Safeties and cornerbacks participated Sunday in timing and testing drills as part of the annual evaluation of more than 300 draft-eligible prospects by scouts and coaches from all 32 NFL teams.
Click here for top performances of cornerbacks. Click here for Mock Madness 2.0 to see the pre-combine projections.
There are drills that use easy to understand metrics like how fast a player can run 40 yards in a straight line or how many times he can bench press 225 pounds, and there are also drills designed to reveal a player's agility and change of direction.
NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said he uses the on-field information gathered at the combine as a cross check. The info can further validate an opinion he's formed by watching game film, or give him cause to review more tape.
Analysts haven't given out glowing grades for this year's safety class, which could affect the draft a couple of ways: if a player is seen as far and above others at the position, he could go higher because of scare supply for demand, or, if there's a consensus among teams that there's not much separation between players, drafting at that position could become less urgent.
Justin Cox of Mississippi State ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds, which was faster than all but one cornerback, Trae Waynes' 4.31 out of Michigan State. Eric Rowe of Utah was the fastest safety to complete the 3-cone drill in 6.7 seconds.
What do the performances mean?
Tony Villiotti processed numbers to determine which measurable drill was most important to each position for nationalfootballpost.com. Villiotti looked at players who have started "one full season" and whether or not they were top performers among their position. He found that top performances at the combine have a moderate relationship to players who are starting safeties, but about half as strong as cornerbacks, which had the strongest relationship.
The events Villiotti found most relevant to safeties were the 3-cone drill and the 40-yard dash.
Justin Cox, Mississippi State, 4.36 seconds
Eric Rowe, Utah, 4.45
Damarious Randall, Arizona State, 4.46
Landon Collins, Alabama, 4.53
(tied) Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, 4.53
Clayton Geathers, Central Florida, 4.55
Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern, 23 reps
Clayton Geathers, Central Florida, 22
Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech, 21
Tevin McDonald, Eastern Washington, 19
(tied) Eric Rowe, Utah, 19
Gerod Holliman, Louisville, 17
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State, 39.5 inches
Eric Rowe, Utah, 39.0
Justin Cox, Mississippi State, 38.0
(tied) Damarious Randall, Arizona State, 38.0
Clayton Geathers, Central Florida, 37.0
(tied) Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn, 37.0
Justin Cox, Mississippi State, 10 feet, 9 inches
Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn, 10-8
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, 10-5
Eric Rowe, Utah, 10-5
Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, 10-4
Eric Rowe, Utah, 6.70 seconds
Jordan Richards, Stanford, 6.74
Damarious Randall, Arizona State, 6.83
Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech, 6.95
(tied) Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn, 6.95
Dean Marlowe, James Madison, 7.00
Eric Rowe, Utah, 3.97 seconds
Adrian Amos, Penn State, 4.03
Justin Cox, Mississippi State, 4.07
(tied) Damarious Randall, Arizona State, 4.07
Jermaine Whitehead, Auburn, 4.11
Justin Cox, Mississippi State, 11.20 seconds
Adrian Amos, Penn State, 11.33
Jordan Richards, Stanford, 11.38
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss, 11.44
Eric Rowe, Utah, 11.48