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February 25, 2014 @ 5:20 pm
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Day 4 NFL Combine Impressions: Defensive Backs

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The defensive backs were on display Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and several stood out, while a few didn't perform as well as they would have liked. See who helped raise their draft status with their efforts on Monday.
The defensive backs were the last group of NFL prospects who went through the annual pre-draft NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, hoping to improve their status for the NFL draft in May. Inside Lucas Oil Stadium, NFL coaches, scouts and pro player personnel had their eyes glued to the two units in hopes of solidifying their opinions of the prospects or maybe even finding a draft-day steal.

Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert easily solidified himself as the top cornerback in the upcoming NFL Draft posting a lightning quick 4.37 (official) in 40-yard time, exceptionally fast for a cornerback who is 6-0 tall. Gilbert’s athleticism wowed scouts, general managers and the NFL commentators. Just as impressive as his speed in the 40-yard dash, was his on-field work. Gilbert moves exceptionally well for a player his size with very fluid movement, and great hip turn when breaking on the ball. Gilbert’s long arms are another asset that most likely will help his cause to see his name called first of all the defensive backs who will be drafted in May.

Keith McGill came into the Combine viewed most likely as a third-day selection in the upcoming NFL Draft but after Tuesday, he may very well see his name called early on the second day of the draft. Measuring in at 6-3, and posting a vertical jump of 39 inches, McGill has the size to match up with even the biggest wide receivers in the NFL. Then add in his 40 time, clocked at 4.51, and now NFL team will most likely be scrambling to move him up their draft boards.

Jason Verrett from TCU ran an official 40-time of 4.38 seconds and looked solid on the field during drills. The only thing holding him out of the Day 1 draft discussion is Verrett's 5-9 size. Even at that size, his athleticism will intrigue a number of teams and the NFL Network commentators projected him as a starting nickel back in the NFL.

A number of scouts wanted to see the official stopwatch time of Darqueze Dennard’s 40-time and the former Michigan State star didn’t disappoint, turning in a better than some expected 4.51. The knock on Dennard during the on-field performance was what the commentators described as stiffness. Dennard’s production in college was very good but will need to work on fine tuning some aspects of his game to be a top-notch corner in the NFL according to scouts and reports.

Who will be the first safety off the board in May? The question is still up for grabs as the two that are rated the highest by many mock drafts both performed equally well on Tuesday. Louisville’s Calvin Pryor ran a 4.58 in Indianapolis on Tuesday and was steady during the field drills. Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix ran the same 4.58 but most feel he may have edged Pryor during the on the field portion of the drills. Pryor had a great career for Louisville, and probably is more physical, but Clinton-Dix most likely has the edge as far as range in coverage.

FSU’s Lemarcus Joyner and Terrance Brooks both did well on Tuesday but Brooks really stood out on the makeshift sprinter’s track at Lucas Oil Stadium running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. Some of the commentators said Joyner could end up being moved to safety, as he proved during his career in Tallahassee that he has a nose for the football and will come up and deliver a hit.

Overall this year’s crop of defensive backs are, like most of the positions in this years draft, – considerably deeper than one year ago. That helps, and hurts the Buccaneers, as they will most likely get better long-term production from their picks, but wish they had all seven with a draft class as full of talent as this years. The quality of the overall depth could prompt the Buccaneers to move down in order to recoup the two missing picks this year.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 22:22

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  • avatar

    stlbucsfan: Did you happen to see the shot of "The Hoody" and the newest member to Gruden's FFCA, Greg Schiano together at the combine? Let's hope "Bean Town Billy" paid for a nice dinner after Schiano and Dominik traded him Blount and Talib for a ham sandwich, bag of chips and a water with lemon.
  • avatar

    Trading Revis now would put us in the same tier as the Browns for laughingstock of the NFL. Clearly he was our best cover man last year and accelerated the development of the youth around him (was it a coincidence that Lavonte David blows up the stat sheet the same year he plays with a legendary defensive pro in his prime?). I think that Revis admirably replaced Ronde's mojo when he left for retirement and gives us a good guy in and out of the building. we have stars at every level of our defense just like we did years ago, GMC-David-Revis is a rock to build our franchise on.
  • avatar

    Looking at the DBs in the combine, I don't see anyone who can develop into another Revis. Besides now that he is 100% I expect even better production from him this year. He will give Frazier a fast corner, with great experience, who is an outstanding play maker, and a dependable tackler. He will excel in the Tampa 2, yet he gives Frazier flexibility to surprise the opposition because on any play he can have Revis lock down their top receiver. Toward the end of the game that is a great asset to have. Lovie wants a strong defense right now to keep us able to win while the Offense improves; so I cannot see Lovie ever giving up his number one defensive standout All Pro. Licht should not waste time talking to anyone who isn't offering three first round picks for the best Defensive Player of the Decade. Even then I would keep him.
  • avatar

    Change is coming. I don't know where or who, But Andy changed KC alot. When you watch Seattle rush 4 and play dime, what do You think the value of a great CB is? Just for conversation sake. IMHO, Yep he's expensive. Yep he's limited to clearing 1 guy in a league that encourages multiple weapons. Yep he's a leader. You want to add swagger? Done. The league keeps making rules that hobble zone. Man is preferred. Killing half the field kills a chunk of the playbook. The trade sux. The Combine in full force makes you hurt for that lost top of the 3rd pick. But you can count the PROVEN talent on this team on 1 hand. He's the thumb. Don't cut off your thumb.
  • avatar

    let's let @chefboho off the hook - nobody's trading Revis. @stlbucsfan, I actually like Revis's contract...I know it's a lot of money but the no-guarantees is unbelievable (and that is very cap friendly if we're talking about avoiding the issues of an Oakland or Carolina where they are still paying for guys long gone from their rosters)...of course a smaller number would be great but I think that by the time his contract is giving us grief (we still have like $30m in cap space, we can extend GMC for about his same salary surely, and we have no all-star QB to pay) we can then cut him as a mid-30's guy heading down the tail of his career....time will tell I suppose. You're bang-on about the Schiano-Lovie difference with him though...I still cannot get my head around how Schinao said from the start the plan on defense was to let Revis shut down one half and then roll coverage over to the other half...yet we never did this once all of last year!...Lovie will have a plan for a new version of the "Coverevis-2" defense.
  • avatar

    Not saying I want to trade Revis but if we do, we need to get at least a 1st and 3rd round pick for him. Then we would have two 1st round picks, a 2nd round, and two 3rd round picks. Thats 5 of the top 96 players drafted. Or we could package both of our 3rd round picks, move back into the 2nd round and have 4 of the top 64 players drafted. Just a thought.
  • avatar

    Licht needs to focus on getting Revis in a more cap friendly contract and not on dealing him and creating yet another crater sized hole that will be difficult to fill. Coach Smith and Frazier have played predominantly Cover 2 in part bc thats the scheme they developed under but also bc they have never had a DB with the lockdown ability of Revis. I trust that Lovie is capable of evolving his scheme to best utilize Revis while not sacrificing his principles. Greg Schiano is gone, real coaches find ways to use All Pro players that dont involve trading them to his bud in New England for beans on the dollar.
  • avatar

    Revis is an All-pro, All decade, and one of the best to ever play the game at that position. He is also entering his prime. Hello. You don't trade that for anything!
  • avatar

    If I am Lovie Smith, I am not concern about the 16 million' only the player regardless as to how much he is being overpaid. It's Licht's decision as to what he wants to do or not do. My guess is that they keep Revis until they have a replacement for him, then they will release him. That could this year, next year, or later. We are short draft picks to just cut an All Pro DB.
  • avatar

    Your right. I realized after I reread my comment that it came out wrong. I too read that teams were inquiring about him from several sites. So need to have a coronary bones. My mistake
  • avatar

    Read my lips! OTHER TEAMS are inquiring about Revis. The Bucs have never indicated a desire to trade, cut nor shoot Revis at sunrise. It's all conjecture.
  • avatar

    Don't believe the Buc's are shopping Revis but I believe it has been said that a team or two have asked about Revis. If we get our third back and a middle 1 I'm all for it as I did not like the Revis trade with the Jets. Sure could due some damage with more draft picks and a boat load of money. This will show what Licht and Lovie are as a GM and HC. With a trade for Revis or a no trade could change this franchise for years to come if it is done well. This is why they get paid the big bucks!
  • avatar

    well this has a little more importance now that I'm hearing that the bucs are shopping revis. We would need a season veteran like tillman (bears) to help mentor the youngsters. We should get no less than a 1st and a 3rd for revis seeings how that's what we payed for him before he was fully recovered. Imagine two first rounders and a third which we didnt have. I know we need lineman but if the top two are gone and so is clowney then i say we take gilbert then with our second 1st rounder take aaron donald. I know people say we need a wr and oline but emmanual sanders and multiple slot guys are free agents. The free agency period will obviously dictate what we do but that's my dream scenario. Gilbert, aaron donald, than a wr or oline in the second, third. I also hear jermain gresham from the bengals is a free agent. I would love to have him as an option at TE. One mans dream but it would be a hell of an offseason that way plus we would have a ton of cap space to make some deals with revis gone. One mans opinion....GO BUCS!!
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