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Prospect Scouting Report -- Eric Weddle, Safety -- Utah

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Weddle would inject some youth on defense.
The Broncos have several needs this draft season, with safety being one of the most glaring.  John Lynch isn't getting any younger, and injury concerns exist for Nick Ferguson and Sam Brandon.  Hamza Abdullah, while thought highly of by many in the organization, is still untested.  I expect the Broncos to draft a seafety at some point on Day 1.

With that in mind, I asked Sean over at Block U, our resident University of Utah blog, to give us the details on one of the guys the Broncos could have interest in, Eric Weddle.  Projected everywhere from the late first round to the late second, Weddle is an intriguing prospect and I wanted to find out a little more about him, right from someone that knows his football abilities as good as anyone.

Thanks again to Sean, and make sure to check out Block U!!! --

Eric Weddle is not your typical defensive back. Last year with the Utes, he did it all on the defensive and offensive end. Now while I don't expect him to do nearly that much in the NFL, he would automatically become a defensive asset to any team that drafts him.

During the 2006 season with Utah, Eric Weddle played strong safety, cornerback, nickel back, quarterback, returned punts, punted, held for the field goal kicker and played safety on the kickoff coverage teams. To say he did it all would nearly be an understatement, as he essentially did, especially with Utah struggling at running back for a bulk of the season. Since Weddle played quarterback in high school, he often stepped in and ran the spread option part of Utah's offense, since last year's starter Brett Ratliff wasn't an option quarterback and couldn't run it nearly as well.

In 2006 alone he had 58 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one which was a touchdown. He intercepted the ball six times and ran two back for the score. He rushed for 161 yards, had four touchdowns, on only 34 carries -- nearly five yards per carry. In the Armed Forces Bowl (not counted in the above stats), Weddle continued adding onto his stats as he rushed for 56 yards on 10 carries scoring 1 touchdown on the offensive end. He also intercepted Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith's final pass of the game, preserving Utah's 25-13 win over the Golden Hurricanes.

Weddle's strength is that he's a versatile player that can step up in nearly every situation possible. He's also very athletic, even though that hasn't been attributed to him over the past few months. His combine results were pretty impressive, especially when compared to other strong-safeties expected to go either ahead of Weddle, or just behind him.

40 Yard Dash: 4.48
20 Yard Dash: 2.56
10 Yard Dash: 1.43
225lbs bench reps: 11
Vertical Jump: 33 ½
Broad Jump: 9'5"
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.12
3-Cone Drill: 6.78

A few negatives about Weddle is the fact he played in the Mountain West Conference, which isn't nearly as prestigious or tough as other BCS conferences. Now while that shouldn't be too big of a deal, it has turned off teams in the past, since it's widely believed there is a dearth of talent at this level. He also lacks size and that could handicap him when he's fighting through blocks to support the run. And though he isn't going to be a Pro Bowl type player, he should be a serviceable back who adjusts well to the pro game.

Any team that drafts Weddle will be picking up a stud that lives and breathes football. His work ethic often compensates for some of the negatives and I've never met a harder competitor. Weddle did it all for Utah last year and was justly honored by being named an All-American. The Broncos would be lucky to have him fall in their lap, just as long as they aren't expecting a Champ Bailey clone.