2015 NFL combine Day 4: Pac-12 defensive backs wrap up the action
The 2015 NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up Monday, as defensive backs took over Lucas Oil Field to show off their skills for NFL brass. Once again, there was a heavy Pac-12 contingent, with eight different schools sending athletes from their respective secondaries to Indy. From here on out, football fanatics will have to settle for NFL pro days and spring football until the NFL draft rolls around on April 30.
Cornerback Marcus Peters has been under the microscope since the combine started earlier this week. Everyone knows he's talented, but his off-the-field troubles have also been a hot topic of conversation.
On Sunday, Peters ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds, which was perhaps a bit disappointing. But he measured in at a solid 6-foot, 197 pounds, which is good considering the size of NFL wideouts these days. Until his career was cut short by suspension in November for a violation of team rules, Peters established himself as a solid cover corner. With his ball skills and physicality, Peters should still be an early pick when the draft rolls around.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was the victim of terrible timing this past season. In the weeks leading up to the Rose Bowl, the potential first-rounder suffered an ACL injury that required surgery. He's still out of action, but at least he received an invite to Indianapolis along with his fellow cornerback Troy Hill. Ekpre-Olomu met with teams for interviews and also stopped by for a chat with NFL Networks.
"Everything is going great," Ekpre-Olomu said about his knee recovery. "I've been rehabbing now for about eight weeks, so I feel like I'm ahead of schedule."
Despite his injury, Ekpre-Olomu's game tape as a shutdown corner should be enough for him to be drafted early. Hill didn't make any major waves with his numbers at the combine, as he measured in at 5-foot-10, 182 pounds and ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds.
NFL cornerbacks are getting bigger than ever and Alex Carter fits the mold. He measured in at 6-foot, 196 pounds, while running a 4.51-second, 40-yard dash and posting an impressive 40-inch vertical leap. Carter also has the pedigree, as his father, Tom, was a first-round pick in 1993 and spent nine seasons in the NFL.
Safety Jordan Richards showed good agility with top-three finishes in the 60-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill. But his 4.65-second mark in the 40 is something he'll want to improve by Stanford's pro day. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee featured Richards and other Cardinal athletes in a story about the juggling act between academics and athletics on The Farm, and how it prepares players for the NFL.
Steven Nelson became a popular sleeper pick in the NFL Twittersphere on Monday after finishing the 40 in 4.49 seconds and showing good fluid movement throughout his workout. The former Beavers cornerback is listed at 5-foot-10, 197 pounds and it wouldn't be surprising to see him become a mid-round pick and contributor at the next level.
Damarious Randall became known for his hard-hitting style of play with the Sun Devils, and on Monday he impressed with his measureables. Randall has to be considered one of the top safety prospects available after he ran a 4.46 in the 40 and posted a 38-inch vertical leap. Longtime NFL personnel man and Senior Bowl director Phil Savage singled out Randall's workout as the best of any safety.
He might not have the size NFL teams desire (5-foot-11, 197 pounds) at the position, but Randall should be able to carve out a role for himself at the next level.
NFL quarterbacks, you've been warned: Anthony Jefferson has some good hands. The former UCLA cornerback made a highlight reel catch during Monday's workout, stretching out for a nice grab. But he didn't show off much speed in the 40-yard dash, running it in 4.72 seconds. Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register tweeted that the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Jefferson is slated to play safety in the NFL, and that he needs to improve his speed to elevate his draft stock.
The draft stock of Eric Rowe is likely on the rise after the free safety ran a 4.45-second, 40-yard dash. According to Jayson Jones of Scout.com, Rowe finished among the top six of all defensive backs in virtually all of the workouts. Rowe offers good size at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds and earned praise as a valuable, versatile player for the pass-heavy NFL.
Josh Shaw served a 10-game suspension after injuring his ankles and fabricating a story last season, so he's something of a question mark coming into the draft. But he got the NFL's attention on Monday, as noted by Arash Markazi of ESPN.
"Josh Shaw runs a 4.44 40-yard dash and benches 225 pounds 26 times," Markazi tweeted. "Not sure where he was projected before but he just got paid today."
Shaw has the size (6-foot-1, 201 pounds) and versatility to play either safety or cornerback at the next level, and likely elevated his draft stock with such a good showing.
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