Tomorrow is the final day of the Combine. Only the defensive back workouts remain, and then we all get to spend the next few days in anticipation of the free agency period. These players are among the most scrutinized athletes in Indianapolis. Players have jumped from late third day prospects from D2 schools, to first round picks. The competition is intense, and Rich Eisen’s 40 time becomes public.
Defensive Back Drills
Every timed or measured drill makes or loses these players money. If a player’s size wasn’t ideal, they need to time well to make up for that or they’re not getting drafted. The 40 yard dash has defined many drafts, corners need to be under 4.6 to play on the outside for most teams. To stand a good chance of being drafted a safety needs to keep his 40 time under 4.7s. The three cone – and shuttles – are even more important as changing direction quickly is what defensive backs do for a living.
Hip swivel and foot speed are the most important factors for defensive backs. Teams will dissect players athletically from every possible angle. Stiff hips and long strides are the marks of a future bag boy, not an NFL defensive back. Teams will remove player names from their draft boards with every drill.
Players to Watch on the last day of the Combine
Cordrea Tankersley is a player with exactly the sort of physical playmaking game the Lions should go after. His performance in drills and timed speed will be key in determining where he goes in the draft.
Fabian Moreau has picked up a lot of momentum without playing more football. He lacks ball skills but is otherwise everything a team could want at the corner position. He has garnered mention among the late first and early second round prospects.
Obi Melifonwu is the most intriguing player in this draft attending the combine. He is a Goerge Iloka clone, with even more size and better coverage skills at the college level. If he looks like a safety in on field drills, teams will be jumping all over themselves to take this kid.
Josh Harvey-Clemons is another safety who may switch to linebacker in the NFL. He is not likely to time particularly well, but has the frame to add pounds and make the transition to nickel linebacker. He is a good player in either case. Some teams will remove him for the pair of drug suspensions that caused him to transfer from Georgia to Louisville.
Montae Nicholson from Michigan State will check the size, weight, speed boxes. I see him as a candidate to put on 10-15 lbs and make the transition to coverage linebacker. His toughness and confidence are questionable though. He may be a free agent after the draft.