NFL Combine Day 4: Defensive backs close out draft showcase
After three days of wall-to-wall coverage from Indianapolis, Monday marked the final day of on-field workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Monday’s slate of prospects featured defensive backs, who had the opportunity to sport around in the navy blue spandex outfits provided by the NFL and showcase why they were selected to participate.
In what may sound like a repetitive theme at this year’s combine, the 49ers are in search of any and all options to fill their eventual 53-man-roster with quality talent. The hope is to be competitive in 2017, something the team has failed to do for several seasons.
Luckily for the 49ers, this year’s draft class possesses depth at several positions, including cornerback, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic in reference to comments made by Mike Mayock of NFL Network.
Jabrill Peppers (SS) Michigan: Peppers, no relation to three time All-Pro linebacker Julius Peppers, entered the combine by expressing his desire to play strong safety at the pro level. Peppers played linebacker at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh.
Considering Pepper’s size at 6-foot-1, he could play either position making him a “positionless player,” according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports.
After running a 4.46 40-yard dash Sunday with the linebacker group, Peppers took the field with the defensive backs on Monday to show he can potentially play both positions.
Peppers looked strong in defensive back drills, showcasing good hands and even better agility. These elements of his game verified his ranking as the No. 2 strong safety in the 2017 draft class.
Projected to go in the mid-first round by ESPN, Peppers may be out of reach for San Francisco unless they trade back to get him.
Kevin King (CB) Washington: For years, the 49ers have been missing a big corner. In the NFC West, CBs like Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson — who stand at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-1 respectively — have given the San Francisco offense fits.
Considering this trend toward larger corners, King would be an ideal fit for a 49er secondary that has struggled to stop opposing passing attacks.
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, his 4.44 40-yard dash time provides a good mixture of size and speed. One caveat to King’s game is his tendency to tackle with his arms, according to his profile on NFL.com.
King is rated as the fourteenth-best cornerback in this year’s draft which could land him somewhere in the late second to early third round, perfect for the 49ers who possess the No. 66 overall pick.
Jalen Myrick (CB) Minnesota: Myrick posted the fastest 40-yard dash time of any defensive back on Monday with a 4.29. This ranks second-fastest at the 2017 combine, behind only John Ross’ blistering 4.22 run on Friday.
Myrick’s size, at only 5-foot-10, is a common criticism. It could prove very difficult for Myrick to cover outside receivers; Of the top ten receivers ranked by ESPN in the 2016 season, five stand at least 6-foot-2.
His height leads scouts to label Myrick as potential slot corner. Myrick projected to go in the fourth or fifth round according to CBS Sports.
The 2017 NFL Draft will take place April 27, and it is now crunch time for teams to get their draft boards finalized. This is especially true for the 49ers, who have plenty of holes to fill, and lots of options to fill them.