Despite opening the 2022 season 3-0, the Indiana Hoosiers succumbed to the gauntlet of the Big Ten season. Who are the top Indiana prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft, and who is most likely to carve a niche in the NFL?
Indiana 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
Bradley Jennings Jr., LB
Strengths: Former Miami Hurricane who is very effective against the run. Quick-footed, easily moves in any direction, and has a closing burst. Breaks down well, gives a lot of effort, and covers a lot of area on the field. Displays speed in pursuit, quickly fills gaps in run defense, and wraps up tackling. Picks up coverage assignments and stays with tight ends over the middle of the field.
Weaknesses: Possesses average ball skills and gets taken off the field on third down. Had an up-and-down career at Miami.
Overall: Jennings displayed a lot of ability playing for the Hurricanes as a sophomore in 2020 before being relegated to a reserve in 2021. He rebounded nicely last year for the Hoosiers and has enough ability and athleticism to back up at inside linebacker.
Bryant Fitzgerald, DB
Strengths: Underrated safety who is best defending the run. Crashes upfield, sells out to make plays, and drives his shoulders through ball handlers. Does a solid job in coverage, stays with tight ends and receivers over the middle of the field, and tracks the pass in the air. Possesses decent size.
Weaknesses: Had minimal ball production and just four interceptions during his five seasons on the field. Deep speed may be a concern.
Overall: Fitzgerald was a tough run-defending safety who also displayed ball skills between the numbers. Unlikely to be drafted, Fitzgerald’s a camp body who could make a roster as a fourth safety if he plays well on special teams.
Cam Jones, LB
Strengths: Athletic one-gap defender with a well-rounded game. Patient, instinctive, and quickly locates the ball handlers. Tough, smart, and immediately reads and anticipates the action.
Aggressive, sells out upfield to make plays on the blitz or against the run. Fires to the ball handler and wraps up tackling. Smooth flipping his hips on pass drops, gets depth, and has a closing burst to the play.
Weaknesses: Undersized and is easily blocked from the action. Struggled with injuries as a senior and played just five games.
Overall: Jones is a solid run-and-chase LB who is best in pursuit. He offers possibilities on the inside of a 3-4 and also possesses enough coverage skills to be a weakside linebacker in a traditional alignment. More than anything else, Jones will have to establish himself on special teams in order to make an NFL roster.
Want more information on Jones? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Cam Jones, LB, Ind | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Devon Matthews, S
Strengths: Productive run-defending safety with average speed. Immediately picks up assignments, sells out defending the run, and drives through tackles. Displays decent range, works well with teammates, and gives effort.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t take proper angles and overpursues plays. Not a secure tackler. Displays an average burst to the ball.
Overall: Matthews is a hard-working safety who comes with poor speed and a one-dimensional game. He offers possibilities in a zone system but must establish himself on special teams.
D.J. Matthews Jr., WR
Strengths: Undersized receiver with next-level speed. Very quick off the line, displays a tremendous burst, and plays faster than his 40 time. Quickly gets in and out of routes and separates from defenders. Fights with his hands to come free of opponents, then extends to make the reception away from his frame.
Tracks the deep pass in the air, adjusts to the throw and makes the reception in stride. Consistent hands catcher who snatches the ball out of the air. Experienced returning punts.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Weaknesses: Struggled with injury the past two seasons. Undersized and loses out in battles. Easily brought down at the point.
Overall: Matthews is an explosive receiver when healthy and on the field. He shows game-breaking skill as a true vertical threat, but he lacks size and must pass medical exams just to get signed after the draft.
Jaylin Williams, DB
Strengths: Talented athlete who flashed ability in college. Smooth transitioning off the line, tracks the pass in the air and stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks. Effectively times pass defenses, displays an explosive burst to the ball, and plays aggressive football. Works hard to get off blocks and make plays upfield against screen passes and running plays.
Weaknesses: Must be more consistent with his footwork. Does a lot of faceguarding and loses a sense of where his opponent is. Did not have a single interception the past two seasons.
Overall: Expectations were high for Williams entering the season, yet it’s fair to say he played better in 2021 than 2022. He possesses the physical skills and intelligence to line up in dime packages, but Williams must really take his game to the next level.
Luke Haggard, OT
Strengths: Junior college transfer who is best as a run blocker. Keeps his head on a swivel and displays excellent vision as well as awareness. Strong, stays square, and turns defenders off the line or anchors in pass protection. Explosive at the point, keeps his feet moving, and effectively places his hands into opponents.
Weaknesses: Only good in a small area and gets tall as the play proceeds. Does not sink his butt at the line of scrimmage. Exploited by speed rushers.
Overall: Haggard lined up at left tackle for Indiana the past two seasons, but he lacks athleticism and must move to the strong side. Has a tall frame that he must fill out, and though he’s tough and heady, Haggard lacks upside.
Want more information on Haggard? Here’s our expanded scouting report and draft profile: Luke Haggard, OT, Indiana | NFL Draft Scouting Report
Shaun Shivers, RB
Strengths: Small, quick-footed running back who works hard on the field. Patiently waits for blocks to develop, finds the open lanes, then turns it upfield. Runs hard on the inside, keeps his feet moving, and displays a burst. Remains disciplined with blocking assignments and shows good blocking vision. Extends and adjusts to make the reception away from his frame. Tough and plays injured.
Weaknesses: Small and easily brought down at the point by a single defender. Not a strong blocker and is overrun by opponents.
Overall: Shivers is an explosive athlete who has done well in all areas on the college field yet stands out in no single aspect. Speed and quickness are Shivers’ greatest assets, though he must really develop his game to have any chance of making an NFL roster.
Tiawan Mullen, DB
Strengths: Smaller cornerback who has flashed a lot of ability the past three seasons. Physical, mixes it up with opponents, and fights to get off blocks. Fluid pedaling in reverse, smooth flipping his hips, and stays with opponents downfield. Displays a closing burst, squares into ball handlers, and wraps up tackling. Gives effort defending the run.
Weaknesses: Loses assignments in zone coverage. Must be more disciplined pedaling in reverse. Lack of height and size causes mismatch problems.
Overall: Mullen has flashed ball skills the past three seasons and has enough ability to make a roster as a dime back if he plays well on special teams.
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