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Combine Podium Primer: DBs

Prospects hoping to play on the back end of NFL defenses will close out a four-day media blitz Saturday at the 2015 NFL Combine.

A total of 54 defensive backs (34 listed as cornerbacks, seven listed as strong safeties and 13 listed as free safeties) have arrived in Indianapolis for the annual event in which personnel and coaching staffs will place them under the microscope, physically and mentally. Teams are combing through more than 320 top draft-eligible prospects who were invited to the annual event.

Head Coach Mike Zimmer's defenses have often featured strong secondaries. The Vikings have recent first-round picks Harrison Smith (2012) at safety and Xavier Rhodes (2013) at corner.

The Vikings are scheduled to select from the 11th overall spot in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30. Will Minnesota look to add a player in the secondary at some point in this year's draft?

"You can never have enough of those guys," said Zimmer about a cornerback class he said is "OK, from what I've seen so far."

"There are some guys you like and some guys that have the traits," Zimmer said. "I've been thinking a lot about this, all the corners I've been around that have turned out good have the physical capabilities, but they're all pretty smart and they're all pretty tough, competitive, I guess you'd say, so trying to find those guys will be important."'s Mike Wobschall (@wobby on Twitter) and the Vikings Entertainment Network will bring fans updates from Lucas Oil Stadium, which turns into the "Center of the NFL Universe" during the annual event.

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has six defensive backs (five corners, one safety) in a list of 50 top prospects that will continue to evolve between now and the draft. Jeremiah's rankings of players scheduled for media sessions Saturday:

  1. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State, Jr.
  1. Landon Collins, SS, Alabama, Jr.
  1. Marcus Peters, CB, Washington, Jr.
  1. P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State, Jr.
  1. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU, Jr.
  1. Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut, Sr.

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock ranked his top five pre-combine cornerbacks, saying he likes Waynes, Peters and Jalen Collins "a lot" but doesn't know enough yet off the field about Peters.

"Trae Waynes is very comfortable in press coverage," Mayock said Monday during a conference call. "He's got length. He jumps up there like all the Michigan State corners do. He understands the game. He's played through the field, he's played into the boundary. He tackles."

The chart below shows 2014 and career stats for Mayock's top cornerbacks:


Mayock actually grouped Washington outside linebacker Shaq Thompson with the safeties, envisioning a hybrid role in which Thompson would play safety on run-likely downs and linebacker on pass-likely downs.

"Shaq Thompson, most people think he is a linebacker," Mayock said. "I like him as a Kam Chancellor type big, strong, physical, strong safety that can play dime linebacker in passing situations. I think it's evolving that way."

The chart below shows 2014 and career stats for Mayock's top safeties:


Combine Schedule:

Groups 1-3 (offensive line, tight ends, specialists): Feb. 17-20 (media Wednesday, timing Friday)

Groups 4-6 (quarterbacks, receivers, running backs): Feb. 18-21 (media Thursday, timing Saturday)

Groups 7-9 (defensive line, linebackers): Feb. 19-22 (media Friday, timing Sunday)

Groups 10-11 (defensive backs): Feb. 20-23 (media Saturday, timing Monday)

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