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2014 Combine performance: Defensive Backs

Who stood out from the crowd in Tuesday's workouts? Tony Villiotti

Print This February 28, 2014, 07:00 AM EST

Defensive backs wrapped up the Combine on Tuesday. This article reviews the performance of the participating defensive backs. As mentioned in my earlier articles, the data used as the basis for this article comes from nfl.com. The NFL does not, however, report the splits within the 40-yard dash. This is very meaningful information that I usually obtain from other sources. Complete 40-yard splits will be reported in a wrap-up article later in March.

This article reports each player’s measurement by percentile. That is, if a player’s measurement is in the top 10% of all performances since 1999 his measurement would be reported as 10% (raw scores are reported at any number of websites and would be redundant to report here). A low score is better than a high score (e.g., 10% is better than 20%). IF “DNP” is reported in a column, it means the player did not participate in that drill.

Cornerbacks

This year’s group was a step slower than the historical average but did better somewhat better in the jumping drills. Here is a comparison of the current year versus the historical average.

In the individual player listings, the up or down arrow reflects the drills judged to be most and least predictive of future performance in my article “2014 COMBINE VIEWING GUIDE”. An up arrow indicates most predictive and a down area indicates least predictive. Past QB results have shown very little correlation between NFL performance and any of the drills, so none of the drills are highlighted.

The individual results are shown on page 3 of this article. These results do not include the 10-yard split which is an important indicator for corner backs, so any evaluation is somewhat premature until those results are obtained. Jason Verrett and Justin Gilbert had the best Combines, followed by Phillip Gaines.

There was much buzz about Darqueze Dennard and Kyle Fuller. Any evaluation of their performance is blurred by the variety of 40-times that are circulating. For example, Dennard was reported to have run a 4.42 40 but the official NFL times how him running a 4.51. Which, if any, is right? It makes a big difference in evaluating performance. The official NFL numbers for Dennard and Fuller are not all that impressive, but the unofficial numbers give an entirely different picture.

Safeties

With the exception of the bench press, which has questionable importance, this year’s group did not do as well as historical averages. Only six drill performances made the top 10% list based on historical results. For comparison purposes it is worth noting that 17 performances by cornerbacks, though there were nearly double the number of corners.

The following table compares current year results to historical averages.

Individual performance information is shown at the end of this article. Maybe this will change once the 10-yard splits are included, but the lack of speed was apparent was apparent when 40 times were reviewed.

Of the 20 safeties, only six had scores that ranked in the top half of all historical times. Of that group, Deone Bucannon and Brock Vereen would probably get the nod as having the best Combines. Daniel Sorensen did great in the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill but his 40 time was in the 90th percentile as were his vertical and broad jumps. Overall, the safeties did not perform well in gym shorts and I was hard pressed to come up with Combine “winners”. 

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