Welcome once again, 49er faithful, to our continuing coverage of all things Combine-related. As we wrap up looking at positions of need for San Francisco we are brought, on the last day of the Combine, one of the Niners’ biggest needs: defensive back. Here we will go over a few names to look out for as well as how and where to watch all the action:
2019 NFL Combine TV schedule
Location: Indianapolis, IN | Lucas Oil Stadium Time: 6:00 a.m. PT (re-aired at 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.) Channel: NFL Network Live Stream: NFL.com Day 4: Cornerbacks and safeties
Prospects to watch
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Weight: 185 lbs
2018 stats: 33 tackles (23 solo), 2 interceptions, 1 perfect name for being a cornerback in the NFL
Williams is the consensus top defensive back prospect and, as alluded to above, goes by a name that suits his style of play rather well. Greedy Williams is slated to be selected in the first ten picks. The redshirt sophomore is an elite lockdown corner, a complete prospect in every sense of the word. Offenses won’t dare challenging Williams on a fade or isolation route near the sidelines. It’s not just Williams’s size that sets him apart. He changes directions with ease and doesn’t possess tight hips like other tall corners. Williams can stop on a dime and change directions, bursting from a backpedal into attack mode on slants and comeback routes. Williams is a great anticipatory corner, adept at reading a quarterback’s tendencies. His combination of brains and braun will quickly translate to the pros.
Draft projection: Early 1st
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Weight: 196 lbs
2018 stats: 47 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, 6 passes deflected
The 49ers need to add safety depth this offseason if they’re going to make the expected jump into the playoff conversation that many expect them to take in 2019. Deionte has what it takes and could be a value pick if San Francisco trades back into the latter half of the 1st round. Thompson has displayed excellent range to cover a lot of ground in the deep part of the field and nice instincts. With his size, speed, and IQ, Thompson could be a free safety. A true single high safety to lock down the deep part of the field is a rare commodity to find, and Thompson could be that as a pro.
Thompson was a backup to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison as a junior. Over limited playing time last season, Thompson recorded 27 tackles, four passes broken up and two interceptions. The 6-foot-2, 196-pounder has a big-time skill set and could be a fast riser during the 2019 NFL Draft process. As we all know San Francisco is looking for more depth in the secondary and if they rattle off a few wins to end the season they may slide back in the draft which, in turn, could lend them an importunity to consider Thompson.
Draft projection: Late 1st
Rob Rolle, DB, Villanova
Weight: 195 lbs
2018 stats: 33 tackles (31 solo), 2 passes deflected (17 in his career)
He played seven games at cornerback (and special teams) as a freshman, before switching over to safety during the spring of his sophomore season. He is most comfortable playing the free safety spot, where he is free to roam the field and which is where he projects at the next level. However, he has proven capable of playing the perimeter and in the box during his collegiate career, in addition to showcasing the ability to return kicks. He constantly shows up around the football and as been praised by the coaching staff for his leadership and discipline characteristics. 2016-2017 was his most impressive season as he totaled 7 interceptions and 12 passes deflected.
His role for the Wildcats is one that is similar to the ‘STAR’ position that Minkah Fitzpatrick played for Alabama and he possesses the same type of ball-hawk demeanor. When speaking to him, he takes strong pride in his dedication to the film room, a big reason why he constantly shows up in the right place, at the right time. He has starter traits, which currently translates to a day three selection with the ability to ascend, according to the NFL Draft Bible Advisory Board. Look for him to be a value pick on day 3 come April.
Draft projection: Round 4/5
Rashad Robinson, CB, James Madison Height: 5’11”
Weight: 182 lbs
2018 stats: 51 tackles, 9 passes deflected, 7 interceptions
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound Robinson has 10 career interceptions for the Dukes, 9 of which have come the past two seasons in which JMU has been in national title runs. He kicked off the 2017 season by picking off East Carolina twice in the blowout win over the FBS foe. For his career he had 103 tackles and 25 passes defended in his career, and was the leader of an interception happy secondary for the Dukes last fall. His secondary savvy has caught the eye of scouts and he may continue to rise, especially if he meets (or exceeds) expectations he’s set for himself heading into this draft season. Look for him to make some noise as we could see him fly off the board as early as round 4.
Draft projection: Round 4