2010 NFL Combine - Safety Analysis
USC S Taylor Mays
USC S Taylor Mays
Posted Mar 5, 2010

Top safeties are at more of a premium than ever in the NFL, and that's why the crop at the Combine will be scrutinized and analyzed even more than usual. Check out the Combine quick looks at the safeties invited to Indy.

2010 NFL Post-Combine

Safety Rankings

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs 

- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Winners  
- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Losers 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Winners 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Losers 

1. Eric Berry, Tennessee 6-0, 211
Post-Combine Skinny: Perfect. Everything about the workout was perfect with a fast 4.47, a solid 19 reps on the bench, and phenomenal leaping ability with a 43" vertical and a 10'10" broad jump. Essentially, he showed off all the athleticism and raw skills to match the amazing college career.
Pre-Combine Rank: 1
Positives: Ultra-productive playmaker who was always making things happen. Tough against the run and superior when the ball is in the air. … Great range who can work perfectly in any system. Exactly the type of safety NFL teams need now. … Will be a shock if he's not a perennial Pro Bowl performer. Has it all.
Negatives: A bit dinged up at times. Played through problems, but is so physical he has to keep himself from getting banged. … Not huge. Has decent size but isn't a big thumper. … Has he peaked? He was so good at Tennessee that there's not too much room to grow.

2. Taylor Mays, USC 6-3, 230
Post-Combine Skinny: 4.43. There have been several disputes about just how fast Mays was, but all that matters is that he was the fastest defensive back at the Combine and had everyone buzzing about how a player 230 pounds could be that fast, that smooth, and that impressive. Everyone knew he'd test well, but this was still something amazing. The 41" vertical, 24 reps on the bench, and 10'5" broad jump only helped his reputation.
Pre-Combine Rank: 2
Positives: The prototype. Fast, strong, big, he has everything you could ever dream about in a safety. … A knockout hitter, for good and bad. Is an intimidating force. … Can play any safety spot and fit in any system.
Negatives: Not nearly productive enough for his skills. Was fine, but wasn't special. … Strangely poor instincts. Gets fooled way too easily and usually makes up for it with his athleticism. Won't be able to do that all the time in NFL. … Rubs people the wrong way. Comes across as aloof. Entitled.

3. Earl Thomas, Texas 5-10, 208
Post-Combine Skinny: While he didn't test like Eric Berry or Taylor Mays, he ran like a corner with a 4.44 40 and lifted a solid 21 reps. The problem is the eyeball test compared to the other top safeties; he just didn't look big. But everything else was there and he showed he could move to corner if absolutely needed.
Pre-Combine Rank: 3
Positives: Possibly the most instinctive defensive player in the draft. Always, ALWAYS is where he's supposed to be and is a step ahead of everyone else. … Versatile enough to play any position in the secondary. Could move to corner if needed. Crazy strong for his size. … Terrific ball skills and dangerous when on the move.
Negatives: Small. Has corner size but to move him would be a problem. He's a safety. … Big concerns if he can hold up at safety. Doesn't look the part. … Not a big hitter. Won't intimidate anyone with his popping ability.

4. Reshad Jones, Georgia 6-1, 214
Post-Combine Skinny: He proved to have great range and good strength to go along with his size. the 24 reps were among the best of the defensive backs and the 4.54 40 was exactly what he needed to run. He was explosive, quick, and looked like the type of prospect who can hang around someone's secondary for the next several years.
Pre-Combine Rank: 6
Positives: Strong with range. Moves around well enough to be used just about anywhere. … Tough. Has no problem when the ground game runs right at him. … A very good, very sound player who stood out on an athletic defense.
Negatives: Quick, but not necessarily fast to the ball. … Not as instinctive as many NFL teams would like. Got away with a lot in college by simply being better than everyone else. That won't work at the next level. … Misses too many plays. Not as intimidating as he should be when the ball is in the air.

5. Chad Jones, LSU 6-2, 221
Post-Combine Skinny: Disappointing. The nine reps on the bench were miserable for a player of his size and supposed strength. He ran relatively well and moved good enough, but he wasn't even remotely close to being as good as the other top safety prospects.
Pre-Combine Rank: 4
Positives: A big game-changing player who was the leader of an athletic secondary. … A decent enough athlete to be used in a variety of ways. A sheriff with good range. … Strong against the run. Isn't afraid to bring the lumber.
Negatives: Baseball. He's good enough to make a living as an MLB outfielder or possibly a relief pitcher. … Not an elite athlete. Fine, but not NFL special. … Will be more of a zone defender and could struggle with the faster receivers.

6. Nate Allen, South Florida 6-0, 207
Post-Combine Skinny: Everyone knows he's fast and athletic, so it wasn't that big a deal that he didn't move. The 16 reps on the bench didn't show off great strength, but he still needs to run a 40 to prove he belongs among the top 50 players.
Pre-Combine Rank: 6
Positives: Quick. Moves fluidly and has little problem closing on the ball. … Instinctive. Knows where he's supposed to be and is always there. … Doesn't need a whole bunch of work. Polished enough to roll from day one.
Negatives: Not really a playmaker. Good, but not a difference maker. … A good tackler, not a great one. … Not an intimidator. Not huge and not a big hitter.

7. Barry Church, Toledo 6-1, 222
Post-Combine Skinny: The pet prospect of many insiders, he had an interesting workout. He was big, but he flew around the short drills like a much smaller player. However, the 19 reps weren't that big a deal and the 4.68 40 was slow. He might be like a smallish linebacker, but he wasn't bad enough to drop too far.
Pre-Combine Rank: 15
Positives: A standout from day one. Always played bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone in the MAC. … Tough. Great against the run and has the size to be NFL productive. … Can be used in a variety of ways. Strong enough to possibly be a smallish linebacker.
Negatives: Player like a man among boys at times in the MAC, but doesn't have top-shelf NFL skills. … Little range. Not a star in pass coverage against speed receivers. … Not quick enough. Needs to be surrounded by athletes.

8. Darrell Stuckey, Kansas 5-11, 205
Post-Combine Skinny: It was fantastic considering he wasn't all that big and needed to show off a bit. He ran extremely well cranking out a 4.49 and was fluid through all the drills. He showed the 30.5" leaping ability to help make up for his size, and he looked the part of a cover-2 safety. However, his 17 reps didn't help his reputation for not being physical.
Pre-Combine Rank: 11
Positives: A nice athlete who was a major playmaker for KU. Always stood out. … Nice helper against the run. Isn't afraid to get his nose dirty. … A baller. He'll do what's needed to play.
Negatives: Not huge. Won't be able to be all that physical at an NFL level. … Not great when the ball is in the air. Better in run support. … Quicker than fast. Doesn't have top-end range.

9. Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame 6-0, 205
Post-Combine Skinny: Terrific. It was the exact workout he needed to come up with as one of the most athletic safeties in Indy. The 4.63 in the 40 didn't matter with the way he was moving around the cones and the short drills. the 24 reps on the bench only helped him more, and even though he wasn't that big, he was fantastic on the move.
Pre-Combine Rank: 17
Positives: Terrific playmaker. Easily the top producer on the Irish D. … Great tackler. Aggressive enough and instinctive enough to get around the ball all the time. … Top character. Will run through a wall to produce and will be tough to cut.
Negatives: Way too small. Will have problems holding up. … An okay athlete but not a great one. Not enough speed to make up for the lack of size. … Will get beaten up. No chance of getting through next-level blocks.

10. Morgan Burnett, Georgia Tech 6-1, 209
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't show enough. The size wasn't bad, but the 16 reps were a little light and he didn't show nearly enough to make a big move. He's still way outside the elite safety prospects.
Pre-Combine Rank: 7
Positives: Great against the run. When he has a bead on a ball-carrier, he makes the play. … Has good all-around skills. A solid athlete. … Good range. Can stay with quicker receivers and is great at helping out.
Negatives: Way, way, way too inconsistent. He'll make a brilliant play one down and seem lost the next. … Makes too many mistakes. A bit overaggressive. … Gambles on the field. Takes several risks. 

11. T.J. Ward, Oregon 5-10, 211
Post-Combine Skinny: He was smallish and didn't look like a top athlete, but he moved well enough and his 4.54 was good enough to get by. It wasn't a strong enough workout to guarantee a spot in the first three rounds, but it was good enough to not ruin how good he is on the tape.
Pre-Combine Rank: 10
Positives: Extremely tough for his size and isn't afraid to throw his body around. … Finds a way to make the play. Is always around the ball and is fantastic when the ball is in the air. … A pure baller. Versatile enough to play anywhere in the secondary.
Negatives: Too small. Will struggle to hold up against the run on a regular basis. … Too banged up. Suffered two bad knee injuries and a variety of other bumps and bruises. … An okay athlete, but not an elite one to make up for his lack of size.

12. Darian Stewart, South Carolina 5-11, 213
Post-Combine Skinny: He was fast, and he needed to be for his size, running a 4.5, but he didn't show any strength with just 12 reps on the bench. The quickness was fine, but nothing special enough to overcome all the other problems.
Pre-Combine Rank: 18
Positives: Smart. A good player who doesn't make mistakes and knows what he's supposed to do. A leader. … A nice tackler with a good burst into the backfield. Underappreciated. … A nice athlete and a good hitter.
Negatives: Not huge. Plays bigger than his size, but doesn't have the beef. … More of a run stopper than a pass defender. Limited in pass coverage at an NFL level. … Good at any safety position, but not great. Not an elite prospect.

13. Justin Woodall, Alabama 6-1, 223
Post-Combine Skinny: For his size he moved well. The 4.59 40 was good enough considering he's not supposed to be an athlete, but the killer for him was his awful time on the bench with just 13 reps on the bench. He needs to get stronger, but the workout changed the view that he wasn't a strong athlete.
Pre-Combine Rank: 16
Positives: Tough playmaker who's great against the run. Always working. … Has nice size. Big enough to hold his own. … Productive. Was a key part of an elite defense.
Negatives: Not an athlete. Doesn't have great range. … Tries to make up for limitations by taking more chances. … A good player on Bama, but was also surrounded by elite talents.

14. Larry Asante, Nebraska 6-0, 212
Post-Combine Skinny: It wasn't good. It was almost like he was a bit nervous as he never seemed quite on balance. He was painfully slow with a 4.60 40, and the 14 reps on the bench were awful. He dropped after this workout.
Pre-Combine Rank: 12
Positives: A big hitter with good speed. Moves well and isn't afraid to throw his body around. … Makes every tackle. Doesn't miss much once he has a shot. … Good character on the field. Does whatever is needed.
Negatives: Not all that big. Doesn't have elite strength to hold up against bigger blockers. … Just okay in pass coverage. Not special for a player of his size and raw skills. … Might be limited to nickel and dime packages early on. Limited upside.

15. Kam Chancellor, Virginia Tech 6-3, 231
Post-Combine Skinny: Very big and very strong for a safety, he lifted well with 22 reps, ran a good 4.62 in the 40, and he did enough to improve his stock. It was the type of workout he needed to open up a few more eyes.
Pre-Combine Rank: 8
Positives: Huge. Has linebacker size with defensive back range. … Always made plays. A key star to a great Hokie defense. … Tough as nails. As reliable as they come and is the type of player coaches love.
Negatives: Not instinctive. Makes too many mistakes. … Not necessarily built for any scheme. Better against the run and in short range than deep. … A hard ceiling. Doesn't quite have the upside to assume he can be special.

16. Kurt Coleman, Ohio State 5-10, 192
Post-Combine Skinny: He wasn't able to run and will need to come up with a big other workout to be on everyone's radar. The 19 reps and smallish size were all anyone were able to see, but his strength should be his athleticism and he needs to show it off.
Pre-Combine Rank: 9
Positives: A playmaker. Great ball skills and a leader who makes things happen. … Does a lot of the little things right. Makes up for others' mistakes. … A good enough athlete to fit just about any system. Moves around well.
Negatives: Too small and not an elite athlete. Doesn't have the size to be a regular thumper against the run. … Mediocre range. Has to be assigned a zone and will struggle with special receivers. … Not particularly fast on the field. It helped to be surrounded by several top-shelf athletes.

17. Nick Polk, Indiana 5-11, 211
Post-Combine Skinny: While he didn't lift well with only 14 reps on the bench, everything else was impressive showing off more athleticism than expected. The 4.56 40 helped his cause and he was smooth and fluid when he was cutting. He wasn't explosive, but he looked like he belonged.
Pre-Combine Rank: 27
Positives: A veteran who has logged plenty of time and knows what he's doing. A crafty veteran. … Nice athleticism with good ball skills. … Good against the run. Willing to sacrifice his body and is tough as nails. … Can work in nickel and dime packages and not make mistakes.
Negatives: A good tackler, not a great one. Not a huge hitter. … Doesn't have elite range and will have problems with quicker receivers. … Never progressed into anything special. Was a very good player but not a special one.

18. Myron Rolle, Florida State 6-2, 215
Post-Combine Skinny: He came to Indy to prove to everyone that he's not just a brain, but that he's also a playmaking football player. While he lifted well enough with 21 reps on the bench, and the 10'4" broad jump was solid, he didn't run well enough for his size. He wasn't smooth, ran a 4.68 40, and didn't help himself all that much.
Pre-Combine Rank: 13
Positives: Smarts. You don't become a Rhodes scholar without being special in every phase of your life. … Has an attitude. Everyone is knocking him because of his brain and outside potential (he wants to be a neurosurgeon), but he wants to prove he can play. … Has decent raw skills. Is big with good speed, strength and range.
Negatives: Not the most instinctive player. Has gotten by mostly on his sheer talent and Florida State athleticism. … Not really a big-time playmaker. Was fine, but was hardly special on the field. … Yeah, the future. He'll do far bigger and better things than play football.

19. Harry Coleman, LSU 6-1, 211
Post-Combine Skinny: Officially working out as a linebacker, he's really a defensive back after measuring a mere 211 pounds. The 4.65 wasn't fast enough to be a top-shelf defensive back and the 13 reps on the bench were lousy. He moved relatively well in the short drills, but he wasn't good enough.
Pre-Combine Rank: 14
Positives: Hits like a linebacker. Will be terrific against the run. … Doesn't miss a tackle. Gets everyone down. … A coach's dream. Hustles, leads, does everything the right way.
Negatives: Doesn't have the skills. Isn't fast enough for his size. … Not a huge hitter. A good tackler, but doesn't blow anyone up. … Might be limited to being a special teams ace.

20. Andre Sexton, Oklahoma State
Not Invited To The Combine

21. Van Eskridge, East Carolina
Not Invited To The Combine

22. Kendrick Lewis, Ole Miss 6-0, 198
Post-Combine Skinny: Disastrous. He's not fast enough to be a corner and he's not quick enough to be used in any system as a safety, and at his size he didn't run nearly well enough with a slow 4.72. the 16 reps on the bench and the lumbering short drills didn't help his cause.
Pre-Combine Rank: 21
Positives: Underappreciated. Was a nice producer for the Rebels at a high level. … A great athlete. Moves extremely well. … A leader who isn't afraid to step up when needed and make a key play either against the run or when the ball is in the air. Always working.
Negatives: Small. Build like a corner and will struggle to hold up as a safety. … Quick and athletic, but not blazing fast. … Not elite in pass coverage. More of a hitter and that won't translate to the next level.

23. Terrell Skinner, Maryland
Not Invited To The Combine

24. Robert Johnson, Utah
Not Invited To The Combine

25. Shann Schillinger, Montana
Not Invited To The Combine

26. Jordan Lake, Baylor
Not Invited To The Combine

27. Brad Phillips, Northwestern
Not Invited To The Combine

28. Ryan Hamilton, Vanderbilt
Not Invited To The Combine

29. Mike Newton, Buffalo
Not Invited To The Combine

30. Aaron Webster, Cincinnati
Not Invited To The Combine

31. Quinton Andrews, North Alabama
Not Invited To The Combine

32. Jonathan Amaya, Nevada 6-1, 203
Post-Combine Skinny: He needed to impress and he didn't do enough to make any noise. the 4.53 40 was good for his size, but the eight reps on the bench were a killer. He wasn't quite quick enough, he seemed a half-step off at times, and he showed he still needs to work out again to get into the top five rounds.
Pre-Combine Rank: 32
Positives: Fast and productive. The only thing mildly decent about an abysmal Nevada pass defense. … Good range. A playmaker when the ball is in the air. … A willing tackler. Throws his body around and is tough in run support.
Negatives: A bit of a tweener. Can be decent anywhere in the secondary, but won't be great. … Had knee problems. Durability concerns. … It's not like the Wolf Pack secondary did anything with him as the star.

33. Randy Phillips, Miami
Not Invited To The Combine

34. Lucien Antoine, Oklahoma State 6-0, 215
Post-Combine Skinny: The full beard wasn't the only impressive part of his showing. Antoine was a monster on the bench with a defensive tackle-like 28 reps on the bench and a not-that-bad 4.6 (considering his strength). He looked like a smallish linebacker more than a safety, but he was just good enough to think that he could play somewhere in someone's secondary.
Pre-Combine Rank: 34
Positives: Decent size and a good hitter. Good against the run. … Not bad at getting into the backfield. Was disruptive when turned loose. … Nicknamed "The Punisher" because of his huge hitting ability.
Negatives: Wasn't quite the same after suffering a knee injury. Wasn't bad, but didn't progress into the elite player expected. … Decent in pass coverage but not elite. Questionable instincts. … Not huge. His physical style doesn't translate when blocked. Not slippery.

35. Major Wright. Florida 5-11, 206
Post-Combine Skinny: Nothing really went well measuring too small, lifting just 14 reps, and being inconsistent in the short drills, but the 4.48 40 made him worth paying attention to in the upcoming Florida Pro Day.
Pre-Combine Rank: 35
Positives: A tough playmaker who produced at a high level for a top defense. … Great against the run and willing to throw his body around. A big hitter. … Great instincts. Isn't out of position.
Negatives: Doesn't have the skills. Not a good enough athlete to be counted on as an NFL pass defender. … Will get caught up in the wash. Will struggle to hold up against any NFL blocker. … Not big enough. Will have to be a special teams superstar to stick.

NR. Dennis Rogan, Tennessee 5-9, 185
Post-Combine Skinny: While he was quick in the shuttle and showed a nice burst, nothing else went his way. For a player so small, the 4.69 40 was miserable. He didn't look the part in most of the drills and will have to show something else to get drafted.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: Athletic and runs well. Gets all over the field. … A good run stopper for his size. A strong tackler. … Battles. Will fight to try to make things happen.
Negatives: Way too small. A corner-sized defender who doesn't have corner skills. … Not nearly athletic enough to make up for his size. … A try-hard player who doesn't have the NFL ability.