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Monday, March 4, 2019

NFL Combine Day 4: On Defensive Backs

By Steven Weldon

We have finally reached the end of the NFL Combine, and it ended with the defensive backs. While the 2019 crop of backs is thinner than past years, there are a few talented athletes available. It seems many of the cornerbacks did not elect to do a bench press, and many safeties chose to do a majority of the drills. This may be related to the position, as a safety could be called upon to play a little linebacker, which lends to strength and plyometric ability.

The stars of the day were Jamel Dean, of Auburn, and Zedrick Woods, of Ole Miss. These two quick defensive backs laid down a 4.3-second and 4.29-second 40-yard dash time, the highest of the combine, breaking the 4.31-second record set by wide receiver Parris Campbell on day 2. Woods is currently a safety projected to be in an NFL training camp but could end up on late-round draft boards after his speed was on display. Dean is already projected to possibly be an NFL starter, but not a first-round draft pick.

Of the first-round projected defensive backs and safeties, Greedy Williams, of Lousiana State only showed us his raw speed. Williams ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, but did not participate in any other tests. He is projected as a late first-round pick. Byron Murphy, of Washington, is also an intriguing player. He ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash, and looked very good in the individual drills.

It was a small group of players, but with NFL offenses switching to a heavier passing attack, they will be integral.

In the coming few months, I'll look at what each team needs to address in the draft as well as free agency. Starting on March 13th, free agents are allowed to sign with teams for next year. If you would like live updates on that night, check out my twitter, @Airweldon. I'll go live when the players are allowed to sign.

Finally, I did not get a chance to run a 40-yard dash, nor did I do a vertical jump, but I did film myself doing 1/3 of the 225(!!!) pound bench press. Here's the video.

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