Pro Day Tour: Tartt Making History

Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt, a three-time All-American who is the No. 2 safety on one team's draft board, drew a big crowd for a personal pro day. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY)

Safety Jaquiski Tartt was the first player in Samford history to be invited to the Scouting Combine.

And he’s almost certainly going to be the earliest draft selection in school history.

Tartt is so good that he drew “about 25 teams and five or six coaches” to Samford for a personal pro day on Monday, according to a source in attendance. Tartt was limited at the Combine due to a hand injury and not fully healthy for the school’s March 10 pro day.

Tartt earned FCS All-American honors for a third consecutive season. As a senior, he was second on the team with 62 tackles, including 53 solo stops, and one interception. That ran his career total to 277 tackles (199 solo) and six interceptions.

Tartt has a rare combination of size and speed for a safety. He checked in at 6-foot-1 and 221 pounds at the Scouting Combine. He ran a 4.53 in the 40 there; on Monday, he ran in the “mid-4.4s” according to the source.

"It felt great, getting out here and being able to do everything," Tartt said. "At the Combine, I only ran the 40, so it felt great to be out here doing everything. I ran a 4.5 at the Combine and improved to a 4.4 today, so I felt like I did pretty well."

He did safety drills and linebacker drills, with at least some teams eyeing him in a role similar to how the Cardinals used their 2014 first-round pick, Deone Bucannon. The Cardinals used Bucannon at safety in their base and nickel packages. In their third-and-long dime packages, an extra defensive back replaced a linebacker, with Bucannon filling the linebacker role.

Only five players have been drafted in Samford history. The earliest was defensive back Corey White, at pick No. 162 of the fifth round in 2012. The lone Pro Bowler in Samford history was cornerback Cortland Finnegan (seventh round, 2006). According to rankings provided to Packer Report by the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, Tartt is the No. 5 safety in this draft and a third-round pick. According to a NFC scout, Tartt is the No. 2 safety on his team’s board.

Indiana

The Packers bypassed pro days at South Alabama (strong-armed but raw quarterback Brandon Bridge and athletic tight end Wes Saxton) and Massachusetts (intriguing but overaged tight end Jean Sifrin), so Indiana was the only school with confirmed Packers attendance on a quiet Monday.

With star running back Tevin Coleman holding a personal pro day on April 15 due to foot surgery, it was relatively slim pickings. Defensive tackle Bobby Richardson and receiver Shane Wynn are considered the top prospects. Wynn ran a scorching 4.29 in his 40 with a 36-inch vertical but, at 5-foot-6, it’s hard to imagine he’s going to be a consideration.

Richardson (6-3, 283) was a two-year starter who tallied 5.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for losses and blocked two kicks as a senior. He ran in 5.00 and put up 24 reps on the 225-pound bench press. At the Combine, he ran in 5.16 but skipped the bench due to an injured right shoulder. Monday was the first day he's benched. He is considered a late-round pick.

Long-snapper Matt Dooley impressed, as well, with several scouts seeking more information from him after his workout. He snapped all four seasons for the Hoosiers and had seven career tackles.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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