We are down to the last day of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. I’m going to try to fight off my combine fatigue for one more winners & losers post. If I ever hear the song Happy by Pharrell again, it will be too soon. I’ve also heard enough about checked boxes, Clowney, and Michael Sam, but I’m still going to be sad when it’s all over.
There is a good chance the Bears will draft a defensive back and/or a safety so today’s results could have an impact on Phil Emery’s draft board. Here is what went down on day 6:
- Athletic measurements (40 yard dash, vertical leap, broad jump) for defensive backs and safeties
- Position drills for defensive backs and safeties
Check below for a breakdown of winners & losers:
Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St (5’11, 199) - A tough, physical corner who was thought to be lacking top-end speed, Dennard surprised everyone with a 4.51 40-time. He did struggle a bit in the drill portion of the day, showing stiff hips. Dennard’s physical style isn’t a fit for every team, but he answered the questions about his speed and that should be enough to lock up a 1st round draft grade.
Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St (6’0, 202) – Gilbert’s numbers weren’t a surprise (4.37, 20 reps) as he was thought to be the best athlete in the class. They are good enough numbers to ensure a spot in the first round and probably the first CB off the board.
Jason Verrett, TCU (5’9, 189) - Already has one strike against him due to his lack of height, but he might be the best pure cover corner in the draft and showed elite speed (4.38) and an explosive vertical (39″) which will allow Verrett to play bigger than 5’9.
Philip Gaines, Rice (6’1, 193) – With everyone looking for big corners, the 6’1 Gaines moved up a round or two after an unexpected 4.38 40-time and smooth hips in the drills. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gaines go in the 3rd round.
Jaylen Watkins, Florida (5’11, 194) – Watkins continues to rise up draft boards. He was one of the best cover corners at the Senior Bowl and his 4.41 40-time and 22 bench reps at the combine will continue to boost his draft stock.
Dontae Johnson, North Carolina St (6’2, 200) – Another big corner who answered questions about his speed with a surprising 4.45 40-time. Johnson is great against the run and can also play safety. Unlike some of the other big corners, Johnson is a better fit for a zone coverage scheme which could give him a boost up the Bears draft board.
Keith McGill, Utah (6’3, 211) - Yet another tall corner whose stock is soaring after a big senior bowl and a better than expected 40-time (4.51). McGill’s hands are suspect, but his size, speed and leaping ability (39″) might move him into the 2nd round of the draft.
Kyle Fuller (4.49 – VT), Bennett Jackson (4.51 – ND), Bradley Roby (4.39 – OSU), and Nevin Lawson (4.48 – USU) all ran as expected or better and helped themselves on day 6.
Louchiez Purifoy, Florida (5’11, 190) – I thought Purifoy was one of the best athletes in the draft, but after a 4.61 40-time and a position low 6 bench reps, I am not so sure. I think Purifoy may have dropped out of the 2nd round.
Marcus Roberson, Florida (6’0, 191) - He ran an identical 4.61 as his teammate, Purifoy. Roberson managed a few more reps on the bench (8) but they were still the two weakest corners at the combine. Roberson looked just ok in the position drills and may have been passed by guys like Verrett and Fuller on most team’s boards.
Victor Hampton, South Carolina (5’9, 197) – Already considered a risky pick due to some off-field stuff, overly physical play, and for his tendency to grab when beaten, Hampton’s stock is going to drop a bit after his position low 4.69 40-time. He also measured an inch shorter than he was listed at South Carolina. I had him as a 3rd-4th round pick coming into the combine, but think he will drop into the 5th-6th range.
Ricardo Allen, Purdue (5’9, 187) – Allen’s lack of size was already a major knock against him, but a 4.61 40-time might be worse. Allen was on the bubble as a late slot corner, but I think he’s in UFA range now.
Lavelle Westbrooks, Georgia Southern (5’11, 186) – Another guy who is fighting for a late round spot. Westbrooks got torched repeatedly in Senior Bowl practices and his 4.63 40-time at the combine isn’t going to help his cause any.