A winding path has led Houston S Gervarrius Owens to the 2023 NFL Draft, where he stands to be one of the most intriguing prospects in a wide-open safety group. With his combined experience, production, and talent, where does Owens rank?
Gervarrius Owens NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Safety
- School: Houston
- Current year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/weight: 6’1″, 200 pounds
He’s just now entering the NFL Draft pool as a 2023 prospect, but Owens first entered the collegiate circuit in 2017. He signed with Minnesota and Kansas State briefly out of high school, but Owens’ journey would ultimately see him take the JUCO route.
Owens played at Northeast Oklahoma A&M in 2018, putting up 51 tackles, three interceptions, and three pass deflections. That success at NEO put him back on the FBS radar, and he promptly signed with the Houston Cougars as a JUCO recruit.
Owens was given eligibility to play in 2019 by the NCAA and wasted no time establishing himself as a mainstay on the defensive side of the ball. In his first year at Houston, Owens would start 11 games at cornerback and safety. That first season would go on to be a precursor for a prolific four-year stretch with the Cougars.
Across his four-year Cougars career, Owens accumulated 208 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack, four interceptions, and 15 pass deflections. This past season, as a full-time starting safety, Owens had his best year to date, amassing 74 tackles, a pick, eight pass breakups, and two forced fumbles.
Once in need of a revival at the JUCO level, Owens is now a 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl commit and is very much on the 2023 NFL Draft radar. Now, it’s time to look at how his skill set projects to the professional game.
Gervarrius Owens Scouting Report
- Has great foot speed and long-track explosiveness when triggering on plays.
- Has a sturdy frame with good height, weight, and great proportional length.
- Strong processor who can react to stimuli quickly, recognize plays, and anticipate.
- Has enough hip fluidity and throttle freedom to backpedal and transition with wideouts.
- Flashes decent agility and twitch and can chop his feet to aid direction changes.
- Brings a physical edge in contact situations and is a very willing support player.
- Proportional length and density serve as assets in run support.
- Has exceptional ball-tracking ability, hand-eye coordination, and ball skills.
- Team captain, defensive leader, and an active communicator pre-snap.
Areas for Improvement
- Moves too upright in space and often struggles to sink hips on transitions.
- Tall playing style impedes ability to change directions and adjust tackling angles.
- Lacks high-end hip fluidity and isn’t always able to swivel around on full transitions.
- Struggles mightily with consistency of pursuit angles coming downhill.
- Lacks the elite initial burst and agility to recover after taking faulty angles.
- Sometimes gets caught flat-footed at the top of his backpedal, limiting movement.
- Doesn’t have elite range in the deep third and has a cap on long speed.
- Sometimes tackles too high and fails to wrap up opponents at contact.
- Will turn 25 years old in October of his rookie season.
Houston S Gervarrius Owens Current Draft Projection
Owens is a safety prospect who’ll undoubtedly have fans across the NFL scouting circle. He grades out as a mid-to-late Day 3 pick on my board, but there’s a reasonable outcome where he goes on to maintain a roster spot and make an impact at the professional level.
Owens’ story is one that will surely earn him a selection, at the very least. After first struggling to stick in college football, he worked his way back up from the JUCO level and grew to become a team captain and an All-AAC defender.
Beyond the cosmetic factors, Owens’ game has some appeal as well. He has very good size and length to go along with great linear explosiveness and physicality. He’s an able processor who can communicate, pass on receivers in zone, anticipate breaks, and make plays on the ball.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Owens is best suited to stay in zone coverage most often. He doesn’t quite have the agility and fluidity to consistently man up receivers, and his upright play style also impacts his ability to mirror out of transitions. There’s also the issue of Owens’ run support. While his athletic profile and physicality are very appealing there, he can be very inconsistent with his angles, and he doesn’t have elite recovery athleticism.
It’s hard to lock Owens into a starting projection. But he does have enough athleticism and operational ability to be a solid backup with experience in two-high, single-high, and as a box safety. He’s also had success as a special teamer before, blocking two punts in 2019.
On Day 3, a strong locker room presence with experience, versatility, and special teams utility can be very valuable. That’s exactly what Owens can provide to NFL teams.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Gervarrius Owens
Strengths: Athletic safety with a well-rounded game. Displays speed moving in any direction, crashes upfield defending screen passes or running plays, and shows a burst to the ball out of his plant. Effectively patrols center field, tracks the pass in the air, and has a nice move to the throw.
Remains disciplined with assignments, keeps the action in front of him, and possesses outstanding size. Viciously attacks opponents and plays with a nasty attitude. Works well with corners to bracket receivers over the middle of the field and runs down ball handlers in the open field.
Weaknesses: Stiff and doesn’t redirect well to the ball handler. Inefficient and overpursues plays. Must improve his ball skills.
Overall: Owens passes the eyeball test and flashed ability defending the run and covering the pass. He possesses a large upside and is a middle-round prospect who must learn to play under control and throttle it back on occasion.
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