Antone Exum got the opportunity to face Sammy Watkins, and Kelvin Benjamin often while playing in college. While watching the 2012 game tape against Watkins and Clemson, there is some excellent things Exum does like this coverage blanketing Watkins and running stride for stride down field, and there are some moments that are painful to watch like this badly missed tackle. One more noteworthy thing is that Clemson's lethal passing attack averaged 321 yards per game but an Antone Exum lead defense kept them at 160 yards.
Exum lined up very much like a safety on this play, and makes a great read, breaking for Watkins as he reads the QB's eyes, forcing him to throw the ball away rather than risking an INT.
Here Exum is able to make a good open field tackle on the RB, although Watkins does a great job of blocking him on the play.
He blankets Watkins here long enough for the defensive lineman to get the sack.
The defensive game plan seemed to be to give Watkins a big cushion at times, but Exum needs to be able to break on the ball, and make a much better tackle, and not allow him a chance to pick up YAC.
Exum gets beat here, and while he didn't have Richard Sherman like coverage on the play, I'm not sure Sherman could have prevented a completion on that throw. Exum did have pretty good coverage on that play.
Exum lines up as a safety to double Watkins on this red zone play. He was way to slow to diagnose the run play, and takes a poor angle, and just seems afraid to tackle. As the safety he should have prevented this TD, but he didn't.
While he doesn't like to hit or tackle, he does seem to love to try to force fumbles, and makes a great play forcing a fumble just before Boyd can score a TD for Clemson on this play.
Overall Exum looked like a guy you could draft much earlier than the sixth round. He has poor diagnosing skills which could hurt his transition to safety if that is our plan with him. Another thing that could hurt that is that he takes poor angles in pursuit, and while that can be coached, he isn't impressive tackling, and looks like he would rather not have to hit or tackle at all on some plays.
On the positive side, when in tight man coverage with Watkins he often held his own, which is very impressive. He was able to blanket the star receiver that went 4th overall in the draft showing good man coverage abilities, fluid hips, good physicality, and good speed, athleticism, and acceleration to keep with Watkins.
He made some good plays as a safety in a zone coverage, but when he was playing safety against run defenses it wasn't pretty.
This kid was an absolute steal in the sixth.