On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., Mar. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meeting Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Mon., Apr. 03, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with new head coaches may begin offseason workouts Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2016 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
  • Fri., Apr. 21, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Cortez
    April 21, 2017
    Parque de Vida in Cortez, CO
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT TackleSTEM: Cardboard Combine
  • Sat., Apr. 22, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Del Norte
    April 22, 2017
    High Valley Community Center
    1210 Grand Ave, Del Norte, CO 81132
    Click here for more information.
  • Wed., Apr. 26, 2017 12:00 AM MDT Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
  • Thu., Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM MDT 2017 NFL Draft The 2017 NFL Draft begins in Philadelphia and runs through April 29.
  • Fri., May. 05, 2017 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Fort Morgan
    May 5, 2017
    Legion Field
    219 S West St, Fort Morgan, CO 80701
    Click here for more information.
  • Sat., May. 06, 2017 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM MDT Salute to Fans Tour
    Salute to Fans Tour: Woodland Park
    May 6, 2017
    Woodland Park High School
    151 Panther Way, Woodland Park, CO 80863
    Click here for more information.
Print
RSS

Combine Stock Watch: DBs

Posted Feb 26, 2014

Independent analyst Andrew Mason takes a look at the notable performers Tuesday's workouts.

INDIANAPOLIS --Bigger has become better, but it's not everything for defensive backs. Speed, the ability to quickly change directions and fluidity matters, as well.

But with bigger receivers comes a demand for bigger, rangier cornerbacks. But those that have the right blend of size and speed are coveted, and demand outstrips supply by a considerable margin.

"No, and especially a lot of them that can run and do that," said Executive Vice President and General Manager John Elway. "And I'll say that when the bigger corners cover up -- guys are not as open against big guys as they are against little guys, even though they're in the same spot. 

"So if I'm a little guy covering you or a big guy covering you, to a quarterback, they're going to look more covered on the big guy."

And that's why, beyond the film, teams will study the times and measurements from the Combine closely the next few weeks. Even an eighth of an inch could be the tiebreaker between two otherwise equal defensive backs.

One cornerback who enhanced his chances was Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert. Not only did he post the best 40-yard dash time (4.37 seconds) among defensive backs, but the 6-foot cornerback also had the second-longest arms of any cornerback at the Combine (33 1/8 inches). 

Another was Ohio State's Bradley Roby. His 40 time (4.39 seconds) was an eyelash behind Gilbert's, and his short shuttle (4.04 seconds) was sixth-best at the Combine. His arms were 1 5/8 inches shorter than Gilbert's, but he compensated with three extra inches in vertical jump (38.5 inches to Gilbert's 35.5).

Western Kentucky safety Jonathan Dowling is also another player whose ranginess and reach will draw interest. His 6-foot-3 frame is accentuated by his 33 1/8-inch arms, and helps make up for 40-yard speed that was average among defensive backs (4.52 seconds, 21st of 48 defensive backs who ran Tuesday). Dowling noted Sunday that teams have talked to him about playing cornerback, and felt he could handle the role, given his work in cover-zero schemes used by WKU last year.

Dowling, Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Batiste and Utah's Keith McGill were the tallest defensive backs at the Combine, at 6-foot-3. McGill had the longest arms of the group (and the entire defensive back class), at 33 1/4 inches. McGill also had a comparable 40 time to Dowling (4.51 seconds), but Jean-Batiste had arms that were nearly an inch shorter than McGill's and a 40-time that was a tenth of a second slower, placing him 34th of 48 defensive backs.

Bigger has become better, but it's not everything for defensive backs. Speed, the ability to quickly change directions and fluidity matters, as well.

But with bigger receivers comes a demand for bigger, rangier cornerbacks. But those that have the right blend of size and speed are coveted, and demand outstrips supply by a considerable margin.

"No, and especially a lot of them that can run and do that," said Executive Vice President and General Manager John Elway. "And I'll say that when the bigger corners cover up -- guys are not as open against big guys as they are against little guys, even though they're in the same spot. 

"So if I'm a little guy covering you or a big guy covering you, to a quarterback, they're going to look more covered on the big guy."

And that's why, beyond the film, teams will study the times and measurements from the Combine closely the next few weeks. Even an eighth of an inch could be the tiebreaker between two otherwise equal defensive backs.

One cornerback who enhanced his chances was Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert. Not only did he post the best 40-yard dash time (4.37 seconds) among defensive backs, but the 6-foot cornerback also had the second-longest arms of any cornerback at the Combine (33 1/8 inches). 

Another was Ohio State's Bradley Roby. His 40 time (4.39 seconds) was an eyelash behind Gilbert's, and his short shuttle (4.04 seconds) was sixth-best at the Combine. His arms were 1 5/8 inches shorter than Gilbert's, but he compensated with three extra inches in vertical jump (38.5 inches to Gilbert's 35.5).

Western Kentucky safety Jonathan Dowling is also another player whose ranginess and reach will draw interest. His 6-foot-3 frame is accentuated by his 33 1/8-inch arms, and helps make up for 40-yard speed that was average among defensive backs (4.52 seconds, 21st of 48 defensive backs who ran Tuesday). Dowling noted Sunday that teams have talked to him about playing cornerback, and felt he could handle the role, given his work in cover-zero schemes used by WKU last year.

Dowling, Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Batiste and Utah's Keith McGill were the tallest defensive backs at the Combine, at 6-foot-3. McGill had the longest arms of the group (and the entire defensive back class), at 33 1/4 inches. McGill also had a comparable 40 time to Dowling (4.51 seconds), but Jean-Batiste had arms that were nearly an inch shorter than McGill's and a 40-time that was a tenth of a second slower, placing him 34th of 48 defensive backs.