2015 NFL Scouting Combine: Six defensive backs to watch

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The NFL Scouting Combine runs Feb. 17-23 in Indianapolis, and it brings together 323 of the nation's most draftable players and numerous front-office representatives and scouts from each NFL team.


» Mayock's position-by-position top-five rankings for 2015 draft


A big portion of the combine is the individual events, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the vertical jump.

NFL Scouting Combine


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This is part seven of our position-by-position look at the combine, spotlighting defensive backs. We look at six prospects who will be scrutinized this year and also look at noteworthy event performances in the past five combines. We'll also look at how notable current corners and safeties performed in their combine events.

Six to watch this year

FS Chris Hackett, TCU: Alabama's Landon Collins is the clear-cut No. 1 safety and is seen as a first-round lock. So who's the No. 2 safety? That's a good question, and Hackett could be in the discussion for some teams. He turned pro a year early after a sterling 2014 campaign, when he led the Horned Frogs with seven interceptions (tied for third nationally) and was fourth on the team with 75 tackles. Hackett (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) was a three-year starter for the defense-savvy Horned Frogs, who use a 4-2-5 set, and finished his career with 12 interceptions, 16 pass breakups, 224 tackles, and five forced fumbles. The biggest issue is a perceived lack of top-end speed; thus, his 40 time will be important. He should do well in the other drills.

CB Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest: Johnson toiled for one of the weakest Power Five programs in the nation, but scouts know all about him. His height (he's listed at 6-1) is a plus. But he also is listed at 175 pounds and needs to add weight and bulk. NFL Media analyst Lance Zeirlein says Johnson is "very natural in man coverage" and can be "disruptive in press coverage." He should test well at the combine, though it will be interesting to see his 40 time. Also interesting will be his official weigh-in: How much does he weigh? There is no clear-cut pecking order among the corners, so the combine likely will help teams further establish their lists. Johnson wouldn't mind cementing a spot among the top five at the position.

CB Marcus Peters, Washington: Peters might be the best corner available, but there are red flags flying -- not the least of which is that he was dismissed from the team during the season. Zeirlein says Peters (6-0, 198) is a "talented cover cornerback with size, ball skills and the confidence NFL teams are looking for, but (he) lacks the necessary discipline and maturity on the field and in practice." At the combine, Peters needs to show up, keep his head down and blow teams away with his work in the drills. He almost certainly will be downgraded by most (every?) team because of character issues, but, hey, at least he can make it difficult for teams to do that with a strong combine showing.

CB Quinten Rollins, Miami (Ohio) : He's one of the most interesting stories in the draft. He was a four-year starter at point guard for the RedHawks' basketball team before deciding to try his hand at football as a senior. Rollins had a fabulous season, being named the MAC's defensive player of the year after coming up with seven interceptions, nine pass breakups, 72 tackles, and four tackles for loss; the seven interceptions tied for third nationally. Yes, he is raw. But he also has good size at 5-11 and 193 pounds and looks to have the necessary traits to be a top-flight cornerback. "His ability to change gears instantly gives him a chance to develop into a talented cover cornerback," Zierlein says. His 40 time and work in the drills are being eagerly anticipated by personnel folks.

CB Trae Waynes, Michigan State: Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard was a first-round pick last year; this year, Waynes seems likely to go in the first round. Michigan State has its corners take on different roles; Waynes was the Spartans' "field" corner in 2013, and the field corner defends the wide side of the field on each play. He replaced Dennard as the Spartans' boundary corner in 2014. Waynes (6-1, 182) has good length and is comfortable in bump-and-run coverage. As with Dennard coming out of college, Waynes is too "hands-on" for some observers, but that is the way Michigan State corners are coached. Waynes is in the running to be the first corner off the board, and a strong combine obviously would help his cause. Dennard ran a 4.51 in the 40 last year; can Waynes beat that?

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CB P.J. Williams, Florida State: Williams (6-0, 196) is another who could be in the mix to be the first corner off the board. He has good size and bulk, and plays a physical brand of ball. Zeirlein calls him "a bump-and-run specialist," and his 40 time will be closely monitored. Williams says he is "going to put on a show" at the combine. Fellow FSU CB Ronald Darby seems likely to have the better 40 time, but it's not a stretch to think Williams can run under 4.4 seconds. And with Williams weighing almost 200 pounds, that would open some eyes.

Combine bests over past five years

40-YARD DASH/CORNERBACKS

1. Demarcus Van Dyke, Miami
Time: 4.28 in 2011
Draft status: 3rd round, Oakland Raiders

2. Josh Robinson, UCF
Time: 4.33 in 2012
Draft status: 3rd round, Minnesota Vikings

3. Patrick Peterson, LSU
Time: 4.34 in 2011
Draft status: 1st round (5th overall), Arizona Cardinals

4. Darius Slay, Mississippi State
Time: 4.36 in 2013
Draft status: 2nd round, Detroit Lions

5t. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Time: 4.37 in 2014
Draft status: 1st round (8th overall), Cleveland Browns

5t. Ron Brooks, LSU
Time: 4.37 in 2012
Draft status: 4th round, Buffalo Bills

5t. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
Time: 4.37 in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (9th overall), New York Jets

Notable players
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech: 4.49 seconds in 2014
Johnathan Joseph, South Carolina: 4.31 seconds in 2006
Darrelle Revis, Pitt: Did not run at 2007 combine
Richard Sherman, Stanford: 4.54 seconds in 2011
Aqib Talib, Kansas: 4.44 seconds in 2008

40-YARD DASH/SAFETIES

1. FS Chris Clemons, Clemson
Time: 4.41 in 2009
Draft status: 5th round, Miami Dolphins

2t. SS Terrence Brooks, Florida State
Time: 4.42 in 2014
Draft status: 3rd round, Baltimore Ravens

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2t. SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
Time: 4.42 in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Pittsburgh Steelers

4. FS Taylor Mays, USC
Time: 4.43 in 2010
Draft status: 2nd round, San Francisco 49ers

5. SS Earl Wolff, North Carolina state
Time: 4.44 in 2013
Draft status: 5th round, Philadelphia Eagles

Notable players
SS Eric Berry, Tennessee: 4.47 seconds in 2010
SS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech: 4.62 seconds in 2010
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama: 4.58 seconds in 2014
FS Laron Landry, LSU: 4.35 seconds in 2007
SS Eric Weddle, Utah: 4.48 seconds in 2007

20-YARD SHUTTLE/CORNERBACKS

1. B.W. Webb, William & Mary
Time: 3.84 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Dallas Cowboys

2. Desmond Trufant, Washington
Time: 3.85 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 1st round, Atlanta Falcons

3t. Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt
Time: 3.90 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 2nd round, Green Bay Packers

3t. Buster Skrine, Chattanooga
Time: 3.90 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Cleveland Browns

5. Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Time: 3.94 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 1st round, Buffalo Bills

Notable players
Champ Bailey, Georgia: 3.79 seconds in 1999
Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech: 4.19 seconds in 2014
Richard Sherman, Stanford: 4.33 seconds in 2011
Aqib Talib, Kansas: 4.25 seconds in 2008
Charles Woodson, Michigan: 4.06 seconds in 1998

20-YARD SHUTTLE/SAFETIES

1. SS Shiloh Keo, Idaho
Time: 3.90 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Houston Texans

2. FS Daniel Sorensen, BYU
Time: 3.95 seconds in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

3. FS Rahim Moore, UCLA
Time: 3.96 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 2nd round, Denver Broncos

4. FS Sherrod Martin, Troy
Time: 3.98 seconds in 2009
Draft status: 2nd round, Carolina Panthers

5. FS Duke Williams, Nevada
Time: 4.00 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Buffalo Bills

Notable players
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama: 4.16 seconds in 2014
FS Michael Griffin, Texas: 4.10 seconds in 2007
FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame: 4.12 seconds in 2012
SS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas: 4.06 seconds in 2013
SS Eric Weddle, Utah: 4.12 seconds in 2007

VERTICAL JUMP

1. CB A.J. Jefferson, Fresno State
Jump: 44 inches in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

2. SS Eric Berry, Tennessee
Jump: 43 inches in 2010
Draft status: 1st round (5th overall), Kansas City Chiefs

3. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska
Jump: 41.5 inches in 2014
Draft status: 2nd round, New Orleans Saints

4t. FS Taylor Mays, USC
Jump: 41 inches in 2010
Draft status: 2nd round, San Francisco 49ers

4t. CB Bene Benwikere, San Jose State
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2014
Draft status: 5th round, Carolina Panthers

4t. FS Eric Reid, LSU
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (18th overall), San Francisco 49ers

4t. CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (25th overall), Minnesota Vikings

4t. SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Pittsburgh

4t. CB B.W. Webb, William & Mary
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Dallas

4t. CB Steve Williams, California
Jump: 40.5 inches in 2013
Draft status: 5th round, San Diego

Notable players
CB Joe Haden, Florida: 35 inches in 2010
FS Rashad Johnson, Alabama: 37 inches in 2009
CB Richard Sherman, Stanford: 38 inches in 2011
CB Aqib Talib, Kansas: 38 inches in 2008
SS T.J. Ward, Oregon: 34 inches in 2010

3-CONE DRILL/CORNERBACKS

1. Buster Skrine, Chattanooga
Numbers: 6.44 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Cleveland

2. Chykie Brown, Texas
Numbers: 6.50 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Baltimore

3. Will Davis, Utah State
Numbers: 6.52 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 3rd round, Miami

4. Josh Robinson, UCF
Numbers: 6.55 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 3rd round, Minnesota

5. Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
Numbers: 6.57 seconds in 2014
Draft status: 7th round, Dallas

Notable players
Leodis McKelvin, Troy: 7.06 seconds in 2008
Patrick Peterson, LSU: 6.58 seconds in 2011
Carlos Rogers, Auburn: 6.48 seconds in 2005
Richard Sherman, Stanford: 6.82 seconds in 2011
Charles Woodson, Michigan: 6.93 seconds in 1998

3-CONE DRILL/SAFETIES

1. FS Daniel Sorensen, BYU
Numbers: 6.47 seconds in 2014
Draft status: Undrafted

2. SS Shiloh Keo, Idaho
Numbers: 6.55 seconds in 2011
Draft status: 5th round, Houston

3. FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
Numbers: 6.63 seconds in 2012
Draft status: 1st round, Minnesota

4. FS Josh Evans, Florida
Numbers: 6.64 seconds in 2013
Draft status: 6th round, Jacksonville

5. SS Barry Church, Toledo
Numbers: 6.65 seconds in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

Notable players
SS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech: 7.36 seconds in 2010
FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama: 7.16 seconds in 2014
FS Michael Griffin, Texas: 6.60 seconds in 2007
FS Rahim Moore, UCLA: 6.98 seconds in 2011
SS Eric Weddle, Utah: 6.78 seconds in 2007

BROAD JUMP

1. CB Donald Washington, Ohio State
Numbers: 11 feet, 3 inches in 2009
Draft status: 4th round, Kansas City

2t. CB Darius Butler, Connecticut
Numbers: 11 feet, 2 inches in 2009
Draft status: 2nd round, New England

2t. FS Eric Reid, LSU
Numbers: 11 feet, 2 inches in 2013
Draft status: 1st round (18th overall), San Francisco

2t. SS Earl Wolff, North Carolina State
Numbers: 11 feet, 2 inches in 2013
Draft status: 5th round, Philadelphia

5t. CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood (Mo.)
Numbers: 11 feet, 1 inch in 2014
Draft status: 4th round, Cleveland

5t. CB Josh Robinson, UCF
Numbers: 11 feet, 1 inch in 2012
Draft status: 3rd round, Minnesota

5t. SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
Numbers: 11 feet, 1 inch in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Pittsburgh

Notable players
SS Eric Berry, Tennessee: 10 feet, 10 inches in 2010
CB Aqib Talib, Kansas: 10 feet, 11 inches in 2008
FS Earl Thomas, Texas: 9 feet, 4 inches in 2010
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU: 10 feet, 6 inches in 2011
CB Charles Woodson, Michigan: 10 feet, 3 inches in 1998

BENCH PRESS

1. SS Kevin Ellison, USC
Numbers: 32 reps in 2009
Draft status: 6th round, San Diego

2t. FS Lucien Antoine, Oklahoma State
Numbers: 28 reps in 2010
Draft status: Undrafted

2t. SS Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse
Numbers: 28 reps in 2013
Draft status: 4th round, Pittsburgh

4t. SS John Boyett, Oregon
Numbers: 27 reps in 2013
Draft status: 6th round, Indianapolis

4t. CB Da'Norris Searcy, North Carolina
Numbers: 27 reps in 2011
Draft status: 4th round, Buffalo

Notable players
SS Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech: 22 reps in 2010
CB Vontae Davis, Illinois: 25 reps in 2009
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU: 15 reps in 2011
CB Richard Sherman, Stanford: 16 reps in 2011
CB Charles Woodson, Michigan: 24 reps in 1998

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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