With the 241st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Mark Webb, safety from Georgia. A standout wide receiver in high school, Webb had offers from Alabama, Georgia, and Iowa as a junior. Eventually, he opted to commit to the University of Georgia, where his cousin D’Andre Swift was the star running back. When he arrived at Georgia, Webb and the coaching staff realized that their receiver room was absolutely loaded. Therefore, would it be worthwhile to keep him as a receiver, or consider moving him to another position? The staff decided on the latter, moving Webb to safety. As someone who was new to the position, expectations were not particluarly high for him. His coaches were simply hoping for him to adjust to the position change. It took a couple years, but eventually Webb became a solid safety at the collegiate level.
Will Webb continue to adjust to the position change and become a serviceable player on the depth chart? Or will he suffer the fate of other 7th round picks and be relegated to practice squads? What are his strengths and weaknesses? This is the Mark Webb rookie profile.
- Physical playstyle. Webb is ready and willing to go after a ball carrier and run through them. That’s a beneficial quality for a Chargers defense that has been below average in opposing rushing yards per game for the past 2 seasons. He’s also willing to play physically on receivers, which can cause disruption mid-route.
- Stays with assignments. Webb showcased talent in covering his assignments and not being fooled easily by tricks. Whether it be a crossing route along the middle or on a basic stop and go, Webb can use his speed and tough mindset to keep by his assignment.
- Solid burst speed in coverage and while blitzing. As mentioned before, Webb has impressive burst speed, which is quite useful when trying to keep up with speedy receivers. His burst speed also proved useful on the blitz, as he was able to hurry to the quarterback around the outside through pure speed.
- Unreliable hands. This is a peculiar issue for a former wide receiver-turned-safety to have. Through his 4 seasons as a safety, Webb managed to drop more potential interceptions than catch them. This is particularly concerning, but not the end of the world for a defensive back. Sure, it would be preferable for him to have more reliable hands. However, a pass breakup can certainly suffice.
- Lack of effective rush moves when blitzing. Webb relies almost entirely on his burst speed when rushing on the edge. Due to this, if he faces off against a running back or a pulling lineman who can contain his speed, Webb can get completely stuck at the line of scrimmage. Webb should consider adding some hand moves to his repertoire to rely on if he gets beat in a contest of speed.
- Poor top-end speed. While, as mentioned earlier, he has solid burst speed, what’s worrisome about his deep coverage game is his lack of top speed. While he could keep with speedy receivers for the initial few steps, he can often be outsped by receivers who can maintain that top speed for extended periods of time.
Mark Webb has the latent talent to be an NFL player. Though he did not put up the most eye-catching stats in college (21 taackles, 1 interception, 2 pass breakups in 2020), he showcased his raw potential in the 2020 Senior Bowl, where he nabbed an interception. What needs to be taken into consideration regarding Webb is his short timeframe as a safety. 4 years at a single position may sound like a lot, but when one grows up playing a specific position and is required to learn an entirely new one, it can be a shock. The point is this: Webb can be a solid depth piece in the Chargers secondary, especially when given proper guidance. The Chargers’ new Defensive Coordinator, Renaldo Hill, is a former cornerback in the NFL, so Webb can surely glean some tips from the longtime veteran. This was the Mark Webb rookie profile.