The same goes for fellow safeties Phil Taylor of Fresno State, T.J. McDonald of Southern Cal, Bacarri Rambo of Georgia, J.J. Wilcox of Georgia Southern, Eric Reid of LSU and Zeke Motta of Notre Dame, all of whom are expected to go anywhere from late second round to third or fourth round.
The combine also is expected to benefit small-school cornerbacks such as Southeastern Louisiana’s Robert Alford, William & Mary’s B.W. Webb and Rutgers’s Logan Ryan, who boast talent worthy of second- and third-round consideration, according to analysts, but lacked the type of exposure players at larger schools receive.
The measurements, running, lifting and positional drills draw attention from fans, but rarely do performances in those categories significantly sway a team’s opinion of a player.
“The 40 doesn’t make you a football player; it’s not track,” Denver Broncos Coach John Fox said. “Guys come out with great football intelligence, but maybe not great book intelligence. At the end of the day you’re trying to evaluate a football player.’’
But how a player does in the 15-minute interviews with teams can change a team’s opinion.
“They want a little background, where you come from, and then what you know about football,” said Syracuse tackle Justin Pugh, who sat down with the Redskins on Wednesday night. “They’ll ask you to draw up a few run plays, your favorite pass play, just general information to see what you know.”
The conclusions drawn will then be used to help teams fill holes on their roster. Sizing up the draft, Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland believes a team with needs like the Redskins has a chance to do so on multiple fronts this draft.
“I think there are some difference-makers,” Ireland said. “I look at difference-makers in the offensive line, defensive line, maybe there’s a safety for you there. . . . I think there’s good depth in the draft.”