Defensive backs produce a mixed combine day two

Deonte Banks had a very good workout

A fast cornerback group and plenty of depth

When the Seahawks tweaked their defensive scheme a year ago we wondered if they would end up using more man-coverage concepts. I looked on PFF and as it turns out, at least according to their statistics, Seattle had Tariq Woolen and Michael Jackson in zone three times as often as man. That was consistent with the 2021 season, too, indicating not much of a change.

I don’t know whether this is likely to continue or not but traditionally the 3-4 uses a lot of man and Clint Hurtt specifically discussed it a year ago. They might want the option to use more man and if so — a fast cornerback class is useful if they want to pair someone across from Tariq Woolen to have two very cheap, athletic cornerbacks. Woolen ran a 4.26 a year ago and with his long frame, he excelled as a rookie.

Here are the top-15 official forty times from the cornerback class today:

DJ Turner — 4.26
Jakorian Bennett — 4.30
Deonte Banks — 4.35
Emmanuel Forbes — 4.35
Kelee Ringo — 4.36
Darius Rush — 4.36
Christian Gonzalez — 4.38
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson — 4.41
Terell Smith — 4.41
Kei’Trel Clark — 4.42
Cam Smith — 4.43
Riley Moss — 4.45
Tyrique Stevenson — 4.45
Joey Porter Jr — 4.46
Darrell Luter Jr — 4.46

It’s a very quick group with plenty of depth. The Seahawks should be able to add a corner in the kind of area they like (day three).

I’d been struggling to get an angle on Deonte Banks. I thought his tape was fine but it was hard to decipher his upside. Running a 4.35 and adding a 42-inch vertical and an 11-4 broad jump answered that question. At the very least his testing profile is first round worthy. I’d like to see him play the ball more on tape but coaches will love the potential he showed here. He looks big and muscular despite his quickness — and he had a gliding quality during drills. Banks was very impressive.

Along with DJ Turner (who matched Woolen’s 4.26) and Christian Gonzalez (4.38) he will probably go too early for Seattle. There’s still no evidence to suggest the Seahawks are going to break from tradition and pick a cornerback early. Especially if they’re still using a lot of zone, where they’ve traditionally been able to fit players in.

I would be intrigued by Joey Porter Jr if he somehow lasted into round two. His length, maturity and tape suggests he’s going to become a very consistent, accomplished pro. I’m less interested in Kelee Ringo. He ran a great forty as expected but I thought he looked stiff during drills, struggling to change direction and react when in transition.

Julius Brents is going to go earlier than people think despite ‘only’ runing a 4.53. That’s typically what you’d suggest would be a classic ‘zone corner’ time — a ‘Seahawks corner’ time. If they’re less inclined to go for raw speed and stick to zone-concepts, Brents would be an ideal fit.

He also did a better than expected job today changing direction (an issue sometimes on tape) and that’s why his stock will shoot up. He was one of the few people to run a short shuttle and three cone and his times are exceptional. He managed a 4.05 shuttle and a 6.63 three-cone. He also had a 41.5 inch vertical and an 11-6 broad jump — both outstanding. I think he’ll definitely be a day-two pick and that might be a bit rich for Seattle. Round three maybe? Does he last that far? I like him a lot though and he really nails the character profile they’re looking for.

Check out my interview with Julius Brents here:

Riley Moss had a good day. I thought he looked great during drills — moving freely, transitioning well and adjusting to the football in the air. He ran a 4.45 which is good enough. His arm length (30 inches) is problematic but he’s a good player on film and he deserves a bit of a bump for how he performed.

I don’t know what to make of Emmanuel Forbes. He looked like a rake in a pair of shorts at 166lbs. I like his college production and you can’t sniff at a 4.35 forty. I’m not sure I’ve seen a player with this body type before though. Will be bullied by bigger receivers? That’s the fear. He’s giving up 60-70lbs on a guy like D.K. Metcalf.

Darius Rush has excellent length (33.5 inch arms) at 6-2 and 198lbs. He probably would appeal to Seattle greatly, especially after a solid Senior Bowl. Yet running a 4.36 likely pushes him too high up the board.

The biggest disappointment by far was Brian Branch. It didn’t help that he worked out with the cornerbacks but he just looked completely average athletically. He ran a 4.58 at 190lbs and during drills appeared sluggish. He struggled to find any of the fluidity you see on tape. His hips were tight in transition and he didn’t look like a first round pick. Sadly, there’s no choice but to drop him down a round based on what he showed here. He played a lot of nickel for Alabama and I need to go back and watch the tape to see if the ‘Bama defense covered him up more than I imagined, allowing him to make the plays we all saw — but did he have limited duties, masking his lack of athletic quality?

Possible later round options for Seattle include Jakorian Bennett — who looks like a very athletic, physical slot-type. He ran a 4.30 and has 32 inch arms on a 188lbs frame. Also Terell Smith — he had a good workout and at 6-0 and 204lbs with 32 7/8 inch arms he could appeal. He ran a 4.41.

Safety class eventually gets going

I think the group were half-asleep to start the day. A boring, unexciting set of forty times fed into a drill session where the coaches had to bark at the players to show more energy. It did the trick because after warming up, this big-looking group changed direction and transitioned better than a lot of the cornerbacks.

The size of the safety class stood out to me. Even the sub-200lbs players looked jacked. They aren’t very fast but there was some size on show.

With Seattle retaining Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams — and with the likelihood of Ryan Neal being tendered, plus their interest in Joey Blount — this might be a position they skip in 2023. Nobody here really jumped out as a ‘must have’.

I like the look of Jartavius Martin and he was the one who maybe caught my eye the most. He has a nice, compact frame. He’s quite muscular and thick for a 194lbs defensive back. He ran a 4.46 but also jumped an amazing 44-inch vertical and an 11-0 broad. I’d like to consider him as a versatile chess-piece in numerous positions because the way he moved was silky today and he looks powerful.

Unsurprisingly Sydney Brown tested well and got into his stride during drills. His change of direction ability was excellent in the late part of the session and his hips in the back-pedal were among the best of any defensive back. He ran a 4.47 and added a 40.5 inch vertical. He’s another high-character player.

Chris Smith had a great year for Georgia but running in the 4.6’s and not looking particularly quick covering the field here will drop his stock on my board. I thought he looked bigger than expected but it took him a while to find any kind of rhythm during the session. He officially ran a 4.62 at 192lbs. To me he looked like he’d added weight and it maybe didn’t suit him.

Ji’Ayir Brown didn’t test as well as expected and he looked a bit stiff in the early on-field workouts. However, he is incredibly well put together — thick and physical. As the session went on he loosened up and started to change direction very well. He was one of the better players at adjusting to the football. If he drops after running a 4.65 I hope the Seahawks are ready to pounce. He’s a heart-and-soul type who has plenty of value, even if he’s not a great tester.

Pittsburgh’s Brandon Hill ran the best forty time (4.43) and he’s said to be a very aggressive, downfield player. I’ll be checking into his tape this week.

Overall it’s not a very impressive safety group — it looks like the weakest position in the draft.

Can we please get someone to run the combine?

The defensive back drills are gaining a reputation for being overlong, tedious and repetitive. It was noticeable a year ago. This time, even Rich Eisen was complaining on the NFL Network about the length of the two sessions.

The problem, according to Daniel Jeremiah, is the assistant coaches leading the drills all want to feature their own individual drill. The problem is, nearly all of them are the same. I feel like I could run a backpedal and transition, I watched so many of them today.

Meanwhile only five cornerbacks ran a short shuttle (nine ran a three-cone). Only three safeties did any agility testing. I can’t blame them. The cornerbacks were on the field for two-and-a-half hours. Yet the short shuttle and three-cone should be a ‘must-do’ test for these players. It’s far more important than watching ‘Teryl Austin drill #2’ — which was very similar to everything else.

The league needs to appoint someone to run the combine. Look at the way the Senior Bowl benefits from having a leader in Jim Nagy. The event has gone from strength to strength. A similar figurehead — who can organise everything from the drills to the timings — can help fix an event which is becoming increasingly weakened.

Lots of players are pulling out with ‘hamstring tweaks’ as an excuse to wait for their pro-days. Hardly anyone does agility testing because of the late starts. The data we get this year, compared to the data we used to get, is limited.

Put someone in charge who can be responsible for getting this organised. And while you’re at it — move it back to an earlier start time. I’m a draft junkie and even I was bored today. If this is a ‘Prime Time’ worthy event, then so is watching someone take out their contact lenses. Let’s get this back to what it is — a data-collection event. Let’s make sure the short shuttle and three-cone are done as a priority, along with the runs and jumps. Let’s cut the length of the defensive back drills. Incentivise the combine so players want to do all of the tests and drills.

Tomorrow’s a big day. Bring on the quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends. Box office.

I’ll be doing a live-stream with Robbie Williams at 8am PT on Saturday discussing day two of the combine (and then quickly moving on to preview day three). Please join me — I’ll post the video on the blog (or subscribe to my YouTube channel and hit the notification button for a reminder).

If you enjoy the blog and appreciate what we do — why not consider supporting the site via Patreon — (click here)


  1. Palatypus

    Yup. They need a Jim Nagy type. One thing I noticed at the Senior Bowl practices this year is that Jim Nagy is like Santa Claus – he’s everywhere.

  2. Blitzy the Clown

    If [Ji’Ayir Brown] drops after running a 4.65 I hope the Seahawks are ready to pounce. He’s a heart-and-soul type who has plenty of value, even if he’s not a great tester.

    I agree. You think 52, or are you talking R3?

    • Rob Staton


    • Palatypus

      Didn’t Patrick Rapp run in that range?

      • Blitzy the Clown

        Butch Patrick?

        • Palatypus

          No, the guy for Arizona that got denied the pick-6 by DK.

          • Elmer

            Budda Baker. Former UW safety.

            • Palatypus

              That’s right, Rapp is the Huskie that plays for the Rams. My bad.

            • AlaskaHawk

              Budda ran a 4,45
              Metcalf ran a 4.33

  3. Blitzy the Clown

    Thinking about pairing Brents with Woolen gives me the warm fuzzies

    Excepting the 40 yard time, they tested very similarly and are built the same

    • Blitzy the Clown

      Actually Brents tested much better in agility

    • Steve Nelsen

      Brents looked faster at the Senior Bowl than he ran today. He said in his fantastic interview with Rob that he was going to show up at the combine and he did!

    • Elmer

      Does John Ross still hold the Combine record for the 40? (4.22)

      • Palatypus

        I think so. Someone just barely missed it recently.

        • samprassultanofswat

          When John Ross ran the 40, he pulled up lame. Even though he ran a 4.22 40 time he pulled his hamstring. He was still draft 9th overall (surprisingly), however he never lived up to his promise. And I would not be surprisedif it was partially related to his injury at the combine.

          • Palatypus

            Interesting theory. He missed much of his rookie training camp, IIRC. Did Joe Burrow ever throw to him?

        • CHaquesFan

          Tyquan Thornton hit 4.28 recently

          • Palatypus

            That’s right, all the Baylor guys tore it up.

  4. Rob Staton

    As if people think Michael Mayer will drop

    Listen to the guy

    And he’s a great player

    • Trevor

      Have a feeling he will be in incredibly high on the Hawks board.

    • Mac

      I don’t understand how Mayer ends up so low in so many mock drafts. He’s well spoken, very productive and a build fitting of the position. If him or ‘Dijon’ is there at 20, you take them. A lot of Seahawks mocks out there have fantastic players on the board that we skip over in favor of need. Personally, I think a couple of drafts with bpa is needed.

      I’m far more interested in Richardson, Levis & stroud at 5 than Wilson.
      I’m far more interested in Dijon/Mayer at 20 than Murphy or JSN

  5. Matthew Berkson

    “If this is a ‘Prime Time’ worthy event, then so is watching someone take out their contact lenses.”


    Be considerate….I’m trying to put my kid to sleep and you almost made me wake him up.


  6. 805Hawk

    Couldn’t agree more on the DB drills. I just attended a coaching clinic in LA with some top college position coaches presenting. I sat through several hours of DB stuff (my kid is a DB and I help coach it) and I swear they ran every one of the drills that were illustrated. It was way too much and completely repetitive. How many back pedals to T-step drills do you need? So boring for us and especially the DBs. Get their measurements and run them through a couple drills to judge their transitions and then go watch some freaking tape.

    • Palatypus

      One thing I noticed while at the Senior Bowl practices this year, is that the coaches seemed totally disinterested in the presentation. I have some theories about this.

      1) This was a job interview for the assistant coaches at the game, too, and they wanted to win. They were given resposibilities above their pay grade, like an OC as head coach or a DL coach as DC.

      2) They wanted to find out who was in shape. Both reams kept the players constantly moving up and down the field. This made it very frustrating trying to get video footage. By the time I set up my tripod they would be on the other end of the field. On day three you noticed who was gassed.

      Next year I am seriously considering bringing a drone.

  7. KennyBadger

    If Young is the pick, then pass pro needs to be 💯.

    The defense needs a ton of work but I really hope Mayer is there at 20. His floor is Greg Olsen.

    • Seattle Person

      Young is probably the best in the pocket among the top 4 QBs. He’s also probably the best at improvising when things break down.

      The reality is the dude is going to get hit. We’ll see if he holds up.

  8. DJ 1/2 way

    From the Ringer “a uniquely small player—one that will force one NFL team to take one of the greatest risks, one of the biggest plunges, that we’ve seen in any draft cycle”

  9. Seattle Person

    This is not good…

    I have tried to defend Carter’s talent because I felt like things were getting a little too skewed in the talent evaluation side of things. But in the video, the date shows that Carter was also pulled over by the cops in September. Not sure when McShay put out the now infamous immature news but it’s all sort of piecing together now…

    I am pretty certain at this point there is no shot the Seahawks draft Carter. I think teams are already aware of this and more things like this from this young man. We’ll see what happens with his current case but too many red flags here.

    • HOUSE

      Yup. Kid is driving around a 2021 Trackhawk (700hp Jeep Cherokee). Even the cop talking to him and letting him go because it would make news. These kids live life in a “no-consequences bubble”. I live about 40 minutes away from where all this happened and the Bulldogs are treated like royalty.

      Whatever happens in his future, I truly hope he gets things together. I’m not saying he killed those other two people, but he was a part of the incident; he’s gotta live with their deaths, not me.

    • Rob Staton

      Yes but let’s not forget the point made by radio and podcast hosts that lads will be lads…


      • HOUSE


        Disgusting comments by those radio hosts. I’m hoping our FO let’s this lad be someone else’s lad.

  10. Sea Mode

    Per Pauline, looks like Hawks will know exactly what kind of offers (if any) Geno has on the table. Perfect.

    I’ve spoken with a number of agents who told me teams are now sharing information on the numbers they offer free agents. In the opinion of several agents, this hurts second- and third-tier free agents that aren’t part of the all-out bidding wars teams often participate in for the top players on the market. One agent referred to it as “legal collusion.”

    • Mick

      Still pissed that they signed Bellore and Haynes with money they could have used for a bridge QB, and thus have leverage in the Geno deal.

      • UkAlex6674

        Knee jerk reaction all this in my opinion. They want the guys they feel comfortable with. Worth paying a bit more? Yes.

        If they went cheap and it flamed your post would be:

        ‘Can’t believe the FO didn’t cough up a couple of extra bucks to keep Bellore and Haynes’.

        • Mick

          I’d be happy if they stopped overpaying for mediocrity.

      • Sea Mode

        I’m not thrilled about those deals either in a bubble, but certainly not because of Geno.

        I honestly don’t think they ever planned for a Geno deal amounting to anything more than a bridge to the new QB they planned on trading up to draft this year. Being gifted a top 5 pick was just the cherry on top and could accelerate the rebuild not having to give up a boatload of picks to get the next guy.

        I think they are secretly hoping Geno gets a solid offer from another team so they can move on with their original plan and tell the fans they were simply outbid.

  11. Dubb

    Just a thought. Would the Seahawks be interested in Lamar Jackson if the Ravens put the non-exclusive tag on him? Cost them their two 1st round picks; and 6-year $310M ( $240M guaranteed).

    • Sea Mode

      Don’t think so, especially now that we have the opportunity to draft a promising QB on a rookie deal.

    • Rob Staton

      A big no no no for me

    • HOUSE

      That’s a BIG no for me. Does he improve this team? Over Geno’s play, I don’t know. That is putting every egg in one basket.

      With those 2 first rd picks and that $$$, the team has the ability to drastically overhaul the team.

      I was just hearing yesterday he is angling for a FULLY guaranteed contract and that’s his sticking point

      • Peter

        Fully guaranteed contract. Already shown a bit that if he’s not getting his way he’s as if not more ridiculous than some feel Wilson was. Been injured.

        And if the other qb slowed down what happens to lamars game in the next few years.

      • cha

        I was reading about how players repping themselves has changed how GMs handle them. When they use an agent, teams can be blunter. “We love your guy but he’s not worth top money and guarantees and here is why…”

        Lamar repping himself is inherently going to be problematic. He doesn’t have an honest broker to talk him down from his position. Nobody else since Deshaun has signed a fully guaranteed contract, and yet that is what he seemingly wants. Is he smart enough to move off his all-or-nothing position or will he talk himself into a poor position and spit all kinds of notes about being disrespected?

    • MountainHawker

      Why on earth would they do that?

  12. Zeke

    What do you guys do if Anthony Richardson/Will Levis are still on the board and the Panthers or Raiders offer their 1st,early 2nd and their 2024 1st?

    • Sea Mode

      If one of them is JS’s guy, I say you don’t even pick up the phone.

    • Rob Staton

      You need to ask yourself will those picks be worth anything if those guys become franchise QB’s?

      • Zeke

        But if they don’t, we get a high 2nd and another possible top 10 pick next year. Or if the 1st ends up being a mid/late pick, they can possibly use it to trade into the top 5 or 10….

        I guess I’m just kinda torn, but yeah it’d be brutal in Richardson or Levis became a stud.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m inclined to say, so what?

          Picks mean nothing to me. The players you can acquire with those picks is the key

          The Seahawks made a trade with Denver and we dreamt of being in the position we are now

          People want to get rid of that for the dopamine hit of another season of ‘moar picks’?


          If Frank Reich loves a QB in this class, you’re going to let the Panthers have him?

          Not for me

          • Peter

            I don’t why we do this every three days or so.

            What if….

            We trade any pick for Carolina to get their guy and they just even back into the playoffs like us? What’s the point then? And Carolina wasn’t/ isn’t that far from doing that.

            If it’s a hard sell conceptually to move from 5 to 2, and I hope Rob you’re right and we don’t have to, then are you more comfortable having two picks in 2024 around let’s call it 15-20?

            How many picks does that take to move from that range to say three overall?

            I already know the answer because there’s quite a bit of teams that do just that.

    • Trevor

      If Levis or Richardson are on the board and JS thinks they are the guy you don’t even take the call. Franchise QB on rookie deal is the holy grail.

    • HOUSE

      If PC/JS think that Levis/Richardson is the QBoTF for this team, they draft their man. Picking up a future draft pick and not having their QB is just kicking the can down the road.

      I hear all this stuff about Caleb Williams and can anyone say he’s more certain than any QB now? All it would take is a bad tackle or a knee injury and his game drastically changes. The QBs next year don’t seem to be as good as this year. Are we hoping to suck enough to get the #1 pick? I hope not and this FO has proven time and time again, they don’t operate that way.

      Don’t wait to do tomorrow what you can accomplish today…

      • Peter

        Caleb Williams and the curious case of every year is the better year….

        My big concern with him is his coach. Lincoln Reilly has a system. A system that works amazing in college. I’m not trying to denigrate Williams but like some concerns about Ohio qbs I’m starting to have concerns about Reilly qbs.

  13. Trevor

    Thought the big winner yesterday was Christian Gonzalez. Rob often refers to smooth players like Brian Branch as a Rolls Royce. Well that is exactly what he was yesterday a Rolls Royce and a very fast one at that.

    As for the Hawks the three guys on my Day 2-3 wish list. Sydney Brown, Julius Brents and Terrell Smith all performed well I thought. Sydney Brown in the 3rd and Terrell Smith in the 5th makes a ton of sense. That being said Brown probably goes higher because as Rob hi lighted this is a really weak Safety class.

    One big disappointment was Brian Branch. On tape he was my favourite DB this year but with that athletic profile not sure how he goes in Rd #1.

    • Seattle Person

      We should double up with Syd Brown and his teammate Jartavius Martin. A hell of a safety tandem there.

  14. Trevor

    Is it just me or do all Alabama prospects seem to underwhelm at the combine? Perhaps they should try and poach a strength and conditioning coach from a place like Maryland or NC St who seem to always have freak testers.

  15. Trevor

    Rob how far do you think JL Skinner falls because he can’t be part of the pre-draft process with the Pec injury?

    Watched his interview yesterday and he looks like he has the frame to play at at least 225. If he is there in Rd #3 I would love that pick.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t know, we need more info on recovery times

  16. Trevor

    Dan Orlovsky who I really like basically stole Robs scouting report on Anthony Richardson.

    Said you draft him and follow the Pat Mahomes model. Give him a year to learn and he is a top 5 NFL QB talent with generational upside.

    Here is a link to part of it.

    • Rob Staton

      My advice would be… keep the receipts of any analyst saying anything to the contrary of this

      It’s been obvious for months

      • Trevor

        You and Mel Kiper are the only two guys who have consistently banged the drum for Levis and Richardson without wavering.

  17. Ukhawk

    Rewatched Brents interview and love his attitude and how he breaks down Richard Sherman.

    Plus he performed better than Sherman at every single combine measurable he did.

    Know it’s not as much of a priory but would love the chance to play this guy opposite Woolen ?!

    • Sea Mode

      I have had him sort of penciled in as well for a while now, especially with that wingspan. I guess the only question is whether the Seahawks will prioritize straight-line speed now for their CBs. Cause he has everything else.

  18. Kenny

    Seeing guys like Brian branch most likely there at 20 and now probably with the broncos 2nd rounder just makes me question more why we are paying quandre diggs 18 million. The tape doesn’t match up because I see branch as explosive , a sure tackler (which diggs is not) and just all over the field. I would love to draft Brian branch with the broncos pick if anything giving us an easy out to move on from these expensive safeties next year.

  19. Rb

    I typically loathe taking smaller players in the first rd and especially for Seattle this year but I was all aboard the draft Brian Branch train until today. That 4.6.. my understanding was that he was capable of playing single high safety in deep coverage. We need guys to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

  20. OakleyD

    Interesting to hear NFL Network state Hendon Hooker is recovering well following medical assessment at the combine and is on track to be healthy for the start of the NFL season…..

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