2015 NFL Combine: Safety Workouts & Analysis

What matters and what the safeties need to prove at the 2015 NFL Combine

For those invited and participating in the 2015 NFL Combine, what matters? What did they need to do? How was the workout? What to take away from …

1. SS Landon Collins, Alabama 6-0, 228
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: By far the best safety prospect in a league starving at the position, now it’s about just not screwing up. He’s a first rounder, but where he goes depends on how quick he is. The 40 won’t really matter, and it’s all about the tape with him, but if he’s strong through the short drills, he might be a top 15 lock.
Key To The Workout: 4.53. He’s a big hitter and known as the No. 1 safety in the daft, and all he needed to do was show off some speed and quickness. The tremendous 40 time did just that, and while he didn’t blaze through the cone and short drills, he was good enough. If you liked him as a mid-first rounder before, nothing about his workout changed that.

2. FS Derron Smith, Fresno State 5-10, 200
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: If his lack of bulk is a problem for some, then he has to run really, really well. He’s a great football player who can be exactly what every and any NFL D needs, but he has to be athletic and he has to measure relatively well. As long as he’s not painfully slow, he could be an early second rounder.
Key To The Workout: He didn’t workout, and he measured a little shorter than expected.

3. FS Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State 6-1, 208
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he hit? It sounds crazy coming from Michigan State, but he’s a playmaker and he’s an athlete who can get all over the field, but strength and toughness will be a bit of a question mark. If he can be solid on the bench and can look nasty when he gets his chance, he could move up.
Key To The Workout: Surprisingly good. The 39 ½” vertical was amongst the best of the safeties, and his 4.65 40 was excellent considering his size. He went through all the drills, and while he was slowish among the safeties who went through the cones, he still was good enough. He showed enough athleticism to match the tape.

4. SS Anthony Harris, Virginia 6-1, 183
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he tough enough to be a strong safety? He’s a good pass defender and he’s a numbers guy when it comes to his tackling ability, but he has to find a true role. If he can be fast and athletic, he might be seen for a variety of roles, but he’s built to be a good starter right away.
Key To The Workout: Interestingly, he was taller than expected and dropped some weight, and it showed with a decent 4.56 40. He didn’t go through the rest of the timed drills, but at some point he’ll have to show that he can move a bit.

5. SS Jaquiski Tartt, Samford 6-1, 221
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: He looks every bit the part of an NFL safety with great size and excellent quickness. His draft stock could rise or fall on his 40 time, needing to blast away under a 4.6 to be a top 50 consideration. The lower level production will come into question, but as long as he looks the part in Indy, that’ll be blown off.
Key To The Workout: Yup. He needed to rock the 40, and his 4.53 was the run he needed to have considering his size and bulk. The 10’4” broad jump was among the best of the safeties, and now he positioned himself as a high-riser who can possible fill a variety of roles.

6. FS Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss 6-2, 208
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Simply a great football player, does he have the tools to match? He has the size, and he knows how to get around the ball, and he’ll do anything needed, but can he move? Does he have the quickness? Is he physical enough? Scouts are going to want to fight for him, and he needs the workout to help the cause.
Key To The Workout: He scored points by doing absolutely everything, doing a terrific job in the broad jump and going really, really quick thorugh the shuttles. The 4.6 40 was good enough, seemingly helped by dropping a little weight – he came to Indy in terrific shape, and it showed. The 11 reps on the bench were a bit light, but that won’t matter too much.

7. FS Gerod Holliman, Louisville 6-0, 211
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he that good? He came up with a special season and did everything right, but it was only one year. He could be just scratching the surface, and he has to show that in interviews. He can’t hit and won’t be a strong safety, and he might not be the right guy to build around, but in today’s NFL, he could be special.
Key To The Workout: It would’ve been nice if he could’ve run. He came up with 17 reps on the bench, but he didn’t do much else. He was a bit shorter than expected, but that doesn’t really matter. The quickness has to be shown off in a big way on his pro day.

8. FS Adrian Amos, Penn State 6-0, 218
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: If it’s possible to show off strength and toughness, besides the bench press, then that’s what he needs to do. He should move great, and he has decent size, but he’s not a sure-thing star unless he’s surrounded by other good defensive backs. He has to tackle.
Key To The Workout: He came in a bit heavier, but it didn’t matter in any way in the really, really fast and quick short drills. He showed off explosiveness, and good movement, and the 4.56 40 was good. For those looking for a reason to push for him, he came up with the right workout.

9. FS Eric Rowe, Utah 6-1 205
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: A corner who might turn into a whale of an NFL safety, he doesn’t have the speed to be on the outside, but he should show off range. Even so, he needs to come up with a big 40 to up his stock. He can’t be relatively lumbering – he has to be quick for his size. It would be nice if he could show the potential to be thrown at corner if needed.
Key To The Workout: Somewhat quietly, he came up with one of the best all-around workouts of all the defensive backs. For his size and his potential, he did absolutely everything right with a blazing 4.45 to a terrific 19 reps on the bench. He destroyed the short drills and jumped through the stadium with a 39” vertical. He did absolutely everything right.

10. FS Tevin McDonald, Eastern Washington 5-11, 195
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Character, character, character. He might not be quite big enough to be a thumper and he needs to run well, but he was great in several different ways at UCLA – and then he was dismissed from the team. As long as his issues are behind him – he failed several drug tests – then he should be a good starter as long as the workout is okay.
Key To The Workout: The workout was okay, not great. He didn’t run all that well, and his jumps were fine, but he showed off a little of why he’s a thumper with 19 reps on the bench. If one concern was his size, he tried to address that with a little added weight – he still looked rangy.

11. FS Damarious Randall, Arizona State 5-11, 196
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: The only thing missing is size. He’ll run well, and he’ll be athletic, and he’ll make scouts take a harder look at the tape to think that he might be a jack-of-all-trades in some NFL secondary. He’s not quite bulky enough, but if he comes up with a great workout, he could be on several draft boards around the fourth round.
Key To The Workout: He added a little weight to potentially address the size issue, and he did exactly what he was expected to do to show off his athleticsm. Really, really quick, he zipped thorugh the cones and shuttles, and he blazed away a 4.46 in the 40. Throw in the 38” vertical, and he proved he’s an athlete.

12. FS Durell Eskridge, Syracuse 6-3, 208
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he ready? He’s one of the key underclassmen who came out early who many thought should’ve come back, but he has the talent to play in the big leagues right away. With his size, he’s an intriguing prospect, but he needs the workout to show that he’s worth getting through the rocky parts to find a possible star.
Key To The Workout: He’s tall, he’s rangy, and he looked like it. He didn’t run effortlessly – there was too much wasted motion – and he didn’t run all that well with a slowish 4.63 to go along with a mediocre 31” vertical. He did the short drills, but he wasn’t smooth through them.

13. SS Detrick Bonner, Virginia Tech 6-0, 207
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: He needs to rock in the interviews when he’s asked to breakdown and diagnose. He has decent size, and he can move a bit, but there’s nothing too special about his game. He has to look like more than just another guy, and he has to come up with something in his workout that stands out.
Key To The Workout: He didn’t run, but he came up with 15 reps on the bench.

14. SS Clayton Geathers, UCF 6-2, 218
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: It’ll be impossible to change the one big concern about him in Indy – can he be consistent? He’s a great football players and he should be quick through the drills, he’s a big hitter who looks the part and has decent upside, but he’ll make two good plays and give up a big one.
Key To The Workout: Even with the added ten pounds to his frame, he still ran well with a good enough 4.55 in the 40 to go along with decent moves in the short drills. The 22 reps on the bench were amazing – cementing the thought that he’ll be among the most physical safeties in the draft. The 37” vertical wasn’t bad, either, especially going along with his length and height.

17. FS Justin Cox, Mississippi State 6-1, 191
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: The measurements aren’t going to make him look like an NFL safety – he’s too thin and rangy – but that’s not his problem. He can run, and he should make everyone do more research after his workout, but in today’s NFL, character concerns are a massive red flag. Cox’s off-the-field issues will make him undraftable on some boards.
Key To The Workout: Outstanding, even though he measured about two inches shorter than listed. The overall workout couldn’t have been better, tearing off a blazing 4.36 and coming up with a 38” vertical and 10’9” broad jump. Considering his height, he was really, really quick through the short drills. He did his part, and then some.

16. SS James Sample, Louisville 6-2, 209
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he worth the patience? There’s a chance that he could turn into one of the better safeties in the draft a few years from now, and he could turn into a pet project with the right size and toughness to work in a variety of schemes.
Key To The Workout: Solid, he beefed up a bit and still ran a good 4.56 40 and was decent through the cones. He’s a power safety who wants to try to be an intimidating force – on his pro day he’ll have to be a wee bit more explosive, but he came up with a good workout.

17. SS Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech 5-10, 200
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he cut well and move? He’s a compact, tough hitter who likes to tackle and will make plays, but it’s possible that he’s a better college football player than a pro prospect. He’s not for everyone and every scheme, but he has to try to change all of that with a good workout.
Key To The Workout: The 21 reps on the bench cemented the idea that he’s one of the biggest thumping safeties out there, and the 4.57 40 was good considering what he’s supposed to be. He was fine in the shuttle drills – even though he was among the worst of the safeties who actually did them – and he destroyed the cones. He was still tight, but it was a good workout.

18. SS Jordan Richards, Stanford 5-11, 211
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: A consummate pro – even in college – in terms of his attitude and his character, he’s going to be the exact type of guy every coach will want running his secondary, but the athleticism has to be there. Can he run? He’s like a mini-linebacker, and he’ll get around the ball, but he has to be more of a playmaker when the ball is in the air.
Key To The Workout: Not a runner and more of a pounder, the 40 just couldn’t be painful – the 4.65 was close. The 13 reps on the bench were a bit light for his style of play. However, he was surprisingly quick doing a great job through the cones and the shuttle – he scooted.

19. FS Chris Hackett, TCU 6-0, 195
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: The speed and quickness will be a question. He’s too thin and rangy to ever become a thumper of a strong safety, and he doesn’t look the part, so he has to move and he has to be fluid. He’ll do everything needed, but he has to show off the raw free safety tools.
Key To The Workout: Way too stiff, he needed to show off a little athleticism and quickness, and he didn’t. He lumbered around the short drills and the cones, and he was fine in the jumps. The 4.81 40 was a total disaster, and he didn’t make up for it in the ball drills. Something big is going to have to change in his pro day.

20. SS Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern 5-11, 208
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he cover anyone? He’s a decent-sized run stopper, but he has to come up with some decent deep speed and he has to be athletic. He was beaten too much by the better receivers, and he has to get into a better position to keep plays from happening down the field. In Indy, he has to look like more than a special teamer.
Key To The Workout: He didn’t run, but his bench press was outstanding coming up with 23 reps. He came in close to 20 pounds lighter than originally listed, but was obviously still strong.

21. FS Dean Marlowe, James Madison 6-1, 203
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: The size is great and the hitting ability is solid, but now he has to run. Playing at the lower level doesn’t really matter too much considering what he brings, but he’s a free safety who has to show he can run like one. He’s a risk and a flier, but he can change that with one great 40.
Key To The Workout: It was an okay all-around workout, but hardly special. The 4.58 40 was okay, and the 16 reps and his jumps were good. He wans’t too smooth, but he still got around the short drills without too much of a problem. It was decent, and now he needs a big pro day to stand out.

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