Conventional wisdom is the 2015 NFL Draft's defensive back class, especially the safeties, is underwhelming, and going by the 40 times Monday at the NFL Scouting Combine, conventional wisdom is right.
The first group of defensive backs seemed slow overall. "We've seen more 4.7s and 4.8s this morning than I think we've seen in the last five years," said NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock.
One of the best corners in the class is LSU's Jalen Collins (6-foot-1 1/2, 203 pounds), who definitely has the size teams covet; Mayock called Collins "a long press corner." Collins' 40 time was 4.48, which is good for a guy of his size. But there are some concerns about Collins, one being that he started just 10 times in his career. He had three picks and 25 pass breakups at LSU.
"We've got a lot of questions to answer on this kid," Mayock said.
There were no questions about the speed of Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby (5-10 1/2, 193) coming into the combine, and he impressed by running a 4.38 in the 40. Darby, a former high school track star, generally is considered the second-best of the FSU corners in this class, behind P.J. Williams (6-0, 194), who ran a 4.57 Monday. Darby played at a high level as a true freshman, but never really seemed to get much better. Darby never was a liability, but he had some bouts of inconsistency and lacked flash plays and seems a likely third-day (Rounds 4-7) pick.
Darby also had an excellent vertical jump -- 41.5 inches -- and had a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches.
Cox -- who had a 38-inch vertical jump -- played two seasons for the Bulldogs after transferring in from junior college, but he has had off-field issues; he missed the final three games of the 2014 season after domestic-violence (which later were dropped) and burglary charges. He later pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of trespassing stemming from the incident. In addition, he started just nine times in his two seasons in Starkville. Cox was a touted two-way player (quarterback and cornerback) in high school but played only defense in junior college and at Mississippi State.
The top safety in the draft is Alabama's Landon Collins (6-0, 228), who ran a 4.53 40. Collins is known for his physical nature, but Mayock said Collins has "a little better coverage skills than you think."
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.