The final day of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine has arrived and it brings two of the deepest position groups in this entire draft class seeing both the cornerbacks and safeties take the field. With so much top tier talent it was important for players to stand out and we definately saw some money being made today! Here are some news and notes from Monday’s action.
Obi Melifonwu Outshines Byron Jones?
Coming into the Combine we were hearing that the UConn safety was going to put on a show similar to that of former UConn and current Dallas Cowboy defensive back Byron Jones did a couple years back. Well Melifonwu didn’t quite best Jones’ numbers but being 3″ taller and over 25lbs heavier his numbers might be more impressive. Melifonwu clocked in at 4.40 in the 40, jumped 44 inches in the vertcial leap and 11’9″ in the broad. His vertical and broad jumps are now Combine records for a safety. Melifonwu was already flirting with the first round after a good Senior Bowl week, but to put up these numbers it is a lock now. Melifonwu was already getting some consideration of moving to cornerback and with his impressive 40 time at that size he very well could be more attractive than ever.
Marshon Lattimore Locks Down CB1
Based soley off game film Lattimore is the clear best cornerback in this class and a top five prospect in my opinion showing top end speed and quick twitch agility making it very difficult for receivers to gain separation. During Monday’s on field workouts Lattimore confirmed the game film speed with a 4.36 40 which is crucial as the 40 yard dash is the most important drill for the cornerbacks. Prior to that Lattimore turned in top 3 performances in the vertical leap and broad jump before tweaking his hamstring before the remaining drills and on field position drills. That hamstring shouldn’t affect Lattimore and those drills won’t matter much to him. Lattimore is the clear top cornerback in this class and I would find it hard to see him falling past the Jets with the 6th overall pick.
Jaylen Myrick Blazes the 40
Before the Combine the only people who had a good idea who Jaylen Myrick was were Minnesota fans and the most throughout Draftniks. But after his 4.28 40 yard dash with is the 2nd fastest 40 in the entire combine and the record for fastest Big 10 player in the history of the event his name is out there. Myrick had a good junior year playing alongside Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun before struggling this past season. Myrick’s 4o time along with top 10 performances in the jumps will have everyone going back to his tape (or checking it out for the first time) and even going back to the 2015 tape to get a better look at him. Myrick’s return ability will also enhance his stock.
Fabian Moreau Continues to Boost his Stock
During the Shrine Game telecast NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah made waves by stating Moreau had a chance to be a first round pick for the cornerback that most people hadn’t heard of. But before a Lisfranc injury that caused him to miss most of hte 2015 season and slowed him a bit in 2016. While the medical checks will be crucial for Moreau he made it difficult for teams with the testing numbers he put up. His 4.35 40 was 4th best in the entire event, while his broad jump (11’4″) was the best cornerback measurable not to mention he was a top performer in the short shuttle and vertical leap. With Moreau back at full speed along with some good coverage skills shown before the 2015 injury he has a legit shot at the first round and at this point only the injury concerns could be moving him to the 2nd.
Bad Day for the Teez
Two of the top cornerbacks heading into the Combine were a pair of teammates in Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Tabor was never thought to be a burner but a 4.62 40 is below average for the position and he failed to be a top 10 any of of the other meausurable drills. While the Combine is just a piece in the puzzle for these players, this is a big negative for Tabor who likely drops out of the first round.
Shaquill Griffin Top Cornerback Performer?
While guys like Obi Melifownu and Jaylen Myrick put up some guady numbers there wasn’t another cornerback prospect that was a top performer in all seven measurement drills. Griffin blazed a 4.38 4o yard dash while finishing in the top three in both jumping drills. Griffin wasn’t a big name prior to the Combine and was likely a Day 3 pick, but after a performance like this it’s going to drive teams back to the tape and we could see him get some Day 2 buzz.
Kevin King is Big and Fast
A big reason why Washington made the College Football Playoff was the talent on their defense and mainly a secondary that was able to slow down the high flying Pac 12 offenses. While Budda Baker and Sidney Jones get all the first round attention, Kevin King has some fans mainly because of his size and knack for making plays but there were concerns about his ability to change direction. While tape can show his stiffness at times. But after posting a 3.89 short shuttle and a 6.56 3-cone drill (both bests for any corner) that works in his behalf. King will likely still be viewed as a press man corner, but teams who play primarily zone coverage may be turned onto him now increasing his suitors and thus his value.
Look no further than the Buffaloes secondary to why the were the 13th rated passing defense in college football this past season. Chief in that is nickle back Chidobe Awuzie and outside corner Ahkello Witherpoon. Both prospects tested very well and where top performers in all seven drills. Awuzie projects more towards a safety or a big nickle cornerback but showed good speed with 4.43 40 dash along with a 2nd best 11’0″ broad jump showing off his athleticism. Witherspoon is your typical long press cornerback measuring in at 6’3 with 33″ arms but also showed that he has enough speed with a 4.45 40 and had the best vertical leap (40.5) of any cornerback. When you are that big and long and can run and jump as good as he can it can really pose problems for receivers and could get some Richard Sherman comparisons.
Justin Evans Quad
With a deep safety class it was imperative for the prospects to get out there and separate themselves from their competition, but it was just as important for the teams to see these prospects back to back against each other. That’s why it was a bummer that Texas A&M safety Justin Evans wasn’t able to participate because of a quad issue. Evans is a fast explosive safety with good length and was getting some late first round buzz. A good showing could have kept him there but with so many other prospects doing well he could slide back to the second round. His Pro Day in College Station will be a big day for him.