John Bonamego, head coach of the Central Michigan football team, couldn’t hide his emotions from showing. He talked about safety Kavon Frazier wearing the jersey of Derrick Nash. Nash had passed away in June of 2015 after a long fight with leukemia. While Nash had not played in a regular season game, his impact was felt immediately upon his rival.
Select CMU players had switched off wearing Nash’s No. 21 jersey throughout this season to honor his memory. Frazier was the only player picked to wear his number twice. Frazier told George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press, “When Coach told me, I was in a loss of words. When Nash first got here, we was close right off the bat. He was like my little brother basically.”
This is just an example of who Frazier is as a person, as a man, and as a football player. Some guys just get it. Whether it’s playing a pivotal role as the team’s leader, or just leading the team in tackles, Frazier is always willing to rise to the task at hand.
Player Profile: Kavon Frazier
Frazier was a three sport athlete at Grand Rapids Christian High School, showing off his athletic ability and impressive instinct for sport. Kavon is also an excellent student and graduated from CMU with a degree in child development. While a career in the NFL comes first, Frazier is a man with a plan if that doesn’t come to fruition, “First, I hope to make it in the NFL, but I am also very interested in working with kids,” Frazier said. “While at CMU, I have had great learning opportunities, such as observing in the Child Development and Learning Lab.”
After redshirting as a freshman, Kavon eventually earned his way into a starting role at safety in his sophomore season for the Chippewas. Frazier was a standout at the position, earning All-MAC honors his junior season and Second Team All-Mac as a senior. This was a major reason for ending up second in unassisted tackles in the conference.
After being limited at the NFL combine due to a stress fracture in his foot (18 reps in the bench press, third among safeties) the raw ability was showcased at the pro day. Clocking in at 4.48 to 4.55 in the 40-yard-dash, along with an impressive 40.5-inch vertical, a 10-foot-8 broad jump and a 6.96 second three-cone, certainly helped his stock.
How does he fit?
Competing with Barry Church for the strong safety position certainly won’t be easy. This is a very tenacious and physically demanding position. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires that mentality of out-willing your opponents on each play.
While Cowboys fans love him, one common complaint of Church is that he doesn’t lay the wood. Coaches appreciate that Church is a technician, but there is something to be said for tone setters. You might malign them for a missed tackle, but remain in awe after a jarring hit that makes offensive players tepid. This is an old school mentality of sorts, but one that remains important in the game today. Forcing opponents to think twice about crossing the middle of the field remains an effective way to mitigate an offense’s ability to open up the field. It also allows the corners to stay pinned to the sidelines. They know that if the receiver is running a crosser or in-route, there will be a heavy price to pay.
Frazier is a very physical and downhill tackler drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. On NFL Network’s coverage, it was said that he’s likely going into camp weighing around 225 instead of the 215 listed on his profile. Cowboys’ fans might remember a player who profiles similarly to Frazier, Ahmad Dixon. Dixon was a pre-season darling, mostly due to a couple crushing hits he enforced. However, after showing up late to a walk through, in conjunction with some other concerns, Dixon was released and is now out of the NFL.
When evaluating Frazier, the ability to get guys down is very noticeable. Not always taking advantage of elite technique; Frazier is a crafty tackler who is effective from a variety of body positions. This can be perceived as both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, it speaks to his ability to rise above the elements working against him. On the other, it is questionable whether this will continue to be effective in the NFL. Poor technique is a major bugaboo for NFL coaches and without it, the risk of getting cut is always in play.
Struggling in pass coverage explains why Frazier plays the strong safety position and not the free safety position. Over pursuing on run plays was also something that stood out. An aggressive nature usually translates to being out of position in coverage at times, and Frazier is no exception. Failing to break early on a middle crossing route, or biting on a play action fake are some of the weaknesses that were displayed.
Starting on special teams is the most likely scenario for Frazier. If there is an injury, there is a chance to serve in a nickel hybrid role. He would likely be serving as either a linebacker or as a safety near the line of scrimmage. Either way, Frazier is one of the good guys who Cowboys fans can enjoy rooting for.