The final day of the 2016 NFL Combine ended up being the star of the show as the defensive backs really flashed the talent of what is to come in the future of the NFL. The combination of the speed and ball skills was on full display as the cornerbacks and safeties flashed some serious speed, the type of speed we expected to see with the Wide Receivers, with 6 guys coming in sub 4.4 compared to only 2 WRs. So to close the show on the NFL combine, let’s get to the highlights of the defensive backs.
Jalen Ramsey – Florida State – If there’s been 1 person talked about more than any other player at the combine, it’s Jalen Ramsey. The CB/S has been talked up so much that he’s now being pushed as the possible #1 overall pick, something that only 3 defensive players have been in the last 20 years. Ramsey’s biggest question is his hands. He only had 3 INTs in his 3 year career at Florida State with 0 this past season. Ramsey has immense athleticism, 4.41 forty, 11 foot 3 inch broad jump, 41.5 inch vertical, but I like him as a Safety, not as a Cornerback, and worry that he is being a bit overhyped right now.
Vernon Hargreaves – Florida – Here is my #1 CB in the draft. Hargreaves has 10 INTs in his 3 year Florida career and despite having short arms and only being just above 5’10, Hargreaves shows the speed and ball skills to prosper in the NFL. He is projected to go just outside the top 10, but if he falls near or into the 20s, someone is going to get a steal of a pick. Hargreaves has shut down ability and the type of change of direction that is rarely seen.
Eli Apple – Ohio State – Apple is another solid player that is projected to go in the 1st round. At almost 6’2 and 199 pounds, Apple ran a 4.40 forty and showed enough ball skills to validate him as a 1st.
William Jackson – Houston – Jackson was a borderline 1st round pick going into the combine, but put on a show with a blazing 4.37 forty and a 1.52 ten yard split. He looks to come off the board end of round 1.
Others of Note:
Mackensie Alexander – Clemson – Did not compete in any of the events, but he is expected to hear his name go in round 1. He does not have any INTs in his 2 years at Clemson.
Darian Thompson – Boise State – Thompson is someone I had really high hopes for, but he didn’t really have a good combine. He still showed his great ball skills, he had 17 INTs in his 4 years, but only ran a 4.69 forty with only 12 bench press reps. Should be still a 2nd round pick.
Kendall Fuller – Virginia Tech – Fuller did not participate in more of the on field drills. He looks like a 2nd round pick with upside. He was hurt most of last year but had 6 INTs as a freshman, 2 years ago.
Jeremy Cash – Duke – If you are looking for a big hitter, then take a look at Cash. He isn’t great in coverage, but as an in-box safety, he could be an asset. He could go in round 2.
Jaylon Kearse – Clemson – One school that will be represented big time on draft day is the Clemson Tigers. Kearse helped his stock in the combine and may have gotten himself into the end of round 2.
Helped Their Stock:
Artie Burns – Miami – Even though Burns didn’t do every drill, his 4.46 forty time at almost 6’ tall, showed some good progression throughout the year. Burns showed his ball skills during the year for the Canes with 6 INTs. He is likely a 3rd round pick, but his combine may have gotten him into the 2nd round.
Sean Davis – Maryland – Davis is a 3rd day projected player, somewhere in the 5th or 6th round, but with 3 INTs last year and a 4.46 forty to go with 21 bench press reps, he showed a great size/speed combo.
Anthony Brown – Purdue – Brown was not projected to be drafted in this year’s draft, but his combine numbers may have some eyes double checking. Brown had 4 INTs last year and ran a 4.35 forty with 19 bench press reps. At 5-11 and 192 pounds, his measurables are exactly what you’d want from a CB.
Four other players that had sub 4.40 forty times were TJ Green of Clemson, Jonathan Jones of Auburn, Kevon Seymour of USC, and Brandon Williams of Texas A&M. All of them contributed to one of the fastest groups of DBs we’ve seen at the combine. All in all the NFL Combine just spotlighted the talent and athleticism that will be on display for years to come in the NFL. After some pro days and private workouts, next thing you’ll know, Roger Goodell will be announcing the 1st pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. Tennessee Titans, you are on the clock.