Patrick Surtain is a better tackler than Jaycee Horn
For all the talk that I hear about Horn playing with “dog” in him and having physical intensity, it seems that whatever team drafts him will have to teach tackling at the NFL level. Let’s look at another Staley press conference quote:
What’s their ball judgment? Like, how do they play in and out of phase? That’s really important, then what’s their open field tackling like. How are they going to be in run support? Because you can’t play defense if your corners can’t tackle.
Surtain’s run defense grade was at least a 74.2 each year at Alabama. Per PFF, he only missed two tackles in 2020. While some view him more as a safety, he can hit hard. Well, obviously. He’s 6’2 200+.
This is less about how amazing Surtain is as a tackler and just how downright bad Horn has been. I would be OK with the pick if he took him at 13, but there’s quite a few things that have to be worked out here. On 114 tackling attempts, Horn missed 24 tackles. That’s a missed tackle rate of 21%.
For every four tackles, Horn missed one in college. If that’s not a bit of a red flag, I’m not sure what is. Can it be coached up at the NFL level? Absolutely. But as we sit here today, Surtain is the more efficient tackler. If that matters a lot to Staley like he says, then the preference should be Surtain over Horn.
Horn has that “dog” in him like I mentioned, but it causes him to be overaggressive to a fault. In 2020, Horn had five penalties in seven games while Surtain had zero in 13. Give me the polished product.