The NFL loves drafting cornerbacks but I'm just not sure how many there are to love in this year's crop. The combine revealed some good athletes at the position but they have questionable game film. A lot of the prospects with the best film, failed to impress with their testing. Let's examine my top winners, losers and risers at the cornerback position from the event.
These guys were top athletes on tape, and simply confirmed that with their Combine performances. Their stock shouldn’t rise unless you haven’t yet seen their tape, but by confirming their top traits, they are clear winners of the Combine.
Greedy Williams, LSU
Clocking a 4.37 40-yard dash and measuring at 6-foot-2 in Indy, Williams likely cemented himself as the first cornerback off the board in April. While there are still plenty of concerns on tape regarding his willingness to tackle and give consistent effort, Williams has proven to have a physical skill set worthy of the risk.
Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
I really liked what I saw from Oruwariye from film study in terms of physicality, coverage awareness, pattern matching ability, body control and ball skills. The big question mark was how athletic he was for his size and that has now been answered. Checking in a 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Oruwariye clocked a 4.47 40-yard dash, leaped 36.5" in the vertical jump, 10' in the broad jump and registered 17 bench press reps. His 6.82 three-cone drill drill was also outstanding. He made a strong case to hear his name called in the late first/early second round.
These guys struggled, while also having concerns on their tape as well.
Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt
Williams' tape is littered with technical concerns which could have been eased with strong athletic testing given his size. Williams did check in at 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, but the 4.64 40-yard dash he registered wasn't what anyone was hoping for. Williams had some momentum entering the Combine but the sizzle is fading quickly.
Blace Brown, Troy
I was hopeful Brown would become a worthy developmental prospects on Day 3 but he totally bombed his Combine testing. Clocking a 4.75 40-yard dash, Brown also posted disappointing results in the short shuttle (4.22) and three-cone drill (7.33). That forty time is a "fail" grade and doesn't bode well for his next level projection.
These are prospects that shined at the Combine and force deeper looks into their film to evaluate how the testing shows up.
Mark Fields, Clemson
Fields has been a late riser throughout the process, faring extremely well at the Senior Bowl and now turning in an impressive Combine performance. Projecting as a slot corner in the NFL with intriguing man coverage skills, Fields turned heads running a 4.37 40-yard dash and putting up 18 bench press reps. Fields has NFL bloodlines and the light bulb came on during Clemson's Championship run last season.
Justin Layne, Michigan State
I've been talking up Layne for a few weeks now and he cashed in the Combine testing I was hoping he would. Measuring 6-foot-2 and 192 pounds with 33" arms and a 80.5" wingspan, Layne's height, arm length and wingspan all checked in at least the 90 percentile for cornerbacks. He then jumped out of the building with 11'2 broad jump and 37.5" vertical. He also logged a highly impressive 6.90 3-cone drill and 4.09 short shuttle, especially for his size. A converted receiver with exciting physical traits, Layne is in the discussion as a top-5 corner in this class.
David Long, Michigan
This man had himself a day!
- 4.45 40-yard dash
- 39.5" vertical jump
- 10' broad jump
- 3.97 short shuttle
- 6.45 3-cone
I have yet to study his film in depth, but that kind of testing has me excited to check out the tape. I've heard mixed reviews on his tape from people I have spoken to but that type of testing is exceptional.