How to identify the next breakout NFL superstar

How to identify the next breakout NFL superstar

NFL Draft Profile: Sterling Weatherford, Safety, Miami (OH) Redhawks

NFL draft profile scouting report for Miami (OH) safety, Sterling Weatherford
Author:
Publish date:

i
i (6)

#21
Pos: DS
Ht: 6040
Wt: 221
DOB: 1/26/99
Eligible: 2022
Cicero, IN
Hamilton Heights High School

Sterling Weatherford
Miami (OH) Redhawks


Pros:

Pun: Weatherford provides positional versatility between safety and linebacker roles and is an immense competitor. He often plays the slot/overhang/star position and can defend the pass and run. Versus the run, Weatherford is great at taking on blocks versus tight ends, engaging with physicality and displaying strong grip strength to pull cloth and disengage. At times, he can time the snap perfectly and explode out of his stance to cross the face of the tight end and penetrate into the backfield. Furthermore, he is very disciplined on option runs and has the athletic ability to force a decision and then make the tackle at the same time. Versus the pass, Weatherford is physical when rerouting tight ends, allowing him to remain in the hip pocket and often halts their route short entirely. He also has the fluid hips (for a linebacker) and foot speed to transition downfield when following running backs out of the backfield on a wheel route. In addition, Weatherford often plays single high safety in the Miami (Ohio) defense and has the ability to pursue runs to the sideline with ease and cover in zone when rotated to a two-high coverage. He displays flashes of solid instincts in coverage allowing him to be around the ball and a super quick trigger to fly downhill on underneath routes. In addition, Weatherford is also utilized as a blitzer, where he loves an inside jab and then outside club to beat a blocker in the backfield. Finally, Weatherford’s motor is constantly revving as he will chase down runs from the backside, join teammates on gang tackles and pursue deep passes from a linebacker position to help ensure a tackle before a touchdown.

Cons:

Pun: While Weatherford wears many hats for the Miami (Ohio) defense, he is a jack of all trades and master of none and his tweener role will limit his stock to certain creative teams. He should not be trusted as a full-time single high safety as he lacks the range to make plays between the numbers. Furthermore, while he plays in the slot often, he doesn’t have the change of direction ability to keep up with shifty slot receivers that the NFL will throw his way. In addition, his best usage will come around the line of scrimmage, but he should not be played often at MIKE or WILL as he struggles to defeat blocks from offensive lineman as he becomes overwhelmed by size at the point of attack.

Summary:

Pun: Weatherford is one of the most intriguing defenders in college because of how versatile his role can be. Certain teams will see him as too small of a linebacker or too slow of a safety, while others can envision a swiss army knife role for him in their defense. He’s best as a Star/strong safety hybrid who can live around the line of scrimmage in coverage versus tight ends and running backs while also occasionally blitzing or disguising coverages and rotating to a single high safety position depending on the matchup. While likely never a full-time starter, Weatherford provides starter-like value in a sub-package role for teams who can provide a clear plan and role for him.

Background:

Weatherford attended Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Indiana where he was a team captain that earned all-state honors as a junior and senior. After high school, 247Sports ranked him as a 2-Star recruit, the 2495th-best recruit nationally, the 178th-ranked athlete in the country and the 31st recruit in the state of Indiana. Weatherford committed to Miami (Ohio) and redshirted his freshman year in 2017, while winning Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. In 2018, he played in 12 games, with one start, tallying 27 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception. In 2019, he played in and started all 14 game, was second on the team with 98 tackles and added two sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, one interception, 10 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. In the shortened 2020, Weatherford started all three games and recorded 18 tackles and four pass breakups with a season-high nine tackles vs Buffalo. Weatherford has stayed healthy throughout his college career and is looking to have a breakout campaign in 2021.


One-Liners

Pun: Star/strong safety hybrid who is explosive and physical around the LOS as he can knife into the backfield, blitz and cover tight ends in man or zone but he lacks the range for the single high safety role he has played in college and lacks the size for a traditional stack linebacker role at the next level.

Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

Pun: 7.0 / 8.5


#21
Pos: DS
Ht: 6040
Wt: 221
DOB: 1/26/99
Eligible: 2022
Cicero, IN
Hamilton Heights High School

Sterling Weatherford
Miami (OH) Redhawks


Pros:

Pun: Weatherford provides positional versatility between safety and linebacker roles and is an immense competitor. He often plays the slot/overhang/star position and can defend the pass and run. Versus the run, Weatherford is great at taking on blocks versus tight ends, engaging with physicality and displaying strong grip strength to pull cloth and disengage. At times, he can time the snap perfectly and explode out of his stance to cross the face of the tight end and penetrate into the backfield. Furthermore, he is very disciplined on option runs and has the athletic ability to force a decision and then make the tackle at the same time. Versus the pass, Weatherford is physical when rerouting tight ends, allowing him to remain in the hip pocket and often halts their route short entirely. He also has the fluid hips (for a linebacker) and foot speed to transition downfield when following running backs out of the backfield on a wheel route. In addition, Weatherford often plays single high safety in the Miami (Ohio) defense and has the ability to pursue runs to the sideline with ease and cover in zone when rotated to a two-high coverage. He displays flashes of solid instincts in coverage allowing him to be around the ball and a super quick trigger to fly downhill on underneath routes. In addition, Weatherford is also utilized as a blitzer, where he loves an inside jab and then outside club to beat a blocker in the backfield. Finally, Weatherford’s motor is constantly revving as he will chase down runs from the backside, join teammates on gang tackles and pursue deep passes from a linebacker position to help ensure a tackle before a touchdown.

Member Exclusive

Get Exclusive Access to NFL Draft Bible Content