2015 that forced him to miss his entire Sophomore year, Gaulden has two years of excellent tape to prove that injury isn’t bothering him. While it doesn’t show on film, anytime defensive backs suffer lower body injuries, it leaves pause in the scouts and GM’s minds. I’ll be interested to see how that foot checks out at the combine this week. When on the field, Gaulden has few limitations. The one thing I did notice, was he can get too locked-on to a quarterback’s eyes and let his man drift away from him. It happened in the Alabama game this year, but then he showed his athletic ability to recover and make an incredible play on the ball.
Love this play from Rashaan Gaulden. Get a little grabby at first but is able to recover and get the PBU. pic.twitter.com/PENGK8BcdR
— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) February 25, 2018
While he’s not getting talked about (yet), Rashaan Gaulden is a top-five safety in this draft class. He is great at coming downhill and making plays around the line of scrimmage in the run game, but he can also be a lockdown guy down the field covering slot receivers or tight ends. I truly believe that Gaulden is a walk in starter in his rookie year and is one of those rare guys that you get on the field no matter what position he’s playing or who else is on the team. I’m going to predict that after he has an excellent combine this weekend, that the top 50 talk will begin to pick up from more of the national media, but you heard it here first.