NFL Draft Capsules -- Defensive Backs

By United Press International  |  April 24, 2003 at 6:12 PM
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NFL Draft Player Capsules -- Defensive Backs

Terence Newman, CB, 5-10, 189, Kansas State -- The Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's best defensive back, Newman is expected to be the top cornerback selected and a probable top-10 pick in the draft even though he will be a 25-year-old rookie. Made a big impression at the combine with sub 4.4 40-yard dash times, a 41-inch vertical leap, an 11-foot, four-inch broad jump and a short shuttle in 3.83 seconds. Doubles as a returner and was the Big 12 Conference's outdoor 100-meter champion in 2001. Had 54 tackles, 14 passes broken up and five interceptions last season. Returned 26 punts for 388 yards and two touchdowns and 13 kickoffs for 370 yards. Also played some offense and had four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. However, Newman can be outmuscled for the ball and needs to improve his tackling.

Marcus Trufant, CB, 5-11, 199, Washington State -- Impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl. Not as fast as Newman, but ran a 4.44 40-yard dash time, albeit on a fast rubber surface. Also doubles as a returner. Had 69 tackles and three interceptions and returned 32 punts for 341 yards last season. Is at his best in man-to-man coverage with excellent instincts and is quick to support the run. Missed five games in 2001 with a fractured hand, but returned with a cast on his hand and had three interceptions.

Andre Woolfolk, CB, 6-1 3/8, 197, Oklahoma -- Expected to be taken late in the first round or early in the second. A three-year starter who lined up at wide receiver as a sophomore before shifting to cornerback the following season. In his final collegiate season, Woolfolk had two interceptions and forced a pair of fumbles. Has excellent athletic ability but still is very raw. An above-average hitter and tackler. There are questions about his durability after he missed the spring of 1999 and 2001 with injuries. Should get better with experience.

Dennis Weathersby, CB, 6-0 5/8, 204, Oregon State -- Considered to be a late first round or early second round pick before he was shot in the back Sunday near his suburban Los Angeles home. Weathersby was shot below the lungs with the bullet passing through and entering his forearm. It could be six to eight weeks before he is cleared to resume football-related activities. Mainstay in the Oregon State secondary since his freshman year. Recorded 128 tackles (101 solos) with a sack, 7 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage, a forced fumble, five interceptions and 56 pass deflections (breaking the school's career-record, topping the old mark of 44 pass breakups registered by Andrae Holland, 1995-98). A first-team all-Pac-10 Conference selection in his final collegiate season. Started every game at right cornerback, recording 44 tackles, two sacks and an interception. Good size and athletic ability. Usually covers the opponents' best receiver. Has very good good closing quickness and the deep acceleration to run with receivers at the line of scrimmage and the agility to break off in man coverage. There are questions about his attitude and work ethic.

Mike Doss, S, 5-10 1/8, 207, Ohio State -- The anchor of the secondary for Ohio State in its national championship season in 2002. Just the seventh player in Ohio State history to garner first-team All-America honors three years in a row. Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year and semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Finished second on the team with 107 tackles and collected two interceptions and a touchdown. A crunching hitter, Doss combines speed, power and savvy with a fierce competitive nature. One of the top players in college football and a three-time All-Big Ten Conference pick, he has played in every game (50) during his time with the Buckeyes, starting 40 contests. Led the team in tackles two out of the last three years, recording 331 tackles (228 solos) with six sacks for minus-42 yards, 33 stops for losses of 99 yards, eight fumble recoveries and 2 forced fumbles. Also intercepted eigth passes for 184 yards in returns, deflected 20 passes and blocked two kicks. His 331 tackles rank ninth on the school's career list and were the most ever by a defensive back Was rumored to be headed to the NFL draft after his junior season but opted to remain in school.

Troy Polamalu, S, 5-10, 206, USC -- Polamalu is a three-year starter who became the Trojans' first two-time All-American since Tony Boselli (1992 and 1994). A finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. Considered the best defensive back at Southern California since the Ronnie Lott era (1977-80). An All-Pac-10 Conference selection in his final collegiate season when he started all but one game and finished with 68 tackles and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. A very strong player and is always trying to get better. Excellent in run support and tackling. Short and sometimes misses plays because he is out of position.

Ken Hamlin, S, 6-2 1/2, 209, Arkansas -- Declared for the NFL draft following his junior season. Hamlin was one of the most decorated athletes in school history at Arkansas and one of the best defensive backs since Steve Atwater (1985-88). A finalist for the Nagurski Award, given the to the nation's Defensive Player of the Year. Also a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. In his final collegiate season, Hamlin set a school record with 159 tackles to go along with four interceptions. Also recovered two fumbles and forced four others. There are questions about his character which could hurt his draft stock.

Rashean Mathis, CB, 6-0 3/4, 202, Bethune-Cookman -- A three-time All-American who developed into one of the finest interceptors in the history of college football. Mathis finished his career with 31 interceptions, topping the NCAA I-AA mark of 28 by Dave Murphy of Holy Cross (1986-89). Also has 667 yards on interception returns, breaking the previous NCAA record of 488 yards, set by Darren Sharper of William & Mary (1993-96). Finished career with 200 tackles, 41 pass deflections and three fumble recoveries. In his final collegiate season, Mathis was a unanimous All-American and All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference first-team selection. Recipient of the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the top defensive player in the NCAA Division I-AA ranks. Started every game at free safety, establishing NCAA season records with 14 interceptions for 455 yards in returns and three touchdowns, breaking the old collegiate marks of 12 pass thefts by Dean Cain of Princeton (1987) and 280 yards by Murray State's William Hampton (1995).

Eugene Wilson, CB, 5-10 3/4, 192, Illinois -- Wilson was a three-year starter that is strong against the pass. Also an effective punt returner. Recorded 176 tackles (139 solos) with an 11-yard sack and four stops behind the line of scrimmage in 45 games. His 11 interceptions rank sixth on the school's all-time list, while his 60 pass deflections shattered the previous Illini record of 26 by Bobby Jackson (1997-2001), Marlon Primous (1988-91) and Robert Crumpton (1991-94). Returned 93 punts (second all-time) for a school-record 896 yards (9.6 average) and a pair of touchdowns, surpassing the old mark of 790 yards by Darryl Usher (1985-87). In his final collegitate season, Wilson was an all-Big Ten Conference second-team selection. Named the school's Special Teams Player of the Year.

Sammy Davis, CB, 5-11 3/4, 186, Texas A&M -- A mainstay in the Aggies' secondary, starting 32 games during his career. Finished his career with 188 tackles (135 solos), an eight-yard sack, seven stops for losses of 22 yards, 11 interceptions for 112 yards in returns, 28 deflected passes, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Only five players had more interceptions in a career in school annals. Added 162 yards on nine kickoff returns (18.0 average). In his final collegiate season, Davis started every game at right cornerback and collected 62 tackles and two interceptions.

Kevin Garrett, CB, 5-9 3/8, 194, Southern Methodist -- Four-year starter at cornerback who was regarded as the best pass defender in the Western Athletic Conference. Teamed with Jonas Rutledge to form one of the best corner duos in the nation. A fine cover man who is very good in run support, he started all 42 games that he played in his collegiate career. The fastest player on the team, he made 265 tackles (181 solos) with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage, seven interceptions, 36 pass deflections, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and six blocked kicks during his time with the Mustangs. Was an all-Western Atheltic Conference first-team selection in his final collegiate season. Started nine games at strongside cornerback, recording 48 tackles (35 solos) with six deflected passes and two interceptions.

Terrence Holt, S, 6-1 3/4, 208, North Carolina State -- All-America selection as a senior who is regarded as the premier kick blocker in the nation (13 for his career). The brother of former All-America and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt, Terrence has made a name for himself for his hard-hitting style and ability to come up with the big play. Recorded 315 tackles (195 solos) with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 20 pass deflections and five interceptions while starting 37 of 48 games. Was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice in his final collegiate season. Semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive backs. Had three interceptions and 100 tackles in his senior season.

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