Earl Wolff Scouting Report

March 29th, 2013

Earl Wolff is a heady, reliable safety…most of the time

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Earl Wolff, S, North Carolina State
Height: 5’11 1/8”
Weight: 206 lbs.
Grade: 6.65 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report

-lacks height and arm length desired for the position
+powerfully built, compact strength
+lots of fast-twitch muscle and excellent explosion (broad, vert, 10-yard split) numbers at the Combine that translate to the field
-tends to overstep when changing direction and loses balance and explosion as a result
+has very fast hands

+very fluid in and out of his backpedal, covers ground quickly
+does an excellent job of following the QB eyes
-not the most natural catcher of the ball and his ball skills are average at best; just 6 INTs and 12 PDs in 39 starts
+/-generally shows very good awareness but has very noticeable gaffes
+in his element in shallow zone and double high outside help; team played a great deal of Cover 3 and he was much better in that base cover scheme
-lacks physicality to fight for the ball and doesn’t hit with authority to dislodge the ball or intimidate very often
-had major communication issues with the rest of the secondary despite all starting for at least two years

Run Support:
-not as big of a hitter or physical presence as most safeties
+quick to read run and anticipates cuts and lanes; uses his skills as a HS running back well
-doesn’t have base strength to stand up stronger runners; will get plowed over and dragged
-lacks great awareness of blockers and doesn’t have great vision to see them
+solid finisher as the second man in on a play, cleans up what others start well
-tends to drop his inside shoulder and turn his back to the ball carrier when making a hit
+/-takes strong angles when tracking down a receiver but gets sucked inside too easily vs. the run

-didn’t always coordinate in coverage well with his corners; apparent that both parties were responsible
+shows hustle even on plays run away from him
+durable player who did not miss a practice his final two years at NCSU
+praised by coaches for his attitude; quickly earned respect of coaches at Shrine Week and showed natural leadership skills in drills
+/-not one to celebrate or show a lot of emotion, which appeals to some but detracts for others

Earl Wolff came to the Wolfpack as a running back but quickly switched to safety. He has good speed and athleticism, ranking near the top of all Combine performers in explosion metrics. It’s easy to see why coaches and teammates like him, as he shows a good football IQ and carries himself positively. 90% of the time Wolff is right where he needs to be in position to make the play.

It’s the other 10% and what he does at the point of attack that limit Earl Wolff. He and his secondary mates committed far too many breakdowns, and it was on Wolff to line everyone up pre-snap. Other teams made them pay for their errors, and it reflects poorly on Wolff even though he is just one of the guilty parties. The other issue is that Wolff is not much of a physical presence. He is on the smaller side for a safety, but the issue is more that he doesn’t play with much strength or fear factor and doesn’t make many plays on the football. That likely keeps his draft ceiling somewhere in the 4th-5th round. I would be comfortable with him as high as about 80 overall, as he is smart and should improve in the “egregious error” department with a fresh surrounding cast. Wolff can immediately step in and be a 3rd safety with potential to eventually start. But he will never be a playmaking safety like many teams covet.—Jeff Risdon

Game Notes:

NCSU vs. Clemson
-quickly backpedals low and in perfect balance
-flows to sideline and makes solid form tackle after dodging a poor cut block attempt
-caught flat-footed by Boyd in space, never touches him as the Clemson QB scampers by for a big gain
-excellent positioning on under zone coverage, forces throw further outside for an INT
-initially takes poor angle and Ellington runs past but he doesn’t give up and makes the play down the field
-sucked up and in on play fake, out of position as Hopkins catches short pass and streaks into end zone for TD
-misses tackle on Ellington, who runs past his dive at his ankles
-beats blocker to the spot and lowers shoulder into Ellington, forces him OOB
-perfectly positioned in underneath zone, reads Boyd’s eyes and leaps up for a hand-caught INT
-overruns receiver on crossing route and gives up huge chunk of yardage
-lowers shoulder into Boyd and thrusts up, planting the Clemson QB hard into the turf

Shrine Game Week notes (seen in person)
-Auburn WR Emory Blake, who consistently caught everything thrown near him with great hands well away from his body. He made an inside-out double move that completely spun NC State safety Earl Wolff into the ground as if Allen Iverson just crossed him over. It was a filthy move that drew lots of oohs and aahs. Better yet Blake made the catch to finish the play.

-Earl Wolff, NC State–The safety showed good spatial recognition in zone coverage. In 11s drills he correctly read the TE breaking out and undercut the route nicely. Later he closed quickly on an underneath completion, approaching with controlled speed and good balance.

-NC State safety Earl Wolff received praise from the coaches on more than one occasion. He was lauded for a rip move after a catch and getting the proper depth in a zone drop. In 11s he closed quickly on an outside run and was in control to make the tackle.

NCSU vs. Maryland
-lined up as short side slot in flat zone, overruns outside and receiver cuts inside him without being touched
-coordinates man assignments against tight trips receivers, sticks on middle receiver and stays in pocket out to sideline
-takes too big a step and slips, allows runner to get past him
-hustles across the field to track down receiver that torched David Amerson
-properly mirrored QB eyes on blitz, ball was thrown away wildly
-quickly locates receiver on backside in zone and runs step for step with him
-good open field tackle out of B gap
-picks up receiver after Amerson gets burned on double move, shades him to sideline and prevents throwing lane

NCSU vs. Virginia
-cleans up a missed Amerson tackle at the sideline lowers shoulder and tries to strike the ball
-gets caught too shallow in double high zone, receiver catches easy TD pass over the top
-breaks quickly on underneath route and gets a hand on the ball
-mowed down by cut block as he charged towards edge run
-meets Parks as he exits the hole, Parks lowers his shoulder and drives over Wolff
-quickly reads cutback and closes hard, makes wrap tackle after initial hit was high

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2 Responses to “Earl Wolff Scouting Report”

  1. Brandon Sinclair says:

    After reading this I was a little disturbed about the way you portrayed Earl Wolff. Apparently the film that you watched was not the same as what I saw. As an avid college football fan I decided to watch the games that you noted and what I observed was not the same as you. Earl Wolff #27 never got plowed over by Parks. It was #25 (dontae Johnson). as an analyst, how can you blame Earl Wolff for his teammates mistakes. All he can do is get everybody lined up and play football. It is on the individual players to execute. in the same game against UVA that you watched, out of the 18 tackles that he was recorded for having, not once was he pushed back by any player. That seems pretty physical to me. From every other scouting report I read on him, all the other analysts say that he is a physical presence. You may need to go back, watch more film in this guy, and be sure that you are analyzing the correct player the entire game

    • philip houston says:

      I totally agree with you. And for him to say Earl Wolff will never be a “playmaker safety” is completely ridiculous. You won’t know that until he is done with his football career.

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