The DA Draft Buzz: February 17th

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

During our February 16 edition of the DA Draft Buzz, we mentioned three Pac-12 prospects expected to leave the combine with improved draft stock. Today we add a fourth.

Kevin King, a Week 12 riser, grades well in the areas of size and ball skills, but there have been red flags about his speed – red flags King is ready to put to rest.

I’m told the big corner has been running under 4.4 seconds hand-timed during combine training. When converted to electronic timing, King has spanned the 40 yards in about 4.45 seconds.

And while 4.45 is by no means an extraordinary time, it beats any expectations scouts had of King’s foot speed.

Consider the fact that scouts believed King to be a high-4.5 second corner in the 4.58-second range and that, throughout the season, speed was the sole criticism I heard about his game. The conversations usually went something to the extent of, “He [King] has the size and ball skills but can’t run.”

If he’s able to break into the mid-4.4s on the final day of combine workouts, King will cement himself as a top-45 selection.

Another defensive back running much faster than expected is Michigan safety Delano Hill.

Someone we complimented through three days of Shrine Game practice, I’m told Hill has been running laser times under 4.4 seconds and short shuttle times under four seconds flat.

He’s drawing praise not only from trainers but also from fellow prospects joining him in Florida for combine training.

If Hill matches his training numbers during combine workouts, he could slide into the second day of the draft. The easy comparison would be Justin Simmons, the former Boston College safety selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Denver Broncos. Hill is a good football player whose athleticism is in question, the same criticisms faced by Simmons a year ago.

Another prospect that shined during Shrine Game practice, Trey Hendrickson of Florida Atlantic, has turned in some outstanding workouts in the lead-up to the combine.

Hendrickson has been running in the low 4.6s at 264 pounds and posting vertical jumps in excess of 37 inches. I’m told he’s expected to complete at least 25 reps on the bench.

His present weight represents an increase of nine pounds from his Shrine weigh-in. I’m told Hendrickson arrived in St. Pete suffering from a stomach virus which caused a sudden loss of weight. The belief is that Hendrickson could easily add another 10 pounds and comfortably play at 275.

Finally, USC wideout Darreus Rogers is out west training at the same facility as Clemson’s Mike Williams and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, the top two receivers in the draft.

I’m told that during pass-catching drills, Rogers has looked the equal of Williams and Davis and oftentimes was the best receiver of the three when the trio worked out together.

Speed is the major question on Rogers, one that won’t be answered until the combine.

My suggestion: don’t automatically dismiss Rogers if he’s not swift during the combine and pay attention to his pass-catching workout.