I played the tape on this kid named Lorenzo Jerome, Safety, St. Francis. Yes, that’s right — St. Francis, not even an FBS school. I wasn’t expecting much from the Senior, but what I saw next left me stunned and very excited about his potential.
When I watched tape of Jerome vs. Robert Morris (I know, relatively weak competition), I was thinking to myself, “Have I ever seen a Safety so thoroughly dominate a game in my life?”. I couldn’t think of anyone. Watching his elite level athleticism and clear natural football IQ was as much fun scouting as I have had this year! Will he succeed in the NFL? Should you even consider drafting him in an IDP league? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out. Let’s answer these questions as we lay open Jerome’s game in more depth.
Athleticism. Lorenzo Jerome is a natural athlete. That is the first thing you need to know. He is an NFL-ready athlete. Quickness, agility, straight-line speed — he has it all! Athleticism is king when determining the draft grade for a Safety. I think it is safe to say that Jerome grades out well in that department. Jerome even kick- and punt-returned for St. Francis, which showcased his great speed and athleticism in another way.
Technique. Lorenzo Jerome has the kind of hips that get you excited. He has potential as a man coverage safety. With Jerome’s solid frame (6’0”, 195 lbs.), and swift hips, he has exactly what it takes to be solid in coverage. Is Jerome a solid tackler? Yes, and we all know how important that is. Lastly, he uses very good body position in both the run and pass game. He truly does check every box regarding technique.
Zone Coverage. Jerome is pretty terrific in zone coverage! I’m not going to promise you he’s going to get 4- to 5- interceptions a year, but he sure should be a contender. With the way he can read QBs, jump routes and cover the complete range of his zone, he has true ball-hawk potential. His high football IQ certainly factors into zone coverage skills, so we’ll have to see if he can pick up the speed of the NFL quickly.
FCS. I’ll be honest here, I personally red flag every FCS prospect that I watch. Not that I automatically dislike them, (example I had Carson Wentz as my number one pick in my “if I were the GM mock”), but it is something to be very concerned about. The speed and complexity of the game change greatly from the FBS to the NFL. It’s even a further leap from the FCS. The offenses and defenses that these teams run are often relatively “elementary,” therefore when Jerome appears to have a high IQ, it could be deceiving. At the end of the day, if you need a sure thing in your IDP draft, I don’t recommend Jerome. But if you’re willing to take a little risk on a potential star, he’s your man.
I think it’s pretty clear by now, I love Lorenzo Jerome. There is much to like about his game. I really think he has potential star written all over him. His athleticism and technique give him two great skills that should work in any system. If I am picking the ideal situation for him, I like him as Strong Safety in a “Cover 2” system. That would give him the ability to really use his IQ and speed as he would be responsible for that deep half so often. I’ll say this, this article will certainly not be the last you hear of Lorenzo Jerome. He’s coming.