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Draft position breakdown: Defensive backs


ARM LENGTH:33 3/8 inches- HAND SIZE:9 1/4 inches
40: 4.56 seconds
SHORT SHUTTLE:4.13 seconds- THREE-CONE DRILL:6.96 seconds

Adams should be a starter from the moment he steps into an NFL locker room. Given his maturity and his veteran-like ability to take the right angles, he makes his relatively average timed speed a non-issue.

Adams plays cleanly. When he makes contact with opposing receivers, it comes as the ball arrives; he will rarely draw flags. He can deliver the necessary hits required of his position, and he fits in today's game well; he hits cleanly and puts himself at minimal risk of fines or suspensions.

With 17.5 tackles for losses during his three years at LSU, Adams is as effective against the run as he is in coverage. He is the complete package, and it would be no surprise to see him go in the first five picks.


ARM LENGTH:31 1/4 inches- HAND SIZE:8 7/8 inches
40:4.36 seconds

The best cover cornerback in college football last year, Lattimore maximized his only season as a starter for the Buckeyes, intercepting four passes and breaking up 13 others. He also stayed healthy, which eased concerns that set in during his first two seasons, when he battled hamstring problems. His freshman season (2014) was wiped out following hamstring surgery and he took a medical redshirt.

There is still untapped upside for Lattimore. He can get bigger and stronger; his frame should be able to handle another 10 pounds without any loss of quickness and speed. More muscle should make him formidable in press coverage, and would allow him to live up to his likely top-10 status.


ARM LENGTH:32 1/4 inches- HAND SIZE:10 3/4 inches

Just like Lattimore, Hooker did not become a full-time starter until last year, but he took the opportunity and sprinted with it. The ballhawking safety intercepted seven passes, a total matched by only two FBS safeties in this year's class (Colorado's Tedric Thompson and Air Force's Weston Steelhammer).

Hooker preferred playing basketball growing up; in fact, he even gave up football early in his high-school career to focus on the sport he has called his "first love." He resumed playing football as a high-school junior, doing enough to earn scholarship offers.

Hooker's hoops background manifests itself in his ability to change direction smoothly and remain light on his feet. Hooker also uses his quickness to compensate for any instances in which he misreads a play at the snap.


ARM LENGTH:30 3/4 inches- HAND SIZE:9 5/8 inches
40: 4.46 seconds- BENCH PRESS:19 reps
SHORT SHUTTLE:4.11 seconds- THREE-CONE DRILL:6.99 seconds

Peppers played last season as a linebacker but projects as an NFL safety, leading some to label him as a "'tweener." But labels are dangerous, and for Peppers, patently incorrect. The only label that matters is "football player," and few at any position were better.

Few players have Peppers' blend of intelligence and aggression. He anticipates the direction of run plays before they take place, and rarely gets caught misreading a play. His skills in the box lend themselves well to handling a role similar to the one held in Denver by T.J. Ward, working as a safety in base package downs and as a linebacker in the box for nickel plays.

And all that doesn't mention what he can do with the football. Last season, Peppers scored four times -- three on the ground, and once via a punt return. He averaged 14.8 yards per punt return, 26.0 yards per kickoff return and 6.2 yards per carry in 2016. His 54-yard punt return for a touchdown against Colorado last season demonstrated the breadth of his abilities with the football, as he read his blocks perfectly, found his long stride quickly, ran through a potential tackler and finally cut back to make another man miss.


ARM LENGTH:32 1/8 inches- HAND SIZE:9 1/8 inches
40: 4.47 seconds- BENCH PRESS:16 reps
SHORT SHUTTLE:4.32 seconds- THREE-CONE DRILL:6.90 seconds

In an impressive Senior Bowl week, White handled man and zone coverage with equal effectiveness, cementing his status as a potential Day 1 pick.

White's measurables don't jump off the charts, but his leadership and football intelligence do, and those translate to his play. His ability to learn fast helped him succeed during Senior Bowl week. He started all four seasons at LSU, and by his junior and senior years he handled safety-like responsibilities in terms of getting the secondary set before the snap.

White could also have a role on special teams. At LSU, he averaged 10.0 yards on 68 career punt returns, scoring three times.


  1. CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
    1. CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
    2. CB Teez Tabor, Florida
    3. CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado
    4. S Marcus Williams, Utah
    5. CB Sidney Jones, Washington
    6. CB Quincy Wilson, Florida
    7. CB Adoree' Jackson, USC
    8. S Budda Baker, Washington
    9. S Desmond King, Iowa

It remains as good as it gets.

The "No-Fly Zone" is intact. All four of its members have made Pro Bowls in recent years, with safety Darian Stewart and cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib earning bids last season.

But the planning for the future began last year with the addition of safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks. At the time the Broncos selected them, Stewart was in the final year of his contract; he signed an extension seven months later. Now T.J. Ward and cornerback Bradley Roby head into their contract years, although the Broncos could exercise a fifth-year option on Roby.

The departure of Kayvon Webster to the Los Angeles Rams in free agency also opens up the No. 4 cornerback spot. Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon are both in the mix, but the Broncos could add a cornerback from this year's deep class.


As renowned as the "No-Fly Zone" is, it is remarkable that no members of its starting quartet arrived via the draft. Talib, Stewart and Ward were free-agent pickups; Harris joined the Broncos as an undrafted signee in 2011. Denver has picked at least one defensive back in nine consecutive drafts; the last time the team didn't take a DB, it had just four picks.

2008:CB Jack Williams, Kent State - Round 4, No. 119 overall; S Josh Barrett, Arizona State - Round 7, No. 220 overall
2009:CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest - Round 2, No. 37 overall; S Darcel McBath, Texas Tech - Round 2, No. 48 overall; S David Bruton Jr. - Round 4, No. 114 overall
2010:CB Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State - Round 5, No. 137 overall; CB Syd'Quan Thompson, California - Round 7, No. 225 overall
2011:S Rahim Moore, UCLA - Round 2, No. 45 overall; S Quinton Carter, Oklahoma - Round 4, No. 108 overall
2012:CB Omar Bolden, Arizona State - Round 4, No. 101 overall
2013:CB Kayvon Webster, South Florida - Round 3, No. 90 overall
2014:CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State - Round 1, No. 31 overall
2015:CB Lorenzo Doss, Tulane - Round 5, No. 164 overall; CB Taurean Nixon, Tulane - Round 7, No. 251 overall; S Josh Furman, Oklahoma State - Round 7, No. 252 overall
2016:S Justin Simmons, Boston College - Round 3, No. 98 overall; S Will Parks, Arizona - Round 6, No. 219 overall

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