Arguably no school has been more prolific at developing top-end safety talent than the Alabama Crimson Tide. Since 2012, nine safeties have been drafted from Alabama’s roster. Five of them went within the first 36 picks, and four — Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, Eddie Jackson, and Minkah Fitzpatrick — already have Pro Bowls to boast. By now, the Crimson Tide has a track record at safety, and Jordan Battle could be the next to earn a spot early in the NFL Draft if his scouting report holds up in 2021.
Jordan Battle NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Safety
- School: Alabama
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 210 pounds
Jordan Battle Scouting Report
Kyle Hamilton is the consensus top safety in the 2022 NFL Draft class, and it’ll take a lot to change that in the 2021 season. Nevertheless, the draft board is wide open behind Hamilton, and there are quite a few contenders to take the mantle at No. 2. One such contender is Battle, whose NFL Draft projection has been strong since his high school days.
Battle had the pedigree necessary to earn an enhanced development opportunity from Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide as a recruit. And so far, he has not squandered that opportunity. Already, Battle is trending toward being one of the nation’s best safeties in 2021. There are still a few areas where Battle can clean up his game. Nevertheless, he’s a fascinating prospect with legitimate Round 1 potential.
Battle’s athletic profile
Right away, Battle passes the eye test. While some safeties linger under 200 pounds, Battle is comfortably over that mark. He stands around 6’1″, 210 pounds. This size makes him a looming coverage threat and a fairly stout box defender.
Additionally, Battle has the athletic skill set to supplement his size. He’s an explosive player who has terrific burst, both coming downfield and out of hip transitions. He moves with undeniable twitch and energy, and he also has the lateral athleticism to sneak through congestion and navigate to the ball.
Beyond his short-area explosiveness, Battle flips his hips with ease. He’s an exceptionally fluid mover for his size, and his nimble footwork helps with this. He possesses the long speed necessary to close gaps and carry receivers downfield, and he also has excellent pursuit quickness. Battle doesn’t always reach his top speed, but he plays at a torrid pace when he’s confident in what he sees.
Execution beyond the athletic traits
Battle’s athletic foundation is a vital part of his NFL Draft scouting report. However, the Alabama safety has value even beyond that. Battle was stronger mentally than his experience level would suggest in 2020. As a true sophomore, he already showed leadership ability, proactive pre-snap communication, and flashes of instincts and route-recognition ability.
The Alabama safety is consistently keyed in on the quarterback with his eyes. Through this reading process, Battle’s ability to be mentally quick is on display. He can flip his hips with anticipation by reading the quarterback, and he moves his feet well throughout this process, rarely becoming flat-footed. Additionally, Battle has a natural feel for spacing, which helps him avoid sacrificing his positioning early in reps.
Among other things, Battle is versatile. He can line up at single-high, two-high, or in the slot, and he also situated himself at cornerback on rare occasions in 2020. The Alabama safety is aggressive when attacking the ball in the air, and his intense closing burst at the catch point helps supplement that mentality. Furthermore, he’s combative against blocks and disengages with timeliness to bring ball carriers down in run defense.
Areas for improvement
As you can see from his strengths, Battle isn’t a hard sell. He’s clearly a talented player progressing smoothly at a school known for its ability to churn out NFL-quality defenders. Battle is well on his way to the next level. Still, there are areas where the true junior can improve in 2021.
One of the biggest inconsistencies in Battle’s film rests within the tackling department. He can take better angles to the football and plan his angles with more anticipation. The Alabama product can improve his form and refine his tackling leverage; he doesn’t always wrap up, so much as simply carrying his momentum into players. Moreover, Battle overshoots ball carriers at times and can play himself out of tackles entirely.
In coverage, Battle can further refine his angle maintenance while working toward improving his balance out of hip transitions. His hip transitions themselves are smooth, but he sometimes has to gather himself coming out of them. At the catch point, he can also improve his hand coordination. He has the athleticism and the aggression, but he needs better timing to make more plays on the ball.
A final note for Battle is his general balance between patience and aggression. Battle doesn’t always play at full speed, likely due to fear of over-committing and jeopardizing his positioning. This caution toward over-committing can leave space for yards after the catch. Battle’s spatial awareness is preferable to reckless abandon; however, he can find a better balance and play faster overall.
Battle’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Feel free to start buying Battle stock heading into 2021. Battle has exceptional athleticism and size for a safety, and his versatility to play in the box and deep zones can be highly valuable. He isn’t quite the chess piece on defense that Kyle Hamilton is, but that’s a high bar to clear.
On his own, Battle presents an enticing mix of athletic and mental traits. He’s explosive, fluid, and agile, as well as smart, instinctive, and proactive. Battle can still develop as a playmaker in coverage, but as his pick-six against Kentucky put on display, he has undeniable upside in that department.
Among other things, Battle can improve his tackling consistency, and his man-coverage ability also falls under question. Nevertheless, his tackling isn’t a liability, and the questions surrounding his man-coverage ability stem more from a lack of reps. Overall, Battle is a safety well-equipped to emerge in 2021 as one of the best positional prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jordan Battle’s Player Profile
As Alabama’s long-standing track record of NFL development implies, they emphasize recruitment out of high school, pursuing prospects who boast legitimate NFL potential. Battle was one of those prospects during the 2019 recruiting cycle.
Coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Battle was a four-star recruit and one of the top 100 players in the nation on ESPN’s board. As a senior in high school, Battle boasted a 4.57 40-yard dash and a 34.2-inch vertical at 6’1″, 187 pounds. Combined with his 7 career interceptions, those numbers led to substantial interest on the college football stage.
Battle received scholarship offers from a host of high-level Power Five programs, including Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia, Oregon, and in-state program Florida. As strong as these schools’ offerings were, the Alabama Crimson Tide carried with them an unbeatable reputation for development, and that was enough to win over Battle on the recruiting trail.
Jordan Battle’s career at Alabama and NFL Draft ascension
It takes a great deal of natural talent and hard work to enroll with Alabama and earn starting experience in Year 1. Battle accomplished this as a true freshman. In 2019, the newly-signed defender played in all 13 games and started in four. Over that span, Battle totaled 30 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, a pass deflection, and a fumble recovery.
In 2020, the next logical progression for Battle was simple — to become a full-time starter on defense. Over the course of the 2020 season, Battle amassed 66 total tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 pass deflections, and a pick-six. He also appeared in the National Championship against Ohio State. There, a targeting call cut short his final game of the season, but he’d already established a strong impression for the campaign to come.
2021 will be Battle’s chance to make a long-awaited leap from college football to the NFL. He has the talent, and he’s shown that he can compete against high-level competition. The next task for the Alabama safety will be to seal the deal and earn a spot in next year’s draft showcase. And in players like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Eddie Jackson, he has more than one example to follow.
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