Andrew Wingard | Safety You Need to Know

August 5, 2018

Most people are not very familiar with the Wyoming Cowboys football team, but if they are it’s probably because of Josh Allen who was the most polarizing NFL Draft prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft. With that being said the Cowboys have another potential elite prospect in their senior safety Andrew Wingard.

Wingard has been an instant impact player for Wyoming as he’s exceeded 100 tackles in every season to go along with 22 tackles for loss and 8 career interceptions. The Cowboys use Wingard all over the field lining up off the edge, in the box and as a deep safety. His ability to accelerate explosively and change directions are a big reason he has so much production.

Andrew Wingard in Coverage

With Wingard playing so much in the box he has to use his change of direction skills to react to the running backs and receivers. Often times Wingard will be lined up on the edge and quickly angle out to the flats to play zone coverage getting to his spot fast. Along the goal line againstĀ  Iowa he came off hard to play the run but read pass and was able to stop and redirect back outside getting leverage on the fullback who was running along the goal line. Wingard also will play some deep safety showing range to help out to the ball in the air.

 

Andrew Wingard vs the Run

In the Cowboys defense he is asked to play the run first and often comes down from deep safety to make the plays. This suits Wingard well as he has good acceleration to fly to the ball well, but is always under control and able to make tackles. While most safeties who are labeled as physical like to come down and throw their body at the running back, Wingard does a good job of wrapping up and driving the ball carrier to the ground.

 

Outlook

If Andrew Wingard doesn’t get 100 tackles this season, then something is wrong as he has 367 tackles for his career so far. What is the most impressive is he increased his ball production by adding 5 interceptions this past year. In the NFL he’ll be asked to play more in coverage and despite playing closer to the line of scrimmage his traits suggest that he’ll be able to have success. His burst and change of direction skills will allow him to stick with running backs and tight ends in man coverage, while his acceleration and instincts should translate to deep zone coverage. Wingard will likely be viewed as a strong safety in the NFL, but his skill set should allow him to be used in a variety of ways and thus increasing his value. Wingard is likely in the second round area, but if he’s able to show more in coverage it wouldn’t surprise me if Wyoming has back to back first round draft picks.

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