The cornerbacks and safeties took the field on Monday. The fastest 40-yard dash of the group belonged to Jalen Myrick, a cornerback from the University of Minnesota who ran an unofficial 4.28. Of course what does speed mean to a defensive back if he can’t cover or tackle at the next level?
6-4, 224 pound Obi Melifonwu out of Connecticut led all defensive backs with a 44-inch vertical jump and was top five in the 40-yard-dash. His 141-inch broad jump was the second longest at the Combine since 2003.
Here were the leaders in the individual drills:
|Lattimore, Marshon||Ohio St||4.36|
|Griffin, Shaquill||Central Florida||4.38|
|Jones, Josh||North Carolina St||4.41|
|Nicholson, Montae||Michigan St||4.42|
|Conley, Gareon||Ohio St||4.44|
|Tocho, Jack||North Carolina St||21|
|Jones, Josh||North Carolina St||20|
|Jenkins, Rayshawn||Miami (Florida)||19|
|Lampkin, Ashton||Oklahoma St||19|
|Woods, Xavier||Louisiana Tech||19|
|Carter, Jamal||Miami (Florida)||19|
|Adams, Jamal||Louisiana St||18|
|Griffin, Shaquill||Central Florida||17|
|Griffin, Shaquill||Central Florida||38.5|
|Lattimore, Marshon||Ohio St||38.5|
|Jones, Josh||North Carolina St||37.5|
|Conley, Gareon||Ohio St||37.0|
|Jenkins, Rayshawn||Miami (Florida)||37.0|
|Johnson, John||Boston College||37.0|
|White, Marquez||Florida St||36.0|
|Griffin, Shaquill||Central Florida||132|
|Lattimore, Marshon||Ohio St||132|
|Jones, Josh||North Carolina St||132|
|Robinson, Ezra||Tennessee St||130|
|Conley, Gareon||Ohio St||129|
|Jenkins, Rayshawn||Miami (Florida)||128|
|Nicholson, Montae||Michigan St||125|
|Tocho, Jack||North Carolina St||125|
|Kazee, Damontae||San Diego St||124|
|Conley, Gareon||Ohio St||6.68|
|Johnson, John||Boston College||6.72|
|Clark, Chuck||Virginia Tech||6.85|
|Griffin, Shaquill||Central Florida||6.87|
|Luani, Shalom||Washington St||6.87|
|Robinson, Ezra||Tennessee St||3.89|
|Clark, Chuck||Virginia Tech||4.07|
|Adams, Jamal||Louisiana St||4.13|
|Conley, Gareon||Ohio St||4.18|
|Tocho, Jack||North Carolina St||11.19|
|Luani, Shalom||Washington St||11.22|
Physical ability enhanced by a strong work ethic and dedicated training is what these top marks by the defensive backs reveal. But again, what you can’t measure is how these young men will communicate and adjust to game situations under pressure. That kind of foresight is what scouts like Tony Pauline and Mike Mayock try to figure out based on a balance of measurables and game tape.
Here’s Tony Pauline‘s take on the real-time defensive back standouts at the final workout session of the Combine:
[Respected as one of the most detailed and well-researched NFL Draft analysts in the business, TFY Draft Preview President Tony Pauline has brought in-depth player information to football fans for more than two decades. The draft is a year round event for Tony as he spends his summers watching three-to-four game films daily, then his fall weekends traveling the country to personally scout the nations top prospects in action. Originally working with reporters and draft publications in the New York area more than 25 years ago, Tony branched out in 1997, quickly making the TFY Draft Preview a household name amongst draftniks and NFL scouts.]
“CB Shaquill Griffin: Despite being a productive starting college corner for three seasons, scouts around the league graded Griffin as a marginal free agent entering the season due to concerns about his speed. The senior quelled those concerns, timing just under 4.4 seconds in the 40 and turning in a tremendous practice session. Griffin looked as good as any cornerback during ball drills, displaying a quick backpedal, smooth hip turn, and the ability to explode to the ball out of his plant. Sized well at just about 6-0, 194 pounds, Griffin now enters the conversation as a potential middle-round choice.
“CB Kevin King: King was another prospect who came to the Combine with questions about his ability to run. The tall corner possesses excellent size and next-level ball skills, but struggled in deep coverage last year. Like Griffin, King ran much faster than expected by timing 4.43 seconds in the 40. He may have run himself into the late part of the first round.
“CB Adoree’ Jackson: Jackson was fast (4.41 seconds in the 40), smooth, and very quick. Considering he suffered a serious ankle injury during the Rose Bowl on January 2, he ran well and I would expect faster times during the Trojans’ Pro Day. Jackson looked terrific in drills, easily flipping his hips, displaying speed moving in every direction, and snatching the ball from the air in the deep field. He secured himself as a first-round pick.
“CB Chidobe Awuzie: Awuzie’s workout was long anticipated by scouts after a toe injury kept him out of the Senior Bowl. He responded with a knockout performance. He posted a solid 40 time in the low-4.4s, touched 11 feet in the broad jump, and ran the short shuttle in a solid 4.14 seconds. Awuzie was then very effective in position drills and will receive consideration late in the first round.
“S Budda Baker: Baker is another Washington defensive back who impressed during the Combine. He timed 4.45 seconds in the 40 as one of the fastest safeties of the day, posted a short shuttle of 4.08 seconds, and then clocked 6.76 seconds in the 3-cone. Baker looked solid in position drills and solidified himself as a late first-round selection.
“S Marcus Williams: Williams’ times in the 40, 3-cone, and shuttle were solid, but he really stood out in position work. He looked like a cornerback during drills, displaying a quick backpedal, the ability to flip his hips, and top-notch ball skills. The lack of great speed may limit the number of schemes Williams can play in, but there’s no doubting his next-level potential.
“CB Ahkello Witherspoon: Witherspoon takes a back seat to teammate Chidobe Awuzie, but he was another Colorado defensive back who leaves the Combine a winner. Witherspoon’s numbers were similar to his teammate’s, as he timed mid-to-low-4.4s in the 40 and 4.13 seconds in the short shuttle. He looked technically sound during position drills and set himself up as a solid second-day choice.
“CB Gareon Conley: Conley is the forgotten man in the Ohio State secondary, but don’t ignore his ability. He ran well in the 40 (4.45 seconds), looked terrific in position drills, and has scouts believing he’s a next-level starter, which is a justifiable opinion.
“S Josh Jones: Jones proved on Monday why he’s the most underrated safety in the draft. He timed 4.41 seconds in the 40 at 220 pounds, touched 37.5 inches in the vertical jump, and reached 11 feet in the broad jump. Jones looked equally as athletic during position drills, and cemented himself as a second-day choice.
“Honorable Mention: I could have legitimately added another half-dozen players to this list, as each defensive back performed better than the next one. Tre’Davious White, Fabian Moreau, Obi Melifonwu, Montae Nicholson, Delano Hill, and Brendan Langley are six more players who improved their draft stock with outstanding performances in Indianapolis.”