Dane Belton, DB
Weight: 205 lbs.
Arm length: 31”
Hands: 9 ⅛”
A former three-star recruit out of Jesuit High School in Tampa Bay, Florida, Belton was the 64th safety recruit and the 102nd recruit in Florida during the 2019 cycle.
Belton’s father Danny grew up as a Hawkeyes fan, but Florida schools mostly overlooked Belton, who only received a scholarship offer from UCF.
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SAF Dane Belton Film Review & Expectations
Belton played the “CASH” spot on Iowa’s defense which is a hybrid LB/SAF position that requires a versatile skill-set to cover and fit the run. Belton recorded 46 tackles, three for a loss, five interceptions, seven passes defended, and 22 STOPS in 2021.
He played 536 snaps in the slot, with 290 in the box, 57 at free safety, and 51 on the defensive line.He finished his college career with 112 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, a sack, ten passes defended, a forced fumble, and 45 STOPs. He attended the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, posting the followig numbers:
- 40-yard-dash: 4.43s
- Vertical jump: 36.5”
- Board jump: 10’3”
- 3-Cone: 7.01s
- Short-shuttle: 4.24s
- Good size/athletic profile
- Big enough to fit the run with good physicality
- Good change of direction and burst
- Physical enough to guard tight ends, and quick enough to stick with smaller receivers in the slot
- Good overall play strength
- Twitch and spring in his step to be effective as a blitzer
- Excellent ability to understand route concepts and bait quarterbacks
- Timed quick game concepts up well to disrupt adjacent routes
- Good ball skills to intercept or disrupt
- Plays through the catch point
- Good in the box taking on blocks
- Showed ability to be an effective tackler (inconsistent though)
- Zone instincts were great in the short to intermediate - comes off routes well
- Leverages good anticipatory skills to create turnovers
- Versatility to wear many hats
- Frustrating tackler at times who can be wild with technique
- Missed 16.7% of his college tacklers -- needs more consistency to be reliable as alley defender
- Can get baited by double moves
- Does come off routes too early
- Struggled in press at the LOS - feet were slow and unnatural to follow upper body jam
- Didn’t have a lot of snaps playing the deep half
Belton’s versatility can be successfully leveraged all across Martindale’s system. He should see the field early and often as a big nickel who can play in the box, man cover tight ends, align over the slot, blitz, and--possibly--drop into deep half responsibilities, albeit he wasn’t tasked to do that often at Iowa.
Belton will fit into a rotation along with Julian Love as a secondary piece who can wear many hats for Martindale's defense.