Lester didn't always appear to be an obvious candidate to follow this tradition. He redshirted in 2008 and recorded just eight tackles in eight games a year later, seeing much of his action on special teams.
A year later, however, Lester earned the starting free safety position, and playing centerfield behind a terrific Crimson Tide defense he exploded onto the SEC scene, leading the conference with eight interceptions. Lester hasn't come close to matching his sophomore success since (two interceptions in 2011, four in 2012), but this is partially due to the fact that opponents are less willing to challenge him deep.
Lester isn't the physical intimidator or even the reliable open-field tackler that his predecessor, Mark Barron, was for the Tide and won't challenge his former teammate's draft day rise into the high first round. His prototype blend of size, closing speed and ball skills, however, is sure to intrigue teams needing a battle-tested playmaker in the secondary.
Athletic enough to occasionally drop down to cover slot receivers. Has the long arms to re-route receivers and is balanced enough to cover short distances. Reads run quickly and flashes aggression to support. Long, strong arms for the pull-down tackle and occasionally will lower his shoulder for the big hit. Highly respected by coaching staff for his work ethic.
WEAKNESSES: A bit of a 'tweener. May lack the athleticism for deep coverage and the physicality necessary to play well closer to the line of scrimmage. Does not possess ideal hip fluidity and foot quickness to operate as a true centerfielder against an NFL passing attack. Loses a step as he changes directions and does not have great speed to recover.
Does too much grabbing and dragging as an open-field tackler, and when he does attempt to lower the boom has a tendency to duck his head and lunge. Takes questionable angles to the ball, underestimating the speed of ball-carriers and not proving to be a reliable last line of defense.
COMPARES TO: Kerry Rhodes, FS, Arizona Cardinals: Like the 6-3, 212-pound Rhodes, Lester has the size, closing speed and ball skills to develop into a dependable ball-hawk at the next level.