The final day of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine may have resulted in its biggest story as Joe Haden , the top cornerback in the draft, sent shockwaves through Lucas Oil Stadium after running a disappointing 4.57 40 yard dash.
As much as you do not want to make too much out of a 40 time, remember Haden is considered a top 10 talent and players running over 4.49 are generally not corners you want to leave on an island. He followed up his 40 with a good but not great showing in the drills, but the damage was done.
Overall, it was an example of the type of buzz players are looking to avoid when they refuse to workout at the combine. It is doubtful he gets past San Francisco's two first round selections, but top 10 at this point would be a surprise.
On the flipside, Taylor Mays lit up the combine with a tremendous workout including an official 4.43 40 (4.24 unofficial), 41" vertical, 10' 5" broad jump, and 24 bench reps. In the drills he looked fluid in his drops and transitions showing hardly a hint of his coverage difficulties.
While you do not want to overrate a workout, it is hard to ignore the rare athleticism he brings to the position. Once considered a possible second round pick, it is hard to imagine a team in the back third of the first round not overlooking the flaws on tape for the potential upside (hint: do not play him at free safety).
Enough on Haden and Mays, here the rest of the winners and losers from the cornerback and safety workouts.
(note all 40 times are unofficial)
Winners: (sorry for the long list)
AJ Jefferson - Breakout performance of the day. Rare combination of size, speed, and length. Ranked among the leaders in the 40 (4.43), had a 44" vertical (tops among DBs), 10'6" broad jump, and was the fastest in the 20 and 60 yard shuttles. On top of that, he aced the drills showing excellent change of direction and looking fluid in coverage.
Devin McCourty - Tested extremely well, including a 4.34 40 and looked fluid throughout the coverage drills. Was fundamentally sound, had a smooth backpedal, and showed good acceleration and burst.
Brandon Ghee - Tested extremely well, ranking in the leaders in nearly every category, including a 4.37 40, and was fluid throughout the drills. On the negative side, his hands are terrible.
Chris Cook - Moves extremely well for a big guy (6'2", 212 lbs) and showed the athleticism to play corner.
Myron Lewis - Answered questions about his long speed with a 4.45 40. Is a little tight in the hips, but like Cook he moves well for a tall corner (6'2"). Reminds me a little of Sean Smith from a year ago. 34" arms and broad jump 10'6".
Kareem Jackson - Ran better than expected (4.41 40) and had an excellent performance in the drills. Had a fluid backpedal, showed good feet and changed directions well.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah - Small school guy out of Indiana-PA who ran a good 4.43 40 and showed good footwork and coverage skills in the drills. Has been hyped as the small school guy to watch and met expectations.
Perrish Cox - Extremely disappointing day for Cox as his 40 was merely average, and he struggled in the drills. Was high in his backpedal, had bad footwork, and did not look fluid in the coverage drills. The opposite of his performance at the Senior Bowl.
Donovan Warren - Similar to Haden, Warren's day was ruined with a slow 40 time (4.59). Once considered a sleeper first rounder but failed to answer concerns about his long speed. Was fluid in the drills but was not explosive. Fortunately, he fits the mold of a press corner, which will help minimize his slide but is likely a late second or third rounder due to speed concerns.
Amari Spievey - Had an up and down workout. Ran well (4.47) but struggled in his transitions, had tight hips, and was high in his backpedal.
Eric Berry - Put up the type of performance you expect from the top safety in the draft. Ranked among the leaders in nearly every test (including 4.4 40 and 10'10" broad jump) and was tremendous in the drills. He was a natural in coverage drills looking better than most of the corners.
Major Wright - Lost amidst Mays' tremendous workout was an impressive display of athleticism by Wright. He ran a 4.48 40 and had an excellent all-around showing in the drills. Looked smooth in his backpedal, transitioned well, and showed good burst.
Earl Thomas - Weighed in at 208 and did not appear to lose any athleticism. Showed good athleticism and natural coverage skills. You could see why he is considered an elite free safety prospect.
Darrell Stuckey - Coming off of a disappointing senior season, Stuckey's stock has trended downward, but he put up a strong performance today. Ran surprisingly well (4.49), had a 39.5" vertical, and looked comfortable in the coverage drills.
Kam Chancellor - Did not test exceptionally well (4.62 40) but showed good athleticism and better than expected coverage skills in the drills for a 6'3" 230 lb. guy. A raw prospect with upside in the right system.
Jonathan Amaya - Under the radar prospect who had a strong workout. Looked fluid in his drops, showed good burst and changed directions well.
Reshad Jones - Ran a good 40 but struggled in the drills. Was high in his backpedal and struggled to change direction.
Chad Jones - Did not have a terrible workout but did not live up to the high expectations.
Dennis Rogan - Should not have come out early. Lacked polish and struggled throughout his workout.
Lucien Antoine - In the box safety who looked extremely uncomfortable dropping into coverage. Did lead the defensive backs in the bench press (28 reps).
The combine is now complete and pro days are just around the corner. Be sure to check out nfldraft101.com for the latest news, mock drafts, scouting reports, and the great debates as we head towards the NFL Draft on April 22.