Pros and cons of Falcons taking Alabama football’s DeMarcco Hellams in 2023 NFL Draft

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football's DeMarcco Hellams was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday. 

Hellams was a two-year starter for the Crimson Tide after serving in a third-down and special teams role during the 2020 season. He also received playing time in all 13 games during his freshman season in 2019.

This past season, Hellams finished as the leading tackler with 108 stops, three of which went for loss. He also tallied a sack, seven pass breakups and an interception.

Hellams is 6-foot-1, 203 pounds and is from Washington, D.C.

Here's what Hellams brings to the NFL. 

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The positives

Hellams showed he can be a capable tackler, and he also had a productive season in that regard.

According to Pro Football Focus, he missed only 10.1% of his tackles this season. That was lower than his junior season total of 11.5%. The free safety showed physicality and overall a willingness to play run defense.

The concerns

Hellams was a liability in coverage at times, particularly against receivers.

He doesn't have elite quickness or speed, and that hurt him.

He gave up 25 receptions on 40 targets (62.5%), according to Pro Football Focus in 2022. Hellams had a really rough run during the Texas A&M and Tennessee games, surrendering 10 catches on 14 targets and two touchdowns.

Tennessee showed a clear interest in finding mismatches to go against Hellams, capitalizing on his coverage limitations to have a strong offensive day against the Crimson Tide. The stark image of Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt a few steps ahead of him down the field is hard to forget.

Final thoughts

Hellams put together two solid years with the Crimson Tide as a starter. He could find some type of role in the NFL, but Hellams probably has a fair amount of work to do to have a chance of starting at the next level. He's not an elite athlete, but he can make some plays.