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DBs make their case at combine


INDIANAPOLIS - Malcolm Jenkins (6-1, 201) and Vontae Davis (5-11, 203) arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine as the top prospects at cornerback. The rest of group looked like late first-round draft picks, at best.

Tuesday's workouts in Lucas Oil Stadium painted a different picture.

Davis did his best to separate himself from the pack by placing first in the bench press (25 reps at 225 pounds) and second in the 40-yard dash (4.49 seconds) among corners. Meanwhile, Jenkins' underwhelming scores had talent evaluators wondering if the Ohio State product should move to safety.

Jenkins placed in the top five in just one event, the three-cone drill, and left people wondering if he was quick and agile enough to play cornerback at the next level. Jenkins, a two-time All American who recorded 11 interceptions over three years, counters that his game footage speaks for itself.

"If you put on a film of a guy who's about 5-10, 185, I'm doing the same things they're doing at my size," he said. "In the league now, you've got receivers that are getting bigger and more physical and that's what you need -- a guy that can do it all. With my size and speed, it's something rare you really don't find around the nation."

{QUOTE}The film of Davis isn't bad either. In his three years at Illinois, he recorded seven interceptions and two blocked kicks. Last year, Davis led all Big Ten cornerbacks with 79 tackles. Davis comes from good football bloodlines. His brother, Vernon, rode a jaw-dropping combine performance into being the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft by San Francisco.

Connecticut's Darius Butler (5-10, 183) made the most of his time in Indy, finishing second in both the vertical jump (43 inches) and broad jump (11-2).

Butler is the cousin of the Ravens' Willis McGahee and was versatile enough in college to return kicks and play some at receiver. For the last few months, he has been training with Deion Sanders and feels good about how his coverage skills will translate to the next level.

"In the NFL, you can't really touch a guy," Butler said. "It's not like college, so my hips, my feet and just opening up and running with guys will help me. You've got to work at your technique, and I'm working with one of the best who's ever done it in Deion Sanders. He's taught me a lot."

Vanderbilt's D.J. Moore (5-9, 192) also excelled where he needed to: the vertical jump. He is considered a borderline first-round pick but has been scrutinized because of his size. Moore finished third with a jump of 39.5 inches.

"I'm 5-8, so everybody was bigger than me for the most part," said Moore, who had 11 interceptions for the Commodores. "But it was the same as anybody. You read your keys and do your job, and the quarterback is going to throw the ball and try to make it a jump ball every play."

Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith (5-9, 193) is another undersized prospect who has received first-round grades, but he failed to place in the top five in any of the tests.

Smith left college as the ACC's career leader in interceptions with 21, including eight in 2008. Talent evaluators have said he is fearless in run support and is very confident on an island.

"All my life, I've been a winner," Smith said. "All my life, I've had this attitude where I don't care who you are, where you've been, who your father is, who you play for, I don't care. It's me versus you, and I'm going to try and come out on top. That goes for everyone."

All in all, not one cornerback broke a 4.4 in the 40. Lardarius Webb of Nicholls State ran the fastest time with a 4.46.

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