2012 NFL Combine: Defensive Preview

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Antonio Allen, SOUTH CAROLINA, DB01, SS
Mark Barron, ALABAMA, DB02, SS
Dwight Bentley, LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE, DB03, DC
Justin Bethel, PRESBYTERIAN, DB04, SS
RJ Blanton, NOTRE DAME, DB05, DC
Omar Bolden, ARIZONA ST, DB06, DC
Brandon Boykin, GEORGIA, DB07, DC
Ron Brooks, LOUISIANA ST, DB08, DC
Charles Brown, NORTH CAROLINA, DB09, DC
Sean Cattouse, CALIFORNIA, DB10, SS
*Morris Claiborne, LOUISIANA ST, DB11, DC
Alfonzo Dennard, NEBRASKA, DB12, DC
Antonio Fenelus, WISCONSIN, DB13, DC
Jamell Fleming, OKLAHOMA, DB14, DC
Terrence Frederick, TEXAS A&M, DB15, DC
*Stephon Gilmore, SOUTH CAROLINA, DB16, DC
Winston Guy, KENTUCKY, DB17, SS
*Cliff Harris, OREGON, DB18, DC
Mike Harris, FLORIDA ST, DB19, DC
Casey Hayward, VANDERBILT, DB20, DC
*Jayron Hosley, VIRGINIA TECH, DB21, DC
Delano Howell, STANFORD, DB22, SS
Duke Ihenacho, DUKE, SAN JOSE ST, DB23, SS
George Iloka, BOISE ST, DB24, FS
Asa Jackson, CAL POLY ST, DB25, DC
*Janzen Jackson, MCNEESE ST, DB26, FS
Janoris Jenkins, NORTH ALABAMA, DB27, DC
Leonard Johnson, IOWA ST, DB28, DC
Trumaine Johnson, MONTANA, DB29, DC
JJ Jones, WAYNE ST-MI, DB30, DC
Coryell Judie, TEXAS A&M, DB31, DC
*Dre Kirkpatrick, ALABAMA, DB32, DC
D’Anton Lynn, PENN ST, DB33, DC
Markelle Martin, OKLAHOMA ST, DB34, FS
, MCCRAY, KELCIE, ARKANSAS ST, DB35, SS
Jerron McMillian, MAINE, DB36, SS
De’Quan Menzie, ALABAMA, DB37, DC
Chase Minnifield, VIRGINIA, DB38, DC
Charles Mitchell, MISSISSIPPI ST, DB39, SS
Josh Norman, COASTAL CAROLINA, DB40, DC
Micah Pellerin, HAMPTON, DB41, DC
Eddie Pleasant, OREGON, DB42, SS
Chaz Powell, PENN ST, DB43, DC
Shaun Prater, IOWA, DB44, DC
De’Andre Presley, APPALACHIAN ST, DB45, DC
Cyhl Quarles, WAKE FOREST, DB46, SS
Antwaun Reed, PITTSBURGH, DB47, DC
Sean Richardson, VANDERBILT, DB48, SS
*Josh Robinson, CENTRAL FLORIDA, DB49, DC
Trent Robinson, MICHIGAN ST, DB50, FS
Coty Sensabaugh, CLEMSON, DB51, DC
Harrison Smith, NOTRE DAME, DB52, FS
Ryan Steed, FURMAN, DB53, DC
Brandon Taylor, LOUISIANA ST, DB54, SS
*Johnny Thomas, OKLAHOMA ST, DB55, FS
*Phillip Thomas, SYRACUSE, DB56, FS
Christian Thompson, SOUTH CAROLINA ST, DB57, FS
Trevin Wade, ARIZONA, DB58, DC
Corey White, SAMFORD, DB59, DC

As I said in my Patriots Defensive Back Draft Case Study, Belichick typically likes smaller cornerbacks who can run a 4.4 40 time. He hasn’t taken a CB who ran a 4.5+ since 2001. So watch carefully at 40 times for these players. Some of the top CBs who might be on the edge of a 4.4 or 4.5 are Dwight Bentley, Alfonzo Dennard, Jamell Fleming, Stephon Gilmore, Casey Hayward, Jayron Hosley, Leonard Johnson, Trumaine Johnson, Chase Minnifield and Ryan Steed.

Some of the faster CBs will likely be Brandon Boykin, Asa Jackson and Janoris Jenkins. I’d expect any of those guys to run in the 4.3/4.4 range.

Cliff Harris had a lot of problems off the field at Oregon, so he’ll definitely need to impress during team interviews. I don’t think he’ll have any trouble during drills and workouts. He’s a very talented player.

As far as safeties go, Belichick still likes his safeties to be fast, but it’s not as important as the CBs. Two of the faster safeties in this draft are Janzen Jackson and Markelle Martin, both of whom should run in the 4.4 range. Janzen Jackson is another player who will need to have a good interview practice to tell teams that his off the field issues are behind him.

The combine is a good time to watch safeties, you get a good chance to look at them in their backpedal, and how fast they react to a ball being thrown their way. Closing speed is also important, so I’ll be looking at 10 and 20 yard splits for the safeties.

This could be a week for some of the small school guys like Jackson, Ryan Steed, Trumaine Johnson and Justin Bethel. They need to prove that they’re up to par athletically and with their technique, staying low and having quick feet in their backpedal.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Combine, 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Boykin, Bruce Irvin, Courtney Upshaw, Don'ta Hightower, Janoris Jenkins, Luke Kuechly, Quinton Coples, Vontaze Burfict

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