2009 NFL Draft
The Top Safety Prospects
2009 NFL Combine Numbers
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Full Player Breakdowns & Analysis To Come In March
2008 CFN Draft Central
2008 NFL Draft Breakdown and Analysis
1. Patrick Chung, Oregon (SS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 2
Post-Combine Skinny: Great workout. GREAT workout. The 4.47 was a
major boost to put him among the top defensive backs overall and might
have been enough to solidify a spot in the second round. The 25 reps on
the bench didn't hurt, either.
Positives: Can do
everything well at either safety position. Could play corner in a pinch
… The type defensive back to build a secondary around … Tremendous
tackler. Doesn’t miss.
Negatives: Might struggle a wee bit in deep coverage. He lacks elite
speed … Not huge for a strong safety … Physical play worked in college,
but it might not be enough, because of his size, in the NFL.
2. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 3
Post-Combine Skinny: It was an impressive workout that showed he
belongs among the top safety prospects. The 4.49 was better than most
corner, and he was ultra-quick through the short drills. Now he's known
for being athletic as well as a big hitter.
Experienced veteran leader who produced against everyone … Huge hitter.
HUGE hitter … Fast enough to play corner, a big enough popper to play
Goes for the kill shot too often. It gets him in trouble … Not
necessarily a form tackler … A bit lanky. Could use a few more pounds of
Sean Smith, Utah (FS/CB) 6-4,
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 5
Post-Combine Skinny: Easily one of the biggest stars of the
Combine, he might now be viewed as a very big, very athletic corner.
However, he could also be used as a devastating free safety after
checking in a 6-4 and 214 pounds and tearing off a silky smooth 4.47.
Positives: Excellent size. If
he ends up at corner, He’ll have dream size … Surprisingly quick for
being so long. Cuts like a much smaller defender … Good instincts even
though he doesn’t have that much experience.
Negatives: He’ll have to find
a position right away. He’ll likely be looked at as a corner, but his
future will be at free safety. Will he be able to master one spot? … Has
an NFL-sized opinion of his skills … Not great against the run. Won’t
provide much pop.
4. Rashad Johnson, Alabama (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 1
Post-Combine Skinny: He appeared to be a bit thicker than he was in
college and he ran a solid 4.54. He was athletic enough to start to
convert those who don't believe in his basic skills. However, he's a
free safety and not a pure strong safety.
Tremendous worker and a great leader … A playmaker. Made things happen
as the star of a strong defense … Good closing ability when the ball is
in the air.
an elite athlete. A better football player than he’ll be in any workout
… Not all that big. Not a huge hitter … He’ll have to get bigger and
stronger or there might be a ceiling on what he can do.
Wiley, Michigan State (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 7
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't work out, but he measured a
rock-solid 6-1 and 213 pounds. If he can show off decent athleticism and
come in around 4.55, he'll make himself a lot of money.
Positives: Extremely fast for
his size … A playmaker. Always made things happen as a free safety …
Great tackler who always gets around the ball.
Negatives: Only a free safety.
A disaster his junior year at strong safety … Will have to show he can
provide steady run support … Doesn’t always play up to his size.
6. David Bruton, Notre Dame (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 10
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a special workout from a
high-rising prospect. He was big, fast, and smooth with a 41.5"
vertical, an 11-foot broad jump, and a lightning quick 60-yard drill.
Originally considered a late second day prospect, he looked like a
A standout on the Irish D with a great combination of size and speed …
Excellent tackler. Looked like he was playing at another level at times
… Great character. Will bust his tail to get better.
Negatives: Not a tone-setting
hitter. A good hitter, but not an elite one … Needs to be a more
consistent tackler … Will have to show he can stay with an NFL receiver.
7. Courtney Greene, Rutgers (SS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 12
Post-Combine Skinny: He had a really nice weekend. The 4.54 was
strong, and he appeared to be a natural as he motored through the short
drills. It was the workout that proved he belonged in an NFL backfield,
and with his size, it was a workout that showed he could be special with
a little bit of work.
Exceptional athleticism … An intimidating force. Makes big hits … Good
speed and quickness when the ball is in the air.
Negatives: Tends to go for the
big hit over the routine play … Short. Tough, but short … A strong
safety at the next level. His skills likely won’t translate to free.
8. William Moore, Missouri (SS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 4
Post-Combine Skinny: This was going to be when Moore stopped the
free-fall of his stock. It didn't happen. The 4.53 was good enough, but
he didn't appear to be too smooth and he didn't stand out.
The prototype. He has the size and athleticism to make NFL scouts drool
… Fast. Has no problem staying with any receiver … Good at coming up
with the pick. Great break on the ball.
Negatives: A major,
major disappointment in
post-season workouts coming off a subpar final year … Tried to hard to
come up with a big play and missed the easy ones … Would’ve been a top
15 pick after his 2007 season. The stock has dropped.
9. Derek Pegues, Mississippi State (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 6
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a disappointing workout considering his
potential. He ran a 4.62, but he came up with a nice 23 reps in the
weight room. He appeared to be trying to do too much. He should be
better in private workouts.
Versatile veteran who dominated against the best of the best in the SEC
… A major-league playmaker. Deadly with the ball in his hands on special
teams or after a pick … Physical for his size.
Negatives: Small. It wasn’t a
problem in the SEC, but it might be in the NFL … Won’t provide a
major-league pop … He’ll have to prove he can be consistent against the
run against the bigger players.
10. Michael Hamlin, Clemson (S)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 8
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a decent workout for his size. Known
for being a big hitter and a physical player, he was relatively athletic
in the drills. The 4.6 in the 40 was expected, but disappointing. A 4.55
would've made a big difference.
Versatile. Can play either safety spot … Excellent tackler. Extremely
physical … Great against the run. Doesn’t miss.
Negatives: Needs to get
bigger. He has to hit the weights hard … Not an elite athlete. Might be
a free safety playing strong safety, or vice versa depending on his
workouts … Will need to prove he’s fast enough on deep balls.
11. Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 13
Post-Combine Skinny: He was flying through the short drills
like a much smaller player. With his size and speed, he showed off all
the raw tools to potentially be a starter. He looked the part.
Clutch. A good playmaker when things get tight … Strong with an NFL
body. Big-time hitter … Good athleticism and enough speed to get by.
Negatives: Not a fluid athlete
on the field
… Is a free safety, but plays like a strong safety … Might need a bit of
work. Not instinctive.
12. Darcel McBath, Texas Tech (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 15
Post-Combine Skinny: He's the type of player that everyone
wants. He wants to be a top player, he'll work for it, and he ran well
with a 4.57. He was quick enough in the drills and did them
A leader. He took charge of the back seven … A great combination of
speed and size … A playmaker both against the run and against the pass.
Negatives: Not a popper.
Tackles, but doesn’t hit … Isn’t the best athlete … Not quite physical
enough to scare anyone at the next level.
Kevin Ellison, USC (SS) 6-1,
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 9
Post-Combine Skinny: It wasn't good. The 32 reps on the bench might
make him more of a linebacker, and the stunningly slow 4.82 in the 40
secures it. Now he has to find a spot to play.
experienced veteran who was a leader on a defense full of leaders …
Strong and extremely tough. Very physical … Takes great angles. Doesn’t
waste many steps.
Bad knees … A pure strong safety. Not athletic enough to play free
safety after the knee injuries … Not great at going after the ball when
it’s in the air.
14. Curtis Taylor, LSU (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 11
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a good enough Combine to earn him
longer looks. He came up with a huge broad jump of 10'9", but the 4.64
in the 40 was a problem. He looked faster and quicker than he actually
An NFL body, even if he’s a bit lanky … Big hitter. Will explode into
the ball-carrier … Moves well for his size.
Negatives: Marginal instincts.
Seems to have to make up for mistakes … Doesn’t do enough to get to the
ball when it’s in the air … Tries too hard to make the big pop.
15. Jamarca Sanford, Ole Miss (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 14
Post-Combine Skinny: The 4.48 made him a player worth
looking into. The 29 reps made him one of the stars of the weekend.
While he's a bit short, that didn't seem to matter after showing off his
A veteran. Plenty of experience … Great hitter. Pops like a much
bigger player … Great motor. 100% worker.
Negatives: Not big. Not quite
fast enough to be a top free safety, and not bulky enough to play strong
safety … A player. Not a difference maker, but a player … Won’t impress
16. Sherrod Martin, Troy (S)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 22
Post-Combine Skinny: He made a big name for himself as one of
the quickest defensive backs in Indianapolis. The 4.52 was more than
good enough at safety, but the 3.98 shuttle and 6.6 cone drills were
Positives: A top-shelf safety
in college, he projects to be a physical corner … A very productive
playmaker against everyone … Excellent upside with good raw skills.
Speedy and strong.
He doesn’t have a position. Versatility not necessarily a plus …
Needs major technique work on either position, corner or free safety …
Not a huge hitter for being a safety.
17. C.J. Spillman,
Marshall (FS) 6-0, 197
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 16
Post-Combine Skinny: Known for being ultra-athletic, he didn't
disappoint. He ran a good 4.5 to punctuate the 41.5" vertical leap and
11.27 60-yard drill. He was one of the best athletes at the Combine.
Positives: Good speed and
quickness … Moves extremely well. Effortless … Tough. Willing to stick
his nose in against the run.
Negatives: Mediocre in pass coverage … A good hitter, but not a
consistent tackler … Not huge. A free safety. Not a strong safety.
18. Stephen Hodge, TCU (SS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 19
Post-Combine Skinny: One of the stunners among the defensive
backs, he didn't look like an athletic free safety in the drills, but he
ripped off a 4.49 in the 40 and came up with 22 reps in the weight room.
At 234 pounds, he has the size to go along with the surprising speed.
for the position. Great on the move … A star special teamer. He’ll make
a roster on that alone … Big time hitter. Brings the thunder with every
Negatives: More of
a linebacker than a true safety … Will have to do far different things
in the NFL than he did at TCU … Fast, but not necessarily quick.
Emmanuel Cook, South Carolina (FS)
19. Bradley Fletcher, Iowa (FS/CB) 6-0, 196
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 21
Post-Combine Skinny: No one will know exactly where to put him,
but he might be the type of prospect who someone will fall in love with.
He could be a lightning fast safety after running a 4.47, or he could be
a big corner.
Positives: Great size for a
corner. Was fantastic in post-season all-star workouts and practices …
Will likely make his money as a nickelback or free safety. Will be a
great centerfielder … Can hit and move.
Negatives: He doesn’t have a
position … Not experienced. Only got it done for one year … A good
tackler, but not an intimidating hitter in any way.
Marcus McClinton, Kentucky (FS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 23
Post-Combine Skinny: A physical, tough defender, he needed to
show off a little speed. He did it. The 4.56 was more than fine for the
type of player he is, and now he might be a fast strong safety and not
just automatically considered a free safety.
Was productive and has the tools … Great tackler who’s extremely
physical … Great closing speed.
Negatives: Major character
concerns … Always banged up. Hits too big and gets hurt … Doesn’t play
up to his talent level.
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 17
Post-Combine Skinny: A linebacker trying to play safety, he ran
like a linebacker with a 4.61. It'll be hard to find a spot for him
after this workout. He didn't show anything to make him look like a
Major league hitter. Pops like a linebacker … Veteran starter who
saw it all in the SEC … Extremely quick. Blows through a ball-carrier.
Negatives: Small. Too small …
Not quite quick enough to be an elite free safety. A strong safety
who’ll need to play free … Character issues.
22. Troy Nolan,
Arizona State (SS) 6-1, 207
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 18
Post-Combine Skinny: He'll make his money as a hitter. The 4.62
didn't help his cause, but speed isn't his game. He wasn't expected to
work out well, and he didn't.
Positives: An excellent hitter
… Great playmaker. Aggressive in all phases … Like an extra linebacker.
Negatives: Not all that
athletic. Won’t work out well … Tries to go for the big play too often …
Lacks instincts. Isn’t always efficient to the ball.
23. Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma (FS)
24. Reshard Langford, Vanderbilt (SS)
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 20
Post-Combine Skinny: For a player who projects to be a free
safety, the 4.71 40 was a disaster. Some might have thought of him as a
big corner. They don't any longer.
Great athlete. Fast to the ball … Can be used in a variety of ways. Can
be a big corner in an emergency and could also be used as a pass rusher … Tall. Rangy.
Negatives: Not quite a big
enough hitter to star at safety … Character. Off-the-field issues with
schoolwork … More of a corner playing safety.
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 24
Post-Combine Skinny: Wasn't At The Combine
Excellent tackler. Very physical … Tough. Plays through everything …
Good at making plays. Gets the job done.
Negatives: Lacks the tools.
Isn’t enough of an athlete … Not big enough to be a consistent strong
safety, and way too small to think about linebacker … Will get caught up
25. Kevin Akins, Boston College (SS) 6-2, 218
Pre-Combine Position Rank: 25
Post-Combine Skinny: A jack-of-all-trades at Boston College,
the position question was answered in a resounding way in Indy ... he's
a linebacker. And a slow one. He might still be thought of as a strong
safety after a quick 60-yard drill, but the nightmarish 4.83 40 ended
most hopes of being a regular in the defensive backfield.
Positives: Physical enough to
play linebacker at BC, and athletic enough to play corner at times …
Good athleticism for a defensive back of his size … Could grow into a
linebacker with more time in the weight room.
Negatives: A prospect. He
doesn’t have a pure position … Not physical enough to be a linebacker
without more work … Needs to be a star special teamer to stick.