The defensive backs are running Tuesday morning at the NFL scouting combine, and the top two players in the position group had very different results in the 40-yard dash.
Tennessee’s Eric Berry is in the process of solidifying his status as the top safety prospect with a good workout that included 40 times of 4.46 and 4.40 seconds. But Florida’s Joe Haden, who entered the combine widely regarded as the top cornerback prospect, ran disappointing times of 4.57 and 4.60 seconds.
Those 40 times are unofficial, and unofficial times deserve plenty of scrutiny. But while we have Berry going fourth overall and Haden going fifth in our mock draft, Berry looked a lot more like a Top 5 pick on Tuesday morning than Haden did.
NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, who knows a little something about playing defensive back and about running fast 40-yard dashes, said Haden looked uncomfortable from the beginning and even suggested that Haden might be getting some coaching that has made him self-conscious about his running technique.
“First of all, it was a horrible stance,” Sanders said of Haden. “I don’t know what he’s being taught — sometimes you’ve just got to let a guy run. Tweak him a little bit but don’t try to change everything.”
Sanders is right: When wearing a helmet and shoulder pads, Haden looks like a guy who has all the speed he needs. But when wearing his underwear Tuesday morning, Haden didn’t look like an elite prospect.
After Haden’s second 40, Sanders said, “Someone text this man to shut him down.”