2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Ohio State SS Tyvis Powell

As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in.

A winner of yesterday’s combine, Ohio State strong safety Tyvis Powell.

#23 Tyvis Powell/SS Ohio State: 6’2/6 209

The Good

– NFL frame, long, muscular makeup
– Downhill player, nose for the ball, reacts and gets to his spot quickly, and can fill the alley
– Explosive player who fires through contact and has lower leg drive to create power and make a forceful tackle
– Strong upper body/hands, capable of taking down dangerous runners in the open field
– Finishes plays and will throw himself into the pile, seeks out contact
– Spent a lot of time and comfortable in the box, where he plays the best
– Timed very well for his size
– Productive career against good competition
– Came up huge in big games

The Bad

– Tackling angle is wildly inconsistent, ranging from dropping head/eyes and going too low or aiming too high and falling off
– Limited look in coverage and wonder if he’ll be exposed in space, despite his impressive 40 time
– May be limited schematically at the next level and not able to play in space
– TFL numbers don’t indicate how close he played to LOS, played the run


– Two-year full-time starter, 33 starts in career
– 2015 National Championship defensive MVP, nine tackles and a breakup
– INT in three bowl/playoff games
– Career: 8 INT, 3.5 TFL

Tape Breakdown

Powell, before the Combine, had the look of an in-the-box, filly the alley run stopper. Of the four games I watched, that is what I kept seeing on tape.

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley ran all over the Buckeyes, 199 yards and 7.5 yards per carry. Tough dude to bring down but here is Powell, wrapping him up by himself.

And here again, taking down this receiver who slipped by the corner.

I did not get a good feel for his coverage but he can make plays underneath, breaking up this pass against Rutgers.

While he made a lot of tackles, aspects of it are also his biggest weakness. His tackling angle needs a lot of work. Sometimes he drops his head and it’s too low or it’s too high and he falls off.

In that same Penn State game I referenced earlier, Barkley jukes Powell, who drops his head and whiffs badly.

In 2014, Powell doesn’t do a good job of breaking down, and is up too high, leading to the running back running through him before going down with the help of a secondary defender.

Powell ran well at Indy, a 4.47, buy I’m not sure if that translated over to the tape I watched. He did record several interceptions in his career but I did not see much coverage skills and it makes him a tough evaluation. A guy who played down near the line of scrimmage and looks to be at his best going forward, not backward.

But he has the body type and style to do so and appears to be a mature, passionate player who immediately decided to stay in Ohio State despite Jim Tressel stepping down after Powell committed, telling the media he came for the school and the program, not just one coach.

“It is very unfortunate for coach Tressel but it doesn’t affect my decision at all. I didn’t hear anything about the business school going down or falling apart and college is college, you go for an education and to play football. Ohio State is Ohio State and it always will be no matter who is wearing the headphones. I want to send a message to everyone that I’m still on board and everyone else should be as well.”

With how well he ran, especially compared to everyone else, he’ll get a bump. While I don’t have a great feel with his coverage ability, we’re trying to identify some transferrable traits. He timed well, was explosive in tests, and didn’t look totally lost in coverage drills, mostly designed for corners. That is a good start but there is an element of projection, even if you believe you can coach him up (most coaches thing they can coach a guy up, it’s their job).

That projetion bumps him down a bit but if you want a hitter who can develop, Powell is your dude.

Projection: Early 3rd

Games Watched: vs Michigan (2014), vs Penn State, at Rutgers, vs Michigan St

Previous Player Profiles
Hunter HenryEli AppleLaquon TreadwellDadi NicolasKendall Fuller
Deion JonesJihad WardKevin PetersonVonn BellMichael Caputo
Andrew BillingsMackensie AlexanderTyler ErvinAustin BlytheChris Jones
Sheldon RankinsNoah SpenceJordan JenkinsYannick NgakoueDarian Thompson
Bryce WilliamsCre’von LeblancHenry Krieger-CobleLeonard FloydJosh Garnett
Kevin HoganCorey ColemanShaq LawsonAustin JohnsonDeAndre Houston-Carson
William Jackson IIIVernon ButlerSean DavisTyler BoydJalen Ramsey
Taveze CalhounGermain IfediNick VannettJack AllenAlonzo Russell
Leonte CarrooTyler HigbeeKeanu NealCyrus JonesD.J. White
Austin Hooper

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • PittsburghSports

    Thought he was a late rd pick the way most had him ranked on their lists. He really stood out at the combine though with that 4.46. Seemed middle of the road in the other drills though. More of a top speed guy. His VJ and BJ don’t really show a whole lot of explosiveness. Like you, I mean you watch the tape, and I don’t know how you get a feel for any Safety in coverage. If the play is not moving downhill for them you rarely see them on the vids. He was a total afterthought for me before yesterday, so with our need at Safety it’s always nice to add another guy to the list.

  • Alex Kozora

    Right, it’s tough to get a feel for any S. But even more for Powell. Lot of time in the box and most of the clips I saw were him downhill vs the run or underneath. A couple over the top but I didn’t get a great feel for it.

  • Aj Gentile

    Watching Barkley makes me miss football even more

  • Big Joe

    Thanks Alex. I noticed his straight line but also seem to remember that his agility drill times looked good too so I wonder what is causing his coverage in space issues. He seems to have the physical attributes to do it

  • Jon Crissinger

    He’s a SS, but one of the Big Ten coaches was quoted as saying they ran towards him and away from Vonn Bell in their offensive gameplan.

  • SFIC

    Alex, great comment regarding his 40 time compared to on field speed. Thompson ran a very poor 40 but seems to be faster on the field

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Deone Buchanon similarities if he adds 10 lbs.