Texans defensive backs coach Jon Hoke sat down with Brooke Bentley of TexansTV to discuss the top defensive back prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Brooke Bentley:You just got back from the Combine where you were looking at some of the top prospects in the nation. The Texans haven't been shy about the fact that they're keeping a close eye on cornerbacks, so talk to me about that class that's coming out in the draft.
Jon Hoke:Well, it's a pretty good class from the standpoint there's a lot of depth in the class and there are some guys that will probably be taken in the first round that are extremely talented. And then as you go through the class, there are some good prospects, second round, third round, fourth round – guys that can come in and help your football team.
Brooke Bentley:There's been a lot of hype surrounding Leodis McKelvinof Troy. What impresses you about him?
Jon Hoke:Well, Leodis is a very good athlete. He has exceptional return skills, also. He's a physical player. He has good short-area quickness. He has good deep speed. I think he has very good instincts for the position, so he's a guy that I would say is one of the top guys coming out because he's an all-around football player.
Brooke Bentley:People have compared him to Dunta Robinson because he's a big hitter. Do you see that comparison?
Jon Hoke:Oh, I think there's a very close comparison, no question. When you watch them play in college, Dunta and Leodis, you could make those parallels very easily. They're both every good athletes, very fast, have good deep speed, and then the physical standpoint definitely jumps out at you.
Brooke Bentley:Well, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartiealso looked like a freakish athlete. He ran a 4.33 in the 40 and won the vertical jump. What impresses you about him?
Jon Hoke:With him, you look at him as an overall athlete. He's played at Tennessee State, so you know his exposure to, say, some of the better players in college wasn't as good as some of the guys from the other schools, but then he goes to the Senior Bowl and he's the MVP of the Senior Bowl. He looks like he fits, and athletically, I don't think there's any question about that. He'll have a lot of things to learn, from the competition level and all those type things from a week to week basis, but athletically, he's going to be one of the top guys.
Brooke Bentley:Do you think that it helps him that Antonio Cromartiefrom San Diego is his cousin?
Jon Hoke: Well, I think obviously the bloodlines are pretty good from an athletic standpoint, but also he has a person in his family that he can talk to, understand the ups and downs of a rookie going into the National Football League, what to expect, those type of things.
Brooke Bentley:Well, he had great workout scores. How important are those workout scores for you as a talent evaluator?
Jon Hoke:Well, they're good. You always want to take those into consideration. What you see on the tape of how he plays the game of football is going to be the overriding factor. What he runs, how he looks in drills, that's always a part of the puzzle there, but it's not solely that. It's also what you see on tape.
Brooke Bentley:Were there any other defensive backs that stood out or you felt like had memorable performances at the Combine?
Jon Hoke:I thought a young man from Iowa, (Charles) Godfrey, had a very good workout. I thought he had an impressive workout. There was a young man from Eastern Kentucky, I think (Antwaun) Molden is his name; he had an impressive workout. You look at (Josh) Barrettfrom Arizona State, a safety who looked very good. You know, there's a list of guys that you could go on and on about, but I think there were guys that really helped themselves with the Combine workout.
Brooke Bentley:Well, of course, with Dunta Robinson recovering from two surgeries, the Texans would love to draft someone in the first round, but let's say we draft someone in the third or fourth. Do you think that this talent is deep enough that we would get someone good in the third or fourth round?
Jon Hoke:I think the talent is deep enough. I think there's guys that have pieces; they may not be a whole yet. Probably similar to Fred Bennett, who had a lot of pieces that you liked, and if you could ever get it all together that you could probably have a very good football player. And I think there's guys like this in this draft down in the third round, down in the fourth round, that have some pieces and have some things that you like as a football player that if they could ever get it all together and you could get them all coached the right way and taught the right way, then I think you can get a lot of upside from some of those guys down there.
Brooke Bentley:Well, of course, Bennett is a starter for us now.
Jon Hoke:Yes, and Fred had a good rookie year. There was a lot of learning going in, a lot of teaching going in, but to Fred's credit, he went about his job in a workmanlike manner, took great notes, listened on the practice field, took coaching, studied on his own, so that allowed him to go ahead and end up becoming a starter for us.
Brooke Bentley:Well, now you have all this information from the Combine, and free agency begins tonight. What do you do moving forward?
Jon Hoke:Well, you obviously are going to go through free agency. You're going to see what veterans are out there that can help improve your football team, and then again you're going to always continue on the draft trying to improve your football team.