DeMarcco Hellams, FS, Alabama | NFL Draft Scouting Report

DeMarcco Hellams is one of three Alabama safeties in this draft. He will likely wait a bit to hear his name called, but the Raiders could be the ones calling.

The safety position in the NFL is in a constant state of flux relative to its value — especially as more teams look for hybrid-type players. It wasn’t long ago we saw Jamal Adams get traded for first-round picks, despite being extremely limited in coverage and relegated to playing in the box. Yet, a true ball hawk who can line up across a secondary can turn a defense around.

DeMarcco Hellams is hoping to hear his name called in the 2023 NFL Draft. He may have to wait a while, or he may not hear his name at all. Below, everything you need to know is curated in Hellams’ scouting report.

DeMarcco Hellams NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Free Safety
  • School: Alabama
  • Year: Senior

Hellams was one of the top players in all of the state of Maryland in his recruiting cycle out of DeMatha Catholic. He was a unanimous four-star recruit by all major recruiting services, after starring on both sides of the ball in high school, showing off his versatility.

Recruiting services like 247 Composite and 247 Sports rated him as the eighth-best safety nationally. He was listed just outside the top 100 (107) prospects on the Top 247 and tabbed the ninth-best ATH and 86th-best overall player nationally by Meanwhile, ESPN300 listed Hellams as their 128th-best prospect.

Hellams won the Washington Post Metro Offensive Player of the Year honors after catching 78 passes for 1,469 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior in high school, where he also recorded 12 interceptions along with 91 tackles as a defensive back. Three of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

With that résumé, Hellams was heavily recruited and chose Alabama over Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, and Maryland.

MORE: 100% Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator

As a true freshman, Hellams worked mostly on special teams but did also see some time in the deep secondary. He played in all 13 games and finished with four tackles, including half a sack.

Hellams carved out a role on Alabama’s third-down defense as a sophomore while returning to his spot on special teams. On the year, he totaled 62 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack, while adding three pass breakups.

Hellams’ junior year saw him take another step forward. He earned the starting safety spot but suffered a lower leg injury midway through fall camp that limited his playing time early. Nevertheless, he tied for the team lead and fifth in the SEC in interceptions with three and still managed to accumulate 87 tackles (2.5. for loss) on the season to rank third for Bama. Hellams also added a quarterback hurry to go with three pass breakups.

As he has done his whole college career, Hellams continued to get better, and his senior year was no different. He led Alabama and ranked sixth in the SEC in tackles with 108, including three for loss and a sack. Hellams also broke up seven passes, recorded a quarterback hurry, notched one interception, and forced a fumble that he recovered.

DeMarrco Hellams Scouting Report

Strengths: Physical, run-defending safety who is best making plays downhill. Fires upfield to defend the run, has a closing burst to the play, and sells out to make the tackle. Effectively diagnoses the action, quickly locates the ball handler, and moves well in every direction. Shows ability in coverage facing the action and picks up receivers on crossing patterns.

Weaknesses: Possesses average ball skills. Struggles staying on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Doesn’t drive to the pass out of his plant.

Overall: Hellams is a tremendous run-defending safety who flashes ball skills facing the action. He’s a zone defensive back who must make his mark on special teams to have a future in the NFL.

DeMarcco Hellams Combine Measurements and Results

The NFL Scouting Combine gives us a great opportunity to see how players stack up in various testing environments. Luckily, PFN has full databases of both NFL Combine measurements and NFL Combine results. Below is everything you need to know from Hellams’ Combine performance.

  • Height: 6005
  • Weight: 203
  • Arm: 31
  • Hand: 9
  • Bench Press: N/A
  • 40-Yard Dash: 4.57

DeMarrco Hellams Current Draft Projection

According to Tony Pauline’s Big Board, Hellams is projected as a middling sixth-round selection with a 3.32 draft grade. Pauline ranks him 20th amongst safeties and 229 overall. Of the three safeties coming out of Alabama, Hellams is ranked third, with his teammates — Brian Branch and Jordan Battle — projected to go within the first three rounds.

Hellams’ Relative Athletic Score of 4.61 is considered “poor” and could be a considerable contributor to his projection. That ranks him 522nd out of 965 free safeties measured since 1987.

What really sticks out is Hellams’ explosion and agility scores. His speed was simply average. He had a good 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash, but his overall speed was simply “good.”

The short shuttle and three-cone times for Hellams, however, were considered “very poor,” to go along with a “poor” vertical score. These marks would indicate that Hellams is a limited athlete at a position where you could be matched up against the best athletes in the game at critical moments.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Safety Class

That alone could be something to scare teams off. But it’s important to note that Tyrann Mathieu tested similarly, and he’s carved out a Pro Bowl career due to his instincts. Can Hellams do the same?

When I ran through the Pro Football Network Mock Draft Simulator, the Las Vegas Raiders could be a natural landing spot for Hellams in Round 7 at pick 204. The Raiders are in need of rebuilding what has been a notoriously bad defense, aside from Maxx Crosby. They are desperate to build around perhaps the best all-around edge in the game.

It’s the secondary where there have been many problems. As a developmental player — and a successful history playing on special teams — Hellams could find an opportunity to see the field. Seventh-rounders need to be able to contribute to that part of the game, and it could give him an opportunity to further develop as a safety.

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