Combine Risers/Sliders: DBs
Illinois' Vontae Davis cemented his stats as one of the most gifted DBs available
Michigan's Morgan Trent was among the surprises and jumped up draft boards
Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins likely saw his stock fall with a 4.59 time in the 40
The 2009 NFL Scouting Combine came to completion on Tuesday as the defensive backs took to the field and worked out for the few remaining scouts and coaches on hand. There were several performances in both the morning and afternoon sessions which will likely to shake up the cornerback rankings and could impact the top of the draft. Here's the breakdown.
Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois: Davis measured 5-foot-11 and 203 pounds upon arriving at the combine then completed 25 reps on the bench, a big number for a cornerback. He was fast Tuesday and clocked both of his 40-yard-dashes in the mid 4.3-second range. Davis then showed a lot of skill during defensive back drills, displaying the ability to quickly backpedal and flip his hips. NFL scouts still have questions about his character but Davis cemented himself as one of the most physically gifted cornerbacks available in April's draft.
Morgan Trent/DB/Michigan: Trent exceeded expectations in every way. He measured 6-foot, 193 pounds and completed 23 reps on the bench. He ran his 40's in the very low 4.4-second range, which quelled the concern scouts had about his pure speed. Trent then put on a show in drills, displaying some of the best defensive back fundamentals of the day. He's a high-quality person which compliments his physical skills and Trent made a big jump up draft boards.
William Moore/S/Missouri: The Missouri safety deserves a lot of credit as he learned from his mistakes at the Senior Bowl by displaying a lot of improvement at the combine. Moore's 40 time was solid at 4.5 seconds after weighing in at 221 pounds. Moore's performance in defensive back drills is what made most scouts take notice. He showed the backpedal, footwork and hip movement which was so sorely lacking a month ago in Mobile. Moore really looked like a different type of ball player on the field Tuesday and likely salvaged a top-50 calling of his name in April.
Brandon Underwood/S/Cincinnati: Underwood gets lost amidst the big names in the Bearcats secondary yet could he end up as the best NFL player of the bunch. He ran well, timing under 4.5 seconds in both runnings of the 40. Underwood later showed a lot of skill in the position drills. He has the versatility to play either cornerback or safety and the underrated defensive back stated his case to be a top-75 pick.
Alphonso Smith/CB/Wake Forest: Smith started his combine on a positive note, measuring 5-foo-9 and getting over the psychological barrier of being a short, 5-foot-8-something cornerback which he had been branded with. He then ran well in the 40 clocking in the mid 4.4-second area. Smith went on to show why he's considered one of the most fundamentally sound defensive backs in the draft with great work in the position drills.
Keenan Lewis/CB/Oregon State: Lewis was fast on the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium, moving his 208 pound frame across the field in times which averaged 4.45 seconds. His practice session was terrific as Lewis looked fluid and natural in all the drills.
Jamarca Sanford/S/Mississippi: Sanford's 40 times were adequate at 4.55 seconds but the safety's strength numbers were eye-popping. He completed 29 reps on the bench press, a number bettered by just 13 offensive linemen last week. He's considered one of the more aggressive run defending safety's in the draft and Sanford proved he has the physical tools to back it up.
Chip Vaughn/S/Wake Forest: Vaughn's workout numbers were off the charts on a number of levels. He weighed 221 pounds, completed 21 reps on the bench then cracked 4.4 seconds on his first attempt in the 40. Vaughn's position work was slightly disappointing as he struggled backpedaling and was a little tight in his hips yet a team needing for a straight-line zone safety or a traditional strong safety will look his way in round three.
Malcolm Jenkins/CB/Ohio State: Entering the combine scouts questioned Jenkins' speed and his ability to run downfield with elite receivers. His combine workout left scouts with a negative impression and even more questions. Jenkins' times were poor, as first reported by SI.com this morning. His initial 40 was as slow as 4.59 seconds on some watches, though he improved slightly on his second run. He looked terrific in position work but the slow times now hang around his neck like an albatross. Some teams will take Jenkins' name off their cornerback board and put it on the safety list. His combine performance does not mean Jenkins won't be a quality player at the next level as either a cornerback or safety. It does mean he's no longer considered an elite player in the 2009 NFL Draft and will drop at least a half dozen slots come April.
Kevin Ellison/S/USC: Ellison ran a time slower than most of the linebackers when he clocked 4.8's in the 40. He looked solid in drills but the lack of speed will limit the types of coverage schemes Ellison can be used in at the next level. His draft stock took a hit on Tuesday.
Michael Hamlin/S/Clemson: Hamlin disappointed scouts when he struggled to get under 4.6 seconds in the 40. His 17 reps on the bench was a marginal result for the 217-pound defensive back.
Notes: There were a number of cornerbacks who sizzled in the 40 on Tuesday including Oregon State's Brandon Hughes (4.38 seconds), South Carolina's Captain Munnerlyn (4.39 seconds) and Ladarius Webb of Nicholls State (4.37 seconds). So why are they not listed as risers? Defensive backs must be as proficient moving backwards as they are running forwards. All three struggled in position drills and in the case of Hughes and Munnerlyn, were two of the slowest in tests which time a defensive backs ability to backpedal over several yards on the field.
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