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NFL Scouting Combine Review: Corner backs and Safeties

Steve Shoup

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Corner backs who had a good day:

Josh Robinson:

Robinson was considered a mid-round at best prospect heading into the combine, but after running in the 4.3’s and blowing up the other workout drills, he is going to have some teams take notice. He struggled some catching the football, in the positional drills, but teams will be falling all over themselves with that speed. He could now be in the late 2nd, early 3rd round range.

Alfonzo Dennard:

I was hard on Dennard after he struggled Senior Bowl week, and my expectations weren’t too high for him here. Yet he came out and had a nice overall combine. He might not have been great in any one area, but it was good enough to keep him in the top 50 picks range. He is still more of a zone corner, who struggles to turn and run, but some team will find a place for those ball skills.

Casey Hayward:

Hayward ran better than expected and looked really fluid in the passing drills. He’s not the best at turning and running with guys, but he flips his hips well and has really good ball skills. He also showed really good hands, and could move into the 3rd round range.

Dwight Bentley:

Bentley ran a really strong time, and showed well in just about every workout and positional drill. After really shining at the Senior Bowl, Bentley has really worked his way up into the top 75 picks.

Morris Claiborne:

Claiborne had a really strong combine and that is despite the fact that he didn’t really have a strong 40 time. Claiborne measured in with 33″ arms, and looked long, lean and very agile. He flips his hips well and shows very impressive ball skills. Claiborne remains in the top 5 range, and should be the first corner off the board.

Dre Kirkpatrick:

Kirkpatrick had some questions surrounding him, but I thought he answered them with a really strong day. Kirkpatrick ran well, and looked long and athletic. Kirkpatrick remains a top 15 pick prospect and should be a day one starter.

CB who had a bad day, but it is overblown:

Leonard Johnson:

Johnson ran in the 4.7’s which is ridiculously slow for a CB, but it really shouldn’t affect his stock at all. Some teams might knock him for it, but they are making a mistake. His ball skills and instincts are off the charts. It was by no means a good day for him, but this is the type of guy who disproves the combine every year.

Safeties who stood out:

Harrison Smith:

With Mark Barron not working out (or Markelle Martin) Smith really shined today in what is overall a weak safety class. He’s got excellent size and strength, ran a nice 40 time, and looked good in the other workouts. In the positional drills Smith looked very natural in flipping his hips and looks capable of handling either safety spot.

George Illoka:

Illoka had a bad day according to some, but I think it is a bit overblown. Yes he looked tight in flipping his hips and changing direction, but that really didn’t come as a surprise. Illoka is a big physical safety, with tremendous length and long arms. He had both a good bench number and 40 time, which shows that he can run with guys when needed. Yes he is going to struggle when asked to cover quicker receivers, but his size, strength and speed, should help him covering bigger receivers and tight ends. He also has pretty good ball skills, which is another big plus for him.

Sean Richardson:

Richardson is an intriguing late round safety, who looked really good today. He is big (6’2″, 216) and ran a 4.52 40 time. He also benched 23 reps and had a 38 inch vertical, and over a 10′ long jump. Now his ball skills are a big raw, but with those numbers and some natural athletic ability, I thought it was a good showing.



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