NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is breaking down each of the positions in the draft for the Daily News. Today he looks at the cornerbacks:
Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches
Arms: 32.0 inches
Round Projection: 1
Mayock: ``The 40 he ran at the combine erased any questions people had about his long speed. He’s a top-10 corner. He does everything well. He can press. He can play off. He will tackle.
``What I’ve seen on tape is a tough, instinctive guy who will hit you, which I love. I love a corner that will tackle. When you come out of Nick Saban’s program, especially when you’re a defensive back, which Nick takes a big interest in as a former defensive backs coach, you’re well-coached.’’
Vertical Jump: 33.5 inches
Arms: 31 1/8 inches
Round Projection: 1
Mayock: ``Hayden almost died on the practice field in November. He took a knee to the chest from his own safety. He could’ve bled out internally. He’s been cleared by most teams. I put the tape on a month ago and was blown over.
``He’s a first-round corner. Five months ago, people weren’t sure he ever was going to play again and now he’s probably going to be a first-round pick. That’s the ultimate riser.
``He didn’t run at the combine because he wasn’t medically cleared at that point. But at his Pro Day, he put up a 4.38. I watched three of his tapes, including the Louisiana Tech tape. Tech has Quinton Patton, who is a second-round wide receiver, and Hayden ate him alive. He didn’t let him off the line of scrimmage. Patton had just four catches for 36 yards. Houston matched him (with Hayden) wherever he went and took him right out of the game.’’
Vertical Jump: 35.0
Arms: 30 3/8 inches
Round Projection; 5-6
Mayock: ``Every year I fall in love with a short, speed-deficient boundary corner. Last year, it was Leonard Johnson, who ended up starting a bunch of games for Tampa Bay. This year it’s Johnson.
``He’s short. They don’t think he runs fast enough. He can’t jump high enough. But when they played Notre Dame, I thought he was the best player on the field that day. Every time I put a Purdue tape on to watch (defensive tackle) Kawann Short, this kid was making a play somewhere.
``He’s probably a fifth- or sixth round pick. But I’ll take him all day long. He’s quicker than he is fast.’’