Why Undrafted?: Tyvis Powell

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Two years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In this series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Last year, we started the “Why the Slide?” series, and this year it is back along with “Why Undrafted?” Feel free to email me requests for “Why the Slide?” and “Why Undrafted?” at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.

Throughout the leadup to the 2016 NFL Draft, it was common place to see Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell projected to be a mid-round pick. Over the past couple seasons, he was a starting safety for the Buckeyes and helped them to win the National Championship in 2014. Powell had seven interceptions over the past few seasons, and the 6-foot-2, 209-pounder has versatile size for the NFL, but he went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft.

In speaking with teams, they say that Powell didn’t grade out as a draft pick for them. The reason for that was he didn’t have good tape. Sources say that, on his tape, he didn’t run or cover well. He also wasn’t a thumper in the ground game. They say that Powell is a big safety with some fluidity, but no burst or range on tape. One general manager from a team that has drafted very well in the secondary said that Powell was not very good or athletic. Thus, he was graded as an undrafted free agent.

After going undrafted, Powell signed with the Seattle Seahawks. That is a good choice and a bad choice. On the positive side, the Seahawks are among the best at developing players and utilizing their strengths while hiding their weaknesses, especially defensive backs. However, Seattle doesn’t need new starting safeties as it features perhaps the best tandem in the NFL with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Thus, Powell will have to compete to earn a backup spot by being a core special teams player. With other veterans returning, Powell will probably have to hope to earn a spot on the practice squad and try to develop under the Seahawks’ coaches in 2016.

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