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Caden Sterns

Preseason Scouting Notes: Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Junior | 6’1” 205 lbs | Cibilo, Texas

 

A rangy playmaker who showcases high football intelligence, fluid athleticism and a high motor, but needs to improve his physicality

 

Overview:

Nicknamed “The Wolf,” Caden Sterns came to Texas as a 5-star recruit. After impressing in camp, Sterns would go on to play in 13 games his freshman year and net four interceptions. Due to an injury riddled sophomore season, he did not live up to the hype he garnered in 2018. Sterns predominantly plays deep in Chris Ash’s quarters heavy defense, but has had his share of reps in man as well.

Strengths:

– Transitions smoothly at the hip to change direction quickly
– Reads QBs eyes well and shows good reactionary athleticism to break on the ball and close space
– Above average ball skills due to athleticism, sure-handedness and keen eyes for the ball
– Sideline-to-sideline range
– Able to track the ball well while facing the LOS or with his back to the QB
– Pursues ball carriers quickly and sharply using high level key and diagnose ability and reactive athleticism
– High effort player. Often in and around the play
– Effective staying hip-to-hip in man against tight ends and backs as well as shadowing receivers in off man
– Impact special teamer due to hot motor and athleticism

Areas to improve:

– Tackling is inconsistent. Attempts to trip at ankles or full on hit stick rather than wrap up
– Does not showcase the requisite physicality in the box to be a 3-level player. Will shy away from contact at times
– Easily overpowered by larger blockers in the run game
– Provides little versatility as a blitzer. Unable to get off blocks and get physical at the LOS consistently

Injury concerns:

– 2018 concussion (missed remainder of Texas Tech game)
– 2018 undisclosed knee injury, had MRI but did not require surgery (missed remainder of Oklahoma game and Sugar Bowl vs Georgia)
–2019 patellar tendonitis surgery (missed majority of spring practice but no games)
–2019 low grade high ankle sprain during fall camp (missed no games)
– 2019 undisclosed knee injury (missed four games)

Projection:

As an athletic ball hawk, Sterns fits the mold as a modern day free safety but provides little contribution outside of coverage. However, with his frame he has the versatility to play either safety position but in order to make the switch he will need to prove his 3-level ability. His tackling and physicality woes will likely curb his first round hype and likely keep him at free. He projects best as a Day 2 selection for a team in need of a rangy playmaker in any defensive scheme as the primary deep safety.

What to watch in 2020:

Sterns’ issues on the field stem from his lack of physicality that leads to problems elsewhere. The ability to become a reliable tackler is there, he simply needs to add play strength to really swallow up ball carriers. As a run stopper, he reads his keys and reacts quickly, but can he translate his football intelligence into proper technique and increased production? Will injuries continue to be a prominent part of his career? Mentally and athletically, Sterns is ready for the NFL, but he needs to prove to GMs that he is physically ready as well.