Who's the One Player That Turned Some Heads At the Combine?

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After what transpired this weekend in Indianapolis, it’s only a matter of time until the NFL Combine officially changes its name to the NFL Georgia Invitational. Whether it was defensive tackle Jordan Davis breaking records in both the 40-yard dash (4.78) and the broad jump (10’3″) for players over 310 lbs., or fellow Bulldog edge rusher Travon Walker recording a blistering 4.51 official time his 40-yard dash at 272 lbs., the national champion Georgia Bulldogs were all the buzz of this year’s Combine.

Putting aside the unicorn performances from the ‘Dawgs for today, there was a relatively under-the-radar player who helped boost his stock in the upcoming NFL Draft. Although Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Washington’s Trent McDuffie are some of the most popular names these days for the Vikings at 12th overall in most mock drafts, it was a different cornerback who put on a show in the final day of workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt came into the combine widely regarded as a late Day 2 or Day 3 pick in the upcoming draft. But after his workout on Sunday, don’t be surprised if you see his name climbing the big boards of the national draft evaluators.

Taylor-Britt was a three-year starter at Nebraska and was selected as a second-team All-Big Ten cornerback in 2020 and 2021. This past season, he had the second-most pass deflections in the Big Ten with 11.

Throughout his career at Nebraska, Taylor-Britt displayed incredible range and recovery speed in coverage, with a propensity of laying the wood on helpless ball carriers in the open field.

Take a look at Taylor-Britt’s physicality against the wide receiver blocking in this bubble drill from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

Even though Taylor-Britt’s film as a Cornhusker is rather impressive, he’s been little more than an afterthought to the star-studded corners expected to go in the first round of the draft. Speaking of which, Washington’s McDuffie likely took a hit to his pre-draft buzz following the combine. His measurables raised some serious red flags after his wingspan measured at less than 30″. And while most folks tend to look the other way at the importance of a cornerback’s wingspan, take a look at the company that McDuffie found himself in who had a wingspan of less than 30″.

Unfortunately for McDuffie, that isn’t exactly the most flattering company to be in.

Circling back on Taylor-Britt. He passed the first test by measuring out with a 31.5″ wingspan before hitting the field for his workout.

And while most evaluators pegged Taylor-Britt as a potential high-4.4s or low-4.5s guy in the 40, he wowed with an official 4.38 time after he was clocked at an unofficial time of 4.45 following both of his attempts.

The show certainly didn’t stop there for Taylor-Britt. During individual drills alongside the rest of the cornerback group, Taylor-Britt stuck out with his fluidity, ball-tracking skills, and ability to high-point the ball deep downfield in coverage. Watch the play below from his workout on Sunday. Not too many players were demonstrating this level of explosion and hanging in the air following a 50-yard back-peddle drill.

And last but certainly not least, Taylor-Britt displayed his natural pass-catching abilities when he went through “The Gauntlet.” For a drill that is typically intended to showcase wide receivers, Taylor-Britt would’ve fit right in with this year’s class of receivers had he decided to work out alongside them on Thursday.

At the end of the day, Taylor-Britt had the fifth-best 40 time amongst the corners — beating both Gardner and McDuffie. Although Trae Waynes showed Skoldiers firsthand that there’s much more to high-level cornerback play in the NFL than just a good 40 time, it’s always a good thing when your corners can keep up with the NFL’s greatest playmakers on the outside.

With Taylor-Britt’s performance on Sunday in Indianapolis, he helped himself by putting an exclamation point on his game film that was already very impressive. While no one can predict whether or not a player will be a sure thing once they strap it up on Sundays, the former Nebraska cornerback’s ability to fly around and make plays all across the field certainly makes for an intriguing prospect.

Should Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decide to wait until Day 2 or later to select a cornerback in this year’s draft, Taylor-Britt is someone that Vikings fans should definitely keep tabs on in the coming weeks leading up to the draft. And with the jaw-dropping performances that the former Bulldogs Davis and Walker put on, can Minnesota really afford to pass on any of those unicorns if they’re still on the board with the 12th pick in the first round?

With the potential of snagging a productive cornerback like Taylor-Britt late in Day 2, the Vikings have a ton of flexibility should they decide to address other positions with their 12th and 44th picks in the draft.

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