Once again, we continue our 90-in-90 player series. If you missed the previous player breakdowns, you can check them out here.
Name: John Tidwell
Height: 6'0" Weight: 191
Age: 23 Experience: R
College: University of Sioux Falls
Highly recruited out of Rangeview High in Aurora, Colorado — Tidwell left his native roots and headed to the prairies of South Dakota to join the University of Sioux Falls football squad despite getting offers from numerous area schools, including FCS level Northern Colorado.
After an initial redshirt season in 2011, Tidwell never looked back and cemented himself as one of the premier corners in Division II football along with teammate Solomon St. Pierre, who combined for a grand total of 34 interceptions that went for 673 return yards and seven defensive touchdowns with the Cougars. Without question, Tidwell was a team leader and integral part of their defense. His high-level of play helped lead the Cougars to their first ever NCAA DII postseason appearances and an overall 35-11 record in his time with the program.
The Good: Highly productive and honor winning Division II football player who was part of one of the most feared cornerback tandems at that level. Over the course of his career at the University of Sioux Falls, Tidwell started every game after his redshirt season and amassed 178 tackles, 7.5 of them for loss and defended an incredible 50 passes and reeled in twelve interceptions. Tidwell also was a special-teams ace, who blocked four kicks and average 18 yards on punt returns and 21 yards on kickoff returns.
Has good size and length for the position, as well as top-tier instincts and fantastic ball skills that should help him find his way in the NFL. He was invited to the Denver Broncos' local Pro Day where he impressed team scouts and was able to meet John Elway and Gary Kubiak, which undoubtedly provided him with the opportunity to show them enough to be signed as a college free agent after the draft.
The Bad: Level of competition and jump from Division II to the NFL will be tremendous. He is not an elite athlete and may have trouble matching up against bigger and more physical wide receivers at the NFL level. Though Tidwell is a willing defender in run support, he needs to add strength to his frame and improve his technique.
Quotable: "From the start, John had that leadership quality that made him stand out. He was intelligent and had the physical gifts to become special. We knew that he could really help our program." - University of Sioux Falls Head Coach Jed Stugart
Status: Tidwell has the ability to make the Broncos' practice squad given all his positives, but faces an uphill battle to crack the final 53 man roster given the tremendous depth the team possess at the position. His overall make-up and qualities do merit consideration as a developmental prospect and it's likely he will be able to earn his way onto the practice squad. All and all, Tidwell is a young player worth keeping your eye on.