NFL Combine: Defensive Back Day
Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida State free safety Terrence Brooks speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
One more day of workouts at the NFL Combine. We have seen everyone else strut their stuff, now it is time for the defensive backs. We know that the Jets have a need at the position. Heck, it’s a dire need. The Jets defensive backs have gotten torched for quite some time now, and Todd Bowles will not stand for it. Today’s Combine events will be of great interest to the New York Jets.
So how do we evaluate these guys? We are going to, as we have all week, look at a study published by National Football Post that analyzed the Combine over the last ten years to determine which drills are the most important.
Here are some thoughts on how to watch the NFL Combine, with specific attention to the defensive backs.
Next: Speed Drills
Feb 23, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Western Kentucky strong safety Jonathan Dowling speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
SPEED DRILLS: With good reason, the 40 yard dash plays heavily on the position. 54.5% of the top performers start at cornerback, while 51.9% of them start at safety. Speed right out of the gate is important as well. 51.7% of the top performers in the 10 yard split start at cornerback, while 52.7% start at safety.
There is an obvious relationship here. We saw how quick the wide receivers are coming up, and we know how fast the guys in the league are. The defensive backs need speed to stay with them. It’s simple.
Next: Broad Jump
BROAD JUMP: This drill has shown to be important as well, especially for safeties. 50.8% of top performers have started at safety. There is some success at cornerback as well, although not as great. 43.3% of top performers have started at cornerback.
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Safeties, especially ones that play in the box, need to be able to explode. They come in on the safety blitz, they have to stop the run, and they have to explode on a dime to help out in coverage. Cornerbacks are asked to make similar plays, although straight line speed is valued a bit more there.
It’s still a drill to watch as you take in the NFL Combine today.
AGILITY: Defensive backs need to be agile, and the 3 Cone Drill is a great way to showcase that talent. In the drill, players are judged on how quickly and smoothly they can change direction. 53.8% of the top performers in the drill over the last ten years have started at safety. 46% of the top performers have started at cornerback. Being able to change directions on a dime is huge skill when defending against a shifty wide receiver.
These are just some thoughts on how to sort through the workouts at the NFL Combine today. Enjoy the workouts.