2017 NFL Combine Day Four: What To Watch For

Miami's Corn Elder (29) intercepts the ball in overtime to help seal a 36-33 win against Nebraska at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS)

Here we are, already at the final day of the Combine. Should be a shorter one with just the defensive backs working out but there isn’t any shortage of things to look forward to.

Cornerbacks

– If you’ve been following along, you know Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie is one of my guys and the Buffaloes are well represented with three DBs invited to Indy. I know Awuzie won’t have the best timed speed but I’m hoping he tests well enough that people don’t start chattering about a move to strong safety. Some of his best attributes, physicality and football IQ, won’t show up in any of these drills.

– WVU’s Rasul Douglas has the length and size teams covet, 6’2 with 32 3/8 inch arms but does he have the athleticism to match? Not everyone is Richard Sherman and Sherman tested well in his vert and broad.

Corn Elder should run well. Expect him to get in the low 4.4’s, somewhere in the 4.4-4.3 range would be ideal. Should have a fluid turn in drills. If he doesn’t look right athletically, we have an issue to go back and look at.

– USC”s Adoree Jackson might turn in the fastest 40 of the group. As someone who spent a lot of time on offense, catching 39 career passes, who should look natural plucking the football in drills, high pointing the football and catching everything clean.

– I’ll be paying close attention to San Diego State’s Damontae Kazee’s agility times. He’s someone I think could play well in the slot at the next level but the shuttle and three cone times will help confirm that. He may be small but he played on the outside in school.

– Feels like Iowa’s Desmond King’s stock has been falling since the start of the season. He needs to run a fast 40 or the thought of him moving to safety will feel all but certain. He’s not a bad player and supports the run well but a bad 40 time will make it impossible for him to get drafted in the first round. And maybe fall out of the second.

– Couple of Washington corners I’d like to learn more about. Kevin King and Sidney Jones. King is 6’3, Jones around six foot.

– Florida’s Quincy Wilson is a guy I am interested in hearing more about. 6’1/4 211 with pretty good length. Could be in play for the Steelers’ 62nd overall pick.

– Florida State’s Marquez White has size and length but he’s a high cut guy. Has to show he isn’t stiff and can transition out of his pedal.

– The other Colorado corner is James Witherspoon, a sleeper in some circles. One of the top height/length combos in this class. A shade under 6’3 with 33 inch arms. Could be what the Steelers are looking for. Really don’t know where he’ll go. Like Derek Rivers yesterday, Indy could do a lot for his name recognition.

Safety

Budda Baker is one guy some Steelers’ fans would like to see taken with the 30th pick. He’s undersized but can quiet concerns with a strong day.

– Texas A&M’s Justin Evans was impressive at the Senior Bowl. Good feet and a fluid zone turn. Could push himself into a solid Day Two selection with another impressive performance.

– There isn’t anyone I am more excited to watch than Louisville’s Josh Harvey-Clemons. A hybrid player at 6’4 217 with 35 3/8 inch arms and more than 10 inch hands. If he can test well, and once I take a deep dive into his tape, that checks out, he’ll be one guy I’d be interesting in taking Day Two.

– Ditto with UConn’s Obi Melifonwu, whose report will go up in an hour. Really high on him as a guy who fills the alley as a reliable tackler but shows coverage ability in his Cover 2 deep half. Anything in the 4.5’s with change of direction evident in his testing would make me extremely happy.

– A slow-ish 40 time for Cam Sutton (4.5+) could increase chatter of moving him to safety, something that started with the Senior Bowl. I do think he’ll run pretty well, a tick below that, but we’ll have to find out.

Tedric Thompson is the last Colorado kid attending. Dave Bryan had him in his last Steelers’ mock draft so let’s see if it’s justified. He’s got great hands and ball skills that the Steelers have begun to put a high priority on (Golson, Burns, Holliman). 13 career picks, including seven last year.

– Finally, Miami’s Rayshawn Jenkins has the reputation as a big hitter and a guy I know just enough about to be intrigued by. A big hitter in the mold of Mike Mitchell, let’s see if the athleticism holds up.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Boots

    I’m really interested in Kevin King, he’s got experience at Safety as well. Too many to name right here actually! Really need to aquire some of the talent from this group! I know there’s been talk of a Munnerlyn signing or some other guys but I’d really like to get it here in the draft and develop them as Steelers!

  • falconsaftey43

    I expect Witherspoon to get 1st-2nd round talk after today. Great size and length, I love his tape. Expect he’ll run 4.47. He deflected a NCAA best 21 pass last year.

  • Mike Lloyd

    OK Alex…Do you like Chidobe Awuzie because his name is so similar to Chidi Iwuoma? Lol

  • Alex Kozora

    ….maybe

  • Lambert58

    Damn, you beat me to it. ha

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I love when the Steelers interview a kid like Shaquill Griffin and everybody says “Who?”

    And then he goes out and runs a 4.39 forty, with a 1.58 split.

    And everybody says, “Whoa!”

    Steelers DB scouts were all over that. Stepping up their game.

  • falconsaftey43

    Man, Corn Elder and Kazee both kinda slow 40s. 5’10” guys with 4.55 speed, not sure that will get it done. I really like both of their tape though. 5th round?

  • Alex Kozora

    As slot guys though, their 40 times don’t have to be amazing. I am focusing on agility drills.

  • falconsaftey43

    True, Lewis ran the same. Disappointed Desmond King didn’t run. I don’t know why some of these guys show up but chose not to compete.

  • Darth Blount 47

    My boy, Nate Gerry, built out of chiseled granite, and not getting the love he deserves, for a guy who had 13 INT’s and was an Iron Man for the Huskers.

    Bio: Gerry was the prototypical safety with an excellent blend of coverage skills and ability to support the run. He finished his career with 273 tackles to rank second among NU defensive backs and sixth overall in tackles. He had at least four interceptions in each of his final three seasons and his 13 career interceptions were tied for second in Husker history, just one off the school record.

    He ran a solid 4.58, at 6’2, 218 pounds. Agility tests are where he needs to show. That’s his weakest point. My DVR isn’t there yet, I’m still on the forty runs. But I’m excited! I love the CB’s and Safeties!!! They’re my favorite!

  • falconsaftey43

    Gerry’s a good player. great tackler.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I hate to say he gets overlooked cuz he’s a white boy…… But…..

    I haven’t seen anyone yet as I’ve been watching who looks anywhere close to his physique and muscle size. His biceps look like pythons! And he has tree trunk calves. I was a bit surprised he only did 17 reps as opposed to the 20 he did in pre combine workouts. If you look up and down the bench list for CB/S, 17 is upper echelon. But still… I’m sure there will be a few big beasts like him. But not many.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Josh Jones is a big boy and he just ran a 4.41. Whew! Nice..

  • falconsaftey43

    Yeah, I think that happens a lot. Same with TJ Watt.

  • falconsaftey43

    He just ran 4.45. 1st round slam dunk.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Adoree Jackson, so far, looks as good as advertised. Want to see if he can keep it up.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Ooh, first chance to catch a ball… And a whiff! Clank. Not good.

    Budda Baker as well. Clank. Guys said Baker can’t catch a cold. That bad of hands from Baker???

  • Darth Blount 47

    First chance to catch a ball… No problem for my boy. Very soft hands.

  • Darth Blount 47

    First catch drill and Desmond King looked smooth and caught the ball well.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Really like what I see from Josh Jones so far. Ran a very fast 40 for his size at 220 (4.41). And did 20 bench reps. First catch drill and he looked pretty smooth for a big safety and caught the ball fine.
    Expected to have a very good Vert as well.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Sidney Jones is STRUGGLING through the first 2 drills. Can’t catch and has wild hips. His 4.47 was fine in the forty. But he’s not impressing me so far as a guy who is very highly touted. I’ve liked Jackson better… so far.

    I also think Kazee has rebounded very well from an early slower forty time. He looks to have great ball skills.

  • falconsaftey43

    Jones was never someone who impressed me much. Reputation as a man coverage guy who didn’t allow separation. I saw lots of separation on tape and thought he struggled to flip hips.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Sorry, I replied thinking you were talking about Josh Jones.
    Yeah, Sidney has looked borderline terrible for me so far today.

  • falconsaftey43

    yes, Sidney Jones.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I can’t express how disappointed I am in Sidney based solely on his projection, and not any kind of bias or love that I had coming in. I haven’t spent a ton of time watching him. But at this workout, he has stunk.

  • Darth Blount 47

    No words to describe the measurables by Safety Obi Melifonwu. 6’3, 224.
    4.4 forty. 11’9″ Broad. 44′ Vert. 17 bench reps.
    I mean…. Byron Jones anyone?? Holy schnikees!!!

  • srdan

    What round will Obi go in?

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’d be shocked if he hasn’t just vaulted into the 1st. Guaranteed 2nd round or better after that unreal performance. But I’m betting 1st now.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I just went and did a mock draft. And man, cracking that 1st round, even after that performance, is gonna be tough. He may just fall to the top of the 2nd after all. But I think he has to be in the conversation for us at 30 now. IF he IS still there….

  • LucasY59

    I think he has the same problem as King, wont hit/be physical despite good size, is a finesse player (and the size almost hinders him since he is not as fluid as the smaller guys) good speed and decent coverage make him worth a draft pick for sure, but I dont think its 1st rd (because of the depth at CB this yr he could even last into the 3rd)

  • LucasY59

    think it was already pointed out when Alex did the profile on him, he looks as good or better than the profile showed after this combine performance

  • LucasY59

    because they could end up like Teez Tabor…

  • LucasY59

    Jackson caught a lot of passes (on O and returns) so I would think his hands were decent (had 5 INTs last season)

    Baker had some is more of a tackler with speed to cover, but isnt a TO creator (he did have a few INTs and FFs, but not the main part of his game)

  • LucasY59

    I think teams might take him instead of Peppers (especially if they were envisioning using Jabrill as a S/LB hybrid, Obi has the Hybrid size and is faster/more explosive that Peppers)

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yeah, Baker got better as the day wore on and I actually thought Jackson started to show his rawness and slowly got worse as the day wore. I’m gonna do a recap over in the Day 4 Recap in a few.

  • LucasY59

    Im just jealous you get to watch today, I barely have time to peek at results