2013 NFL Draft: DB Athletic Report Card

March 27th, 2013

Shamarko Thomas has been a favorite of mine for his superior athleticism and love for the big hit. (Photo: US Presswire)

By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer

So it looks like new GM Jeff Izdik has the patience to hold out for the best deal possible in regards to trading Revis. Despite EPSN’s Trent Dilfer calling him a “game wrecker” I think the massive contract he would demand would hamper further improvements to a roster pretty barren with talent. Add to that the fact he’s coming off a major knee injury and he could easily leave with nothing in return, a high first rounder, in addition to a 3rd and maybe another future top pick sounds like the safe and maybe best long term solution.

With that said who could the Jets be targeting in the draft with both corner and safety slots in need of an upgrade? Here are the top athletes as graded by their tape and combine performances.

1. Xavier Rhodes FSU
6’1 (1/2)

40 Time: 4.43
Vertical: 40.5 in
Broad Jump: 132 in

Athletic Grade: A

Rhodes has everything necessary to be a shutdown corner: Height, length, bulk, agility, aggressiveness and tremendous physicality that have some projecting him as a safety. That makes him one of the ideal cut bigger corners everyone around the league loves nowadays. The only question was his straight-line speed to turn and run with receivers. 4.43 answers that pretty confidently.


T-2. Shamarko Thomas SYRACUSE
5’8 (7/8)

40 Time: 4.42
Vertical: 40.5 in
Broad: 133 in

Athletic Grade: A-

My boy Shamarko Thomas, a strong safety from ‘Cuse, is a freak athlete. Yes he took a nasty spill after running a 4.42, but he still ran a 4.42, lit up the vertical and broad jumps and cranked out a defensive back best 28 reps. I wrote optimistically back in September that his athleticism and physicality (he hits as hard as any safety prospect) gave him NFL starter upside. That’s looking more and more like a possibility.

T-2. Desmond Trufant WASHINGTON
5’11 (5/8)

40 Time: 4.38
Vertical: 37.5 in
Broad Jump: 125 in

Athletic Grade: A-

With brothers Marcus and Isiah already in the pros there is a tendency to hype up the similarly gifted Desmond before he has even played a down in the league, but I’ve gone from feeling he’s been over hyped to a big fan. The thin frame and poor tackling concerns are still valid but he is an elite cover corner. A sparkling combine will only help his cause and was a Top 20 overall prospect on my Board before and could move up a few spots more after the combine. He was a top performer in the change of direction and quickness drills as well like the three cone drill and 20 yard shuttle that are a good indicator of a corner’s ability to stay on receivers like glue.


4. Dee Milliner ALABAMA
5’11 (7/8)

40 Time: 4.37
Vertical: 36 in
Broad Jump: 122 in

Athletic Grade: B+

We all know Milliner was the best corner prospect going in, but how would he test out at the Combine? Well, his explosive lower body results (vertical and broad jumps) weren’t spectacular but the smooth athleticism and change of direction he showed on tape was backed up with a blazing 4.37 speed. The reason he’s #4 over guys like Alford, Jamar Taylor or B.W. Webb is because his height is that important in today’s league.


5. Earl Wolff NC STATE
5’11 (1/4)

40 Time: 4.44
Vertical: 39 in
Broad Jump: 134 in

Athletic Grade: B+

His teammate David Amerson was a pre-season top 10 prospect and almost made this list after running a surprising 4.44 at 6’1, but truth be told Wolff is the better overall athlete on the Wolfpack defense. With great size for a safety and the explosive lower body to close on the ball carrier he could sneak up to the third or maybe even second round. While he passes the height, weight, speed and athleticism tests easily, he seems to get caught out of place pursuing the ball, forcing him to rely on those abilities a little too option. The potential is there in spades though and positioning and feel for the game can be taught to a degree. Coaches have a lot to work with.


5’10 (1/8)

40 Time: 4.39
Vertical: 40 in
Broad Jump: 132 in

Athletic Grade: B

After a terrific Senior Bowl Alford’s stock has been moving in a positive direction. A tad undersized the small school stud had a nice combine showing the 4.39 speed to hang with just about anybody and the overall athleticism he’ll need to compete with what will for the most part be bigger stronger receivers. I liked his change of direction and quickness to stay close to receivers but was blown away, especially because of the caliber of player he was covering.


T-6. Eric Reid LSU
6’1 (1/2)

40 Time: 4.53
Vertical: 40.5 in
Broad Jump: 134 in

Athletic Grade: B

Reid’s place among the top safety prospects has softened but I haven’t seen much to warrant that. Nobody is talking much about him anymore but even if his combine was overlooked it was still impressive. Measuring at a healthy 6’1 (1/2) and 213 lb with a very solid 4.53 40. Those numbers are on par or better than his main competition in guys like Vaccaro, Lester, Elam, Philip Thomas and Tony Jefferson while posting a (tied for) DB best 40.5 in the vertical. I like Reid a good deal and think he could be the #1 safety prospect even over Vaccaro and Elam.


Tags: earl wolff, shamarko thomas

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