NFL Combine Report – Defensive Players

‘Word on the Street’

Frank Coyle

NFL Combine Report – Defensive Players

With the skilled positions getting the primary focus at the NFL Combine, especially the weekend exposure, the talented defense class quietly stepped up with strong impressions for scouts. The defensive back class presented several blue chip cornerbacks, one of the premier positions in the game and a group which will provide at least 15 prospects in the top 100 selections in April.

Edge defenders Dallas Turner, 6-4, 245 – Alabama, Laiatu Latu, 6-5, 260 – UCLA and Chop Robinson, 6-3, 255 – Penn State had impressive weeks. Turner displayed quick strong hands and the lateral movement to attack the line. He is very developed and improved his stock and probably top 6-10 selection. Latu is blazing quick off the edge and displayed that skill set in the positional drills. He moves easily and has the explosive first step to gain an advantage and bend the edge. Robinson had a strong performance. He showed a powerful punch and quick feet at over 250 lbs. He moved well in the coverage drills which impressed scouts.

DT T’Vondre Sweat, 6-4, 366, Texas, Byron Murphy, 6-1, 310, Texas and Braden Fiske, 6-4, 295, Florida State lived up to expectations. Sweat is a massive athlete who moves well and looked sharp in drills despite the 366 lbs. He has developed athletic ability to beat the double team, push the pocket and hold the point. Playing in the 340 lb. area may allow him to realize his incredible potential. Murphy is an explosive interior lineman with fine technique and power to penetrate. He moves well along the line which he displayed in the agility drills. Fiske is a fast riser. He has quick strong hands to win early on the down. He ran a blazing 4.78 sprint with a 1.68 ten split. He added 26 reps in the lifting while running drills very well. His efforts may push him into the first round.                            

LB Payton Wilson, 6-4, 235, North Carolina State was lightning fast with explosive quickness and keen instincts in drills. He dropped easily in coverage and is a well-rounded defender with the development to be a three down early starter. He can play a few positions and is scheme diverse. Edgerrin Cooper, 6-3, 235, Texas A&M is a ripped athlete who runs well and ran a 4.51 sprint. He added 34.5” VL and 9’10” BJ He was an easy mover in drills and is a prospect on the come. Cedric Gray, 6-2, 234, North Carolina is a rangy athlete who ran a 4.64 time. He did 17 reps and added a 35.5 VL. His positional drills were excellent, moves quickly laterally and can drop into the deep zones in coverage. Shows the skill set of a three-down starter, though may be limited to a 4-3 on either outside.

Cornerbacks, Terrion Arnold, 6-0, 198, Alabama, Quinyon Mitchell, 6-0, 195, Toledo and Nate Wiggins, 6-1, 173, Clemson separated themselves from in a high-quality class. Wiggins ran a blistering 4.28 time, the best of the entire defensive class.  His 173 lbs. is a concern, though he has developed coverage skills, including smooth hips, quick feet and the speed to ride a receiver down the field. Arnold came in just under 6’ and had a good performance in drills, though ran only a solid 4.51time. His length, agility and instincts are developed and NFL ready. He added a 37” VL and is an explosive mover. Mitchell shined in the workouts. He has the prototypical corner skill set and displayed this over the drills. He runs well (4.33) with quick feet, flexible hips, fast reads and the long speed to mirror top receivers. He leaped 38” and added a 10’2” BJ and 20 reps in the lifting. He was very quick in agility drills with loose hips and explosive acceleration.