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NFL Draft 2018 Player Profiles: Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates may be Micah Hyde 2.0

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The two versatile secondary stalwarts share a number of similarities, right down to the same three-cone drill time.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Boston College Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When asked if former athletic thresholds would change with a new voice of command in the draft’s war room, Green Bay Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst indicated they would not. With that in mind, Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates should certainly be on fans’ radars heading into the draft’s second day.

The early-entry prospect not only meets the Packers’ traditional marks from a measurable standpoint, but draws strikingly similar athletic traits to former Packers hybrid secondary player Micah Hyde, a fifth round Green Bay selection in 2013.

Hyde-Bates Combine Comparison

Measurable Micah Hyde Jessie Bates
Measurable Micah Hyde Jessie Bates
Height 5-11 3/4" 6-0 1/8"
Weight 197 lbs 200
Arm Length 31 1/2" 31 5/8"
Hand Size 9 3/8" 9 3/4"
40-Yard Dash 4.56 seconds 4.50 seconds
Vertical Jump 33" 35.5"
Three-Cone Drill 6.78 seconds 6.78 seconds
Short Shuttle 4.20 seconds 4.07 seconds
Broad Jump 121" 117"

Bates may have marginally better results in some categories, but otherwise is a near-clone of Micah Hyde in terms of his testing and build. Interestingly enough, they shared similar stat lines despite Hyde appearing in significantly more games as a four-year player. Both forced two fumbles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns as collegians, with Hyde intercepting eight passes to Bates’ six. While total games played certainly affects tackle tallies and stops for a loss, it is fair to assert that both players could have posted somewhat similar averages on a per season basis.

If one were to judge a player strictly off of NFL.com’s combine scouting profiles, a number of further similarities appear.

Prospect Profile Comparisons ~ NFL.com

Micah Hyde Jessie Bates
Micah Hyde Jessie Bates
A bit of a 'tweener, but most teams will likely see him as a zone corner. Versatile safety option with the athletic ability to handle man coverage responsibilities in space and the instincts and ball skills to post ball production in zone coverage.
Has great size and instincts Instinctive. Processes quarterback at same speed quarterback is processing field.
He's a very good run defender, and plays physical. Volume tackler who is drawn to the football. Runs the alley and finishes with force.
Loses track of receivers in space, gets caught looking into the backfield or stops running while looking for the ball down the sideline. Needs to play with better discipline in deep coverage responsibilities. Sniffs around on misdirection and will allow routes to get beyond him.
Special teams contributor. He should contribute early on defense and special teams.
Height, vertical, and strong hands allow him to snatch jump balls away and knock away throws between levels of the defense. High school outfielder and hooper with plus ball tracking and ball skills.

While Bates received higher reviews than Hyde in terms of his long speed and hip fluidity to turn and run with receivers, the two players clearly received oddly close assessments. Bates also was praised a bit more for his ability to identify and react to the ball when it was in the air, but Hyde proved a heightened ability to break on the ball in the pro ranks. Still, Bates has garnered a second or third round rating from the site compared to Hyde’s mid-to-late round grade.

As far as his potential fit on the Packers, Bates could be useful in the slot and to cover the tight end. With the Packers particularly targeting cornerbacks with man coverage skills for Mike Pettine’s scheme, Bates is not necessarily ill-suited to handle those responsibilities if given snaps at corner. More of a roamer than an in-the-box safety at this juncture, Bates would immediately become an upgrade to the depth behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at free safety and act an insurance policy should the two sides part ways after the 2018 season. With the Buffalo Bills’ profitable decision to move Micah Hyde to much more of a free safety role, Green Bay could learn from its missed opportunity and use Bates in a ball-hawking position. Surely, Bates would be counted on to be a special teams contributor from day one at the very least.

With the Packer drafting philosophy seemingly still in tact and a number of Hyde comparisons on the field, keep an eye on Bates as a day two possibility in this year’s draft.