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Amukamara, Peterson among DBs to solidify stock in Indy

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press
Prince Amukamara proved he's fast enough to play corner in the NFL with his impressive effort at the combine.


The final day of the NFL Scouting Combine provided Nebraska corner Prince Amukamara with an opportunity to silence detractors who pegged him for a move to safety because of a perceived lack of speed.

Although a switch to free safety would allow a team to take advantage of Amukamara's athleticism and versatility, the change would be viewed as a demotion. Cornerbacks are regarded as the best athletes on the field, with speed and burst essential to their success.

Amukamara is regarded as one of the purest cover corners in the draft, but questions persisted about his speed and explosiveness prior to Tuesday.

His sizzling performance, however, solidified his status as a potential top-10 selection. He turned in a time of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash and showed good quickness in individual drills. Even though he showed some tightness in his transitions and turns, his overall workout indicates that he has all of the tools to thrive as corner on the next level.

With the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys in desperate need of secondary help, Amukamara is certain to hear his name called early.

Let's take a look at some other prospects who improved their stock Tuesday:

Patrick Peterson, LSU, CB: He blew away the athletic testing portion with exceptional numbers in all drills. His 4.34 time in the 40 rated near the top of the list. He followed that by showing obvious quickness, burst and fluidity in individual drills. He also displayed great hand-eye coordination catching the ball and looks like a natural playmaker. Peterson might not overtake Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley or Marcell Dareus as the potential No.1 pick, but he certainly has the talent to be considered the draft's top player.

Jimmy Smith, Colorado, CB: He entered the combine as the third corner on most boards and needed a great workout to solidify his status as a mid-first round selection. Smith showed athleticism, speed and burst in drills. He is smooth and fluid in movements, showing surprising body control for his lanky frame (6-foot-2, 211 pounds). He displayed sound footwork making turns and transitions in the pedal drills. His fluidity executing those movements is impressive considering his lack of experience in zone coverage.

Curtis Brown, Texas, CB: He emerged as one of the unheralded stars of the combine behind his measurables (4.53 40-yard dash, 10-foot-8 broad jump, 39 ½-inch vertical and 6.59 three-cone drill) and athleticism and fluidity in drills. Brown made smooth transitions and turns, flashing a burst out of his breaks. He also displayed excellent hands and ball skills in grabbing interceptions at the highest point. Brown doesn't rank as a first-round talent, but he will certainly jump into the conversation as a second- or third-round prospect.

Darryl "Buster" Skrine, Tennessee-Chattanooga, CB: He opened eyes Tuesday, with his 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds), short-shuttle (3.90 tied for best among DBs) and three-cone drill (6.44 fastest among DBs). Skrine also looked surprisingly fluid during individual drills. He moved well in his turns and transitions, showing the potential to be a quality sub-defender. With his speed and explosiveness valued at a premium, Skrine will catapult up draft boards.

Rahim Moore, UCLA, S: Locked in as the top safety in the draft coming in, his solid workout did nothing to dissuade that opinion. Moore put up solid numbers in the athletic drills while showing excellent footwork and fluidity in defensive back drills. He caught the ball exceptionally well and is one of the more natural centerfielder-type safeties in this year's class.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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