Day 4 of the NFL Combine is another day where the Baltimore Ravens scouts and front office definitely should pay heavy attention. Secondary was the team’s biggest weakness all season, especially when crippling injuries like Jimmy Smith put a lot of pressure on cornerbacks that honestly should not have even been on the field this season. Cornerback is probably the biggest need of the Ravens. Lardarius Webb may be a cap casualty, and even with a healthy Jimmy Smith, they still need help across from him.
Safety is another need that the Ravens should try to address in this draft. The only problem is that besides Landon Collins, there is not a guy that the Ravens should even look at taking before the third round. Will Hill is a restricted free agent, but I expect him to back with the Ravens. It’s on the young guys like Matt Elam who had a horrific season and Terrence Brooks to step up and develop.
Early Stock Risers: Defensive Backs
Ronald Darby, Florida State
Darby was definitely the guy who stood out from the first cluster of defensive backs to go this morning. Darby ran the second fastest official forty-yard dash at 4.38 seconds, accompanied by a very impressive 41.5 inch vertical. Darby to me is an early second round talent, but the speed he ran today shows just how quick he truly is. In two gauntlet drills, Darby had zero drops, which shows how quality his hands are. He has excellent instincts and was a true ball hawk in the Florida State secondary this season. I wouldn’t mind if the Ravens took a chance on him at 26, but it may be considered a bit of a reach.
Byron Jones, Connecticut
Byron Jones will be a name broadcasted on every draft podcast and every draft television show after the performance he put on today. He jumped onto the scene, literally by posting a 12 foot 3 inch broad jump — which was the longest since 2003. However, he didn’t stop there, he went on to post a 44.5 inch vertical. Both of those show how explosive his lower body is, especially for a guy that size; it is literally off the charts. He has a shoulder injury, so he chose to wait to run the forty-yard dash until his pro day, but I’m sure that pro day will be heavily watched after his explosive combine performance.
Trae Waynes, Michigan State
Trae Waynes also put on a very solid performance. He ran the fastest forty-yard dash timed officially clocked at 4.31 seconds, which was the second fastest time overall, only behind UAB’s J.J Nelson. Waynes also showed some impressive athleticism by posting a 38 inch vertical. He looked very solid and showed crisp footwork and fluid hips in the coverage drills. I still have Marcus Peters ranked slightly ahead of him, but I do think Waynes will get drafted ahead of Peters because of Peters’ off-the-field issues. Peters and Waynes are both top twenty pick-worthy and first round talents.
Other Defensive Back Notes:
It was really tough to see anything too enticing about this safety class. I believe safety is the weakest position in this 2015 draft class, and the combine did many things to show that to be a fact. Landon Collins ran an official 4.53 forty but actually had the worst 6-cone drill out of all of the defensive back participants. Josh Shaw, mainly known for his off-the-field incident had a very solid day; he looked very fluid in the coverage drills and ran a 4.4 second forty-yard dash.