March 9, 2017
Defensive backs were on display for the final day of on-the-field workouts at the 2017 NFL Combine. The secondary group is the largest at this combine, as the passing game has become a bigger part of the NFL.
When discussing defensive backs, it is good to know terms like tight hips, good feet, or good movement. Tight hips means a player struggles in turns and quickly changing directions, good feet are quick, up and down with no wasted steps, and good movement is the opposite of tight hips as a player is good or great at making change of directions or quick turns.
The defensive backs were split into two groups, with safeties and cornerbacks working out together in both. The two are vastly different positions, so when evaluating a player, it helps to know if they will be a corner or a safety.
Out of the group-one cornerbacks, Shaquill Griffin from the University of Central Florida, is going to move up draft boards with his 4.38-second run in the 40-yard dash. He did well during the on-the-field drills, showing good movement and speed.
Adoree’ Jackson out of the University of Southern California is a converted wide receiver, and it showed with his 4.42-second 40-yard dash and his ball-catching skills. He will be an instant help in one team’s return game.
Another converted wide receiver is Brian Allen from the University of Utah. He ran the 40-yard dash in a solid 4.48 seconds and showed good feet and ball skills. He will also help in the return game for whichever team drafts him.
Chidobe Awuzie out of the University of Colorado ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, and Sidney Jones from the University of Washington ran it in 4.47 seconds, but both showed some tight hips, when making turns or changing directions. Awuzie and Jones showed some good ball skills and moved well overall.
Marlon Humphrey out of the University of Alabama ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash. He moved well and has good DNA since his father, Bobby Humphrey, played in the NFL at running back.
A group-one safety that stood out right from the get-go was Josh Jones from North Carolina State University who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. That is an outstanding time for a safety, and he showed good movement and ball skills.
Budda Baker out of Washington and Delano Hill out of the University of Michigan are the top safeties in this draft class, with 4.46-second and 4.48-second runs, respectively. Both moved well and showed good footwork, but they struggled with catching the ball at times.
Jamal Adams out of Louisiana State University ran a slower 40-yard dash than other top safeties at 4.56 seconds, but he has a good family tree, with his father, George Adams, being a former NFL running back. He could still run better on his Pro Day. Adams looked faster than his 40-yard time during the on-the-field drills.
A group-two corner that stood out was Jalen Myrick out of the University of Minnesota who ran a crazy 4.28-second 40-yard dash. He will certainly move up draft boards with that speed also showed that he has good feet and movement.
Fabian Moreau out of the University of California, Los Angeles ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, and Marshon Lattimore out of Ohio State University ran it in 4.36 seconds; both showed that they had good speed and movement. Both will move up draft boards with their combine performances.
Kevin King out of Washington was another Huskie that had a good combine with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Expect to hear the University of Washington called out a good bit during the first two days of the draft.
Other group-two cornerbacks that stood out were Brendan Langley out of Lamar University, Erza Robinson out of Tennessee State University, Tre’Davious White out of LSU, and Ahkello Witherspoon out of Colorado. All four players ran the dash in under 4.5 seconds and tested well.
Cornerback Jabrill Peppers of Michigan was top safety overall and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. There is no question that some team will take Peppers in the first round with his unheard-of two-day performance.
Obi Melifonwu out of the University of Connecticut who ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash is a name that many people may not have heard yet. He had a great day testing and with his on-the-field workout, and will likely move up some draft boards.
Other group-two safeties that stood out were Montae Nicholson out of Michigan State University, Michael Tyson out of the University of Cincinnati and Xavier Woods out of Louisiana Tech University.
The defensive-back group as a whole was fast and is deep heading into the draft. Even with 60 players at the combine, several defensive backs that weren’t present will hear their name during the three days of the draft.
Defensive back, tight end, wide receiver, running back and defensive line are the deepest positions in this season’s draft. Quarterback and offensive lineman are two of the weakest positions.