On the final day of the NFL Combine, the defensive backs were the last group to undergo on-field workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium. During NFL Network's coverage, Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams paired with one of the greatest cornerbacks in league history, Deion "Prime Time" Sanders, to provide analysis.
Days after Jets general manager Joe Douglas said the plan was for Adams to be a Jet for life, the two-time Team MVP was asked for a reaction.
"I feel good," Adams said on NFL Network. "It gives me confidence going into next season. But we'll see where everything ends."
While Douglas told reporters the team has had "preliminary talks" with Adams' representation about a possible contract extension, the Green & White have additional work to handle in the defensive backfield. With Adams and Marcus Maye, the only Jets DB to start all 16 games last season, under contract, the club has potentially a dynamite tandem at safety. But things are less clear at cornerback.
Valuable nickel corner Brian Poole is an unrestricted free agent along with Maurice Canady and Arthur Maulet is a RFA. The Jets have decisions to make on both Trumaine Johnson, who totaled 5 interceptions in 17 games in 2018-19, and Darryl Roberts, who combined to start 10 games last season at both cornerback and safety.
Let's empty out the cornerback notebook from Indianapolis…
Okudah Is a Silent Assassin
It will be an upset if Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah is not the first cornerback selected in April. And it's also unlikely that arguably the top CB technician in this class will be there when the Jets go on the clock with the No. 11 overall selection.
"I like watching how Richard Sherman understands real concepts, I like watching Patrick Peterson's consistency and his technique, Jalen Ramsey's physicality, his aggressiveness," Okudah said. "I watch how Stephon Gilmore switches up his leverage every time to break the quarterback. So I just take bits and pieces and try to emulate all of that."
The 6'1", 205-pound Okudah, who almost assuredly will become the 11th Ohio State corner taken in the first round since 1999, had 3 interceptions and 9 pass defenses last season.
"I think he's going to be a perennial Pro Bowl player," said NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah. "He's got that type of ability."
Okudah, who posted a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, won't be hurt by a stumble in on-field drills nor his 11 reps on the bench. He displayed his athleticism with a position best 41-inch vertical and added an 11'3" broad jump.
"I'm really kind of silent," he said. "But I'm whispering, getting in your head at the same time. 'Hey, I'm going to stick you, it's going to be a long day. It's going to be a long day.' I think they feel that eventually."
Gator Makes a Move
Florida product CJ Henderson, who declared for the draft after registering 6 interceptions, 22 pass defenses and 4 sacks, is an explosive player who impressed with 20 reps of 225 pounds and a 4.39 time in the 40-yard dash. He'll have to improve his tackling consistency on the next level but Henderson is a prospect who enjoys man coverage.
"We played that a lot back at Florida. Press was our main go-to," he said. "So that's something I'm very comfortable with."
When asked about his toughest matchup in college, Henderson chose a talented teammate in Van Jefferson.
"He's very smart. He has an NFL background," Henderson said of Jets WR coach Shawn Jefferson's son. "He's a great competitor and he never gives up."
Diggs Receives Special Guidance
Alabama's Trevon Diggs, the younger brother of former Maryland standout and current Minnesota Viking Stefon Diggs, has one of the NFL's top talents in his ear at all times.
"He always critiques me. We don't always talk about the good things," Diggs said of Stefon. "We talk about the bad things, the things we can do to get better. He always gives me tips and little cues to work on my game. I'm blessed to have that. I don't have someone patting me on the back all the time and telling me I'm doing good. I've got someone who's telling me, 'Let's get to work.'"
When Trevon Diggs was in fourth grade, the boys lost their father, Aron Diggs, due to congestive heart failure. Stefon Diggs, who has amassed 4,623 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns in five pro seasons, has always been in Trevon's corner.
"He's like my dad, honestly. He was there for me when my father passed, so he has always taken care of me," Diggs said. "I always ask him everything, no matter what. Two o'clock in the morning, I'm asking him questions. I called him last night, every day, about this process and how he managed it."
Best Images of the Cornerback Prospects Working Out at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
DBU Produces Another One
When Kristian Fulton was a freshman in 2016, he arrived at LSU and Adams was leading the safeties and Bills CB Tre'Davious White was showing the way for the corners. Early on in his collegiate career, Fulton learned about extra film study and setting an example on the field.
"When we walk into our meeting room, we got all the defensive backs that came through, the greats, pictures on the wall," he said. "So it's just motivation every day. We know that it's a standard to perform at DBU. We just come to work every day and you look at what the guys have done before."
Fulton, who graduated last December with a degree in sports administration, started 15 games for the national champions while totaling 38 tackles and 15 pass defenses. The 6'0", 197-pounder and college teammate S Grant Delpit, could both be considered by teams in the early rounds.
"Just from a competitive standpoint, I felt like being in the SEC, I go up against the best receivers," Fulton said. "You can look and tell me who's put up numbers on me. I feel like that's what really separates me. I mean, it's a great cornerback class, but I don't feel like nobody's technique is as sound as mine."