Ahkello Witherspoon, Marshon Lattimore among combine DB standouts
Defensive backs took the field on Monday to conclude the 2017 scouting combine, and we saw some of the most impressive performances of the entire week. Let’s take a run through some of the most notable performances from the final day.
Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF
Few players helped themselves more than Shaquill Griffin, who had an excellent set of combine numbers to go along with his fluid drills. Griffin clocked in at 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, with a vertical leap of 38.5 inches and an 11-foot broad jump. Griffin had an excellent season at UCF in 2016, allowing just 39.7 percent of the 73 passes thrown his way to be caught. He had four picks and 11 pass breakups, but did have a tendency to gamble too much and get beat. Of the 29 receptions he allowed this past season, six of them went for scores.
Obi Melifonwu, S/CB, Connecticut
Heading into the day, Melifonwu would have been listed simply as a safety, but he had the kind of workout numbers that will have teams looking at the prospect of asking him to play cornerback at the next level. At 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, he ran a 4.4-flat 40-yard dash, and threatened his teammate Byron Jones’ numbers when it came to the broad jump (11-11) and vertical leap (44 inches). Melifonwo looked smooth and capable in drills, too, and from a raw numbers perspective, couldn’t have had a much better day, potentially making himself as much money as anybody at the combine this year purely by the added value of a new position.
Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
It was so nearly the perfect day for Lattimore, who reinforced his athleticism with his numbers, but pulled up with an injury at the end of his second 40-yard dash. Lattimore posted an impressive 4.36 40-time, but also jumped 11 feet in the broad jump and 38.5 inches in the vertical leap, which are all excellent numbers. Reports disagree about whether it was hamstring tightness or a hip flexor issue, but Lattimore has a history of hamstring injuries and seeing them flare up again at the combine would certainly unnerve teams looking at him as the top cornerback prospect in the draft.
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
Another player that helped himself with some excellent workout numbers was Fabian Moreau, who posted an excellent set of combine measurables. From checking in at 6-feet tall and over 200 pounds, Moreau rattled off a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash, backing it up with a 38-inch vertical leap and 11-4 in the broad jump. Moreau also showed well in the coverage drills and looked like a corner that could play at the next level. His 2016 grading was inconsistent, but the high points were excellent, and he had six games this season in which he allowed one or fewer receptions.
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
Half of the Colorado roster was working out today, but the best-graded amongst them in 2016 was Witherspoon, who was also the most impressive with his workout numbers. At 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds, Witherspoon posted a 4.45 40-yard time, but also topped 40 inches in the vertical leap (40.5), and jumped 10-7 in the broad jump. Witherspoon is an impressive athlete and has the size and length (with 33-inch arms) that NFL teams covet. He was targeted 88 times this past season, but allowed just 28 receptions (31.8 percent), the best mark in the nation for someone targeted that much.
Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Tabor made some headlines during the interview portion of the combine by suggesting not only that he was the best cornerback available in the draft, but was the best overall player in the draft. His combine numbers, at least, did nothing to help that statement, and saw him rank near the bottom of the list for defensive backs in several categories. A 4.62 40-yard dash time will raise serious concerns in a league that has trended towards faster and faster defensive backs, but his explosion was also called into question with a vertical leap of just 31 inches. His broad jump was only marginally better at 10 feet even, and he managed only nine reps in the bench press. Tabor’s coverage numbers in 2016 were outstanding, allowing an NFL passer rating of just 41.3 when targeted, and intercepting or breaking up 10 passes from 40 targets, but his athleticism is now a question mark for teams.