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Jeremy Cash Scouting Report: the Duke safety is ready to hit, but can he cover?

Jeremy Cash looks every part the physical, run stuffing safety. The only question is whether he has demonstrated enough ability in pass coverage to play full time in the NFL.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Jeremy Cash came out of the 2016 NFL Combine no worse for the wear. A safety from Duke who played in the Blue Devils' 3-3-5 defense, Cash appeared and did all his mental and psychological testing, measure his height, weight, reach and hand size, and then went on his merry way.  There is no 40 time, there is no broad jump, there is no vertical to analyze.  Of course, Jeremy Cash can still make a splash with a good pro day on March 23rd, but his game tape is strong enough to garner talk of a later first or second round pick.

Cash started off his college experience at Ohio State in 2011 after being recruited by Jim Tressel.  When Tressel left, Cash transferred to Duke.  Cash clearly made the best of the situation by being a second-team All-American in 2013 and 2014.  In that first season at Duke, Cash amassed 121 tackles (64 solo) and 9.5 TFL.  Cash had his best interception total in 2013 (4).  2014 saw Cash register 111 tackles (68 solo), 10.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and  seven passes defensed.

Cash did not disappoint with his 2015 senior season, earning honors as the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American.  Cash finished the season with 101 tackles, 18 TFL and 2.5 sacks.  The only disappointing part of the season was an injury in December that required wrist surgery and prevented him from joining his teammates in the Pinstripe Bowl.   Despite being unable to play in his last bowl game, Cash returned to the field for the Senior Bowl and impressed everyone with his tackling ability and ability to play close to the line of scrimmage.

At the Combine, Cash addressed questions about his position in his media interview: "A lot of people say they'll play to my skill set, understanding that I am a versatile player," Cash said. "Whether it be playing at a nickel corner role or a linebacker blitzing off the edge, they understand that I'm not defined at one particular title."

Cash is a strong athlete with great ability.  He did not participate in a single drill during the Combine, but he is projected in the range of a 4.55 second 40 meter dash.  At Duke, he was a strong safety and asked to play in the box almost exclusively.  In the defensive scheme Cash was asked to rush the passer and attack the run game.  Cash never had double digit passes defensed and managed six total interceptions.  Cash is not a guy throwing his body like a weapon - he is a sure tackler and makes good use of his arms.  He demonstrated a great ability to engage blockers, find the ball, get off the block and make the play.  He was not asked to play a large role in pass coverage, but he shows that athleticism and reaction time to play in coverage.

In fact, the only issue scouts seem to have with Cash is his lack of film in pass coverage.  His hips may not be flexible enough for man coverage.  His ability to change directions at top speed is not optimal. At the Senior Bowl, however, Cash was forced to play more of a traditional coverage safety role. He said that his experience in Mobile "really did shed some light on the fact that I'm not just an in the box player." Clearly, though, he knows he has some work to do in that area if he wants to be a more traditional NFL safety: "The biggest thing was and still is getting those reps under my belt and that experience after playing what, four years in the box."

Something else that makes Cash particularly interesting is his intellect.  Cash graduated from Duke University in 2015 with a degree in psychology.  He was also named the ACC's top scholar athlete in 2015.  Cash even said at the Combine that his goal is to become an FBI agent when his playing days are done, saying that the aspect of the adrenaline" is what appeals most to him. "It's somewhat similar to an NFL team. You have a bunch of guys coming together to formulate a team to accomplish a goal, and that's somewhat similar to what they do in the FBI."

Finally, Cash may not fit the most desired height for his position.  While Cash was listed out of high school and on the Ohio State and Duke rosters as 6'2", the gravity (or the accurate measurements) in Lucas Oil Stadium brought him down to 6'0".

Still, he is an elite tackler and would fit in well in a scheme where he can roam to stop the run and the underneath passes on a team with a free safety capable of ranging in the deep cover one.  If the Packers are looking at a future replacement for Morgan Burnett, this is your man.  Cash can make all the downhill plays and attack in a blitzing scheme like Dom Capers runs and leave Ha Ha Clinton-Dix free to range in the Free Safety position.