The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine has come to a close after the defensive backs hit the field in Indianapolis on Sunday.
From blazing 40-yard dashes from players like Javelin Guidry, to impressive explosiveness testing numbers from small-school safeties, Day 4 of workouts brought plenty of quality performances from both cornerbacks and safeties.
With the biggest event of the pre-draft process officially over with, let’s take a look at some of the players who impressed the most in the last day of drills.
Kristian Fulton, LSU
Fulton’s fluidity in positional drills was expected for those who have watched his tape, but he boosted his stock with an impressive 40-yard dash.
In addition to showing off premier body control, fluid hips and acceleration coming out of his breaks, Fulton ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, a time that did a good job of shutting down any possible concerns about his deep speed. He looked like one of the best players on the field on a drill-by-drill basis, which is encouraging for a player who could end up being a first-round selection.
More great work from Kristian Fulton. He’s looked solid through all his drill work thus far...— Josh Lemoine (@LSUTruth) March 1, 2020
(#LSU) / #NFLCombine2020 pic.twitter.com/INN3ESZIMQ
As one of the best corners in the 2020 draft, Fulton had some high expectations heading into the Combine, and he managed to surpass them. He should be a top-25 pick come April.
C.J. Henderson, Florida
Henderson was been viewed as a first-round talent by many, and he certainly helped his case with his outing on the last day of Combine workouts.
The Florida alum tied for second among cornerbacks with a 4.39 40-yard dash, tying with Auburn’s Javaris Davis, who also had a pretty good day. Henderson was a consistent machine in positional drills, showing off top-notch lateral quickness and changing direction sharply. He showed off quality deep speed, strong hands and tracked down passes pretty well, too.
CJ Henderson ran fast but footwork was good... #NFLCombine— Christopher Reiss (@NFL_ChrisReiss) March 1, 2020
With Jeff Okudah from Ohio State the consensus No. 1 cornerback in this year’s class, many players could be considered as the second guy in the group. Henderson is one of those players, and his Combine performance could do plenty of work to help solidify his spot there.
John Reid, Penn State
As far as Day 3 talents go in this year’s cornerback class, few were as consistent in positional drills as Reid.
Reid’s 4.49 40-yard dash was pretty good for a cornerback built the way he is, but arguably more impressive was how he looked in positional drills. He looked fluid dropping back, showing off sharp cuts and ideal burst coming out of his breaks. His ball skills were admirable, too, as he showcased strong hands and the ability to adjust to the ball.
The stocky, athletic Reid was a guy I admittedly didn’t know much about heading into workouts, but he was one of the defensive backs who stood out to me. He put together a strong workout and could have potentially boosted his draft stock in the process.
A.J. Green, Oklahoma State
The format of Combine drills for the cornerback position don’t necessarily favor bigger, more physical press corners, so it’s no surprise that a player like Green didn’t light it up on Sunday.
Green’s 40-yard dash wasn't all that great, finishing with the third-worst run at 4.62. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder physically looked the part when he stepped onto the field, but his deep speed and his fluidity was average at best. He could have looked a bit better explosive accelerating coming out of his cuts, and his body control was solid, but overall unspectacular.
Green should still be a solid Day 3 selection, but his role at the next level is very clear. He’s a boundary corner who won’t win with speed, but with physicality and technique. This Combine probably won’t hurt his stock, but it won’t help him, either.
Stanford Samuels III, Florida State
As was the case with Green, Samuels is a lengthy corner, but he didn’t test as well as his athleticism looked on tape.
He did look pretty solid in the gauntlet drill, and his hands looked strong when asked to catch passes. However, Samuels looked stiff in positional drills, and he wasn’t incredibly fluid coming out of his breaks when asked to move around. His 40-yard dash was also less than ideal, finishing last among cornerbacks with a 4.65 time. Considering his fluidity was something that was noticeable on tape, it was disappointing to see him put forth a pedestrian outing.
Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
You want physical tools? Chinn has those in spades.
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Saluki ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and jumped a 41-inch vertical jump, as well as an 11-foot-6 broad jump. As the tallest safety invited to the Combine, Chinn put up numbers of a prospect much smaller than he. His fluidity in positional drills was also better than one would expect for such a big defender, but his straight-line speed and explosiveness give him some considerable upside in the box and covering underneath.
As far as quality strong safety prospects go, you’d have a tough time finding someone who fits the bill more than Chinn. He should be a target for teams late on Day 2.
Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota
Some analysts were worried about Winfield’s deep speed heading into the Combine, which is a little puzzling to me.
Regardless, he proved those concerns wrong with a 4.46 40-yard dash, finishing fifth among all safeties with that time. He looked athletic and fluid in drills, showing off crisp footwork and fluid hips when dropping back in coverage. His performance was reflective of his tape, where he was rangy deep in coverage and explosive coming out of his breaks.
#Gophers DB Antoine Winfield Jr. goes 4.48 on his first 40.pic.twitter.com/4LFxYueAfc— Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) March 1, 2020
Winfield is a top-35 prospect on my board, and while I realize I’m higher on him than the average draft analyst, he should be a productive ball-hawk at free safety.
Tanner Muse, Clemson
A lot of talk surrounded the aforementioned Chinn and Kyle Dugger for their explosive testing as a bigger safety, but Muse is another player who belongs in that conversation for having an impressive size-speed combination.
Some teams have considered using the 6-foot-2, 227-pound Muse as a linebacker, and if they choose to do so, they’d get a player with insane speed for the position. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash—the second-fastest time for a safety at the Combine—and surprised Deion Sanders in the process. His positional drills were also pretty impressive, as he looked fluid in changing direction and displayed good footwork dropping back in coverage.
Muse is an enticing prospect who has upside in big nickel packages, as well as special teams. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get drafted early on in Day 3.
Jalen Elliott, Notre Dame
Aloha Gilman was another player who put together a quality performance at the Combine, going through drills with polished footwork and fluid hips. His Notre Dame teammate Elliott, however, did not perform as well.
He ran a 4.81 40-yard dash at 6-foot and 205 pounds, and while he’s a bulkier safety prospect, the lack of explosiveness he showed was underwhelming. His positional drills weren’t terrible, but he didn’t show high-end fluidity or crispness in his direction-changing abilities.
Elliott isn’t a draftable prospect because of his athleticism—he’s an instincts and tackling box guy—but his athletic testing was still pretty disappointing. It would be tough to imagine him being selected beyond the final two rounds, if at all.