INDIANAPOLIS — The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine wrapped up on Monday in Indianapolis with the defensive backs conducting their on-the-field drills at Lucas Oil Stadium. What were the top takeaways from the day?
CORNERS LEAD IT OFF
The cornerbacks were the first to hit the field on Monday morning, giving the NFL decision-makers on hand a chance to match what they’ve been studying on tape with what the prospects look like live on the field.
What was interesting was outside of LSU’s Greedy Williams — considered by many to be the best corner in this year’s draft class — the other top players at the position didn’t exactly burn up the turf during their 40-yard dashes. Williams was clocked in at 4.37 seconds, but Deandre Baker (4.52), Julian Love (4.54), Byron Murphy (4.55) Joejuan Williams (4.64) and Rock Ya-Sin (4.51) couldn’t quite get over the 4.4-second hump.
What’s perhaps more important than straight-line speed is quickness and reaction time, however, and most of these corners looked solid in the actual drills on Monday.
Baker, for example, really impressed the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, proving his projection as a first-round talent.
"Really good hands,” Jeremiah said. “Feisty. A very feisty corner. Again, he's smooth. He's not a stiff guy. You know he can catch the ball. He's got excellent ball skills."
Colts.com’s Jake Arthur took a deep dive into Baker’s college game film, and came away intrigued.
While the safeties represented the last position group to the take the field for drills in this year’s Combine, they certainly weren’t least when it came to a few key areas of the event.
One in particular: the ever-popular 40-yard dash. Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean thought he had ran the best 40 of this year’s Combine earlier in the day with his 4.30-second performance, but that’s when Ole Miss safety Zedrick Woods bested him by a hair:
Woods’ official time of 4.29 seconds is tied for the 12th-fastest in the NFL Scouting Combine since at least 2000, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
And while Woods hopes to have significantly boosted his draft stock, several other safeties already considered the best of the best in their class had solid showings on Monday.
One of those players is Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram, who ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and is a favorite of Jeremiah’s.
“He plays as strong as you'll ever see,” Jeremiah said. “You want to talk about all gas, no brakes. And every contact is a physical contact. You want to see someone fill the alley and deliver some huge shots, he's your guy.”
Sure sounds like a player who could potentially fill in well with the Colts and defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ principles.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO HOME…
That’s a wrap from this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. From here, a few select prospects will likely be returning to Indianapolis just before the draft for some follow-up medical exams, but for the most part, the players move on to prepare for their various college pro days.
Stay tuned to Colts.com for more results and reactions from this year’s Combine, as well as continuing coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft class.