108th: Quin Blanding, Safety Virginia
When the Houston Texans signed Tyrann Mathieu the defense got better. However, he does not solve all the safety and secondary woes. Mathieu and running mate Dre Hal form a solid duo on the backend. However, in today’s NFL, you need three solid safeties. The Texans do not have that.
That’s where Blanding comes in. He fits exactly what the Texans need at the position.
Blanding was a former five-star recruit and four-year starter at UVA. He played an astounding 98% of defensive snaps during his time as Cavalier. He’s a big safety, 6’2″ 207 lbs., who is not afraid to mix it up. He never recorded fewer than 115 tackles.
Blanding also has phenomenal football intelligence and instincts. He has a nose to consistently be around the football. He takes efficient angles, makes the necessary adjustments, and isn’t easily looked off by QBs.
Blanding’s deficiencies come in coverage. He doesn’t have the ball production you’d expect from a guy starting four years. However, Mathieu, especially, and Hal have more than enough ball skills to make up for it. Blanding could slide down into the box and let the other two patrol the back end.