While we had him on the line, we asked Chavous to weigh-in on five defensive backs (OK, four and a potential hybrid) in this year's field. Before we get there, here's a review of his chops:
—Second-round pick (33rd overall in 1998 by Arizona
—Played for Vikings from 2002-05
—Helped television stations cover drafts while in college at Vanderbilt
—Became the first active NFL player to cover the draft nationally in 1999
—Five years on ESPN's coverage team
—A host for the first draft covered by NFL Network in 2005
Chavous joined his uncle Barney Chavous, a former star defensive lineman with Denver, in launching *DraftNasty *in 2009. The crew gathers and evaluates its own film before grading prospects in eight categories:
Chavous' take on Waynes:
"He's a good player. He's been a good player for a couple of years now, got a lot of action opposite (former Spartans teammate Bengals 2014 first-rounder Darqueze) Dennard. I think he's relatively smooth. I think his game is defined by patience at the line of scrimmage. I think he's going to have to work on his hands a little bit, at least in terms of holding some guys and getting them extended at the break point, so he has some room for improvement, but we felt like he was a pretty good prospect with some upside, kind of thin-natured guy. He's going to have to maybe put on a little weight as well."
Chavous on Washington CBMarcus Peters:
"You watch some of those games with Waynes, the Nebraska game or Penn State game with some holding calls. That goes with Peters all the way to Hawaii, the first game this year, and you can go back to games before that, against Washington State the year before, he gets a little grabby in nature. A lot of that has to do with an up and down nature. He's got some technique things he needs to work on, but he's got a smooth backpedal, long arms. I think he plays fast at any time, has good leaping ability and ball skills and he'll jump the three-step game because he has instincts."
Chavous on LSU CBJalen Collins:
"Inexperienced player, 10 career starts, benched as a sophomore, long arms, teams are enamored with that, pretty good production this season, gets turned around a little bit at the line of scrimmage at times, even though he has good feet. Will tackle, has some aggressiveness. Not quite as quick as (Bengals 2012 first-round pick) Dre Kirkpatrick and maybe even a little bit of a step faster, they're about the same and maybe not as overall good of a prospect, but he's that kind of prospect in terms of the length and size. I don't think he's as good of a football player as Kirkpatrick. He's not as experienced. I'm always concerned about players with less than full season of starting experience because you're banking on them figuring it out at the next level when they maybe weren't able to figure it out in college."
Chavous on Alabama safetyLandon Collins:
"He's heavy, that's a concern. He's got OK ball skills, pretty good range. He's heavy, was 228 pounds at the combine and got down around 220 on his Pro Day, but when you have that much weight and you're trying to carry that over the course of an NFL season, the first thing I've got to ask myself when I'm an evaluator is where is he at three years from now. A lot of people look at these guys as if they are finished products. If a guy weighs 330 pounds now, what happens when he puts the grown-man weight on. You weren't the same at 28 as you were at 22. There's a natural progression, regardless of the workout, even if you're working out every day, you're going to add bulk and your shoulders will broaden. There's a lot of different things to consider. What is he? You're talking about a guy who weighs the same amount as Shaq Thompson, who is a linebacker, so a guy with significant instincts, I think he's got good speed. He has very fast eyes, needs to keep his head up and tackle a little bit more and wrap with more efficiency."
Chavous on Washington'sShaq Thompson, who played safety, linebacker and even running back (he's ruled out the latter at the next level):
"The first time I went to go see him was in 2012 in the Las Vegas Bowl. He was playing safety back then, a guy that would run down on the kickoff team and obviously could do a little bit of everything. I think he's the best linebacker in the draft. I compare him to Thomas Davis, not because he's as good of a blitzer as Davis was coming out of Georgia, but I just think that style and chase mode is very similar. He doesn't quite play with the same violence as a linebacker. I think that's because he had a lot of his reps stolen by moving over to running back full time in the middle of the season and then having to move back, but you're talking about a guy that's returned kicks, played running back and done all these different things. He just needs some repetitions, but if you can get him reps as a will linebacker and cover him up in a 4-3, I think he'll be a good 4-3 chase guy. I think he has some good blitz potential. They talk about him moving to safety, and I'm not sure about that because it goes back to what I just got through talking about with Landon Collins. How many 225 pound safeties are roaming the NFL? Now, everybody is going to mention Kam Chancellor, but look at how they use him in Seattle and the person he's partnered with, so maybe if you're looking at Collins and Thompson in that kind of mold, you've got to make sure you've got the system around them to allow them to do that, because other safeties that are in that weight range, how many of them are starting week-to-week at 220-plus pounds?"
A review of safeties listed on StatsPass showed Chancellor at 232, LaRon Landry (free agent) at 226 and Bernard Pollard (free agent) at 226. Atlanta's William Moore is listed at 221, and Cincinnati's George Iloka is listed at 220.
Former Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson (2001-12) was listed at 230. Taylor Mays, a reserve with Cincinnati who joined Minnesota this offseason, is listed at 225.