By: Shawn Williams
Widely recognized as the “Heart and Soul” of the University of Georgia defense, Richard LeCounte was a fan and team favorite over the past four seasons. His motor, leadership, and ability to quarterback the secondary from the Safety position was a major reason the Bulldogs boasted a formidable defensive unit in the SEC.
Midway through his senior season, LeCounte was involved in a scary motorbike accident that ended his college career prematurely. Fortunately, he didn’t suffer any major injuries, and is well on his way to a full recovery. In his absence, the Georgia defense wasn’t the same - this goes to show how much of an impact he made as one of the nation’s best Safeties.
His accident has certainly come up in pre-draft interviews, and he’s been honest in recollection of what took place. He did take part in UGA’s Pro Day, but his numbers were less than expected, with a 4.78 40 time. With what LeCounte has proved on film, it should be understood why his numbers aren’t where they need to be as he continues to rehab his injuries.
for what teams will see in LeCounte’s game tape, it will be evidence of an elite and special player. His instincts and ability to track the ball led to big time turnovers, like his clutch two-interception game against Baylor in the 2019 Sugar Bowl (4 INTs in 6 games in 2020). LeCounte possesses above average man coverage skills for a college safety, and has incredibly quick closing and recovery speed.
The UGA product is a determined tackler (and not afraid of contact), but often struggles due to his lack of size and strength, leading to broken tackles and missed opportunities. It remains to be seen if adding weight takes away from the quickness that makes him so dangerous in coverage.
LeCounte definitely has the intangibles and ball skills to become a starting coverage safety in the NFL, but will likely assume a rotational role early on. He should hear his name called anywhere between third to fifth rounds on draft night.