Combine Notes: Cornerbacks To Watch
The combine wraps up in Indianapolis today with the cornerbacks and safeties going through on-field testing.
That group is obviously of interest to this audience. We’ll have plenty on the safeties in the days to come, but here are three cornerbacks to keep an eye on.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State – His name has popped up at No. 20 in more than a few mock drafts. Waynes (6-0, 186) is considered by many to be the top cornerback prospect in the draft. From a size/length perspective, he’s got the measurables the Eagles covet. We’ll see how he stacks up from an athletic standpoint.
Jalen Collins, LSU – As Mike Mayock would say, Collins checks off a couple important boxes. He’s 6-2, 198 and played for a big-time program in the SEC. The problem? He only started 10 games for the Tigers and decided to forego his senior season to enter the draft. In other words, there’s not as much tape on him as some of the other available corners. But Collins could create some buzz with a strong performance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Alex Carter, Stanford – Another cornerback prospect with size. Like Collins, Carter (6-0, 196 pounds) is an early draft entry. He played for a program that Chip Kelly is familiar with and was one of two players to pick off Marcus Mariota this season. The question with Carter is his athleticism. He’s not expected to be a first-round pick, but could open some eyes with a good showing.
Clemson edge rusher Vic Beasley (6-3, 246) was the big winner Sunday, crushing the competition in pretty much every category. Beasley had 12 sacks and 21.5 sacks last year. He worked to get to 246 pounds, and is probably undersized for the Eagles’ scheme, but is an interesting prospect.
Meanwhile, safety/linebacker hybrid Shaq Thompson has been linked to Kelly already:
Wanted him badly at Oregon. RT @LesBowen In reading evauations to prepare for combine, to me, Shaq Thompson seems like a Chip Kelly guy.
— Adam Jude (@A_Jude) February 16, 2015
But he did not test well with the linebackers. At 6-0, 228, Thompson ran a 4.64 40. Whichever team drafts Thompson will have to have a specific plan in place for how to use him.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talked to personnel execs of five different teams and got their opinions on many of the top prospects in this year’s class. Here’s the writeup on UCLA QB Brett Hundley:
“The physical tools are there,” one scout said. “He’s going to need time. He’s going to have to go to a team that will need to have patience with him and just continue teaching him the game. A team at the top of the second (round) that needs a quarterback might throw him to the fire too early, and he’s not ready for that.” Operating a zone-read offense similar to the Eagles’, his NFL passer rating was 103.7. He also rushed for 1,747 yards (3.6) and 30 TDs. Idolizes Donovan McNabb. “I don’t think he can mentally process,” another scout said. “His arm and talent are OK. He’s got a lot of flaws in his game.” Ran 4.63.
Meanwhile, Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com is hearing that the Bucs are leaning towards Jameis Winston with the top pick:
I couldn’t find one person I trust (NFL scout, analyst, etc.) who doesn’t think Jameis Winston will be the No. 1 overall pick on April 30 — Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 23, 2015
Peter King of The MMQB had a similar assessment:
In the hotel Starbucks lines in the morning, in the indoor walkways that connect downtown to Lucas Oil Stadium, in St. Elmo’s at dinner, in the postgaming near midnight in the bars that coaches and scouts and agents packed all weekend, everyone looked for clues about what Tampa Bay will do with the first overall pick April 30. The answer came back thusly from I’d say about 80 percent of the NFL cognoscenti who had an opinion or some insight on the subject: Tampa’s taking Jameis.