A very deep class of defensive backs hit the combine today, and a few impressed in a big way.
I’ll let you know about a couple of guys who either helped or upheld their stock this morning. A few of them are guys most scouts and talent evaluators have in their top 10 or 15, others are guys looking to earn spots in that top 10-15.
No one helped themselves more than Mays did in this year’s combine. He came out and was hands down the fastest guy in the combine.
Not only that, but his first 40 time tied him for being the fastest guy in the history of the combine (4.24). ***EDIT Mays' official time was 4.43, his first unofficial time was 4.24. I have no idea how the time is so far off between unofficial and official, but he was fast!***
For a guy that’s 6’3” and 210 lbs., a 4.4 would have been considered great. A 4.24 might vault Mays into the top ten.
Just as big as the overall time is his explosion out of the box.
Despite not getting to be much faster as far as top end speed goes,(23.8 mph) Mays was able to get to that speed quicker; something that will catch scout’s eyes.
I guarantee a lot of scouts, GMs, and coaches throughout the NFL are watching a great deal of tape on Mays in the coming weeks and thinking about him with a very high first round pick. On top of the speed, Mays put up 24 reps on the bench, second amongst defensive backs only to Kyle Wilson.
Let’s just put it this way. He’s almost got the upper body strength of a defensive lineman (top rated McCoy put up only a few more reps than Mays) combined with the speed of Chris Johnson, Devin Hester, or Randy Moss.
That could be a VERY dangerous combination at the next level.
Mays may have moved himself up into the talks with Eric Berry as being worthy of a top five or ten pick. I’ve currently got him going in the late teens, possibly to the Steelers at 18.
Berry came into the combine considered by most to be the top safety and top defensive back overall in the draft.
He left the combine having solidified those opinions and likely won over most doubters. With 19 reps (of 225 lbs) on the bench and a 4.41 40 yard dash time, Berry showed the physical skills talent evaluators like to see.
On top of that, during the position drills he looked head and shoulders better than anyone else in his grouping (including top cornerback prospect Joe Haden).
He made some acrobatic catches after which you literally heard everyone in the place say “woah”.
This guy is a true star in the making, and don’t be shocked if he goes in the top five. He’s almost a lock for the top ten. I’ve currently got him going 7th overall to the Browns, although depending on the way things go down at the top of the draft he could also go as high as 3 to Tampa Bay.
Wilson keeps moving up people’s draft boards the more and more they talk about him. Without running a single drill today Wilson was able to move up by default.
He did work out on the bench however, where he put up 25 reps. While that isn’t that important for a cornerback prospect, you can move him over to safety and knowing that he’ll deliver a hit that the offensive player feels, or go crashing through the line.
Additionally Haden put up a bad number on the 40, and Wilson now sees the door open to top that 40 time and possibly put himself in the conversation as a better prospect than Haden.
Wilson brings one thing Haden doesn’t with experience in the return game as well.
There are always a few guys in each leg of the combine that hurt their draft stock with their performance. Maybe they run slow, maybe they get hurt. For whatever reason, some guys almost always cost themselves some serious dollars in Indianapolis.
Let's take a look at a couple guys who may have done just that today.
Haden came into the combine as the top cornerback prospect. He’s got great instincts and his tape looks great, but he ran a 4.57 40 yard dash and that could hurt his stock.
At the end it may not be the 4.57 itself that hurts him, but rather the door that time opened as Kyle Wilson, Patrick Robinson, Kareem Jackson, Devin McCourty, and the other cornerback prospects hit the field.
They now have a chance to move up in the minds of scouts across the league.
Wilson didn’t work out today, but will hold a pro day at his school, as will Haden. Haden needs to really work on that 40 and show that he was just having a bad day today. Putting up a time in the 4.4 range at his pro day would solidify Haden’s spot in the top 10 or 15.
Conversely, doing the same thing might vault Wilson’s stock that high as well, particularly if Haden isn’t able to improve on his time at all. One thing’s for sure, Haden’s game tape will be looked at, particularly at how he played against the faster WR’s.
One thing that should help him is years of practicing opposite Percy Harvin, whose speed showed a great deal of success for a rookie WR in the NFL last season.
The Rhodes Scholar who famously took last year off to accept a Rhodes Scholarship and attend Oxford for a year showed up at the combine with hopes of raising his draft stock which took a serious hit from where it would have been if he’d have come out last season.
While Rolle is hands down the smartest guy at the combine, he certainly wasn’t the fastest. He put down a 4.69 with his first 40 yard dash, which disappointed some (including Rolle himself).