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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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You're doing just fine Rob, I enjoy reading your post and think you have some good analysis

I see what you’re doing…you’re talking football and you have your OWN opinion…wow what a great idea. It’s way better then talking chemtrails and jets.

Is it Friday yet? Uuummm, NO, it's just hump day Wednesday. I am ready for free agency, anyone else?


Tricky - You can't judge a guy just on combine tape. Everyone knew he was athletic coming into the combine, but being fast and athletic does not mean great football skills. I think Mays is slightly to risky at the 12 spot.


You mean Taylor "Fred Flinstone Backpedal" Mays? Forget it, good athlete, not so sure he's a football player. How many backwards steps does a guy need to take before he actually starts moving backwards?


Less than 48 hours to free agency so let's do it. Here it is...



Dolphans let your voices be heard!!!


LOL Jack Gunn,

I appreciate the kind words. You are so right, people get so rigid in their feelings about a player (I am just as guilty as all others) that they forget about how nebulous the process of choosing talent really is.

I always say "Beauty, or lack thereof, is in the eyes of the beholder". How else can we ALL hoot 'N holler and high five when the Raiders make Darius Heyward Bey a filthy rich man as the 1st WR picked that year?

We scatch our heads when Jamar Fletcher gets picked in the 1st round and then see Drew Brees go to the Chargers as we needed a QB... JJ thought Fletcher had skills obviously?

It's just a VERY fin pastime and playing armchair GM has ALL the fun and upside (except actually getting paid for it) and no pressure and weight of the world if you're wrong! Being worng can cost the Dolphins wins and that I take very seriously. I love trying to spot talent and use everything that I can gather and eyeball myself to judge a college player worthy. No mainstream media or generic list will bypass my own call...otherwise why even do it?

Fun Times!!! Who are some players you like to see the Fins get? You can say McClain if you like even... =)


How many backwards steps does a guy need to take before he actually starts moving backwards?

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | March 03, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Mark is that like...how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop?

What we do in FA will dictate our early moves on draft day. As glaring and obvious as our need at WR, I'm more concerned with the LB's.
The thought of Chowder and Ayodele even as back ups makes me sick. A good or great NT shouldn't make or break the middle of our D. I want some ILB's that put the fear of God in people. Regardless of who is playing in front of them. I'll bet Ray Lewis or Singletary didn't give a sheet who manned the tackle spot(s).
I think Dansby's a must. Sad to say, even a 30 year old Foote would be an upgrade over what were working with.
I'm not entirely sold on McClain and the draft is just a glorified crapshoot. However, I think it's a safe bet that McClain would both our bozo's on the bench!!!!

SIGN DANSBY!!!! Blog voice power!! lol

Datajack - We are going to get outbid by the Giants. Dansby has already said his first team was the Giants and they are going to get him unless we drop MASS dollars on him which I don't see happening!


Even if we land Dansby, I think we still go LB with our first pick.
Trading down in the first round is a lot easier said than done. Still it would be the thing to do if at all possible.
My best case scenario would be signing Dansby, and trading down for Weatherspoon of Graham.

I know, pipe dream, blah blah blah. I always say: if your going to dream, dream big!

Jack Gunn, haha, ya, kind of. That guy just can run fast in a straight line for some reason. Like Shakira said, "hips don't lie"

Tricky, Rob, if the Dolphins land Dansby or even Foote, then I want to see Derrick Morgan as the #1 pick (if he can convince the administration that he can play OLB, which he already showed signs at the combine that he can), and that is if Eric Berry is off the board. He is clearly the top pass rusher in the draft but Seattle or Jacksonville or even the Raiders might take him.

I would also cheer for Earl Thomas or Sean Weatherspoon.

Bottom line, anyone who helps improve the Dolphins pass defense is good for me.

Cleveland might even bite on Morgan too.

odinseye - If you are going to dream big, those are not really "dreaming big". Dreaming big would be us getting Rolle and Dansby, trading with Cards or Broncos for a proven WR. Then, in the draft we get Berry, a stud NT and 2 stud LB's (one outside and one inside).

Now that would be dreaming big!! lol


E. Berry
R. McClain
C. Spiller
D. Bryant

That's a good start.

Tricky, how many of us wish we passed Ginn and his speed. This is not track and field. It is football. Football smarts and good technique do more to help compensate for slower speed than the reverse.

Having someone with both would be killer - but by all accounts, T-Mays is an amazing athlete, but not necessarily an amazing football player.

odinseye - If you are going to dream big, those are not really "dreaming big". Dreaming big would be us getting Rolle and Dansby, trading with Cards or Broncos for a proven WR. Then, in the draft we get Berry, a stud NT and 2 stud LB's (one outside and one inside).

Now that would be dreaming big!! lol

Posted by: Indiana Dolfan | March 03, 2010 at 12:39 PM

DAMN!!!! I thought I was a dreamer.

Seriously, I think Berry and McClain will be gone before we pick.

Anyone a fan of Greg Olsen?


I know Morgan has shown a lot of good things. However would you really use the 12th pick on a guy that would be "transitioning"?

I'm not arguing, I'm just curious?

I see Jack Gunn.

SSome talented guys to be sure...

The Berry pick would be a nice get. I think he may have cemented top 10 with that good combine (Although he didn't pluck every ball thrown his way which suprised me) Great all around player and I think he could be special down the road.

McClain You know my feelings..dead horse

Spiller could be taken from a sheer he may be the best talent that is there when they pick standpoint. He fills sooo many roles I know the Fins want to get better at. I would not mind Spiller at all... still whole deep draft left for DEF. Spiller is Mr. Chunk Yardage. Becomes a more realistic pick with Dansby or Foote in FA.

Bryant. I have heard too many red flags on this guy for me to feel comfortable. If their exhaustive research debunks them all them maybe but I take Spiller anyways.

Good list my friend!


I don't know that this has been confirmed but here you go.......

Mar 2, 2010 ... Kffl: Chicago Bears Trade Greg Olsen to New England Patriots for the 47th Overall Pick in the 2010 NFL Draft ...

With Berry, McClain, Haden or any of them... you just never know who could fall.

Haden ran slower than expected so he has at least a single red flag. I think his tape will supercede the slower combine time...he may make it up on his pro day.

Berry was a Top pick all along and most likely still will be. I think Earl Thomas would probably last till #12 as he numbers were a tad less in most categories than Berry.

We never know (which makes it fun) how far some can plummet. Aaron Rodgers fell from being in 1st or 2nd overall to 24th in the 1st.


odinese............where have you been ? we miss you


Unfortunately several years of bad drafts has put us in a position to draft more for need then for best player available. I subscribe to theory of drafting the BPA, so if its Spiller for instance then we should take him. As I mentioned before when you draft for need you tend over reach for a player.

I trust that Bill and company will do what’s right for us. I believe this will be a LB heavy draft, especially when you look back at the last few drafts…2 per position.


I had to get through my post season depression. I bought a dune buggy and I've been baha-ing through the snow up here in the great white north.

Spent a lot of money on anti-freeze and it wasn't for the dune buggy if you know what I mean.

Since its suck time from now to Friday 12.01 am, lets play a blog game.

Favorite play of last year:

1) Ronnie Brown 2 yd wildcat TD run against Wets on MNF... They knew it was coming and could not stop us


mine, Rick's 40+ clinching TD run vs Car


That all depends on your definition of a reach. If a team has a must have need at a certain position, and draft the best available player to fill that spot, then for that team it's not a reach. They are filling a need by selecting someone they feel is better than anyone else they currently have on the team. What if the best player available happens to play the same position they are already very strong at? If they take him, they've done nothing to better the team. IMO, for a team to get better, they need to replace poor or subpar players with better ones. That means drafting for need, and to me that's not reaching. Now of course, I'm not talking about drafting a projected 3rd rounder with the 12th pick, but if there's a player that is projected in the middle to lower rounds and he's taken higher to fill a need then I don't see it as a reach.

1) Cam Wake getting juked the F out by a punter.

As talented and athletic as Wake is, I think that one play served to make him a better ALL AROUND OLB.

NJ PHIN, and any thinking about McClain...

I know you had to skidaddle NJ but I have uncovered so numbers inside of your own numbers that further highlight my desire to get other players besides Rolando McClain.

You advertise him as 270 tackles, 8 sacks and 5 interceptions which sounds fairly strong as proof he's is a tackling machine. That's a 7.5 tackle per game average for the 36 ganes he has played in.

What supports my arguement is that the guy actually has only 134 SOLO tackles. Me noting that he stands guys up and gets help or arrives a step late after contact by another teammate would reflect as true... By your own math 270 tackles, of which ONLY 134 are his alone means 49.65% of ALL of his tackles are assisted. That's pretty dang close to half of all the tackles he is in. That would break down to 3.72 solo tackles a game. His 2009 Bowl showed 4 tackles but 2 were assists.

By contrast the fiery Mr. Weatherspoon, who is shorter and lighter and probably faster has 388 total tackles of which 218 are solo. That breaks down to 4.8 or nearly 5 SOLO tackles per game. He ALSO had 3 x the amount of forced fumbles which happens more often when you strike hard through a ballcarrier. 4 Ints was one behind McClain's total. 12 career sacks.

Not too shabby! I would prefer Weatherspoon over McClain ESPECIALLY if we could pick him up a tad later.


", but if there's a player that is projected in the middle to lower rounds and he's taken higher to fill a need then I don't see it as a reach."

What I mean here is mid to lower spot of the first round. :)

Greg Olsen would be a BIIIIIIIG target for Brady if thats true

Yes, that made Ayodele look nimble


As much as I think Ginn wusses out he came up huge with the 2 x KR for TD's vs the Jets!!! Both plays were good the 2nd one being a better return.

I love the way it flustered Old Tub-O-Rex to no end that they had much better stats and we still won the game sweeping them in the process!! Kudos to Ginn that single dynamic game.

I loved the Ronnie play you mentioned and probably cheers the loudest when it happened!



I agree with what your saying, I just think that sometimes it puts teams in a position of desperation and that’s when it can become an issue.

I’m not saying that the best available is not also a need either. That would be great if that’s the case.

If the Bears can afford Julius Peppers, then the Fins can afford Dansby.
I would be happy with just that one free agent signing. To hell with all the Eric Greens and Gerbil Wilson's available this year.

Sometimes it's addition by subtraction, ie Bye Bye Joey.

Please nominate next 3 players to be cut by the fins

1) Porter
2) Torbor
3) Rory Lumbala

Rob in OC

Thanks for the numbers. I have to respect a guy that actually does the homework.
I like what I've seen and heard on Weatherspoon. Barring an unlikely trade down though, I can't see us landing the guy. Everybody seems to think 12th is too high of a pick to use on him.

Future Starting ILB for 2010



It would make sense to draft players to fill holes and not get a congo line of great players at one spot vs filling an obvious need position.

The trouble with this fickle game of talent selection is that even when you think you have it right...the player may not work out. All the best intentions drafted some of the biggest busts of all time.

If you take the BPA "within reason" then you are saying that this guy can play and even if we dont have a glaring need there he can push his way into the lineup if he is better of can be a bargaining chip of trades.

Some teams, like Green Bay and NE do this a ton, especially at QB. Take a flyer on a QB late they think has talent, develop him and package him for picks later.

As Jack Gunn stated it has to be within reason of it makes no sense at all. I would say within a 8 - 16 picks in value is all.

The example I like to use is even though we had Ronnie Brown, taken early 1st round in 2005, Cam Camoron choose WR Ginn at #9 as WR was a bigger need. If we had maneuvered 3 spots ahead and gotten RB Adrian Peterson wouldn't we be much, much, much better off right now?... despite the fact that we already had a young RB Ronnie Brown.

Sparano On the Gerbil before he started sucking:

LMAO.... listen about 3:20 into it


lamar houston in the third if he is still there is a tremendous pick up ive been saying it since day one

everyone seems to be over looking him i'll take him over cam thomas

Odinseye, just got your question.

The answer is CONDITIONALLY yes. There are a few things that have to happen for me to think Morgan would be the undisputed #12 pick (if he's still available, big if)

1. Dolphins need to address ILB in free agency. It's a thin position in the draft and OLB is a very deep position in the draft. I ddon't rate McClain/Weatherspoon too far behind Morgan so if they still need a middle backer come draft time then I say no to Morgan.

2. Eric Berry has to be off the board.

3. Morgan has to show more of the nimbleness and athleticism he showed glimpses of at the combine during his pro day.


Thanks for the props! I appreciate the compliment.

Weatherspoon has been steadily climbing (well as much as one can I spose after his last college game) Great Allstar game at the Senior Bowl...showed up primed and ready to go at the Combine, posted great numbers. Plus using some of the numbers I just showed you one could make a hard, factual case for him being flat out just a better prospect.

McClain will have the magical "upside" due to his size. His height, weight and frame can probably handle more growing than 'Spoons. That could be a true edge depending on who you ask. I say that "upside" has killed many a draft pick. I certainly hope that the Trifecta is giving at least as much weight as I am on actual production.

The draft is deep so falling back will be hard. I think if a team wants to get that done they may have to get LESS in return for the move back than a normal year. That would be one way to get to the spot you want by falling back and giving the team you deal with a slightly more favorable deal.

Cheers friend!


I hope JD ends up being better than Zach Thomas.
On the downside, he looks like a kid whose lunch money I used to take and spend on his girlfriend while he hungout with the Glee Club.


Interesting clip of J.D. Folsom. He seems pretty wide eyed. Lets see if he has what it takes to stay around another year.

As for him starting in year two sounds like a colossal jump... stranger things have happened but I'm not holding my breath.



Not sleeping on Houston. He may well be able to anchor. What do you have his weight pegged at?


@ Rob,
he seems over his head, im sure the max he can do is gain a roster spot. I doubt he will start anytime soon.

How about Sparano's training camp lust for the gerbil?

LaMarr Houston looks a little light to anchor....looks to be a better fit in a 4-3 such as Tampa Bay's where he can penetrate and be disruptive.

LMFAO !!!!!! @ Rob's post @ 1:33 pm. RIDICULOUS !!! You couldn't leave it alone. You're not biased or have anything against mcclain ??? You ? NOOOO. Anything good that anybody says about mcclain you have to find some way to diminish him to prove how right you are about him. Maybe his 8 sacks weren't solo or maybe his 5 int's weren't solo. The Man won the Butkus award as the best LB in the country , is a leader and is a CHAMPION !! Go ahead now , you could diminish those things also. GEEZ !!! UN-f'n -believable. !!!


Haha..taking J.D's lunch money.

He has kind of a Ron Howard feel when you hear him speak.

Not very much resemblence to Ray Lewis in his presence and the way he speaks.


By the way rob , did you take into account that weatherspoon is a senior and played 4 years while mcclain is a junior and played 3 years. He played more games therefore had more numbers.

Rob in OC,

I'm not taking sides with you or NJ on the McClain/Weatherspoon issue. Like any good armchair GM, I'm keeping my options open until draft day-LOL.

I was with you on your last post right up too:

The draft is deep so falling back will be hard. I think if a team wants to get that done they may have to get LESS in return for the move back than a normal year. That would be one way to get to the spot you want by falling back and giving the team you deal with a slightly more favorable deal.

Before I gave up anything favorable to another team to trade down, I would just "reach" for a guy like Weatherspoon.

Then again, if I could package Gerbril Wilson and Joey Porter in a trade down, I wouldn't hesitate to pull the proverbial trigger-LOL!!!!


Aloco . I Love you though. :)

i love you too ...peace nj .you the best blogger on this blog .

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