Rutgers safety Anthony Cioffi wants to show the NFL just how exciting of a playmaker he can be at the next level.
Every year in the NFL draft, there are countless guys that the casual fan doesn’t hear about who wind up getting taken in the later rounds. Rutgers safety Anthony Cioffi could very well be one of those guys.
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Cioffi has gone overlooked while playing with the Scarlet Knights, but like anyone who has gone under the radar for his entire career, that’s just been extra motivation for him.
“Being overlooked is something that you always use as motivation,” Cioffi told Saturday Blitz. “I know that I could play with anybody because I’ve played in one of the toughest competition in the country.”
Before playing at Rutgers, Cioffi was a two-way star for Jonathan Dayton High School in New Jersey, a school so small that his graduating class was only 115 students. Cioffi was all over the field as a safety, return man and even a quarterback. That time as a QB in high school helped Cioffi become a ball hawk in college with eight interceptions and 13 passes deflected in his career.
“Just going over what a quarterback would do helps you as a safety because you know how to disguise your coverage and bait the quarterback to throw the kind of football you want him to throw,” Cioffi said.
Cioffi has made a number of highlight plays over his career due to his impressive athleticism. As a former track star, Cioffi was able to show off his top-end speed multiple times in college, but no play was more impressive than when he was able to chase down star Michigan athlete Jabrill Peppers.
The former Scarlet Knights defensive back says that he hopes to run the 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds if he’s invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. However, scouts will be even more impressed with Cioffi’s durability, with the Rutgers star playing in 47 of 48 games in his four years with the program.
“It just comes down to the extra time you spend in the training room,” Cioffi said about his durability. “It’s something as a player that you want to make a habit. The NFL season is a lot longer than 12 games, so you need to prepare your body for anything.”
There’s a lot to like about Cioffi’s game, and he has the frame at 6-foot-0 and 203 pounds to be a legitimate defensive back at the next level. The hard part will be getting teams to notice him, but Cioffi is willing to do whatever it takes to make an NFL roster.
“It’s all about making the roster in whatever way I can help make the team, whether that’s moving to offense or switching positions,” Cioffi said. “I just want to contribute and be put in a position to make a roster.”
There are still a few months before the NFL draft, and as Cioffi continues to train for the next level, teams are going to start paying a little more attention to the safety that’s spent his entire football career flying under the radar.