Miami (Ohio) cornerback Quinten Rollins is one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire draft class because of his background.
Before the 2014 season, Rollins (5-foot-11 1/8, 195 pounds) had last played football as a senior at Wilmington (Ohio) High in 2009. But while he was a two-year captain in football at Wilmington, he was better at basketball and signed with Miami in that sport. He was a four-year starter for the RedHawks at point guard and finished his career last March ranked second in school history and 12th in MAC history in steals (214); he also ranks fourth in school history in assists (391) and seventh in games started (106).
Rollins got the desire to play football again and was eligible as a fifth-year senior. He went through spring practice, then worked his way into the starting lineup in fall camp last year. His decision paid off: He had seven interceptions -- a figure that tied for third nationally -- and was named the MAC's defensive player of the year.
During NFL Network's coverage of the combine, NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said Rollins' ball skills are "unreal," and also said he is "competitive, quick and tough." But that speed might mean Rollins only can be a nickel corner or even a safety.
Still, he has an intriguing upside -- and it's partly because of his inexperience.
"He's going to go higher than people think," said Mayock, who said he thinks Rollins will be a second- or third-round pick.
Where are the safeties?
The 2015 draft features a weak safety class -- "The safety class is poor," is how Mayock succinctly put it -- and Alabama's Landon Collins (6-0, 228) is unquestionably the top safety available. "There is really one safety in this draft class," NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. He also said Collins "might get bumped up even higher (in the first round) than his draft grade would indicate." Mayock touted Collins' physical nature and noted that he was "one of the best special teams players Alabama has had in the last three years."
TCU safety has 'incredibly slow' time
Touted TCU LB Paul Dawson had a poor day Sunday, and Horned Frogs S Chris Hackett was underwhelming in Monday's tests. Hackett (6-0 1/4, 195) was clocked at 4.81 in the 40, which Mayock said was "a very slow time." Jeremiah called it "incredibly slow." Actually, it was the slowest of all the DBs who ran Monday. Mayock said Hackett's tape was good and noted that TCU's pro day would be important for Dawson and Hackett.
Sun Devils' safety has 'corner skill set'
One safety who could benefit because of the paucity of talent at the position is Arizona State's Damarious Randall, a Florida native who played two years at a junior college before ending up at Arizona State. Randall (5-10 7/8, 196) ran a 4.46 40, a "great time for a safety," said Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, who was providing on-field analysis for NFL Network. Mayock said Randall has a "corner skill set" but does have "a small frame for a safety." Mayock likes Randall's coverage skills, noting that Arizona State played a ton of man-to-man defense. Randall had a 38-inch vertical jump.
Ball skills a plus for CB, but tackling needs work
Tulane CB Lorenzo Doss (5-10 3/8, 182) was incredibly productive in college, with 15 interceptions and 20 pass breakups in three seasons with the Green Wave; he left school after his junior season. Doss, who is 20, never redshirted and had five picks as a true freshman. He had seven interceptions as a sophomore in 2013, taking two back for TDs and leading the nation with 185 return yards. This season, he had three picks and nine breakups. He ran well Monday, with a 4.50 clocking. While praising Doss' ball skills -- "He goes and gets it" -- and saying he had good feet, Mayock also criticized his lack of physicality. "He wouldn't tackle anybody," Mayock said. Doss seems likely to be a third-day (Rounds 4-7) selection.
FCS safety is a big hitter
Another safety who has caught Mayock's eye is Samford's Jaquiski Tartt (6-1 3/8, 221), who had a solid 4.53 time in the 40. Tartt was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs, a FCS program, and finished his career with 273 tackles, six interceptions and 20 pass breakups. "He'll come downhill and hit you," Mayock said. Tartt played at the same high school, Mobile (Ala.) Davidson High, as San Francisco 49ers rookie safety Jimmie Ward, who was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Northern Illinois.
CB's height is a big concern
Mississippi CB Senquez Golson was second in the nation with 10 interceptions and had a solid 40 time of 4.46. But he's also just 5-8 1/2 and 176 pounds, and that size is a big detriment. "I know he's going to get knocked on his height," Mayock said. But Mayock also is a fan of Golson's ball skills: "When the ball's in the air, it's his." Golson is a good all-around athlete who was picked in the eighth round in the 2011 baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox as a center fielder, and he has excellent hands, which he showed off in the drills portion of Monday's workout.
Disappointing time for Texas CB
Texas CB Quandre Diggs' brother, Quentin Jammer, also played corner for the Longhorns, and was a first-round pick in the 2002 draft by the San Diego Chargers. Diggs isn't going to be a first-round pick and seems likely to go on the third day (Rounds 4-7). While he never redshirted and was a four-year starter for Texas, Diggs' lack of height (5-9 1/8, 196) and speed (4.56 in the 40) are concerns. Mayock said teams were looking at Diggs as a slot cornerback. "He wants people to know he can play outside," Mayock said. But Mayock then noted that Diggs' 40 time likely would reinforce the belief that he's a slot corner.