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2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 4 Stock Watch

The combine is over for another year, but finished strongly on the fourth and final day with a good showing by the defensive backs on Monday


The combine is over for another year, but finished strongly on the fourth and final day with a good showing by the defensive backs on Monday.  They certainly showed up the wide receivers from earlier in the weekend in terms of the speed and athleticism from a large portion of the group.  Here’s a few of the names who had a good day, and who gave scouts a reason to delve further into the game film:   William Jackson III, CB, Houston – Discussions of Jackson’s potential often result in quoting the impressive looking ball production he had last season, which included 5 interceptions and 23 pass break ups, including 7 in one game versus Temple.  That all reads very impressively, but fails to also mention a lot of busted plays, poor positioning that he’s fighting to recover and catch up from, and losing the ball in the air at times.  He’s a little bit lean and lightweight that sees him struggle to get off blocks to support the run game and can be out-muscled by some bigger receivers.  I question whether he’s going to get found out a bit at the next level.  One thing that certainly isn’t in doubt is how great an athlete he is.  Jackson has just about all the athletic measurables you could want in an NFL-calibre corner.  He has a combination of good height and outstanding speed.  Jackson ran one of the fastest times at the combine with a blazing run of 4.37 seconds, then went on to look extremely fluid in the positional workout, flipping his hips and changing direction well.  It wasn’t all great however, with a very underwhelming broad jump of 9ft 7, and just 10 reps in the bench press which backs up the film of struggling to match up physically at times even at the college level.  Those were the only other events he took part in out-with the 40-yard dash.  Talk of the second round was already too high in my book, but his combine performance has many talking about late first now.  I still don’t like the game film much and see bust potential with Jackson.  The athletic traits and production are good but will hold firm on a 3rd round grade.   Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue – On film, Brown shows a very solid overall skill set, with no real weaknesses in his game, barring some concentration issues that occasionally let him down.  In coverage he shows excellent natural instincts and high football IQ for the position, with impressive field awareness that sees him firstly keep tight coverage but also know when to leave him man and make a play on the ball.  The biggest question in my notes with Brown was whether he had ideal speed, and he certainly proved that with a fast 40-yard dash time of 4.35, good for 3rd fastest among defensive backs this year.  Another strong performance saw him top all cornerbacks in the bench press with 19 reps (only 2 safeties topped that mark on Monday).  That said, some slight stiffness showed up in his unremarkable cone and shuttle times and lower body explosion in the jumps that do not match the straight line speed on the track.  Ultimately, this all means a bit more film work required with Brown to try and determine which traits are going to translate at the next level and which won’t.  Although the talent can be seen when watching him play, there are inconsistencies, that included giving up too many touchdowns over the past couple years.   Justin Simmons, S, Boston College – The pre-draft process has been going extremely well so far for the Eagles safety, who followed up a good week at the East-West Shrine all-star event in which he stood out over the practice sessions with a great combine as well.  All this after a great season for BC that included 5 picks and a heck of a lot of great game film with a superbly active outing against Clemson being the highlight performance.  Simmons clearly has great vision and playmaking ability at the position, but seemed in some ways a high effort type who might not have the athleticism to keep that going as effectively in the NFL.  He answered that emphatically with his numbers in Indy yesterday with explosive jumps of 10ft 6 in the broad (tied 8th) and 40” in the vertical (3rd best).  Just as impressive were his change of direction speed which were reflected in his 3 cone time of 6.58 seconds and short shuttle time of 3.85 seconds, both of which led all safeties in attendance.  At 6ft 3, 201 lbs, Simmons has the size, athleticism and quality game film, as well as being a four-year performer on special teams, and his draft stock is certainly on the rise.   Derrick Kindred, S, TCU – One of the bigger surprises of the defensive back group for me this year was that of Kindred who not only tested well, but looked really good throughout the on-field positional drills section of the day.  The hard-hitting safety is known for the sometimes reckless manner with which he flies around the field, but looked very disciplined and comfortable with working in space and in coverage in the ball skills reps, finishing off well by catching cleanly as well.  TCU safeties have often had limitations in what they get asked to do by the team, and it looks as if Kindred might have skills beyond the Horned Frogs’ system that he wasn’t able to show at the college level as a result.  His numbers in the drills were good all round, with a quick 40 for a safety of 4.50 seconds, a nice vertical mark of 37.5” and a decent broad of 10ft 3.  He’s shorter than ideal at just 5ft 10, but is well built within that frame, and plays extremely physical with some thumping hits delivered.  His play was a bit hit or miss this season, with missed tackles common, but with the revelation that he played all season long with a broken collarbone makes some of that more understandable, and to do so is quite incredible, speaking to his toughness.  Still, it makes the film difficult to judge.  There’s enough there to potentially draft late though and his style of play could well see him be a good special teams player to help stick on a roster while a team determines what he can potentially do specifically as a safety.   Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State – One of the top corners in this class, and very likely a first round pick, Apple’s discipline and man coverage skills, in particularly as a press corner make him look built for the NFL.  His size and instincts are practically prototypical.  The question of his deep speed was the biggest remaining for the former Buckeye, and he certainly made a strong statement in that regard with his dash time of 4.40 seconds flat that placed him 7th fastest yesterday, made all the more noteworthy given he’s one of the bigger, long corners at 6ft 1 and just shy of 200 lbs.  He didn’t do much else, only the bench press, but is another who looked the part during the positional workout, throwing in a one handed grab at one point, showing off a little bit!  The only issue remaining is some very poor play in supporting the run, both with bad angles taken and some pretty awful missed tackle attempts.  Outside of that though, Apple’s game looks complete, with a lot of upside.  

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Rebecca Rennie

Hello all, I'm Rebecca, also going by Bex, and I am the RealSport College Football Editor, as well as writer and NFL Draft analyst.  I also edit other sports including the CFL, cycling and golf, while occasionally contributing to the NFL section as well.  I'm a fan of most sports and enjoy discussing with fellow fans, so do please comment on articles and interact.  A big fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and of the Central Florida Knights in college.

2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 4 Stock Watch

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