There’s a certain level of confidence that defensive backs need to have if they’re going to make it big in the NFL. It’s safe to say Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe checks off that box.
Bledsoe had a strong senior season at Missouri, recording 41 total tackles, six passes defended, a forced fumble and an interception. His production on the field earned him an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he had a golden opportunity to show what he can do in front of NFL scouts.
Defensive backs are asked to play a handful of roles in today’s NFL, so Bledsoe would be a nice piece for any defensive coordinator who loves to get creative with their sub packages in the secondary.
While NFL analysts have praised Bledsoe’s ability to play in the slot, he proved this past fall that he can also cover in space as a single-high safety.
We sat down with Joshuah Bledsoe to talk about his final season at Missouri, his Senior Bowl experience, what he expects to accomplish in the NFL, and more.
— Andrew Kauffman (@AndrewABC17) December 19, 2020
The Spun: How’s this entire draft process been, including the Senior Bowl?
Joshuah Bledsoe: It’s been fun going through this process. Not everyone gets a chance to go through it, so it’s a blessing. I’m trying to stay focused for whatever is yet to come.
The Spun: How would you grade your final season at Mizzou?
JB: I’d give it an A or A+. I feel like my game was at its peak since I’ve been there, especially physically. And mentally, I feel like I’m way smarter now than I was coming in.
Missouri SAF Joshua Bledsoe (@jiggybled) stood out on film. He is a great tackler and what teams are looking for in a strong safety. Can cover the slot, RBs, and TEs. He does a great job of recovering here in coverage. Also fantastic against the run. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/W36zTD70ev
— Jack Borowsky (@Jack_Borowsky) November 20, 2020
The Spun: You’re one of the most versatile defensive backs in this draft. Can you just tell me about the different roles you can play, and also which you prefer?
JB: Honestly, people always ask me that question. Wherever I’m needed at that moment, I’ll fill that role and play it at a high level. Missouri used me the most in the slot area. I got really, really comfortable in that area. So i’ll go with the slot if I had to pick one spot.
The Spun: Who was the best quarterback you faced in college?
JB: I’d say Mac Jones from Alabama. He was a good quarterback, putting balls in difficult spots where only the receivers can get it.
The Spun: Can you take me back to the LSU win. What was that goal-line stand like?
JB: The mentality was they can’t score. We got to do whatever we need to do to keep them out of the end zone. I feel like my football smarts kicked in on that last play. I don’t know if you know this, but our defensive coordinator had the same exact call for all four plays by the goal line. So after the first two run stops, we knew they were going to try and throw it. I knew the last play would come down to Terrace Marshall because they were going to him all game and he was having success. In my mind, I thought they were going to run a fade route to him. Once the ball snapped, he shifted outside so I immediately shifted right along with him and broke downhill to cut off the angle to the ball.
— BLED #️⃣1️⃣🎈 (@jiggybled) February 25, 2021
The Spun: What do you think the future has in store for Mizzou under Eli Drinkwitz?
JB: There were some young guys stepping up this past season. I feel like they’ll fill our shoes quite nicely, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I think Missouri is still going to be where it needs to be.
The Spun: Does your mindset change at all when you’re in pass coverage compared to stopping the run?
JB: It’s more of the same thing. I try to be physical in all aspects of my game. As far as coverage, I don’t care who I’m covering. I can be covering the fastest guy or the slowest guy, I’m going to use the same technique. I’m an aggressive player, so that’s how I’m going to play every snap.
The Spun: Would you want to be a defensive back who is tasked with shutting down tight ends?
JB: Oh definitely. I feel like that would be an easy task for me to do in the NFL. Covering a tight end – I can do that in my sleep. That’s not hard for me.
Working on my pre-Senior Bowl research and this safety class in Mobile is LOADED.
Sleeper – Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri
Stud – Jacoby Stevens, LSU
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 17, 2021
The Spun: What do you want to show at your pro day?
JB: My movement in the open field. I feel like a lot of scouts didn’t get to see what they wanted to see from me on film out on the post. As a deep safety, I need to reassure that I can do that. Letting them see that I can move well on the deep end of the field would be critical.
The Spun: Have you been able to connect with teams, if so, do some seem more interested in others?
JB: Yea, I met with the Saints, Falcons and a couple others. Those are two I can name off the tip of my tongue.
Bledsoe will meet with the #Saints virtually soon.
— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) February 25, 2021
The Spun: Who’s your favorite defensive back to watch on film?
JB: I like watching Tyrann Mathieu. He’s one of the guys I really enjoy watching.
The Spun: Is there an NFL player who you can’t wait to face during your rookie year?
JB: Man, I can’t even answer that question [laughing]. I just want to play in my first NFL game, and whoever my matchup is, I’ll try and dominate them.
The Spun: What should NFL fans expect from Joshuah Bledsoe in his rookie year?
JB: A playmaker. You’ll always see Bledsoe out there making some type of play on defense or special teams. I’m an impact player.
Most forced incompletions from the slot since 2019:
1. Damar Hamlin, Pitt – 16
2. Elijah Molden, Washington – 15
3. Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri – 14
4. Trevon Moehrig, TCU – 13 pic.twitter.com/VDF41vUa4F
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 6, 2021
Bledsoe is projected to be a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. With his pro day set for later this month, he could cement his status as a Day 2 selection as long as he puts up impressive numbers.
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