Colts.com takes a closer look at the 60 defensive backs invited to this year’s NFL Combine. The 2013 combine takes place Indianapolis and begins on Feb. 20, spanning six days. The defensive backs invited are as followed:
Defensive Backs (60)
*Indicates a year of eligibility remaining
Johnny Adams – Michigan St.
-Adams missed the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl game vs. TCU due to a turf toe injury but appears to be healed and ready for the combine. A three-year starter at cornerback, Adams was one of the finest corners in the Big Ten earning all-conference honors every year he started.
Robert Alford – Southeastern Louisiana
-One of the fastest corners heading to Indianapolis, Alford became just the second player in school history to be invited to the Senior Bowl. This past season Alford was named First-Team All-Southland.
*David Amerson – North Carolina St.
-Amerson leaves Raleigh as one of the most decorated cornerbacks in college football history. The six-foot-three-inch Amerson set an ACC-record with 13 interceptions in 2011, which is the second most in FBS history.
Marc Anthony – California
-Another Senior Bowl invitee, Anthony has started 32 games over the last four years. Anthony ended his career with 21 pass deflections and recorded a career-high 13 tackles against USC this past season.
Johnthan Banks – Mississippi St.
-SEC quarterbacks simply did not throw Banks way very much this past season. Banks, the Jim Thorpe Award winner in 2012, is considered one of the top defensive back in college football and his three interceptions returned for touchdowns during his time in Starkville topped all active players.
John Boyett – Oregon
-Ever since early September, Boyett has been in rehab mode. Boyett had surgery to repair the patellar tendons in both knees and missed almost all of his senior season. As a three-year starter for Oregon, Boyett was the team’s leading tackler in two of those seasons.
Adrian Bushell – Louisville
-Bushell began his playing career at Florida but some off-the-field issues forced him to transfer. He resurrected his career at Louisville and the safety was apart of the No. 1 pass defense in the Big East in delivering a Sugar Bowl victory over his former team.
Sanders Commings – Georgia
-One of the bigger defensive backs heading to Indianapolis, the 233-pound Commings excelled on special teams while being a two-year starter on the Bulldogs defense. Commings was a star baseball player for the Bulldogs and was drafted in the 37th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.
Johnathan Cyprien – Florida International
-T.Y. Hilton’s former college teammate continues to rise up the draft boards and appears to be heading for a Thursday or Friday selection. This past season, Cyprien led FIU with 93 tackles and started every game at safety over the last three years.
Will Davis – Utah St.
-The former junior college transfer, Davis excelled in his two seasons with the Aggies. Davis led the nation in passes defensed this season (1.75 per game) and he was a Senior Bowl participant.
*Mike Edwards – Hawaii
-Edwards, a Ohio native, has bounced around the country during his college years. His career began at Tennessee but he was dismissed following a charge of attempted robbery. After a year at Coffeyville Community College, Edwards played the last two years at Hawaii and returned three touchdowns on kickoff returns in 2012.
*Matt Elam – Florida
-At five-feet-10-inches, Elam isn’t the tallest of safeties heading to Indianapolis but he packs a load with his 202-pound frame. Elam made 26 starts the last two seasons at Floria and finished his career with 176 tackles, 23.5 of those for loss.
Josh Evans – Florida
-Evans started alongside Elam this past season and finished the 2012 campaign with a team-leading 79 tackles. Over his four years in Gainesville, Evans played in 47 games with 24 starts. He also was a member of the Gators track team in 2010.
Dwayne Gratz – Connecticut
-Gratz was apart of an experienced cornerback duo for the Huskies with 41 career starts. He was one of three Senior Bowl invitees on the Huskies defense and Gratz finished his career with eight interceptions, including a 46-yard return for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.
Terry Hawthorne – Illinois
-After 44 career games (26 starts) Hawthorne now will take his combination of size and speed to the next level. Hawthorne was apart of the nation’s third best pass defense in 2011 and he ended that campaign with a Defensive MVP award in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
D.J. Hayden – Houston
-The fact that Hayden is even attending the combine is a miracle. In early November, Hayden tore a major vein that feeds into his heart after taking a hit in practice. He was left in critical condition and released from the hospital six days later. Hayden had less than a 10 percent chance to survive but he did and now he is hoping to continue his dream as an NFL cornerback.
Aaron Hester – UCLA
-Hester brings an impressive frame (six-foot-one-inch and 207 pounds) to the cornerback position. During his redshirt freshman season in 2009, Hester was the season opening starter but an injury sidelined him the rest of the year. Hester ended up starting 38 games over his four years on the field.
Micah Hyde – Iowa
-Wrapping up his career this past season, Hyde started 38 consecutive games. Hyde brings versatility in the secondary at both cornerback and safety and finished his career with 240 tackles.
*Tony Jefferson – Oklahoma
-The son of an Olympic boxer, Jefferson started 34 games over his three years in Norman piling up 258 tackles from his safety position. Jefferson began his career as a Freshman All-American and this past season earned All-America honors by several outlets.
Josh Johnson – Purdue
-Johnson finished his career starting 36 straight games and had a team-high 16 passes broken up in 2012. Johnson participated in the East-West Shrine Game and had 59 solo tackles during his senior campaign.
Keelan Johnson – Arizona St.
-A physical safety, Johnson played in 49 games at ASU while earning First-Team All-Pac-12 honors this past season. Johnson finished his career with eight career interceptions with his premier ball skills coming from his time as a receiver during his redshirt season in 2008.
Robert Lester – Alabama
-An honorable mention All-American during his time in Tuscaloosa, Lester started 39 straight games for the Crimson Tide. Lester had 14 interceptions in three seasons as a starter and leaves Alabama after playing and winning three National Championships.
Tyrann Mathieu – LSU
-Mathieu will be one of the more scrutinized prospects at this week’s combine. The former All-American was dismissed from the Tigers just prior to the 2012 season after failing several drug tests. The balance of his on field talent with his off the field behavior will be the topic of discussion for the “Honey Badger.”
Demetrius McCray – Appalachian St.
-McCray earned All-America honors at the FCS level after leading the Southern Conference in interceptions each of the past two seasons. McCray has had a busy offseason, including playing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
T.J. McDonald – Southern California
-As a three-year starter, McDonald was a mainstay in the Trojans secondary. The safety was in charge of the calls for Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense and McDonald earned All-America honors during his time at USC. T.J.’s father, Tim was a 13-year NFL veteran.
Bradley McDougald – Kansas
-During his time in Lawrence, McDougald was an extremely versatile cog for the Jayhawks. McDouglad started eight games at wide receiver in 2010 before finishing his career at safety. He started 24 games at safety over his final two seasons and will head to Indianapolis as a defensive back.
Leon McFadden – San Diego St.
-McFadden played in every game for the Aztecs since arriving to southern California in 2009. He earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors in 2012 and is tied for the most pass breakups in school history.
Brandon McGee – Miami
-McGee waited in turn before starting 24 games at cornerback over the last two seasons. McGee emerged from a special teams role in 2009-2010 and led the team with seven pass breakups this past year.
Rontez Miles – California University of Pennsylvania
-As a Division II All-American, Miles led the team in tackles and interceptions back-to-back years. Former Colts cornerback Terrance Williams hailed from California University of Pennsylvania.
*Dee Milliner – Alabama
-Milliner, as a first-year starterm became one of the nation’s finest cornerbacks after being named a unanimous First-Team All-American. In his three seasons in Tuscaloosa, Milliner saw ample playing time as a nickel cornerback and his 34 pass breakups tied for second nationally among active players.
Zeke Motta – Notre Dame
-In a young Notre Dame secondary, Motta was the lone experienced voice among the entire unit. Motta started 29 games over his four seasons in South Bend and led the team with 25 combined tackles in games versus Stanford and Alabama this year.
Jordan Poyer – Oregon St.
-A safety early in his career in Corvallis, Poyer combined his cornerback and safety skills this season into a banner season. The consensus All-American excelled in a ‘rover’ roll on passing downs for the Beavers and will head to Indianapolis as one of the top cover corners in the draft.
Bacarri Rambo – Georgia
-At the backend of the Bulldogs secondary was Rambo and his school record 16 interceptions. Rambo is a ball hawking safety that earned All-American honors in 2011.
*Eric Reid – LSU
-After back-to-back All-American seasons, Reid enters the NFL as one of the most sought after safeties. In just 39 games at LSU, Reid piled up 199 tackles.
*Greg Reid – Florida St.
-Reid will have to answer questions away from the gridiron on why he was kicked off the Seminoles roster prior to the 2012 campaign. As a three-year starter, Reid will play cornerback at the next level but excelled in the return game and was on pace to break multiple school records before missing his final season.
*Xavier Rhodes – Florida St.
-A tall, physical cornerback at six-feet-two-inches and 217 pounds, Rhodes played in 43 games over his career in Tallahassee and racked up 140 tackles while earning All-ACC honors.
*Nickell Robey – Southern California
-The diminutive Robey stands only five-feet-eight-inches tall but was a mainstay at the cornerback position starting every game since joining the Trojans in 2010. Robey’s 165-pound frame is a worry when it comes to open field tackling at the next level.
*Logan Ryan – Rutgers
-Ryan is coming off a junior campaign in which he led the Scarlet Knights with 17 pass breakups. Scouts marvel over Ryan’s coverage ability and his physicality from the cornerback position.
*Tharold Simon – LSU
-When Mathieu was dismissed in August, Simon was thrust into action and led the team in interceptions (four) and pass breakups (nine) in 2012. At six-feet-three-inches and 193 pounds, Simon is one of the biggest cornerbacks heading to Indianapolis.
Jamoris Slaughter – Notre Dame
-Slaughter filled a variety of roles for the Irish defense over the past several years as a nickel linebacker, safety and cornerback. Slaughter will play safety at the next level and is recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his fifth-year back in early September.
Darius Slay – Mississippi St.
-Lining up opposite Jim Thorpe Winner Jonathan Banks, Slay saw plenty of action in 2012 leading the Bulldogs with five interceptions. Slay’s NFL aspirations are nearing after the Maben native graduated from a high school class of 30 boys and girls.
Daimion Stafford – Nebraska
-The former junior college transfer started 26 games for the Cornhuskers the last two seasons. Stafford was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection after leading the conference with four interceptions in Big Ten play.
Jawanza Starling – Southern California
-Starling was a three-year starter at safety for the Trojans and totaled 128 tackles during his time in Los Angels. The Florida native is best known for his 80-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Notre Dame in 2011.
Daxton Swanson – Sam Houston St.
-Swanson leaves Frisco, Texas as the school’s all-time leader interceptions with 14. His record-breaking 13th interception came off an interception of Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Manziel.
D.J. Swearinger – South Carolina
-Swearinger finished second on the Gamecocks with 79 tackles this past season and had a pair of touchdowns. Swearinger started 33 games at South Carolina and participated in the Senior Bowl.
Rod Sweeting – Georgia Tech
-Coming off an MVP performance at the 2012 Sun Bowl, Sweeting heads to the combine after four years in the Yellow Jackets secondary. The cornerback played in all 53 games, totaling 113 solo tackles during his time in Atlanta.
Jamar Taylor – Boise St.
-Taylor had a productive trip to the Senior Bowl after three years as a starter at the Broncos cornerback position. Taylor was part of a Broncos program that captured four straight bowl victories.
Phillip Thomas – Fresno St.
-Thomas created havoc for opposing offenses during his final season in Fresno. The All-American safety led the nation with eight interceptions and his three interceptions returned for touchdowns set a new Mountain West record.
Shamarko Thomas – Syracuse
-The 217-pound safety packs a punch in his five-foot-nine-inch frame. Thomas led the Orange in tackles with 84 stops to earn First-Team All-Big East honors.
Desmond Trufant – Washington
-Trufant comes from NFL bloodlines as his older brother, Marcus, plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Desmond was an All-American this past season and has been a starter at cornerback ever since his freshman campaign.
Kenny Vaccaro – Texas
-After two years as mainly a special teams player, Vaccaro started 26 games in 2011 and 2012. Vaccaro totaled 264 tackles, 16 for loss, during his time in Austin.
B.W. Webb – William & Mary
-Webb showed he could handle major Division I competition at the Senior Bowl last month. Webb was a four-year starter at William & Mary and also saw action as a punt returner.
Kayvon Webster – South Florida
-Webster played in 49 games (32 starts) over four seasons with the Bulls. He recorded 136 solo tackles and led South Florida with 82 tackles in earning an invite to the East-West Shrine Game.
J.J. Wilcox – Georgia Southern
-After three years on the offensive side of the ball, Wilcox switched to safety and led the team with 88 tackles. With only one season at the safety position, Wilcox is an intriguing prospect and performed well at this year’s Senior Bowl. He also spent time at kick returner this past season for Georgia Southern.
Duke Williams – Nevada
-A three-year starter at safety, Williams is one of three Wolf Pack football players to be invited to this year’s combine. Williams finished second on the team with 106 tackles and also returned nine kickoffs this year.
Shawn Williams – Georgia
-Paired with Rambo at safety, the physical Williams was a two-year starter for the stingy Bulldogs defense. Williams called the Georgia defense ‘soft’ earlier in the year and the unit responded by coming up just short in a bid to capture the SEC Championship and a spot in the BCS Championship.
*Steve Williams – California
-Williams and Keenan Allen had their battles in practice and now both will take their talent to the next level. Williams played in 37 games possible (28 starts) and had 25 pass breakups and 31 passes defensed during his time at California.
Earl Wolff – North Carolina St.
-In a N.C. State secondary, it was Wolff who led the entire defense with 136 tackles in earning First-Team All-ACC honors. On four different occasions this past season, Wolff accounted for at least 17 tackles.
Khalid Wooten – Nevada
-Wooten emerged as a two-year starter for the Wolf Pack including earning All-Mountain West honors this past season. Wooten is one of the bigger cornerbacks (211 pounds) heading to Indianapolis but also showed off some speed in averaging 16.4 yards per punt return in 2012.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Connecticut
-Wreh-Wilson bounced back from a knee injury in 2011 to earn All-Big East honors in 2012. At six-foot-one-inch and 192 pounds, Wreh-Wilson has ideal cornerback size at the next level.
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