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NFL Draft Profile: Film study of safety Kevin Pierre-Louis

Andre Simone Avatar
April 22, 2016

It’s almost time for the NFL Draft, which is why we’re bringing you another NFL Draft Profile; this time on Kevin Pierre-Louis. The next couple “Potential Next Level Rams” haven’t received much publicity or notoriety, but Rams fans should be no strangers to them and the NFL could quickly learn about them as well.

Despite his fame amongst Rams fans and ample coverage on this site, Pierre-Louis is a true hidden gem to the national media. Which is surprising because it doesn’t take very much time studying tape to notice Pierre-Louis flying in and knocking guys backward. He’s a true tone-setting player and it’s no surprise that Rams fans have such a soft spot for the guy, he’s simply a joy to watch on the football field.

But that’s neither here nor there, we’re here to figure out why there’s a disconnect between NFL evaluators and media types and the perception KPL has amongst Rams Nation. So without further ado…

After studying four games of Kevin Pierre-Louis’ from the 2013 and 2015 seasons (finding tape on 2014 has been almost impossible), watching him throughout his career at CSU, and attending his Pro Day, here’s my scouting report.

As always, we’ll look at Pierre-Louis’ strengths first, followed by his weaknesses and then wrap it all up in the end.


  • Simply put Pierre-Louis is a bad man. This is meant in the best way possible. He’s a downhill destroyer who roams the field and is trying to knock back the ball carrier and close out the play on just about every snap.
  • Extremely productive three-year starter, a team leader in tackles throughout his career.
  • KPL has the ability to help as an extra defender downfield, shows some decent instincts on doubling a receiver and assisting corners. Also shows the ability to make big hits in the open field and force the ball out on tough contested catches over the middle. He’s a true intimidator in the defensive backfield.
  • He’s a ready-made in the box safety who plays like one, acts as almost an extra linebacker against the run. Quickly reads and reacts by coming downhill and head hunting, he’s very suited for this role.
  • While KPL certainly isn’t the biggest strong safety prospect and might be a bit undersized, don’t try saying that to someone he just hit; he plays much bigger than his size.
  • Pierre-Louis showed some coverage ability in his time as a Ram. Shows some ability to defend receivers. Covers receiver on out route (perfect coverage), and is able to knock the ball down while in single coverage.
  • Looking through my notes KPL consistently is credited for coming in and finishing a play and delivering a vicious hit. He does this against backs in run support and will do this with receivers, tight ends, and even quarterbacks when asked to bring pressure as a blitzer.
  • Pierre-Louis is a valuable run defender. He consistently makes impactful plays in this phase of the game, which is likely his strongest trait. He’s both a reliable and sound open-field tackler, but also a big hit specialist who has a knack for making plays that will leave their mark. Here’s a smothering of big plays from my notes:
    • Trent Matthews makes the first contact but misses tackle (Brian Powell bounces him off) KPL flies in and knocks the RB back.
    • 3rd and 1 KPL quickly sniffs out the play and blows up the hole, and gets the stop. Knocks RB back (this is a theme with KPL he knocks guys back a ton).
    • Very next offensive play KPL comes in and assists with tackle knocking the pile backwards.
    • RB breaks a couple tackles on 3rd and long, KPL comes in finishes tackle and gets the stop (sure tackler, trusted last line of defense).
    • KPL flies in and blows up RB for no gain.
    • KPL knocks the s@%$ back of RB once he gets out the whole (tattoos RB).


  • In today’s NFL, where the ideal strong safety is Kam Chancellor sized, KPL is undersized for an in the box defender, and could risk not being the same intimidating force against much bigger NFL talents. Almost a strong safety stuck in a free safety’s body.
  • While Pierre-Louis tested decently at his Pro Day he shows only average speed for the safety position (for NFL standards), especially when having to turn and run with speedier playmakers.
  • Pierre-Louis is going to be limited to being an in the box safety, instincts in coverage are questionable and ability as a center fielder is not adequate, as he lacks instincts and range for the position.
  • KPL suffers from being too aggressive sometimes. He misses a potential tackle for a loss, slides in gets arms around back but doesn’t bring him down on 3rd and 4. Sometimes will fly in and try to make big hit instead of tackling with technique and assuring he has the offensive player wrapped up (generally a reliable tackler).
  • Pierre-Louis gets flagged on a terrible holding flag. Holds receiver on a bad throw from the quarterback, he’s totally out of position and plays bad coverage, terrible flag. Limited instincts and ability in coverage are shown here.
  • Reads play slowly; Pierre-Louis comes in on underneath route from tight end, makes the tackle but TE is able to stretch out for 1st down. These are the types of small things that add up, had he reacted quicker there’s no reason why he couldn’t have got the stop short of the 1st down.
  • Another example of KPL’s limited instincts is in a play where both him and (starting free safety) Trent Matthews both double on the same WR, leaving CB in zero coverage and leads to big play TD.


There are few players in this draft class who are as fun to watch as Pierre-Louis is; that’s the plain and simple truth, and a true compliment to the guy. No matter how long you’ve studied the draft it’s hard to overlook that. It’s hard to knock a player who’s such a force, who plays with such intensity and ferociousness. Put simply, you become a fan of KPL’s when you watch his film.

The truth though is that his position in the NFL won’t be the easiest to carve out. For starters, he’ll have to be the player Rams nation knew on NFL Special Teams if he’s able to punish people and lay down some big hits in the return game he’ll quickly become a fan base favorite. This could lead to greater things.

He’s a ready-made in the box safety, and while he might not have the 225-230 pound frame that the NFL is looking for, he has decent measurables at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, and undoubtedly plays bigger than his size. The problem is that Pierre-Louis almost plays more like a linebacker and has the skill set of one when it comes to coverage ability. He should definitely find a role on special teams in which his fearless attitude and tackling ability should allow him to excel.

In the right system, I can’t see why he wouldn’t be able to do a good job as an NFL in the box safety and reminds me a bit of former Broncos, Browns and Cardinals safety Hamza Abdullah, who probably had more cover skills but played at about the same size (6-foot-2, 216 pounds), with a similar attitude. KPL’s issues will be proving himself to teams before getting his chance in the role that all Rams fans know he can play and excel at.


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