If you are a free agent cornerback or safety in the NFL this year, there’s some bad news on the horizon.
This year’s draft class of defensive backs is fast, and deep. A total of 30 cornerbacks and safeties were invited to Indianapolis and we saw why on Monday.
A total of 15 players ran the 40 in under 4.45 seconds.
Ohio State cornerback and Glenville High School product Marshon Lattimore is regarded as one of the top prospects and he did not disappoint by running a 4.36 in the 40 and registering a 38 1/2-inch vertical and 132-inch broad jump.
Lattimore left the workout due to injury. ESPN reported it was a hamstring injury but Lattimore took to Twitter to clarify. “Wasn’t a hamstring injury, it’s my hip flexor. I’m good y’all lol,” he tweeted.
Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers worked out Sunday with the linebackers and once again Monday with the safeties and corners to give NFL scouts a chance to see him twice and to possibly answer questions about where to draft and play him. Peppers’ 4.46 40-yard dash time was the fifth-fastest by a linebacker since 2000 Sunday but he feels he safety is his calling and he expressed that to teams during interviews in Indianapolis.
“I tell them my natural position is definitely in the defensive backfield,” Peppers said. “I had to fill a void this year because it was best for the team, and if I had to do it all over again I would. I didn’t think it’ll hurt me. My mindset was whatever I had to do I’m gonna do it to the best of my ability and try to make plays when I can. I think that’s what I did and that’s what I’m gonna continue to do.”
Jalen Myrick of Minnesota ran 4.28 seconds in the 40 Monday, which while impressive, is still overshadowed by John Ross’ new combine record at 4.22 seconds set over the weekend.
LSU safety Jamal Adams, who many project to be the top safety in this class, ran a 4.56 in the 40 and posted a 120-inch broad jump but also had the third-worst vertical among the safeties at 31 1/2-inches.
“I feel like I’m the best guy in the draft,” Peppers said. “I definitely feel like I should be a No. 1 pick, so top 5, that’s definitely in the range, yes sir.”
Ohio State safety Malik Hooker wasn’t able to participate Monday as he recovers from a pair of sports hernias and a torn labrum. Hooker said Sunday he will be ready in time for the rookie minicamp that follows the NFL Draft.
“I had surgery Jan. 16,” Hooker, who got hurt in the overtime against Michigan on Nov. 26 but waited until after the college football playoff loss to Clemson to have surgery, said. “I’m recovering a lot faster than they thought.”
The big story Monday, or at least the player that caught everyone’s attention, was Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu. Melifonwu, who is 224 pounds, was clocked at 4.40 in the 40, had a jaw-dropping 44-inch vertical and 141-inch broad jump.
With the NFL Combine coming to a close Monday, the focus around the league now shifts to pro days starting this week around the country leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27.