On The Rise
Eric Berry, S, Tennessee
The best defender to enter the draft in the last 10 years, Berry, who checked in at the Combine at 6-foot, 211 pounds, shined on the turf of Lucas Oil Field. Sporting gold cleats, Berry sparkled in the 40 by running a 4.47 and looked smooth during drills, although he dropped a couple of balls during the “W” drill. Berry also showed his strength in the bench press by completing 19 reps and excelled in the vertical jump with 43-inch hops. There’s no question that Berry will be the first safety off the board and should be a top 5 pick this April.
Robinson has great cover skills, but his ball skills need work.
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Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
There are plenty of questions surrounding Robinson’s inconsistent ball skills, but nobody ever questioned his cover skills. In this draft, the cornerback position lacks an initial punch, but has the depth that will have a lasting impact. Robinson has lock down potential and the upside to be a tremendous ballhawk. And on Tuesday, Robinson had a great workout and captured a 4.42 in the 40. Robinson’s toughness and physical play have been questioned during his career, but by benching 225 pounds 15 times and recording a 37-inch vertical, he showed that he has the strength to compete against bigger receivers.
Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest
Of the highest rated cornerbacks in the draft, Ghee possesses the largest hands (10.5 inches) and showcased the best size/speed combination at the Combine on Tuesday. At 6-foot, 192 pounds, Ghee ran a 4.45 in the 40 and was the most polished defensive back during drills. He also did well in the bench press (15 reps) and vertical jump (37 inches), and solidified a spot in the second round.
Taylor Mays, S, USC
Everyone knew that Mays was going to be a workout warrior at the Combine, and when it was discovered that he ran an unofficial 4.24 in the 40, that was just simply amazing. But, when it was determined that the unofficial time was off and Mays actually ran a 4.43, that was still an impressive time for a man who stands 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. Even though there was some disappointment that Mays didn’t run a 4.24, he was still impressive on Tuesday. He benched 225 pounds 24 times and had a 41-inch vertical. However, during drills Mays looked stiff and had a hard time finding the ball in the air. There are whispers that scouts view him as a linebacker, which is something I’ve been saying since September. Imagine Mays coming off the edge as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense; it could be special.
Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
One of my favorite players in the 2010 draft, McCourty is the type of defender you can build your secondary around. He’s a physical, well-conditioned athlete who performed brilliantly on Tuesday. Measuring in at 5-foot-11, 193 pounds, McCourty ran an impressive 4.48 in the 40 and completed 16 reps in the bench press. McCourty’s stock is on the rise, and he could ultimately be the No. 2 or 3 cornerback selected in the draft.
Earl Thomas, FS, Texas
One of college football’s best playmakers, Thomas had eight interceptions for the Longhorns this past year and decided to leave school after his [redshirt] sophomore season. The biggest concern about Thomas was his size and his overall tackling ability. But, when Thomas showed up at the Combine at 5-foot-10, 208 pounds, scouts had to be happy about the added bulk, not to mention the workout that he turned out on Tuesday. Thomas ran well in the 40 and was clocked at a 4.44, and had a surprising performance in the bench press with 21 reps.
Chris Cook, CB, Virginia
Cook had a great week at the Senior Bowl and caught the attention of many scouts. At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, Cook has the size and speed to play cornerback or safety at the next level, and after his performance at the Combine, his stock is soaring. Cook ran a 4.46 in the 40, and showed his explosion by posting a 38-inch vertical and a Combine-high 11-foot broad jump. The only negative on the day for Cook was his lack of strength in the bench press; he did just seven reps.
Making Their Mark
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, CB, Indiana (PA)
A small school prospect who possesses the versatility that scouts desire, Owusu-Ansah could play cornerback or safety at the next level, and be a team’s return specialist. At 6-foot, 207 pounds, Owusu-Ansah ran extremely well (4.47 in the 40) and was fluid during drills. He displayed quick feet and a smooth backpedal. He’s an intriguing late third, early fourth round pick.
Butler had a down year in 2009, but showed scouts he's a player at the Combine.
Crezdon Butler, CB, Clemson
An experienced cornerback who started three years at Clemson, Butler had a down year in 2009 and his draft stock suffered. But on Tuesday, Butler showed scouts that he’s a great athlete and still as the potential to be a good corner in the NFL. Butler posted some elite numbers: a 4.41 in the 40, 17 reps in the bench press and a 39.5-inch vertical.
A.J. Jefferson, CB, Fresno State
Possibly the biggest surprise on Tuesday was the performance of Jefferson. He proved to be a classic under-the-radar athlete who has tremendous natural gifts. Jefferson was quick during drills, showcased good ball skills and instincts. At 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, he ran a 4.49 in the 40 and displayed amazing explosion with a 44-inch vertical and a 10’6” broad jump.
Darrell Stuckey, SS, Kansas
The 2010 draft is one of the deepest safety classes in recent memory, and there could be as many as 11 safeties selected in the first three rounds. Stuckey, who measured in at 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, did his best on Tuesday to be among the top 11 safeties in the draft. He ran a 4.49 in the 40, benched 225 pounds 17 times and generated a 39.5-inch vertical. Stuckey was a little stiff during drills, but his overall performance will help his draft stock.
Kevin Thomas, CB, USC
Injuries plagued Thomas’ career at USC, but the 6-foot, 192-pound corner showcased his athleticism to NFL scouts on Tuesday. Thomas did well during drills, but must stay low in his backpedal. However, he ran a surprising 4.48 in the 40, posted 17 reps in the bench press and showed his explosion with a 10’6” broad jump.
On The Decline
Haden ran a poor 40, but he will still be a top 10 pick.
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Joe Haden, CB, Florida
There will be many that over analyze the fact that Haden had a less than stellar workout at the Scouting Combine. Haden’s time in the 40 (4.57) was alarming and will force NFL evaluators to reevaluate the 6-foot, 193-pound playmaker on film even more. But to think that he will lose his No. 1 ranking over one bad day is ridiculous. Haden will still be a top 10 pick in the draft, and there’s no question that he will rebound from this performance and have a standout showing at his Pro Day. He has Darrelle Revis type ability.
Chad Jones, FS, LSU
Jones decided to forego his senior season after a solid junior campaign where he had 74 tackles and three interceptions. At 6-foot-2, 231 pounds, Jones is considered to be one of the top safeties in this year’s class, but he failed to impress scouts on Tuesday. Jones ran an average 4.57 in the 40, but it was his bench press that raised eyebrows. At his size, Jones should have completed more than seven reps. Jones’ lack of strength will likely hurt him, but he should still receive late second, early third round consideration.
Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
Just like Jones, Warren decided to skip his senior season and enter the draft after his junior year. At 5-foot-11, 193 pounds, Warren has great size for a corner, but lacked the straight-line speed that scouts wanted to see and managed just a 4.59 in the 40. There are scouts that believe Warren is best suited to play safety at the next level. And after the speed he amassed on Tuesday, it’s safe to say that Warren’s decision to enter the draft may come back to haunt him.
Myron Rolle, SS, Florida State
It’s easy to say that Rolle is the brightest NFL prospect in the history of the draft, since he was just one of 32 American students to be named a Rhodes Scholar. But as far as his future in the NFL, Rolle impressed teams during the interview process in Indianapolis, but on Tuesday, he failed to standout during his workout. There were a lot of questions about Rolle’s overall speed during his time at Florida State, and the 4.68 he ran in the 40 only magnifies his weakness. During drills, Rolle was stiff in the hips and struggled in transition. He has a good burst and demonstrated strength in the bench press with 21 reps, but in a deep safety class, Rolle will fall into the sixth or seventh round.
Joshua Moore, CB, Kansas State
Moore is an intriguing cover corner who has good size and great speed; displaying a 4.47 in the 40 at the Combine on Tuesday. But, the one question about Moore’s game is his physical approach and if he has the strength to matchup against stronger receivers. Moore failed to give scouts piece of mind in that area of his game, as he posted just two reps in the bench press.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.