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Small-school safeties Chinn, Dugger and Sneed dominate DB drills, testing at NFL Combine

You’ve already heard the names of defensive backs like C.J. Henderson, Jeffrey Okudah and Trevon Diggs.

But it was a trio of small school safeties who stole the show Sunday.

The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up its on-field work, tests, and drills with the cornerbacks and safeties.

Aside from a brief scare from Okudah – who was ultimately uninjured after taking a scary-looking fall during drills – there weren’t too many surprises, although a few lesser-heralded names likely moved up draft boards after their performances.

Tops on that list is a safety who showed evaluators that Lenoir-Rhyne safety Kyle Dugger isn’t the only small-school gem worth taking a shot on.

In fact, many draft analysts now say Southern Illinois’ Jeremy Chinn (6-3, 221) may have moved into the Day 2 conversation after his stellar combine performance.

How dominating were they?

Chinn’s 40 time of 4.47 tied him for the third-fastest among safeties (Dugger’s 4.49 was the sixth-fastest). His 20 reps in the bench press was tied for fourth, his eye-opening 41 inch vertical was tied for second-best behind Dugger’s 42 inch vertical, and Chinn’s 11-foot, 6-inch broad jump was tops among safeties, with Dugger not far behind with a jump of 11’2”.

On top of that, Chinn also looked good during on-field drills, with The NFL Network’s Chad Reuter saying his hips were fluid, he extended away from his body well to catch passes, and he was good at adjusting to the ball in the air.

“Chinn’s game film and work at the Senior Bowl in January were appreciated by scouts, too, but I think he gained a few more fans with his Indy workout,” Reuter said.

Pro Football Focus also came away impressed with Chinn’s performance.

L’Jarius Sneed (6-0, 192), meanwhile, showed he’s not the only defensive back from Louisiana Tech worth drafting. The safety’s 40 time of 4.37 was the second-best among all DBs. (His teammate, CB Amik Robertson, did not participate in the Combine after undergoing surgery in January to repair a groin injury but still met with teams.)

Other notable performances from the defensive backs include:

  • Cornerback CJ Henderson of Florida (6-1, 204) showed off ideal measurements for the position, and he was among the best DBs during the on-field drills. He also churned out a 4.39 40, tied for third-fastest among the DBs. “He needed a good day to secure a first-round selection – and he got it,” Reuter said.
  • CB Jeffrey Okudah of Ohio State (6-1, 205) ran an impressive 4.48 40, then took a fall hard while gauntlet portion of the workouts. Still, the junior came back to the field and had an impressive 11’3” broad jump and an outstanding 41-inch vertical jump, which tied him with three others among DBs for second-best.

All official prospect measurements, statistics and video are now available on the NFL.com’s website.

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