The Oakland Raiders and the Falcons are among the teams who appear to have
safety Chip Vaughn high on their list of draft prospects.
The Wake Forest defensive back told Scout.com that he had already
completed a private workout for Oakland and is now scheduled to visit the
Raiders on Tuesday, April 14. And the 6-foot-1,
221-pound defensive back worked out on April 7 in front of a heavy-duty
group of representatives from the Atlanta Falcons that he said included General
Manager Thomas Dimitroff, Head Coach Mike Smith and Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder.
Should Vaughn get drafted by the Raiders, he'd end up playing on the team of
one of his NFL idols, a hard-hitting safety who bore the nickname
"Assassin" and who had retired from the game five years before Vaughn
"I first saw Jack Tatum play when I was watching old games on the NFL
Network," Vaughn said during his press conference at the NFL Scouting
Combine. "And his one hit when they were playing the Minnesota Vikings, a
guy ran a deep-dig route and Jack Tatum came out of nowhere, knocked his helmet
off and everything. And I said, 'oh my God, who is this guy?'. And after that, I
looked him up on Google, YouTube and everything to learn about Jack
The highly versatile and speedy safety says that he models his game after
Tatum and former Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
"I feel that those are two guys who brought it, every play. I think they
kind of changed the game in their respective eras," he said.
In addition to the recent interest from those two teams, Vaughn has
previously worked out for the New England Patriots and visited the Buffalo Bills. And he reported that the Bills, the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Giants showed strong interest in him at Wake Forest's Pro Day. In fact, Vaughn even had
lunch with the Browns that day, and he spent a long time talking with
the Jaguars staff since they had coached him during the Senior Bowl.
South Carolina linebacker Jasper Brinkley distinguished himself on the football
field with his bruising hits on opposing players, and then followed that up by
placing sixth in the 40-yard dash, fourth in the vertical jump, seventh in the
bench press and eighth in both the 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill at the NFL
Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
LB Jasper Brinkley at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
"I went into the Combine flying under the radar a bit, and I knew I had
some questions going in there about whether or not my knee was back to 100
percent," he said during a phone interview. "I feel like I answered
all of those questions at the Combine."
Those questions were lingering because after a brilliant 2006 season that put
Brinkley into the national spotlight due to his 107 tackles, his 2007 season
ended prematurely due to a knee injury just four games into the Gamecocks'
season. He had surgery on the knee and then battled his way back into shape so
that he'd be ready for the 2008 season.
"The thing I'm most proud of is the way I came back from the injury, how I
came back and played at an optimal level, and being able to perform at a high
level against my opponents," he said. "Sometimes people have that type
of injury and never return, so that was a blessing."
At the Combine, Brinkley had formal interviews with the Kansas City Chiefs, the
Cowboys, Dolphins, Vikings, and Bengals. At his Pro Day, the linebackers coaches
from the Dolphins and the Bengals were there to run the linebackers through
their paces. And this week, the Cowboys are scheduled to bring him in for a
visit on the 13th, followed by the Cleveland Browns on the 15th.
Brinkley's excited about the opportunities—and about what he'll be able to
provide to his new team.
"I'm definitely a student of the game. I'm a downhill player, a
hard-nosed, blue-collar guy who comes ready to work every day," he said.
"I've got great character. I'm the kind of guy where you can go home at
night and rest your head on the pillow knowing that you won't have to worry
about me at night.
"I feel I'm definitely the kind of person you can build your team
around. I want to be one of the best players in the league who has ever played
my position, and that's going to take a lot of hard work. But I'm the kind of
person who's willing to do that. I'm the kind of guy who wants to do whatever I
can to help my team win a championship."
Ask Alabam's Rashad Johnson what he thinks NFL coaches notice about his play
when they watch his game film, and he'll point out two aspects of his game that
he believes are readily evident.
Rashad Johnson at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
"You can tell I have the instincts, you can see that I put myself in
position to make a lot of plays," he said.
Does he ever.
Johnson picked-off a team-leading five passes during his senior season,
pushing his career total to 11 interceptions. He also forced four fumbles and
made 216 tackles for the Crimson Tide over the course of his 38 game
After making the decision to let his performance numbers from the Combine
stand, the former walk-on headed into his team's Pro Day with three main goals.
"I just wanted to show them that I can open my hips, I can break well,
and as a DB they want to see that you can catch the ball. And I showed them that
I can do that as well," he said.
Something else that NFL coaches and talent evaluators have undoubtedly
noticed about Johnson as they've talked with him over the last few months is the
energy level that he brings to every interaction with people, both on and off
"I think it was during my meeting with the Texans, and when it was
over the coach said, 'man, you had fire in your eyes during the entire
conversation. We haven't had anyone come in here with that kind of fire while
they've been talking to us,'" Johnson recalled. "But I just get
excited about it, it's something I love to do and I want to do it for a long
time. So why wouldn't I get excited about it?"
Johnson told Scout.com that a few of the other teams he sat
down with at the Combine were the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chicago Bears and
the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons and the Broncos are among the teams he's
worked out for already, and two of the teams that he's visited are the Eagles
and the Broncos.
Click the player names to learn more about Chip Vaughn, Jasper Brinkley, Rashad Johnson.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email
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