Marcus Gilchrist is expected to become a free agent in March, so the Texans will be looking for a new strong safety this offseason. While the Texans are also looking at safeties like Jordan Whitehead, another one of the candidates to replace Gilchrist is University of Texans safety DeShon Elliott. A native of Rockwell, Texas, and a three-year standout for the Longhorns, Elliott could continue to play in the “Lone Star State” this 2018 season.
With a 6’2″, 210 pound frame, Elliott continually used his length to pick off six passes this past college football season, with two of them being returned for touchdowns. Elliott is also well-regarded for his physicality and hard-nosed style of play, garnering 63 tackles and one forced fumble last season.
This is a well thrown ball but it’s dropped and intercepted. This should’ve never been a pick six but Texas FS DeShon Elliott was in perfect position to make a play on the ball. pic.twitter.com/luAh0cBVCD
— Jared Feinberg (@JrodDraftScout) February 11, 2018
Elliott’s tremendous junior season in 2017 led to him becoming a first team All-American, Jim Thorpe award finalist, and unanimous first team Big 12 selection. This captured the attention of pro scouts, and has him projected as far up as the second round and as far down as the sixth, where the Texans could easily selection him.
Coupled with his size and physicality, Elliott is a tremendous leader, always commanding his fellow defensive backs in the huddle. Furthermore, Elliott can quickly diagnose running plays and immediately chases down rushers, which is why he’d sometimes even be moved to linebacker during games at the University of Texas.
One major issue with Elliott is the fact that he has been noted as inefficient in man coverage by NFL scouts. His short strides, limited change of direction, and poor body adjustments have led many to believe he won’t be able to guard NFL receivers one-on-one from the line of scrimmage.
Despite this weakness in man coverage, Elliott’s size, physicality, tackling ability, and leadership are just some of the reasons why the Houston Texans should draft him. In addition, a simple solution that could mitigate his inefficiencies in man coverage could be to have him play a few yards off receivers so he can take advantage of his length, not his speed or agility, to stick with receivers.
As the Texans strong safety situation continues to deteriorate, Texans fans can sleep soundly knowing that they still have great draft prospects like DeShon Elliott who are more than ready to contribute to the team.