NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock has had a frenzied past four days reporting for the NFL Network from the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here are some takeaways from Mayock on Tuesday, when defensive backs took the field on the final day of the combine:
Gilbert's 'phenomenal day'
Mayock -- and many others -- like Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. Gilbert tied for second nationally with seven interceptions, and Mayock said, "The kid makes plays." Gilbert had the best 40-yard dash among the corners, running it in 4.37 seconds. Mayock said Gilbert had a "phenomenal day" with his 40 time and his work in the drills, in which "he looked comfortable, confident and smooth." Fellow analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Gilbert No. 1 on his cornerback list. "He was my top cornerback coming into the week, and I didn't see anything" to change that, Jeremiah said.
Dennard answers speed questions
Mayock said the 2014 cornerback class "is one of the deepest [at the position] I've seen in years." His top corner -- for now, at least -- is Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top college defensive back. Tuesday's 40-yard dash was important for Dennard because "the only question is long speed," according to Mayock. Dennard clocked a 4.51 40. Mayock said Dennard "needed something with a 4.4 attached to it." When he heard Dennard ran a 4.51, Mayock said, "Close enough." Mayock called Dennard "a press corner with toughness" and said he believes he is a potential top-15 pick. NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders said team fit was important for Dennard: "If he's a bump-and-run cornerback, let him be a bump-and-run cornerback."
Pryor's pro comparison
Mayock has Louisville free safety Calvin Pryor as his No. 1 safety. "This is a bigger version of Bob Sanders," Mayock said. Mayock also said Pryor "flies to the football, and he's always around the football." While Pryor was a free safety at Louisville, Mayock said he can see Pryor as a strong safety in the NFL. Pryor was listed at 6-2 at Louisville but measured 5-11 at the combine. He ran his 40 in 4.58 seconds. Mayock said he could see Pryor as a potential top-15 pick. Jeremiah likes Pryor's physical nature: "Every tape you put in, you see violent collisions."
Clinton-Dix a 'prototype free safety'
Mayock also is high on Alabama free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, calling him "the prototype free safety in this draft." Clinton-Dix, Mayock's No. 2 safety, is comfortable anywhere on the field, Mayock said, including covering guys in the slot. "There are some teams who think he can play corner," Mayock said.
Roby needs technique work
Ohio State's Bradley Roby generally was considered the top cornerback in the nation heading into the 2013 season, but he had an uneven fall. "He's got some really good tape and some really bad tape," Mayock said. Roby ran a 4.39 40, not that big a surprise, considering his athleticism. "He's a good football player; I think it's just about technique and eyes," Mayock said on Roby's up-and-down 2013 season.
Verrett's size a sticking point
Mayock said TCU cornerback Jason Verrett had a "really good day." Verrett had a 4.38 40 time and looked good in the on-field drills, too. "I think the kid has everything but size," Mayock said. Verrett measured 5-foot-9 1/2 at the combine. Mayock said Verrett -- who had a 39-inch vertical jump -- can play inside and outside and is an "ideal nickel" guy.
» Clemson cornerback Bashaud Breeland: Mayock thinks he should've stayed in school instead of coming out after his junior season, but "I think he's got starting skills." Mayock said ball recognition is an issue with Breeland, who is 5-11, and he also "needs to learn how to use his length at the line of scrimmage."
» Washington State strong safety Deone Bucannon: Bucannon is Mayock's No. 5 safety. "He's got size, and he's got four years of high-quality production," Mayock said. Bucannon, who measured 6-1 and 211 pounds, had 383 tackles and 15 interceptions in his Cougars career. "I like him in the box, but he has the range to play on the back end," Mayock said.
» Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller: He missed four games with injuries as a senior in 2013. He is said to lack elite speed, and he ran a 4.49 in the 40. "Most teams have second- or third-round grades, but I have him in the first," Mayock said. Mayock said Fuller has "real quick feet" and is a playmaker. Fuller had six interceptions and 28 pass breakups in his career.
So, about Clowney ...
One last quote on South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from Mayock: "If he decides he wants to be great, watch out." Mayock has no questions about Clowney's talent or athleticism but did question Clowney's work ethic throughout the combine.
The final word(s)
And a final big-picture quote from Mayock, who has said this is the best and deepest draft in 10 years. He said the 2014 draft has "quality and depth at every position" and that he wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of deals because trading down would enable teams to get "multiple quality picks."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.