Tuesday marked the sixth and final day of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, and it was definitely one of the most exciting. Generally regarded as the fastest athletes at the combine, the defensive backs took the stage to undergo various drills, including the 40-yard dash.
The corners ended up being just as fast as advertised. In the early-going, it was Justin Gilbert who stole the show. The Oklahoma State product ran an unofficial 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds, just behind Phillip Gaines, who clocked an unofficial time of 4.34 seconds in the early runs.
In the end, Gilbert was given an official time of 4.37 seconds, while Gaines, a relative unknown out of Rice, clocked in at 4.38. It's such a big deal because both guys are 6'0, and there's a lot of buzz in the NFL around big cornerbacks who happen to be fast, like Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.
Gilbert did better than both Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard. Dennard is projected to be a first-round pick, and while he ran well, he finished above 4.4. Dennard's official time was 4.51 seconds, while Clinton-Dix ended up at 4.58. Both players will be high draft picks regardless.
Clinton-Dix is battling with Calvin Pryor for the honor of being the top safety drafted. But Pryor also ran a 4.58 on the day, so if you were conflicted before, you probably didn't learn much. Both safeties are very good and either could go off the board first in May.
For the second group, there were two significant names on the day: TCU's Jason Verrett and Utah's Keith McGill. Verrett was considered one of the top corners coming out this year, and he managed to put up a 4.38 official 40-yard dash time. Everyone already knew he could cover, but many questioned whether or not he had the speed, and the generally-undersized corner did everything necessary for his draft stock.
McGill's time was particularly notable for the fact that he managed to run a 4.51 40-yard dash. That's an official time, though both of his attempts came in under 4.5 unofficially. Did we mention that he's 6'3 and is incredibly physical? He also posted a 39-inch vertical leap, and that's an awful lot of height to have on the football field, especially moving that fast.
Smart money is on McGill having just increased his draft stock by a healthy margin. He was considered a mid- to late-round pick before the combine, but could now be taken a bit early by a team hoping to create some of that Sherman magic.
In lighter news, you can always catch Rich Eisen setting a new personal best for his 40-yard dash -- he actually came in under six seconds for the first time in his "career." You can watch Dan Rubenstein's big winners of the NFL Combine post or even watch fat men run to 'Wobble Baby' if that's your thing. For full measurements for the defensive backs from Tuesday, go here.