The final day of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine was light on participants—only the defensive backs remained in town to conduct their on-field workouts—but that doesn’t mean it was short on interest.
In the early session the biggest names were Florida’s Joe Haden and Tennessee’s Eric Berry, the consensus top cornerback and safety in this draft class. Berry’s Combine showing was stellar: a 4.47 40, a 43-inch vertical (second among defensive backs) and a 10-10 broad jump (also second at his position). Haden, on the other hand, clocked an unofficial 4.57 40 that seemed to throw him off his game. Having expected to answer scouts’ concerns with something in the 4.4s, Haden appeared to press in the position drills and was merely ordinary. His work with the Gators still suggests he’s the best corner in this draft, but if a team was on the fence about him—especially in regards to his speed—they didn’t get the answers they were looking for.
The second half of the defensive backs workout started with a bang as USC safety Taylor Mays, first up in the 40, blistered what was officially recorded as an unofficial 4.24; in fact, his former coach Pete Carroll reportedly clocked him at 4.19. Ultimately Mays’ official time was listed as 4.43, which was still impressive. It also helped call into question the accuracy of the Combine’s timing system—especially when NFL Network superimposed Mays’ run against that of LSU kick returner Trinidad Holliday (an official 4.34) and Mays was clearly faster. It was no surprise the über-athletic Mays sparkled at the Combine; the knock against him is that his physical gifts failed to translate into making plays for the Trojans (two career interceptions). As if to emphasize that point, Mays did not impress during an interception drill, completely mistiming his 41-inch vertical leap and missing the ball entirely.
While Lucas Oil Stadium buzzed about Mays’ 40 time, several other d-backs posted solid showings that highlighted just how deep this year’s class is. In the early session Oklahoma’s Dominique Franks, Fresno State’s A.J. Jefferson, and Alabama’s Kareem Jackson stood out; the second group included strong efforts from Rutgers’ Devin McCourty (an unofficial 4.34 40 that turned into an official 4.48), South Florida’s Jerome Murphy, Florida State’s Patrick Robinson, and Iowa’s Amari Spievey.
With the Combine completed, players and scouts turn their focus to the various pro days at campuses around the country. Team representatives now return to their respective bunkers with reams of information regarding medical history, interviews, and combine measurements as they attempt to reconcile what they’ve seen on film with what transpired in Indy.
And the draft is just over seven weeks away.