Today was the last day of the combine and we were treated to watching the speedy and athletic DB prospects take the field. This DB class is loaded with talented and athletic players of all types and sizes. With the way the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Super Bowl every team is looking to improve their secondary. At the combine we got to see just how deep this group is.
Notable standouts today was the OK State product, Justin Gilbert and TCU’s Jason Verrett. Both of these players displayed elite level speed running 4.37 and 4.38 in the 40 yard dash respectively. To go along with their wheels they impressed with the fluidity in their hips and natural hands during the individual drills. Expect both of these players to be off the board in the first round in May.
As far as disappointments go, there were not very many on the day. Probably the most disappointing player was Darqueze Dennard as he is one of the top CB prospects in the draft, but he did not perform like the other top prospects. Dennard ran a 4.51 40 and his hips looked tight during the entire workout. Despite his relatively disappointing day I do not expect his stock to drop much, if at all because he plays a more physical press style of play and he has plenty of great film to back it up.
The two top safety prospects, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor, had good days, showing off their athleticism and fluidity. Neither player was able to separate from the other in the 40 as they ran the same time of 4.58. Both players are interchangeable in the top safety spot and it will likely come down to team preference as to who comes off the board first in May.
Phillip Gaines from Rice was the player who surprised me the most this afternoon. Gaines ran a top 3 time in the 40 at 4.38 and he displayed great hips in the individual drills. He is a tall, lanky corner who is a bit raw in man to man coverage but with the coach he could develop into a tough, physical corner every team cherishes. Gaines will not be one of the first names called in May and he will be more of a project player for whoever chooses him.
With the NFL Scouting Combine all wrapped up, we got to see which players can handle the pressure of performing under less than perfect circumstances. Now as the draft approaches we will have to wait for the players individual pro days to see these prospects in action. After this week in Indy, the consensus is this draft is the deepest in years and should provide teams with talent throughout all 7 rounds in May.
On a more comical note, the end of the combine means we as fans get to see what we have all been waiting for, Rich Eisen running the 40 yard dash in his suit and tie. This year he was finally able to crack the 6.00 sec mark, at a blazing 5.98. Check out this historical moment in the GIF below: