NFL Combine Recap: CB and S
-Gilbert is battling Dennard for the top corner spot in the draft and he showed that from an athletic perspective he has everything you are looking for in a starting corner and a first round pick. Gilbert might not have overtaken Dennard, but he’s made it at least a fair discussion and some teams will likely prefer him as their pick. Gilbert is a really nice blend of skills, athletic ability and size, which allows him to be effective in just about any system. For as good as Gilbert’s athletic drills were, he was perhaps more impressive in the positional drills he looked really fluid throughout.
-Dennard ran well and perhaps better than people expected of him. He was limited some in the positional drills as he doesn’t show the same fluidity of a Gilbert or Verrett, but that really isn’t Dennard’s game. His game is built on his physicality and ability to jam receivers at the line. Dennard also uses top notch instincts and technique to lock down receivers and we just weren’t going to see that at the Combine. Dennard shows that he’s got good athletic ability and that is really all he needed to do for this to be a success workout.
-Verrett is a highly impressive corner and is a great combination of technique and athletic ability, which was well on display at the Combine. The knock on him is going to be his size and he did come in under 5’10”. That is going to limit him, and for some teams really knock him down a peg. If you feel he’s likely a slot guy, it could be tough to justify a top 50 pick. Other teams will give him a shot outside (as they should), but his market will be more limited which hurts his value some.
-Fuller is a corner who really boosted his value as he answered a big question mark about his long speed with his 40 time. Fuller has everything else you are looking for in a starting corner and with the question about his speed answered he’s likely to move up into the late 1st/early 2nd round discussion.
-Roby is a corner that has a lot of debate. On one side is the fact that Roby is one of the most athletically gifted corners in the draft and that was proven at the Combine. On the other hand Roby simply looked lost far too often this past year. Roby would flash with some big plays, but he was wildly inconsistent and at times was a downright liability there. Unfortunately the Combine couldn’t answer those questions (outside of perhaps the meetings). From a potential standpoint he should go in the first round, but he could easily slide to the late 2nd/early 3rd area.
-Pryor had a really nice Combine showing good speed and athletic ability and looking solid in the drill work. He’s probably not as refined as a cover guy as Clinton-Dix, but he’s probably the more well rounded safety with his run defense skills and angles. Now that his athletic ability is seen to stack up next to Clinton-Dix, he’s very much in the conversation as the top safety in the draft.
-Clinton-Dix was really impressive in both the workout and positional drills showing why many feel that not only he’s a first round pick, but could go in the top 15 or 20. Calvin Pryor is on his heels for the top safety spot, but Clinton-Dix, ensured that he wasn’t going to give that spot up easily. He’s probably a bit more athletically gifted than Pryor, which combined with his SEC success gives Clinton-Dix the edge.
-While there does seem to be a sizable gap between the top two safeties and the rest of the class, more and more safeties seem to present themselves as solid 2nd tier options. Brooks really rose up the charts and near the top of that 2nd tier, after a really strong Combine. He’s a really nice cover guy and has the speed to be an effective centerfielder. This was a big day for him and it really will give some teams some interest in the later 2nd round and 3rd round of the draft.