The first major surprise of 2015 NFL draft's second round: San Francisco 49ers ignore needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker and select safety Jaquiski Tartt.
Chalk this one up as a Day 2 surprise. The San Francisco 49ers went against the grain at No. 46, bypassing apparent needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker to add Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt. The 49ers already have Antoine Bethea, 2013 first-rounder Eric Reid and 2014 first-rounder Jimmie Ward on their roster at the safety spot. Perhaps that buys them some time to ease Tartt into the flow of things. He brings a physical edge to the position—Donte Whitner-like, if you will, 49ers fans—but has ample room to improve against the pass. Would Eric Rowe, who went one pick later, have made more sense because he can help at cornerback?
Strengths: A big, tough specimen who plays up to his physique. An explosive tackler, with good ability to adjust to the ball in coverage. Fluid from the high-safety position, in that he is able to crash quickly in run support. Rarely takes false steps. The Senior Bowl helped showcase that he's more than just a bruiser. Can turn and run with tight ends. Attacks the ball at its highest point in coverage.
Weaknesses: Not as fast as teams would like. Limited to being a strict strong safety, which will make him less attractive to many teams who like their safeties to be interchangeable. Has a bad habit of dipping his head when trying to deliver a shoulder blow, instead of wrapping up. This occasionally causes him to whiff badly on ballcarriers in space. Can get caught with his eyes in the backfield/staring at the window dressing.
Player comparison: Mark Barron