The 2023 NFL Draft class is as loaded on the defensive side of the ball, and one of the players expected to hear his name called in the middle rounds is Rutgers S Christian Izien. While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Izien’s scouting report suggest about his NFL Draft stock?
Christian Izien NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Saftey
- School: Rutgers
- Year: Redshirt Senior
A three-star recruit who played both cornerback and wide receiver at Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn, Izien elected to stay close to home and share his football journey with friends and family by attending Rutgers.
Izien appeared in four games on special teams as a freshman and received a redshirt to preserve a year of eligibility. He took a step forward as a redshirt sophomore, playing in all 12 games while making seven starts, leading the secondary with 78 tackles (49 solo).
Izien started all nine games at safety during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and led the team with four interceptions, all over the last three games, which brought his turnover total to seven on the year. Named honorable mention All-Big Ten during 2021 and 2022 (third in total), Izien started all 25 games and extended his streak to 41 consecutive starts.
Named Co-Defensive MVP, Izien recorded a career-high 83 tackles in his final year while adding five defended passes and 1.5 sacks. This brought his total to 303 total tackles, 10 for a loss, four interceptions, and 19 pass deflections.
While he did not attend the NFL Combine, Izien made waves at the East-West Shrine Bowl and Rutgers’ Pro Day. He showed good instincts, which is critical for a box safety. When asked who he modeled his game after, Izien responded, “If I was [to] name two safeties [it would] probably be Budda Baker, and then Antoine Winfield Jr.”.
The knock on Izien is he does come in a bit undersized at 5’8 1/2″ and 197 pounds. However, he blew scouts away at his pro day when many speculated he would run between a 4.6 to 4.7 time. Instead, Izien clocked a 4.41 second 40-yard dash which was the best time of the day. Additionally, he put up 20 reps on the bench and had a vertical jump of 41.5 inches.
“Christian Izien is a smart, tough, explosive football player,” head coach Greg Schiano said at Rutgers’ Pro Day. “He may not be the tallest guy in the world, but he makes up for that with his physical skills. He’ll play in that league.”
But is that just coach speak? To find out, we need to look at Izien’s scouting report to see where his strengths and areas for improvement lie, as they will dictate when he will hear his name called during the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Christian Izien
Strengths: Undersized, but fiery safety who flies around the field working to make positive plays. Quick, explosive, and aggressive. Breaks down well, uses his hands to protect himself, and works to get involved in the action. Effective facing plays, displays solid range, and plays faster than his 40 time.
Fires across the field, sells out, and plays with reckless abandon. Covers a lot of area going sideline to sideline. Occasionally plays over the slot receiver and does a good job. Works hard to get off blocks and make plays.
Weaknesses: Slow out of his transition and does a lot of trailing downfield. Much better facing the action.
Overall: Izien doesn’t pass the eyeball test, but the film tells a different story. He’s a hard-charging DB who fires upfield to defend the run and goes sideline to sideline covering the pass. Izien may be physically tapped out, but he plays with a special-teams mentality that could secure a roster spot for him.
Christin Izien Measurements and Results
- Height: 5’8 1/2″
- Weight: 197 pounds
- Arm Length: 30 7/8″
- Wingspan: 73 1/2″
- Hand Size: 9 1/4″
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.41 seconds*
- Vertical Jump: 40.5″*
- Bench Press: 20*
Note: Measurements come from the East-West Shrine Bowl. Testing Numbers are from Rutgers’ Pro Day.
Rutgers S Christin Izien Current Draft Projection
The 2023 NFL Draft class is phenomenal if you need help on the defensive side of the ball. However, most of the top prospects will be at EDGE, OLB, and CB. While there are some high-ranked safeties like Brian Branch from Alabama, it’s typically not a position we see go extremely high in the draft.
As far as Izien is concerned, I don’t see him breaking the trend, either. He is currently the SAF27 and the No. 314 overall-ranked player on Tony Pauline’s Big Board. With a grade of 3.24, Izien has a projected draft capital that places him as an undrafted free agent.
Izien is a physical defender whose versatility fits the modern game. That shows up when you dive into his alignment. He totaled more than 150 career snaps as a Wide 9 rusher, 770 in the box, nearly 1,000 at free safety, and 809 at nickel.
Now, don’t get me wrong — not all good athletes are also good football players, but Izien could hear his name called during Day 3 of the draft. He’s the type of athlete and player coaches want on their roster.
How that goes remains to be seen. Izien will undoubtedly have the opportunity to showcase his skills over the summer during camp, even if as a UDFA, but being an athlete alone will not guarantee him a spot on the final 53-man roster. Yet the tape, combined with the questions Izien answered during his pro day, should guarantee him at least an opportunity.
In the NFL, that’s all you can ask for because, from there, it’s all up to the individual and how they rise to the challenge. And if history is an indicator, I won’t bet against Izien rising to the call.
Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast
List to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.