Kaevon Merriweather NFL Draft Scouting Report
SAF, Iowa Hawkeyes
Kaevon Merriweather has been a solid starting safety for the Iowa Hawkeyes for the past 2-3 seasons. He’s a physical player with a big basketball background, originally obtaining multiple offers to play basketball in college before committing to play college football. Prior to his 2022 senior season, he was named preseason fourth-team All-Big-Ten by Athlon Sports. After that season in which he started all 12 games, totaled 47 total tackles, and had three interceptions, he was named a First-Team All-American by CBS Sports.
Merriweather is smooth in the way he plays in terms of body control, as his point guard background translates well from the court to the field. He is a big-body safety who is a sufficient tackler, consistently tackling well from depth in run support. He uses his leverage well to his advantage, holding it throughout a play and keeping the ball on his inside shoulder. He is physical at the point of attack on ball carriers and shows good flexibility to make tough tackles. His speed and athleticism are clear and they aid him greatly in run defending. His athleticism, body control, and how physical he plays are his biggest strengths that contribute well to being a consistent and solid-tackling safety. He has shown good versatility, being able to roll down and play underneath zones well, along with rolling down into man coverage on #2 in the slot or #3 extended. He can also play in one-high schemes as a post safety or in two-high as a half-field safety. His man coverage skills are strong and result in the ball not being thrown in his direction most of the time.
While an efficient run defender, tackler, and smart football player, Merriweather sometimes doesn’t take advantage of his smarts to put him in better positions on the field to make plays. He tends to sometimes take pursuit angles that give the ball carrier an advantage and let them get away from him. His alignment at times can also prevent him from being in position to effectively cover a receiver and, more importantly, play a ball from deep when sitting back in a deep zone. His range is solid, but not great, and he misses opportunities for big plays by not being able to get to the ball in time. When presented with opportunities to make plays, he does take advantage, but his ball skills could be better in terms of creating breakups or getting more interceptions.
I think that Merriweather is a solid Big Ten safety overall, and has the athleticism, physicality, and body control to play on Sundays. He has shown a lot of promise in his consistency as a run defender. He’s a competitor and wins, but I’m not sure if he dominates enough to be an everyday starter in the league. I use the word solid so much when watching his tape because he’s good at most things and great and some others. However, I do not see enough of the “WOW” factor production from him to believe he is a day-one guy. I can see him being taken on day three in the fourth round with a ceiling of late third round. With his play style, he can be an effective special teamer in the league and a reserve safety to provide depth. I do believe that he can play safety at the next level, but preferably in a heavy zone scheme defense. He is best when he can sit back in a half-field Cover 2 or middle-of-the-field Cover 3.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Solid body control and physicality
- Good athlete with speed
- Sufficient downhill tackler
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Lack of ‘WOW’ factor production
- Pursuit angles need improvement
- Alignment issues
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 0”
Weight: 205 lbs
Arm Length: 31 7/8”
Hand Size: 9 1/4”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: 4.62s
Vertical Jump: 35.5”
Broad Jump: 9′ 10”
Bench Reps: TBD
Ideal Role: Reserve strong safety; starter on special teams
Scheme Fit: Heavy zone schemes: Cover 3, Cover 2
Prospect Comparison: Dane Belton (2022 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 73.50/100 (Fourth-Round Value)
- Haskins Grade: 73.50/100
Written By: Tyler Haskins
Exposures: Michigan (2021), Kentucky (2021), Michigan (2022), Ohio State (2022)
Kaevon Merriweather NFL Draft Scouting Report. Add him to your big board here.