2009 NFL Scouting Combine Buzz Day Four : Cornerback and Safety
NFL Draft 101 provided 2009 Combine Coverage with a Live Chat but also recapped each day's biggest stories in article format as well. Here are some quick combine wrap up comments and the day four buzz from the cornerback and safety workouts:
Combine Wrap Up Comments:
1) I know it was a long 4-5 days for the NFL Network staff at the combine but why did their coverage end so abruptly today. They did not provide a final wrap-up or winners and losers. As a matter of fact they ended their coverage while the second group of defensive backs was still conducting their drills. Further, NFLN did not even have wrap-up segments on the cornerback and safety workouts on Total Access. Overall, they do a great job of covering the combine in an entertaining fashion, especially with the multiple online feeds, but the failure to wrap-up the coverage properly put a downer on an otherwise good weekend.
2) Either the 2009 draft class is slow, the official timers are slow, or Lucas Oil Stadium had a slow track this week because it is hard to fathom none of the corners breaking 4.4 and only four guys total breaking 4.4 for the week. Only 11 guys total broke 4.45 (10 of 11 were wide receivers). The variance between unofficial and official times was much larger than usual as well.
3) Watching BJ Raji blow away Rich Eisen in the 40 was very entertaining. The Eisen taking the Wonderlic and running the 40 were both good bits by the NFLN team.
Sean Smith, Utah—Has rare size for a corner at 6'3 and after running a better 40 (4.47 unofficial) than 3 of the top 4 rated corners, Smith answered the questions that he was not fast enough to play corner. Was good not great in the drills.
Vontae Davis, Illinois—Had the good all-around workout we expected. Looked fluid and polished in the drills, and finished in the top 10 in theL 40, bench, 20 yard shuttle, and three-cone. Will get consideration for the top corner in the draft but a down 2008 campaign could hinder those efforts.
Asher Allen, Georgia—A physical corner (backed up with 22 reps) who showed good athleticism and technique in the drills. Would be drafted higher if he was taller.
Darius Butler, Connecticut—Good all-around workout. Showed nice athleticism and showed good footwork in the drills.
Donald Washington, Ohio State—Had out of this world marks in the vertical and broad jump making him one of the corners workout warriors. Was merely average in the drills but his performance gives him the high upside tag, and likely insures he gets drafted.
Lydell Sargeant, Penn State—Only average athleticism, but looked very smooth, and showed good footwork in the drills.
Christopher Owens, San Jose State—Teammate Coye Francies garners most of the attention, but Owens very quietly had the better workout today. Showed good footwork and turn and run skills in the drills.
Keenan Lewis, Oregon State—Looked like more than just a press corner. Good size and better than average speed compared to the rest of this year's corner class.
Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State—Did not answer concerns regarding his speed with a 4.55 40. Also was not a standout in the drills with his footwork being a little off today. Looks more like a #2 corner or free safety than a top 10 pick.
DJ Moore, Vanderbilt—Measured at less than 5'10'' and ran a 4.54 40 (39.5" vertical though). Looked good in the drills, but short and slow is not going to get him drafted in the first round. Like Jenkins, a move to safety is a possibility, and the good news is each would probably be the #1 safety in the draft.
Bradley Fletcher, Iowa—Showed decent speed but struggled in the skill drills throughout the day. Did not turn and run well.
Brandon Hughes, Oregon State—Ran a great 40 but did not show cornerback instincts and skills in the drills.
Cary Harris, USC— Was clearly laboring through the drills. He may have been trying to tough it out on a sore hamstring.
Winners: (overall a good day for safeties)
Louis Delmas (Western Michigan) and Patrick Chung (Oregon)—Took care of business today. Ran well and showed why they are ranked among the top safeties in the draft.
Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest—Showed excellent speed and athleticism for a 220 pounder and followed it up by performing well in the drills.
William Moore, Missouri—Showed plus athleticism and looked better in drills than expected. If nothing else, he did enough to level his sinking draft stock. May convert to OLB but still worth a look as a SS.
David Bruton, Notre Dame—It was hard to come up with losers at safety and especially hard to list arguably the workout warrior among safeties—top 10 in 40, 60 yardd shuttle, vertical, and broad jump—on this list, but Bruton did not do anything to answer questions about his coverage skills in the drills. It was a tremendous workout in the measureables but it is doubtful that it moved him up draft boards. He remains a 3rd/4th round pick.
Emanuel Cook, South Carolina—Maybe it was the strong workouts by his teammates but I expected a better workout from Cook. He was a tad slow and did not look comfortable in the coverage drills.
Nic Harris (Oklahoma) and Kevin Ellison (USC)—Both guys showed their best bet is to shift to OLB. It is a shame neither of them worked out alongside the linebackers because they probably would have showed a lot better. Harris looked very comfortable as a LB at the Senior Bowl and probably would have preferred to workout with them here as well.
Thanks for joining NFLDraft101's 2009 Scouting Combine coverage.
Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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