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2024 NFL Draft: Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin scouting report

After Antoine Winfield Jr. left Minnesota and became a star safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 NFL draft, it was eventually up to Nubin to be the tone-setter in the back of the Golden Gophers’ defense. Nubin really started to live up to that in the 2021 season when, in 341 coverage snaps, he allowed eight catches on 26 targets for 128 yards, 35 yards after the catch, one touchdown, three interceptions, three pass breakups, and an absurd opponent passer rating of 21.5.

In the two seasons since, the 6-foot-1, 191-pound Nubin has been one of the NCAA’s most efficient coverage safeties. In 2023, he gave up six catches on 20 targets for 90 yards, 38 yards after the catch, two touchdowns, five interceptions, four pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 39.6.

There are a few things about Nubin’s NFL transition that cause a bit of concern that don’t show up in the metrics, but are obvious on tape. He’s got the capacity to be a top-tier deep-third safety at the next level if he works those things out. He’s not at Winfield’s level when Winfield came out of college, but the tools are impressive, and the development curve could be highly rewarding.

PLUSES

 

— Smart, aggressive defender in coverage when he’s got the target in front of him and can use his smooth backpedal to match and cover.

 

— Very quick to hide in the weeds and jump routes for pass breakups and interceptions; Nubin has a great sense for that.

 

— Will use that sense of timing to break to receivers and prevent receptions with hits.

 

— Has the open-field speed and lateral agility to credibly cover sideline-to-sideline when he’s in single-high, or half the field when in two-high.

 

— Comes down like a shot from the box and deep third to tackle at the line of scrimmage; when it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, well…

 

MINUSES

 

— Recovery speed at the turn of the route is inconsistent; there are times when he’s on his target, and other times, he’ll be a step behind.

 

— Needs to work over the receiver too often and can run into trouble in tight spaces.

 

— Can be waylaid from the box to the deep third by receivers running quicker, more angular routes.

 

— Needs to process run fits more accurately; reads can be predetermined and he’ll hit the wrong gap.

— Similarly, he’s not always accurate with his tackling angles, and it shows up pretty clearly on tape. He had 35 missed tackles through his career at Minnesota.

Nubin has a ton of talent, and I’d love him in a quarters-heavy defense, but his NFL team will have work to do with run fits, tackling, and decisiveness in coverage. He’s not a project per se, but I’d struggle a lot with a first-round grade. I’d also like to see him in the box more often so he’s not trying to get to running backs from 20 yards upfield all the time.

 

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire