Pewter Report offers up analysis of the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine workouts of the cornerbacks and safeties on Tuesday. The following combine workout numbers were provided by the NFL Network.
CORNERBACKS ANALYSIS Asher Allen, Georgia – Allen was a capable corner over his three seasons at Georgia. Allen had an unofficial time of 4.47 in the 40-yard dash and 22 reps on the bench press. Allen (5-9, 194) has good man-to-man cover skills, and is a third or fourth round option for Tampa Bay. The Bulldogs underclassmen had a few interceptions in his career at Georgia. It was unclear from the drills at the combine if Allen really has good ball skills, and that will be watched closely on the scouting of Allen's tape and at his pro day. Darius Butler, Connecticut – The speedy cornerback had a fabulous combine where he showed great speed and athletic ability. Butler (5-10, 183) looked great in the cornerback drills where he was very fluid and stood out above all the other cornerbacks. Butler was a second-round prospect that could have been a good option for Tampa Bay. If they want to acquire Butler they will have to trade back into the end of the first round or take him with their first pick, which is highly unlikely to happen since they took a cornerback in the first round last year.
Coye Francis, San Jose State – Francis did okay in the drill that tested backpedaling and flipping their hips. Francis showed nice quickness in a few of the drills along with good strength when he did 24 reps in the bench press. That was tied for second among cornerbacks. At San Jose State Francis played a lot of man coverage and that will appeal to the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay did interview Francis (6-0, 185) at the Senior Bowl, and he is a real option to be the Bucs' third round pick. His combine performance did not elevate or lower his stock from that mid-round level. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State – Throughout the NFL the debate has been whether Jenkins will have to move to safety in the NFL. Jenkins (6-0, 204) was rated as the best cornerback in the draft, but with his slow 40-yard dash times (4.55 and 4.53 unofficially) he could have his draft stock hurt significantly and certain teams look at him only as a free safety. In the drill to test backpedaling, turning their hips, and tracking a ball to make an interception Jenkins struggled with a bad drop. Jenkins is not a real option for Tampa Bay because he will be selected too high, but he had a notable combine for the wrong reasons.
Keenan Lewis, Oregon State – Lewis had a solid combine and is a mid-round option for Tampa Bay. Lewis (6-0, 208) showed good athletic ability and speed in the cornerback drills. The Bucs scouts, coaches, and front office like the aggressive style of Oregon State's secondary. They drafted strong safety Sabby Piscitelli in 2007, and Lewis is a good bump-and-run corner that fits the changed defense the Bucs are installing.
SAFETIES COMBINE ANALYSIS Louis Demlas (5-11, 202), Western Michigan – Delmas, who is listed as a cornerback, is considered the top-rated safety in this class. He displayed fluid hips and coverage ability in coverage drills on Tuesday. Delmas also posted a good 40-yard dash time (4.50). A four-year starter at Western Michigan, Delmas showed off his athleticism in Indy with a 10'6" broad jump and the third-best 3-cone drill time of the safety group at 6.67. Although he had 12 interceptions and one touchdown in college, Delmas isn't on Tampa Bay's radar due to the fact that the Bucs have recent draft picks invested in starting safeties Tanard Jackson (fourth round) and Sabby Piscitelli (second round).
Patrick Chung (5-11, 212), Oregon – Chung posted a good 40-yard dash time for a safety, running a 4.47. Chung, who ranked third in the safety group with 25 reps of 225 pounds, is an experienced starter and led Oregon in tackles last year. He had nine career interceptions and one touchdown. Chung is projected to be a second-round draft pick, which likely is too high for the Bucs.
Chip Vaughn (6-1, 221), Wake Forest – Vaughn is a player on Tampa Bay's radar. He was a two-year starter at Wake Forest. Although he posted just three interceptions at Wake Forest, the Bucs like Vaughn's playmaking ability. He helped his cause at the combine by running a 4.51 time in the 40-yard dash, and after his combine performance Vaughn could be a player that gets drafted in the second or third round, which might be too high for the Bucs.
Nic Harris (6-2, 225), Oklahoma – Harris auditioned as a safety on Tuesday, but his combine performance basically solidified his future at linebacker. That's because Harris had a disappointing 4.78 40-yard dash time. His second time was even worse at 4.85. Harris had five sacks and seven interceptions at Oklahoma. He is projected to be a third or fourth round draft pick, and the Bucs aren't believed to be too interested.
David Bruton (6-2, 219), Notre Dame – The safeties outperformed the cornerbacks on Tuesday, especially in the 40-yard dash. Bruton might have been the most impressive athlete out of the safety group on Tuesday. He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash time, which was third in the defensive back group, posted a 6.60 3-cone drill time (second best out of the safeties) and led the safeties in the vertical (41.5 inches) and broad jump (11'0"). Bruton posted seven interceptions at Notre Dame, including four picks in 2008. He helped his stock tremendously at the combine, but Bruton, who was inconsistent in college, still is projected to be a fifth or sixth round selection.
Courtney Greene (6-0, 212), Rutgers – Greene was a productive player at Rutgers. He started 51 games and proved to be durable. Greene posted four sacks, six forced fumbles and seven interceptions. Greene ran in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash. He is projected to be a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick and a player the Bucs could consider drafting in April.
Stephen Hodge (6-0, 225), TCU – Hodge ran a 4.57 time in the 40-yard dash, which helped him a bit since he did not make enough plays on the ball at TCU. In fact, he recorded just one interception at TCU, and that interception came in his senior season. Hodge also displayed good upper body strength by posting 22 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. With Will Allen and Jermaine Phillips scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on Feb. 27, the Bucs are in the market for depth at the safety position and could target Hodge anywhere between the fifth and seventh round.