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Safeties our final act of Indy Combine coverage

The NFL Combine officially ended Tuesday when the defensive back were put through their paces at the Lucas Oil Can.

And there are varying opinions of players that improved their stock and those whose stock dropped like Toyota, including this view from Sports Illustrated.

Here we've got our own personal scout and Chris Cordero watched the drills and delivered this assessment of what he saw:

Eric Berry continues to impress putting his explosiveness on display with a very good 4.47 40-yard dash and an astonishing 43-inch vertical leap and great broad jump of 10-10. Not only did he display excellent athleticism but showed the footwork of a premier CB. He also showed premier ball skills. A two-time captain for the Volunteers he was only seven yards from breaking the NCAA record for return yardage. This guy's a playmaker in the mold of Ed Reed (although that sounds like []_[] blasphemy). He is the 3rd best player in the draft on my board and if he is there at #12, there is no question whom the Dolphins should select - regardless of how they feel about Gibril Wilson.

Earl Thomas was impressive. Coming in 12 pounds heavier than his regular playing weight and still running a 4.49 40-yard dash is big. He is another player that has CB skills at the safety position - displaying excellent footwork and good ball skills (though he did drop a ball on one drill that I saw). He looked fluid in his backpedal and turning and opening his hips to run with the receiver. He also displayed good upper body strength with 21 reps in the bench. He is a Top 15 talent in this deep draft; and at only 20 years old he should get better. Among the nation's leaders in interceptions and passes defended, he is a playmaker and would allow a defense many options with his supreme coverage skills. Should be in the conversation at #12.

Taylor Mays, outside of Maryland OT Bruce Campbell, might have been the most impressive athlete here. Going in, it was known that he would excel in the physical drills and he did not disappoint - blazing a 4.43 (and I think it was faster than that) at 6-3 and 230 pounds. However, he did not look sudden or quick in drills, did not display good ball skills, and had trouble opening up his hips and running. Due to his height he also has trouble staying low in his backpedal. On physical skills alone, he is a Top 5 talent but we have seen players like Mike Mamula and Vernon Gholston come in and light up the combine, get drafted very high, and not accomplish much in the pros (to be fair Gholston still has time). I give Mays a 2nd round grade due to his lack of coverage instincts for the position and could see him ending up at LB -- much like Thomas Davis of Carolina. Make no mistake, however, he will go in the 1st round and maybe as high as to the Raiders or to his former college coach with the Seahawks. But I see that as a reach.

Major Wright of Florida impressed me with his footwork in coverage drills. I had questions as to whether he could cover the deep third and felt as though he might be better off as an in-the-box strong safety type. But he took a step to answer those questions here at the combine. Timing at under 4.49 in the 40 was also impressive. He had a lot of talent around him on that Florida defense and that helped mask some of his deficiences on film. He had some trouble turning and running with fluidity of his hips, but overall was more impressive than I expected. I currently give him a 3rd round grade and see him as more of a strong safety type with the ability to cover backs and tight ends and some range in the deep secondary.

Two possible cornerback converts that stood out were Chris Cook (who was impressive in the Senior Bowl and reminds me of Sean Smith) and Myron Lewis. Cook stood out as an explosive athlete with the best broad jump of the combine at 11 feet and a 4.46 in the 40. He also flashed good footwork and fluidity in drills for a 6-2 CB and appears to be able to make the transition to safety. I give him a 3rd round grade. Lewis tested almost as well, running a 4.48 with a 10 and a half inch broad jump. However, he did not look nearly as fluid in drills and had trouble flipping his hips to turn and run -- meaning he would be better served by beginning the transition to safety from the get go. I give him a 4th round grade as he was a solid performer in the SEC for 3 years.

Two prospects that attended the combine but did not participate due to injury were Nate Allen and Morgan Burnett. Allen, who was very impressive at the Senior Bowl, is a player I feel can step in and lead a secondary for years. I give him a high 2nd round grade. Burnett, who has very good size and was among the NCAA leaders in interceptions two years ago as a sophomore, gets a 3rd round grade from me. I worry about his movement skills at the NFL level and feel that a talented front 7 at Georgia Tech helped mask some of his faults. His pro day will answer some of those questions.

The majority of the other safeties were In-the-box, strong safety types who lacked the fluidity and coverage instincts on film to cover the deep 3rd of the secondary. The Dolphins more likely do not want another Gibril Wilson situation with two strong safety types in the deep seconday. One guy that flashed some versatility was Darrell Stuckey of Kansas. He showed good speed and overall athleticism and had decent footwork and fluidity in coverage drills. I have him in the 4th round.


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If Cordero had his choice at pick 12 between Berry, McClain, Spiller, or Bryant who should the fins pick. What is Corderos expert opinion?

My birthday was last Wednesday and all i want is Eric Berry @12 for our Phins!!(Hey a man can dream big for his B-day!)

For me it would Eric berry , hands down !!

2000-2009 the lost decade. I hope the fins get this pick right and we get an all pro instead of an eddie moore jamar fletcher or jason allen.

Eric Berry is a stud. Will be overjoyed if he is there at #12!

Happy that Earl Thomas had a good workout. Mike Mayock of NFL Network thinks he is the best safety in the draft. I absolutely think he will be in the conversation when the Dolphins pick, along with Mclain, D. Williams, E. Berry (if he falls in a very deep draft), and perhaps Sean Weatherspoon.

Earl Thomas will just be another defensive player in the conversation when the Dolphins pick. Good that they have another option.

I agree on the Berry , thomas and mays assessments . Major wright is being better suited for SS . Mays Too at SS or LB. One guy not mentioned that i believe can play FS and be a good one at that is Chad Jones of LSU. Nite all !!

nick polk---5th rounder---check him out mando---5"11-215---long arms solid speed great hands converted receiver---

i like Myron lewis as well---cook has too much buzz now he will go 2nd-or 3rd---i think phins will take a safety in 4th-5th round

Berry will be gone well before #12, but if we signed Dansby in FA, then Thomas could be a BPA thought @ #12, although I'm not sold on that yet.

Then depending on what the trifecta thinks of the development of Clemons and Culver, whom they seem to like, I see them still possibly adding a versatile FS/CB in the mid-late rounds, like Major Wright if he makes it past the 3rd, or guys like Myron Lewis who meets the trifecta size mold, I also like Darrel Stuckey or Chris Hawkins later.

REGARDING SAFETY ..... I think Miami should pursue A.ROLLE in FA .... and if M.ROLLE is available in the 4th round, we could have a ROLLE-ROLLE pair of safeties. ARE THEY RELATED?

Earl Thomas is definitely worth a look @ 12. Outside of Dez he offers the biggest chance for a quick upgrade of any player in the draft. Eversen Griffen is a third option, 4th is Brandon Graham.

Shucks I almost forgot about Spiller. Alot of those 20 yard Ronnie runs would go to the house if Spiller had the ball.

You don't have to be fair to Gholston. He's a Jet. He was a bust and will be serving fries in 5 years.

This team sorely needs an injection of speed on both sides of the football. Spiller and Best are 2 of the fastest players to come out of CFB in a long time. They are both true game breakers which we need in order to take the next step. I would be pleased if the pick at 12 was DEZ...JHAVID or CJ. Spiller will be Chris Johnson part II.

At 12 most of you change your minds everyday. Then you have the PEST that say he won't be there at 12. But if every player was there at 12 DEZ BRYANT would be the best pick at 12.
Plus he comes in to become the best on the team at his position. There's not one player in the draft that can do that right now.

My BIRTHDAY IS the 28 and this would be my picking order for that 12

BRYANT:Run after the catch,punt return,tough
SPILLER:Moves on top of moves fights for yards.

I think our O sucks I'm aware that our D wasn't that good but I think it was play calling. And we haven't had a play maker since well RICKY. Every team has a playmaker but the FINS.

KINDLE:a need

McCAIN:not if we get DANSBY

BERRY:might replace WILSON butwho knows.

BRADFORD or McCOY:I know but this will put us in a place where we can stop that PAT WHITE shi+ and make sure we have a QB on the roster that can grow.If HENNE can't do it. Even though I think he can and I will buy his jersey but you never know.

WILLAMS:We need a NT bad but if FERGI can go I'll take him

MAYS:I would put him at OLB and let him sit and watch a year he's as strong as the LBs and as fast as the CBs BIG and FAST is always the best combo well unless he's as dumb as GHOLSTON

I still say we grab Spiller at 12.

Our best option would be if we sign Dansby is to move back into the late teens, early 20's (assuming Berry is not there at 12) and pick up a 3rd. Then take the BPA of (B. Graham, S. Kindle, D. Williams, E. Thomas, S. Weatherspoon). We then use that 3rd along with our 2nd (and maybe a 6th to move up to the top of the 2nd to pick up any of those 4 players along with maybe (J. Hughes, R. Sapp, N. Allen). Use our third rounder on a stud TE (Gronkowski, Pitta, McCoy) and load up in rounds 4-7 on high risk high reward guys like M. Williams, M. Rolle, G. hardy, etc. That way our defense could add Dansby, E. Thomas, J. Hughes, along with W. Allen and Ferguson returning. Adding three playmakers and an improved Wake would be awesome, especially with Mike Nolan calling the shots!

NO WAY ON Spiller
Take Berry or Dan Williams at 12

Stay away from future bust : Mclain

Will the pats make a move for JT on Friday???

Things that make you go hmmmmmm

The more I read about the combine and the long list of great defensive players on the board - the more I want Spiller - home run threat - tough - can play ST's and 3rd down back.

I would love to see Dansby come in. But I am not certain we can stay with NYG in the bidding process. We just have too many holes yet to fill. Can't hurt to hope... The #12 pick is what it is... but what happens in the 8 picks after that one is far more important. There are a few good NT's out there to consider. I would love to see Miami grab TE Graham out of the "U" ... Something about that kid tells me he is going to be a special player. It would also be nice for Brandon LaFell to drop to the Early 2nd for Miami... that's a reach... but someone said it was their birthday... Mine is the 25th so I'm asking too.

I know the combine is the underwear olympics but seriously if every other player went why didnt mcclain. What are u special dude. Pick Spiller at 12.

Have any of you guys seen the highlights of McClain? He's terrible. I can't understand why everyone thinks that we are going to draft this guy. He tackles by the shoulders while he's standing up tall. And he's always late to the tackle like another MLB the dolphins have. I don't care how much energy or motivational speeches he has, if he can't tackle, why would we want him? He's not an upgrade to Crowder. He just benefitted from that Bama DLine. He's not even 1st round talent.

Okay if Berry is available at 12, which there's no way in hell he will be, then you have to take him.

Top 5

1. N. Suh, DT, Nebraska
2. Eric Berry, S, Tenn
3. Derrick Morgan, OLB (assuming he continues to show the ability to play there), GT
4. R. McClain/S. Weatherspoon ILBs Ala/Mizz
5. Earl Thomas, S, Tex

Then Dan Williams.

I would only flip 3 and 4 if the Dolphins don't address ILB in free agency and because of the depth of the OLB in this draft.

easy week for you mando

The Giants want Dansby because they got rid of Pierce. What happened vis-a-vis the Giants and Pierce? Why is he in the dumper? Is he available for a possible change-of-scenery steal, or is he done?

Pierce has a spinal condition. I don't think he's someone we want to bring in. Let the man retire while he can walk.

Giants and Dansby have a done deal.
Just like Peppers and the bears
Expect Fins to sign nobody on Friday.
They will have Larry Foote and Ben Watson for a visit on Saturday.

Also, can mandito give us an update on what the was RFA tender to Fasano and Ronnie Brown?

Please, just grab dez bryant trifecta.....I trust parcells, but was there a more obvious need that a premier wide last season. if is there at 12 pull the trigger!!! if not go LB!!

Dez Bryant is 2 years away from being an impact player.

But Eric Berry or Dan Williams can start tommorrow

Who is our LT if Jake Long goes down???
Gardner or Berger?
Sir Vicent?

Olsen wants out of the Bears. Maybe we can send them Teddy

Not so sure Dan Williams can start tomorrow. There will be an adjustment period. Look at BJ Raji and Ron Brace from last year. The top 2 NT prospects did not start at all.

Of players I put in my top 5, the ones that could start from day 1 are Suh, Berry, McClain/Weatherspoon, and Thomas.


I here ya on your post. I think McClain is too highly rated due to his size, big school Nat Champ pedigree and "intangibles". I know this, the guy never hits anyone flying in perpendicular to the ground in classis hitting/tackling form. Forget the next Pat Willis chat...ain't happening.

Calito did find me one single clip of him hitting a WR with A good hit from his Junior year. Just one is not a very good evidence trail for a #12.

I think that some of his lousy techniques could be coached out but, why the heck would you want that with a #12 pick?

He came from a big school, he is big and ? how fast, from reports his is suppose to be a leader/studier type. He has some coverage ability it looks like. Those are the good things but I would want a lot more tangible things I can see on film. I am not drinking the kool-aid on this guy.

If, by some strange reason he ends up a Fin (As the Trifecta should come to a similar conclusion) I will be praying I'm wrong.


waterboy, what about percy harvin, what about calvin johnson, did it took two years for them to be impact players??? u never know with wides,but if it as half as good as they say, dez will be fine.

Hard to believe after all the negative things about Dezzy Bryant this week and people still think we should pick him...Pulled out of combine, suspended for lying, late to practices, late to GAMES!!! Parcells won't get anywhere near Dez Bryant, time for some major reality checks here

Everything depends on what the Dolphins do with free agency...if they sign Dansby then I doubt they go after McClain. Could they go after spiller...sure when you look at the Dolphin running backs, two are coming off injuries and one is a year away from retiring, so there is a need, but is Spiller the type of running back that Parcells has drafted in the past? Would the Dolphins draft Bryant if the story about him is true, I have my doubts. There's no NT worthy of being drafted at 12, none are as good as wilfork was coming out of college and I believe Wilfork was drafted in the the 20 pick area of the draft. Another area of obvious need is at Free safety...I for one don't buy the smoke that the Dolphins are blowing that they are happy with safety...free safety is a need that I see could be filled with the 12th pick...there's two ways to fill that need, if Haden drops to the Dolphins pick, they could select him and move either Davis or Smith to free safety, or the Dolphins could select Thomas from Texas to play free safety, Thomas is a playmaker on defense.

But Eric Berry or Dan Williams can start tommorrow

Posted by: Waterboy | March 03, 2010 at 10:23 AM

may be not Dan Williams. I think Dan is a little upgrade over Solai, but not much right now, but is for sure an upgrade in a season or two. NT is a void that must be address sooner or later, may be that is the difficult right now if we pass over Dan Williams, Cam Thomas for an "impact player" every body will beat us running the ball.

We should only draft best player available not for need!

NJ PHIN FAN @ 8:48

I am with you bud, C.J. Spiller would not be a bad choice at #12.

I know we need DEF more than OFF. What we MORE than both of those is not to miss with our 1st pick. C.J. Spiller has been entrenched at #1 for RB's on every site I see. I personally see TONS of plays where he dazzles. He has break away proven speed after running an unofficial 4.27 and 4.28 at the combine although it later Offically became a 4.37. I am still unclear why the times vary so greatly at the combine but, that is another thread.

He has great side to side lateral movement and can and will return punts and kickoffs if you want him too. He has really nice hands for a RB so you can mix him into WR type plays too. He can easliy be a 20-25 touch guy when used in all these ways.

The thing about the speed merchant guys like him is they simply HAVE to be accounted for.
The same reason why Ginn still has a WR job is other teams have to respect his speed or he will be running wide open (the catch is another matter).

It's too tall of an order to say he will be the next Chris Johnson but, he does make a lot of plays that look similar to what Chris does.

We can take a NT or LB with the 2nd and 3rd round picks. Only DT Dan Williams carries a 1st round grade as a potential NT prospect anyways.

Good call NJ PHIN!


When you draft for need you tend to reach for a player that might not be the best value.

LOL @ ROB. You just fall for anybody that doesn't like mcclain like 5150. Here's a guy who just said mcclain is TERRIBLE and you jumped all over it. Now mcclain is terrible. MY GOD !!!! LMFAO !!!!


Dez is off my list. I have red flags sinking that ship as well.


Rob In OC, cmon bro, u know better then that, that's the same idiot who uses NJ's name every morning cause he has NO opioms of his own..

Rob . Are you seriously kidding me ???. I don't want anything to do with spiller . That was not me. Look at the sign in. It' s not in capitol letters and it' not signed in blue. It's some moron imposter who has no life and nothing better to do thean impersonate people. and doesn't do a good job at that. Dude , your to guilible. LOL !!


I know... hehe, I was just wringing out some thoughts and playing with the "real NJ PHIN".

I realize he has never liked Spiller as an option... just funin about.

Never any hard feelings NJ PHIN, Bobbyd.


=) That's the post I knew was coming NJ PHIN... sorry bud. Feeling a lil mischievious this morning.

I'll cut it out!


5150 . here's how TERRIBLE mcclain is : Mike Singletory says " He ( mcclain ) is a heckva football player, Intelligence , TOUGHNESS , awareness , instincts that's probably his no 1 quality. Anybody that gets him is getting a great football player ". This from one of the greatest LB's in history. To say he's TERRIBLE shows you need to get a clue. thanks for stopping by :)

Rob in oc . in all due respect , i think your full of crap. You thought it was me , we sset you straight and now your a little embarrassed to admit you fell for that imposter. It's ok . You're a little new around here and there for guilible. cheers !

Two days to free agency!!! Lets hope the Dolphins give us something to be excited about! I'll tell you one thing, if they are active it'll sure make things a bit easier when it comes to trying to predict who they will take with that first pick.

Come on Trifecta, do the right thing and at the very least give us Dansby! Besides a great LB, you now have someone that can put a call into Rolle and get him excited about joining his old team mate from the Cardinals!


While it is true I am not enamored with 80+% of the game footage I personally see of McClain, I am stopping short of calling him a bust.

I know what I see as flaws in his game can be trained out with the right coaching. What won for him on the college level (Getting in front of guys and holding them up, Not getting of blocks, Not having ball awareness on certain plays etc) will not work in the NFL imo. I am leary that Saban couldn't get better form out of him. Mind you, he was able to make the tackles using that technique in college, I just don't see good results with that form.

I do see talent in the kid. I just see more 1st round type talent in other prospects. Since I realize that he is so highly rated that someone will grab the in the 1st round if the Fins get someone else at #12 we both won't have to deal with it.

If we watch him, as a Fin or from afar on another team, and he starts blowing things up and earns Pro Bowl honors I do realize that you will let me know about it in spades. That's the law of the land in talent evaluation. Saying someone is going to be good or bad AFTER the fact is crap.

We are all really staking our claims to judging talent each and everytime we throw our own picks out there.

No harm, no foul...I just would prefer another guy to be a Fin. You don't want anything to do with Spiller...no prob. If he starts jammin in the NFL I will point it out to you... it's all in good fun.



Haha,...No REALLY LMAOROFL!!! Yeah, I am a true dolt that can't tell the difference between a blue post or not.

You got me there. I have to watch the jokes with you...everything is gospel if its in ink and it hard to tell sarcasm in a post... no tone inflection to pick up on.

No worries.

Cheers man,


The fact that it was YOU of all people, promoting Spiller in a single line post was a dead give away besides the lack of blue in the screen name.

You honestly think that after all the sparring we have done this whole time on the blog with you shouting Def,Def,Def from the top of your lungs I would think you suddenly had a change of heart?

What someone conked you on the head with a rock?

Hmmmm. Not so much.


Rob in oc. " I just don't see good results with that form " . Well that so called form produced 270 tackles , 8 sacks and 5 int's in 3 years from the ILB position. The man is a tackling machine. i don't know what the hell you're talking about with this form thing, again i'm done with this topic with you because it's a waste of time. As far as spiller is concerned , i didn't say he won't be a good player , it's just to the pick or galring need for miami.


Scooping up Dansby would be a coup. He should have a pretty big impact going to any team as a ready made plug in LB that can really tackle well.

Any Int's and Sacks would be bonus. I just want people to be stopped on first contact...period.

Too many times last year we had lousy tackling games played by MANY on our Def...not just Crowder, Ayodele and JP.

(crossed fingers) One can only hope.


LOL @ ROB , this wasn't the first time you've fallen for stuff like that. Whatever !! if it makes you feel better. : ) . I gotta run. ' Til later


270 tackles. Numerous tackles of the arm persuasion (won't work in the NFL, ballcarriers are stronger), many times him getting there after 1st contact made by other teammates (Indicating diagnosing late or step slow), NOT close to shedding blocks many times (Blockers in the NFL are much better than he saw in college). There are a bunch of plays he is trailing and obviously not running full tilt to get back into the play!! That's criminal to me.

I can't believe, with as much of a keen eye on a ton of your other calls you are not seeing this for yourself. All the stuff I am talking about is on film footage and jumps out at me and others that post against the McClain pick-up at #12.

I like Brandon Graham and you don't... at least not that much. I can see why when people talk about his short arms, short stature and lack of being in coverage as reason not to take him. I get why people don't like him or even hate him. He has played LB ever since he was 7 years old and was only put as DE after he got to Michigan. I am projecting success based of the skill set I believe he has.

If you don't agree I don't get frustrated I ask you to name reasons and rest easy knowing it's like hearding cats to get all people on the same page.

PLEASE don't get flustered bro... I am only trying to keep talking football and my original post was to answer 5150 and let him know I was with him on his choice and what he saw.


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