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2011 NFL Combine: Tuesday Recap

By: Roshan Bhagat | Updated: 3/1

Cornerbacks:

Patrick Peterson, LSU – All eyes were on Peterson going into Saturday. He promised to impress us and that’s exactly what he did. At 219 pounds, I’ve heard about a potential conversion to safety, but that’s ludicrous. He’s one of the leanest 219 I’ve seen in recent memory and has the movement skills of someone 15 pounds lighter. Peterson’s workout numbers were impressive across the board and should have solidified himself as the top corner available and a top 10 selection.

Prince Amukamara, Nebraska – Running side by side with Peterson all day was Amukamara. He’s a little leaner than Peterson, but silenced critics with a 4.43 40 yard dash. The rest of his workout numbers were on par with Peterson. Though he gives up 10 pounds and a tenth to Peterson, Prince looked more natural in the drills. His movement skills and turns look a little fluid than Peterson’s.

Buster Skrine, Chattanooga – Skrine may have been the most impressive athlete of this group. He measures a half-inch short of 5’10 and that certainly helps him in shorts. He was the most fluid athlete on the field today. There’s absolutely no tightness in his hips and ankles with terrific explosion out of his turns and cuts. His footwork looks far more refined than anticipated. Some defensive backs coach is going to be lucky to work with Skrine at the next level. His height will limit the number of interested employers, but the team that ends up with him is going to have an exciting athlete. His 3.90 shuttle time is more than a tenth better than the next best corner and the rest of his workout numbers ranked among the top at his position as well.

Brandon Harris, Miami (FL) – Harris is another smaller corner who excelled in shorts toady. He got extremely low in his backpedal and kept his arms tucked tight into his body, which is flawless technique. He’s able to get to top speed very quickly after flipping his hips and looks to have all the natural movement skills of a top corner. His workout numbers don’t pop, but they do justify everything we’ve seen from Harris so far.

DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami (FL) – The other Miami corner, the lean one (I mean lean at 6’1, 176 pounds), helped his stock by running a rare sub-4.3 40 (4.28). Given the success of his former teammate Sam Shields, it may give GMs the added confidence they need to pull the trigger on Van Dyke, who may have gone undrafted prior to this week. He ran through the drills a little high and wasn’t as smooth as some of the shorter corners, but he has some potential to work with.

Ras I-Dowling, Virginia – Dowling pulled his hamstring with about 5 yards to go in his 40 and still ran an “official” 4.46 40. Some critics were worried about his speed, but this should have put an end to that notion. Though that question was answered, I was a bit disappointed that to not be able to see him run through the drills.

Aaron Williams, Texas – There hasn’t been a whole lot of buzz about Williams recently. He used to be a sure bet in the 1st round, but his stock has kind of slipped as other corners have surpassed him, including teammate Curtis Brown in the eyes of some. Though Williams ran well and posted some nice workout numbers, his drill work left a little to be desired. I personally like him, but there’s some buzz about him being a potential convert to safety like Malcom Jenkins who has found a nice home at free safety in New Orleans.

Jimmy Smith, Colorado – I’m not sure what to make of Smith’s stock following the Combine. Sure, his 4.46 40 time sounds nice, but his performance in the drills leaves me a bit puzzled, especially with the 4.06 shuttle time. He’s both fast and quick in short areas, but isn’t as fluid as you’d want out of a top corner. The tightness in the hips was exposed Tuesday and that will concern some teams looking at corner after Prince and Peterson are off the board.

Safeties:

Rahim Moore, UCLA – Moore’s favorite player is Ed Reed and says he tries to emulate his game around his. Watching Moore cut, turn, break, and track the football today, I’m not surprised one bit. He’s a rangy free safety with elite ball skills with the ability to glide like a corner, as he showed in the positional drills today. In a weak safety class, he’s the cream of the crop and should be the first pure safety off the board. After today, that may be in the middle of the first round.

Robert Sands, West Virginia – Sands is an outstanding athlete for height. He runs a 4.57 in the 40 yard dash and a 4.06 in the short shuttle, two great times. He can leap and is a ferocious hitter on tape. Still, I have the feeling he’s going to struggle at the next level. As shown in the positional drills, he really struggles to open his hips, especially in comparison to the shorter players, such as Rahim Moore running the drills before him. Sands will be at his best when kept in the box and may not have enough value in space to become a starting safety. There’s loads of potential with him, however.

Joe Lefeged, Rutgers – Lefeged is actually a very gifted athlete, something that never really popped out in games. He was a great special teams player and will have at least a similar role at the next level. His overall workout was right up there after Rahim Moore’s masterful showing in the positional drills.

Shiloh Keo, Idaho – Keo recorded impressive workout numbers, especially in 3-cone and short shuttle. He dominated the 3-cone, completing it two-tenths faster than the next best safety. His 4.73 is slower than desired, but the quick twitch skills may be enough to overcome his straight line speed.

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