2012 NFL Combine Notes: Defensive Backs, Plaxico Burress and All of Tuesday's Buzz
The 2012 NFL Combine has now come and gone. The defensive backs wrapped up the last day in Indy. Many players didn’t get a ton of face time as they filmed a lot of flashbacks of other players and of the media talking. Most people were what we thought they were but there were a few surprises.
Janoris Jenkins - 5’10, 190 lbs with 32″ arms. We’ve felt that Jenkins is clearly the best corner prospect in this draft. He ran a 4.46 official forty time and was extremely fluid in every drill. I understand teams being uneasy with the marijuana charges, but if we did surprise drug tests right now on every NFL player in the league, the number of positive tests would be jaw dropping for the naive minded.
There’s been a lot of talk this week about his four kids (by the way, he stole the name “Legend” from me and I copyrighted it for my 4-year old son). I don’t understand how the four kids make him a bad prospect. Especially as they go on to say that he’s involved in all of their lives. As a prospect alone, he’s the best one and his Tuesday workout matched exactly with his game film.
Morris Claiborne - Claiborne looked good in drills as well. He didn’t have the best form and he ran slower than most expected (4.50). He’s got good size at 5’11 1/8″, 188 lbs and 33 1/4″ arms. He’s the prospect that your parents want you to take to the dance. He doesn’t have the baggage of Jenkins. I really like Claiborne and I think he would make for a great starting NFL cornerback but he’s not as talented as Jenkins. I truly believe that some teams will have Janoris ranked higher but draft Morris instead. NFL teams need to truly investigate Jenkins. Any time you pass on a more talented player, you are taking a more calculated risk. If these teams feel that Jenkins character issues will rise back up, then obviously you take Morris. If they think he’s matured, then there’s no way you pass, as high picks turn to bust every year. The less talent, the higher the chance of a bust, even if he’s graded just slightly lower.
Josh Robinson - 5’10 1/8″, 199 lbs and 31 1/4″ arms. Robinson, who is listed in our top 10 cornerbacks’ list, caught people’s eyes by displaying a 4.33 official forty time and doing a vertical jump of 38.5″. Robinson isn’t a complete cornerback and will need some time to develop in the pros but the talent and skill set is there. We were also pleasantly surprised as we didn’t believe he would actually come in at 5’10. He looks smaller on film but now that the height, speed, and athleticism checks off, this will be a guy to continue to watch.
Harrison Smith - 6’1 7/8″, 213 lbs and 32 5/8″ arms. Smith ran a 4.57 and showed better technique than I thought he actually had. He handled himself well during the drills and the production is obviously there on the tape. I’ve been hesitant on Smith, due to his conservative play at times, as you can see in our pre-combine rankings. He definitely separated himself from more than a few prospects. Out of all of our lists, this will probably be our biggest jumper. His game film wasn’t bad and after seeing more detailed footwork, maybe an NFL coach will get the best out of his athleticism.
Dre Kirkpatrick – 6’1 5/8″, 186 lbs and 30 5/8″ arms. Kirkpatrick had a good showing and ran 4.51 with a 35″ vertical. It surprised me to find out that while Dre was 3 and a half inches taller than Janoris, it was Jenkins who had the 1 and a half inch longer arms. Dre also appeared a lot thinner than he did on tape but it doesn’t change how physical his game play was. His value doesn’t change one way or another for me. We love him in a zone defense and also think that he could be one of the best safeties in this class.
Casey Hayward – 5’11 3/8″, 192 lbs and 30 1/4″ arms. Casey is another one of those guys that got us the reaction of raised eyebrows with where we had him placed. We loved almost everything we saw on game film. He played the same competition as Kirkpatrick, Jenkins, and Claiborne. He had just as good if not better production but the knock on him was his speed. Claiborne (4.50) and Kirkpatrick (4.51) came in a little over .06 faster than Hayward, who timed 4.57. He showed some of the best footwork all day and was the fastest defensive back in the short shuttle since 2006 (3.90). He also had 19 reps of 225 pounds and had a 34″ vertical to go with it. Here’s an interview we did with Casey on NFL Draft Cheat Sheet a few weeks ago.
Ron Brooks – 5’10″, 190 lbs and 30 5/8″ arms. We watched Brooks film before the combine and he wasn’t anyone that really jumped off the tape. LSU defenders we tend to grade a little harsher, due to the lineage they have to the NFL and the pedigree that can be found in that defense. After Ron ran 4.37 and jumped 38″ vertically, we will take another look but I’m not sure it’ll help his draft grade any. You are what you display on game film.
Stephon Gilmore - 6’0 1/2″, 190 lbs and 31″ arms. While many came away impressed with Gilmore, he was what we thought he was. He’s a very athletically gifted defensive back. He ran a 4.40 and had a vertical of 36″. Gilmore can definitely play in a zone system but a team in need of safety help would be wise to snag him up first.
Jayron Hosley - 5’10, 178 lbs and 30 7/8″ arms. It seems as if most loved or hated Hosley leading up to the Combine. On Tuesday, it would have been difficult to find anyone who disliked what he did. His testing may have not been elite during timed events but in the on-field drills, you saw an NFL cornerback. Hosley is clearly a first round talent and should be the fourth cornerback off the board. If a team is in need of a man corner, don’t be surprised if Jayron gets the call ahead of Kirkpatrick.
Coryell Judie - 5’11 3/4″, 194 lbs and 30 1/4 arms. I wish we got to see more of a healthy Judie this year. He ran a 4.48 and had a 37″ vertical. Teams will be intrigued by Coryell and could find a steal in this draft with him. They also could pick up a guy who struggles to stay on the field. His pro days and team workouts will be key. He’ll have a lot of eyes on him in a few weeks, as most of the NFL will show up to the Aggies’ pro day to watch Ryan Tannehill.
Leonard Johnson - 5’9 7/8″, 196 lbs and 28 3/4″ arms. Johnson had mixed reviews today. Most of the negative though. When you see that 5’9 pop up on the screen, it automatically sticks out. Even though he’s only a hair under 5’10, it stays in the back of your mind. What adds fuel to the fear fire are those small arms. That wasn’t the end of the bad news. He also, timed out at 4.71. I say the day was mixed because during the drills, he did what he was suppose to…he played like a corner. He was fluid and comfortable doing whatever the drill asked. Several teams will be scared off by his height, arms, and speed but at some point his talent will be valued over other corner’s size. Predicted when will be tricky.
Trumaine Johnson - 6’1 7/8″, 204 lbs and 33 1/4″ arms. Trumaine is another “character issue” defensive back in this draft. He has other red flags as well though. In Indy he ran a 4.61, had a vertical of 35.5″, and put up 19 reps. He’s got great ball skills and will make for a talented free safety. Some felt that he was best suited as a corner but everything I see on tape says safety.
Coty Sensabaugh - 5’11 1/4″, 189 lbs and 31″ arms. Sensabaugh is the Clemson defensive back to come out. It seems as if we are grading a new one in each draft. You never want to grade a group but the Tigers haven’t put out a great defensive back since Brian Dawkins. The last few prospects that have come out, have played well while at Clemson, thanks to the pressure from the defensive line that included, Gaines Adams, Ricky Sapp, Da’Quan Bowers, Jarvis Jenkins, and now Brandon Thompson and Andre Branch. After running a 4.42 and having a 37″ vertical, I suspect I should at least take another look but I believe we could be getting into another Marcus Gilchrist situation.
Justin Bethel - 5’11 5/8″, 200 lbs and 32 3/8″ arms. Bethel quietly had an impressive day. While everyone was focused on the big 3, Justin was jumping 39.5″ vertically, benching 19 reps of 225 pounds, and displayed a broad jump of 131″. The numbers are always fun and open your eyes but he had great technique all day. Coming from a college like Presbyterian, it’s obvious that a guy could be overlooked and this is who the combine is for. He checked step one and that was showing that he has the size and intangibles to play at the next level but now it’s time to see if that matters at all. I’ll get my hands on some film this week and see if that translated against his toughest competition. His team played Cal this year and if he matched up against Marvin Jones, we will know real quick if this kid was a combine phenom or a true value.
Christian Thompson - 6’0 ¼, 211 lbs and 31 1/2″ arms. These little small schools in South Carolina are turning out to be a hot bed this season. Who knew that NFL talent may have been hiding in the cities of Clinton, Conway, and Orangeburg in South Carolina? Those are the cities where Bethel, Thompson, and Coastal Carolina’s Josh Norman’s school reside. Christian ran a 4.50 and pushed out 18 reps on the bench. For a big body kid, he kept surprising me with how effortlessly he moved. I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time contacting schools in my home state this week. Thompson definitely deserves a deeper look as well.
NFL Season Kickoff - The NFL announced today that the 2012 season will kick off on a Wednesday, instead of a Thursday this year. The New York Giants still don’t know who their opponent will be for this game but the league decided to change the day, so that the game wouldn’t interfere with President Obama’s speech at the DNC. To me it just means that football season comes earlier. With no games to watch now, saving another 24 hours is alright in my book.
Kris Dielman - The Chargers lineman will announce his retirement on Thursday. He suffered a concussion this year and continued to play through it. On the plane ride back home, he suffered a seizure. This serves as a reminder how severe these concussions are and why the NFL has to do a better job of monitoring players that have “concussion like” symptoms during the game. While I’m sure the Chargers’ fan base hates to lose a guy of his caliber, they understand that life comes before games.
Adrian Arrington - The Saints signed wide receiver, Adrian Arrington to his exclusive rights contract of one year, $540,000. The deal was done last week and reported nationally today.
Plaxico Burress - Burress wants to join the Philadelphia Eagles this off season. He said in an interview that he feels that Mike Vick can lead a team to the Super Bowl. I view the Eagles 2012 season as the same as we are seeing with the Miami Heat in the NBA right now. Both teams needed a second year to fully gel and get all of their complimentary pieces. Burress is smart for wanting to join on with them this year but I have no idea if the feeling is mutual. Andy Reid has been taking a lot of heat for never getting the job done and adding the NFL’s second most disliked player (Nielsen Poll) to go along with the first, Mike Vick, may not be in the team’s best interest.
The 2012 NFL Combine is in the history books but we are far from done with the talent evaluating. The NFL offseason is the most intriguing in all of sports and it’ll get even more intense in just two weeks as the NFL free agency kicks off. Continue to check us out at the TheXLog.com as we will have you covered on everything in the NFL Draft and free agency.iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock