Cornerbacks and safeties were in action Monday in Indianapolis during the final day of workouts at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
While defensive linemen are considered the strength of this draft and everyone wants to talk about quarterbacks and receivers, several defensive backs stole the show at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ole Miss safety Zedrick Woods set the best mark of the week in the 40-yard dash at 4.29 seconds, while top players like Greedy Williams, Byron Murphy, DeAndre Baker all spent the day trying to separate themselves in a crowded cornerback group.
Here is a look at what you need to know from Monday's action from the top players on the field.
Top 40-Yard Dash Times
Jamel Dean, Auburn: 4.30 seconds
Mark Fields, Clemson: 4.37 seconds
Greedy Williams, LSU: 4.37 seconds
Isaiah Johnson, Houston: 4.40 seconds
Sean Bunting, Central Michigan: 4.42 seconds
Zedrick Woods, Ole Miss: 4.29 seconds
Darnell Savage, Maryland: 4.36 seconds
Darius West, Kentucky: 4.39 seconds
Will Harris, Boston College: 4.41 seconds
Juan Thornhill, Virginia: 4.42 seconds
Full combine results are available on NFL.com
Jamel Dean, Auburn
Although Zedrick Woods had the best 40 time, Jamel Dean might have moved the needle the most on his draft stock.
The cornerback blazed down the field with a 4.30-second 40-yard dash, which was impressive considering his size at 6'1", 206 pounds.
Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB
#Auburn’s Jamel Dean just clocked a blazing 4.31 40.. Not surprised. We had him on the Freaks list last summer. Was told then that he’d ran an electronically timed 4.3 40-yard dash & also vertical jumped 38 inches and broad jumped 10-8. And this was as a 6-1, 215-pound DB.
His performance was even more notable with his injury history:
Along with his speed, Dean showcased his athleticism throughout the day with a vertical jump of 41 inches and a broad jump of 10'10".
This helped him tie Isaiah Johnson of Houston for the best combine score at the position:
Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats
Here's a look at the top combine performers from the cornerback group (pending the short shuttle & 3-cone drills). Auburn' Jamel Dean leads all cornerbacks by the NGS Combine Score (98) after running a 4.30 40-yard dash + 41" vertical jump & 10'10" broad jump at 206 lbs. https://t.co/BXwYSwZJVI
While workouts don't mean everything, it has told the story for cornerbacks in recent years:
Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats
Combine workouts matter when it comes to the cornerback position. Over the last 3 years, the top 5 cornerbacks by Next Gen Stats Combine Score all earned starting roles in their rookie season: Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, Shaquill Griffin, Kevin King and Denzel Ward. https://t.co/oZTbaO8swm
With athleticism and good size at the position, Dean might have moved up a lot of boards this week.
Greedy Williams, LSU
Coming into the day, Greedy Williams was already a divisive player among scouts, and that likely didn't change with the combine.
The LSU cornerback turned heads with a fast 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds:
This was something he needed to prove entering Monday:
Unfortunately, he struggled during the drills. The 6'2", 185-pounder looked awkward at times changing direction:
Dion Caputi @nfldraftupdate
I was a little curious whether the upright style of @LSUfootball CB Greedy Williams, which you can see on the footage, would still be evident in Combine drills considering it's not ideal technique, but it has. It'll require immediate correction at the next level. #NFLCombine
He then cut his day short because of cramps in his calves, according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. This prevented him from participating in the vertical jump, broad jump and shuttle drills, which he will presumably need to do at the LSU pro day later this month.
Some have Williams as the top overall cornerback in the class, but he seemingly still has a lot to prove.
Byron Murphy, Washington
It's always important to balance the testing with the rest of the scouting report, and Byron Murphy showed why Monday.
His 40-yard dash didn't turn many heads at 4.55 seconds:
The other numbers weren't among the leaders, including 36.5 inches on the vertical jump and 10 feet for the broad jump.
On the other hand, Murphy stood out during the drills with his smooth running:
Those watching along were impressed:
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller listed the Washington product as his No. 1 cornerback in the class heading into the combine, and that might not change despite mediocre testing numbers.
Even at 5'11", 190 pounds, Murphy could end up going early in the first round.
Juan Thornhill, Virginia
Few players at any position showcased their overall athleticism this week quite like safety Juan Thornhill.
At 6'0", 205 pounds, Thornhill displayed his strength with 21 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, which was second-best among defensive backs. He kept it going with the other workouts:
His vertical jump of 44 inches led all combine performers, while his 11'9" broad jump tied for first.
The safety held his own in the 40-yard dash as well, finishing in the top five at his position with a time of 4.42 seconds. This could help him move into the top two days of the draft:
At a position with few sure things, Thornhill likely climbed up rankings in Indianapolis.