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2012 NFL Combine Winners/Losers – Defensive Backs

By Chance Bond

The compatition is fierce at one of the NFL’s most covited positions.


Janoris Jenkins, CB – North Alabama                                                                           

Maybe the biggest winner of the DBs. Not only did he look very balanced and flexible when asked to change directions and adjust while running in the positional drills, but he also ran in the mid 4.4 range and posted an electric 1.47-ten yard split. Jenkins used the Combine to confirm that he has first-round talent, but his interviews addressing his off-the-field problems were just as, if not more critical for his draft status.

Morris Claiborne, CB – LSU 

Morris Claiborne didn’t have a great Combine but he helped himself during the weigh-in. His arms were measured at 33 1/4 inches which is just outstanding for a corner. Claiborne’s 10-yard split in the 40 (1.60) was pretty bad but he made up for it in the drills.

Stephon Gilmore, CB – South Carolina                                                                              

The 6-1, 190-pound defensive back posted a 40 time of 4.37 and showcased good range in the deep half and tracked the football well. He looks like an ideal zone type corner who can hit, range and track the football out of his breaks. Day 2 DB and could sneek to the bottom of the 1st round.

Harrison Smith, SS – Notre Dame 

Mike Mayock talked up Harrison Smith all afternoon and for good reason. Smith was the most impressive safety at the Combine, by far. The Notre Dame product ran a 4.56 at 6-2 at 213 pounds. He also notched a 10-2 broad jump and a 34-inch vertical. More importantly, he was terrific in the drills. Smith is a bourderline 1st rond pick. Possibly options could be Denver or Green Bay.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB – Alabama                                                                                                

Ran a bit faster than  expected, posting a time in the mid/low 4.4 range. He’s a long, lean kid who isn’t the most explosive of athletes (10-foot broad, 35-inch vertical) but his solid 40 time looks to have locked up his spot in the top-15.

Brian Taylor, S – LSU                                                                                                        

He’s a former cornerback who ran in the 4.5 range. Plus, he possesses a thick trunk, has some pop as a tackler and solid foot quickness for the position when asked to close. 3rd to 4th round grade

Josh Robinson, CB – Central Florida  

Josh Robinson made a name for himself by running an unofficial 4.29 40 at the Combine. He also had terrific jumps in the vertical (38.5) and broad (11-1), while his arm length (31 1/4) also has to please evaluators. Robinson was just OK in the drills, but a couple of teams may have fallen in love with his upside.

Dwight Bentley, CB – Louisiana-Lafayette  

Dwight Bentley turned some heads at the Senior Bowl. He continued to do so in Indianapolis, where he ran a 4.37 in the 40. Solid third rounder.

Jayron Hosley, CB – Virginia Tech 

Jayron Hosley had a nice Combine. He ran a 4.38, 40 and then looked really good in the drills. There’s a very good chance he’ll be picked in the second round.


and as the glamore fades…


George Iloka, S, Boise State  

Major credit to Charlie Campbell, who predicted that George Iloka would be exposed at the Senior Bowl. Iloka looked terrible in the drills, struggling to flip his hips. He may have to move to linebacker in the NFL.

Cliff Harris, CB – Oregon

Cliff Harris came into the Combine needing to make personnel evaluators forget about his character concerns. That didn’t happen, as some front office people were reportedly turned off by him. Making matters worse, the Oregon corner had a poor 4.59 40 at 5-11, 175. Harris will probably go undrafted.

Leonard Johnson, CB – Iowa State  

The 40 shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s worrisome that Leonard Johnson managed 4.65 and 4.72 on his two attempts. His alligator arms (28 3/4 inches) are also a concern. Johnson had a great Senior Bowl week, but he’ll have trouble being selected on Day 2 in the wake of a poor Combine.

Notable DNPs

Mark Barron,S – Alabama                                                                                                      

Brandon Boykin,CB – Georgia                                                                                              

Winston Gay,CB – Kentucky                                                                                                                

Markelle Martin,S – Oklahoma ST                                                                                              

Chase Minnifield,CB – Virginia                                                                                                


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Jamell Fleming had a good week at the combine. He will be a riser on draft boards with his solid 4.43 , strong bench press with 23 reps, solid on-field performance, needs to improve his tackling, but that wont keep him for the late 2nd, early 3rd. Could he be a Cowboy?
Hope this answers your question.


What about Fleming from Oklahoma

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