29 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Joey Blount, S, Virginia
Senior | 6’1″ 190 lbs | Fairburn, GA | November 16, 1998
A long and athletic safety who is a willing run defender, shows good communication skills, and is discipline in zone coverage
Joey Blount enters the 2020 season as an experienced veteran in the Virginia defensive secondary. He primarily lines up as a high safety in the Cavaliers’ zone heavy 3-4 scheme. A good 2019 season earned him 3rd team All-ACC honors after being named 2nd team All-ACC by PFF in 2018. He has a history of good production, and will look to improve upon that in the coming 2020 season. The former high school quarterback and 3-star recruit will look to forge his way up draft boards as the 2021 draft approaches.
– Willing in run defense. Gets involved both inside and outside and fills the alley hard on perimeter plays
– Pre-snap communication with teammates making sure everyone knows whats happening
– Maintains status as the deepest man in zone coverage and keeps receivers in front
– Can read and recognize routes as they develop while in zone
– Smooth backpedal that allows him to get depth quickly to cover his area of the field
– Long frame that can allow him to disrupt at the catch point when combined with his athleticism and range
Areas To Improve:
– Ball skills are not polished enough to create many turnovers despite athletic ability to do so. Most interceptions come from capitalizing on poor throws directly at him
– Stiff hips that make mirror-match movements difficult against receivers
– Uncomfortable when asked to go one-on-one in man coverage
–Prone to taking poor pursuit angles
– While he is not afraid to lower his shoulder, he is more of a dive tackler and needs to improve form tackling
– Can take too long to act on the play once he diagnoses it despite route recognition ability
– Closing speed is merely sufficient despite his lower body explosiveness and range due to his slower processing speed
– Block shedding is a chore and not a smooth and fluid action
– Has room to put on weight and fill out his frame
– Missed 2 games in 2018 with an undisclosed injury
Blount has the makings of a backup safety in a zone heavy scheme. His deficiencies in man coverage will limit his options in a league that increasingly asks safeties to fill multiple roles. He is best when he can keep everything in front of him come downhill to make the tackle, so zone schemes that keep him deep will be the best fit. His athleticism will allow him to be a special teams contributor as well, giving him another avenue to make a roster. Teams that favor zone coverage and need to improve their run support on the back end of the DB room can find him available in the late Day 3 rounds or in the undrafted free agent pool.
What To What In 2020:
Blount will need to increase his pass coverage versatility to raise his draft stock. His comfortability in man coverage will be a main factor in this, as well as the mobility in his hips. Improving his processing and reaction speed will allow him to be more disruptive in the pass game, as he can already recognize routes well. Working on his ball skills and utilizing his length to break up passes or create turnovers at the catch point will make him more desirable as well. He will also need to put on some good muscle weight in order to add more strength in both run and pass defense. Developing his form tackling ability and pursuit angles will also help increase his stock.