And now, the combine is complete. It’s sad.
The defensive backs rounded things out and there’s a ton to takeaway from them today. Fast 40 times, however, were generally not one of them. Let’s break it down.
– For a six foot, 199 pound Eli Apple to turn in a 4.4 flat in this slow group of corners is in itself, impressive. He didn’t participate in the broad or vert unfortunately but that 40 time is something he can hang his hat on.
– Mike Mayock thought Vernon Hargreaves was a little tight-hipped but it’s difficult to ignore the rest of his day. 4.5 flat, 39 inch vert, 10’10” broad, who caught the ball like a receiver and showed fast feet, not slowing up in his pedal like others.
– William Jackson III. Man, what a day. I wanted to see if he looked stiff and he was great in drills, turning without popping up and not showing any wasted motion in his steps. That 4.37 is a number to put up on the mantle. You’re going to hear everyone talk about him in the first round now.
– Cyrus Jones did what we thought he would but it was a nice day. 4.49 40. Compact player who keeps his arms pumping and tight to his body without any stiffness when asked to flip.
– Auburn’s Jonathan Jones was a little tight in his turn but at his best when asked to click and close in the W drill. That’s huge for a Steelers’ corner. Oh yeah, he ran a 4.33, the best mark of the day, and jumped 36 inches and 10’3″ in the vert and broad, like I expected him to. He’s got Steelers’ corner all over him. Can’t wait to do a report on him.
– Not a good day for Harlan Miller. In addition to his skinny frame, leading to just six reps on the bench press, he ran slow, a 4.65. Maybe there was an injury or he’s worn down after the Senior Bowl circuit. But small school guys, who are tough projections to begin with, and run slow, is not a good combination. I like the tape I’ve seen but it was a disappointing day for him.
– Oklahoma State’s Kevin Peterson ran poorly but jumped well and I liked him in drills. Turns fluidly and high points the football, traits I saw on tape.
– Jalen Ramsey…wow, what a show. Knew he would but still fun to watch. 4.41 at 209 pounds, 41.5 inch vert, 11’3″ broad. Unreal man.
– Southern Utah’s LeShaun Sims screwed up his turn drill twice and was pretty clearly frustrated. The drills help you get an idea of how a player moves but also how they take instruction. And for guys to screw up near the back of the pack in their workouts is not a positive sign.
– James Bradberry is tall/long, ran well, and caught the ball cleanly. All the baseline things you’re looking in a small school corner. Had a nice day.
– LSU corner Rashard Robinson is tall but the lightest corner at 171 pounds. He has trouble turning and though he ran well, I don’t think he helped himself tremendously for a guy who didn’t play football last year.
– Colorado’s Kevin Crawley turned in a great 4.43 and he looked good in drills, showing a powerful step to explode and turn.
– Brandon Williams better going forward than anything laterally. Pops up and tall in his turn. Wasn’t explosive either, just a 30.5 vert, the worst of the group. Similar situation to Artie Burns, regarded as a fast but stiff player.
– Ok, the elephant in the room. Darian Thompson, who clocked a 4.69. That is a poor number and there’s no getting around it. I’m not interested in making excuses for him. And, I looked this up, the historical precedent is not good for Combine players who run that poorly. According to NFL Combine Results, here are the list of safeties who have run 4.69 or worse since 1999.
That is…an unappealing list with few success stories, Kendrick Lewis, Barry Church and Tony Jefferson are probably your top guys (the latter two UDFAs), and Anthony Smith is also on this list, who we were all trying to forget about until I said something.
But, I don’t want to use just one number and paint a broad picture, especially about a guy who has good tape. And, it’s not like I want him to play centerfield every snap and run down the seam as a free safety. He’s a strong safety who I outlined best in the box and playing the Robber, taking away the intermediate game. It’s a difficult spot to be and I gotta figure out what to do with him now.
– Maryland’s Sean Davis is a little tight hipped, and I think clearly a safety more than corner, but the triangle numbers are easy to fall in love with and the league drafts athletes, especially in the secondary. 6’1, 201, a 4.44 40, 37.5 vert, and 10’6″ broad. Are you kidding me? That’s fantastic, heightened by this down year. A Day 2 pick.
– Ditto with T.J. Green out of Clemson. 6’2/4 209 and a 4.34 40, the second best of the day. He didn’t record a pick this year but was around the ball with 95 tackles.
– We are talking a lot about safety 40 times, but other top guys didn’t run fast. That included Keanu Neal, who is catching the eye of many, and jumped well. But he ran a 4.62, which objectively isn’t a great time.
– Tyvis Powell showed plus athleticism, and I was having trouble deciding what kind of athlete he was, and that’s big in my mind. We know he can play the run, be the extra man in the box, bu I want to get an idea of how he can succeed in coverage. A 4.46 is a plus.
– I really like Justin Simmons. Intelligent player and was a fan of his tape. 40 inch vertical day. If the team misses/passes on a Thompson, Simmons is very similar and didn’t time as poorly (4.61).
– A.J. Stamps was a late round guy I was interested in but he might fall out of the draft with a 4.79 40 and nothing special in the vert and broad (33, 9’7″). Undersized and only one interception last year, it’s hard to build a case to put a draftable grade on him. Better have an excellent Pro Day.
– Was hoping for better numbers from Deiondre’ Hall out of Northern Iowa. 4.68 is not great but at least he was explosive in his vert and broad.