Break down the podiums. Friday was the last day for interviews at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Defensive backs were the last position group to go through media day in Indianapolis before they close the show on the field this Sunday. Here are five things we learned from Day 4 at the combine:
1) CB Jeff Okudah wants to leave a combine legacy.
Like his Ohio State teammate Chase Young, Jeff Okudah has shown enough on film to be a high draft pick without participating in this week's drills. Unlike Young, though, Okudah will work out at Lucas Oil Stadium. Okudah, the No. 4 overall prospect according to NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah, wants to bring down the house on Sunday.
"Coming to the combine has always been a dream," Okudah said. "Just being here is a dream come true. You go back and watch some of these combine videos, I watch Jalen Ramsey's combine video, I watched Patrick Peterson's combine video. I want somebody down the road to say, 'Let's turn on Jeff Okudah's combine video.'"
Earlier in the week, Young, a defensive end, said he decided not to do drills "because that first day of [NFL] camp when I step on the field, I want to be the best player I can be. I don't want to waste time trying to be a combine athlete. When I step on the field, I know I need to know that I put my best foot forward as far as being the best player I can be."
Before he goes for gold in the Underwear Olympics, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Okudah won the Podium Games. From Jon Gruden asking him if he is from planet Earth to settling the DBU debate, Okudah was the star of media day. His best moment, however, came when he responded to a reporter calling him "sloppy" because of penalties. Okudah politely corrected him.
"I had zero pass interferences, zero holdings, so cut the tape on the game," he said. "I think you might see something else."
Of course, Okudah is good for more than a quote. He is trying to follow in the footsteps of former college teammates Marshon Lattimore, who was named the 2017 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Denzel Ward, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
"I think it's just about trying to be better than the defensive back that came before you because the bar is always set so high at Ohio State as to what's the expectation for a great corner," Okudah said. "For me, it's about Denzel setting the bar high, really high, and I want to take that bar and I want to move it up a little bit higher for the next guy. And then the next guy moves it up higher for the next guy and it goes from there."
So what would the Giants get from Okudah?
"You're going to get a straight technician," he said. "I mean if you really love football, watch the tape. You'll see someone that really is in love with being a better player. Technique is something I really pride myself on. I know that when athleticism fades away, technique will always be there. So that's just something I always prided myself on and something that I care deeply about."
2) Trevon Diggs leans on older brother Stefon for more than combine tips.
Alabama's Trevon Diggs is the second-ranked cornerback, according to NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks. He is also the younger brother of Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who came out of Maryland in the 2015 NFL Draft. Stefon has been guiding his younger sibling through the process, just like he has in matters much larger than football.
"He's like my dad, honestly," Trevon said. "He was there for me when my father passed, so he has always taken care of me. I always ask him everything, no matter what. Two o'clock in the morning, I'm asking him questions. I called him last night, every day, about this process and how he managed it."
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Trevon added: "He always critiques me. We don't always talk about the good things. We talk about the bad things, the things we can do to get better. He always gives me tips and little cues to work on my game. I'm blessed to have that. I don't have someone patting me on the back all the time and telling me I'm doing good. I've got someone who's telling me, 'Let's get to work.'"
As a senior in 2019, Trevon allowed a passer rating of just 44.5 when he was targeted, according to Pro Football Focus. That was after he arrived at Alabama as versatile freshman who saw time on both offense and defense while returning kickoffs and punts.
Check out the best photos from behind the scenes at the NFL Combine.
3) Alabama's Xavier McKinney is a polished blitzer.
Whereas Clemson's Isaiah Simmons is a linebacker who can double as a defensive back, Alabama's Xavier McKinney is a safety who can line up in the box. The 6-foot, 201-pound McKinney is the No. 1 safety, according to NFL.com, after he led the Tide with 95 tackles (10th-most in the SEC). His best game last season came against LSU as he recorded a career-high two sacks on Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.
"He's got great poise," McKinney said of the QB. "He's a guy that I hit a couple good times and he would get back up. He kind of had some words after one hit I had, but he's a great quarterback, a guy who can throw, he can run, he reads the defense well. I think all around he is a solid quarterback and he knows how to win."
What did he say?
"I think he might have said, 'Good hit.' He got the pass off, but it was overthrown," McKinney said.
McKinney works on polishing his blitzes a lot in the offseason. "That's something I try to make sure that I have in my toolbox," he said. During game week in Tuscaloosa, though, it was more mental as he had to learn multiple positions.
"It's tough," he said. "It's a lot more studying than the average, I guess, player would have to do for one position. It can be difficult trying to learn more than one check and more than one position and know what you have to do. During the week, I try to make sure after every practice that I go upstairs and watch film. I try to make sure that I get the game plan and know what I'm doing and make sure that I do my job. Every day before practice starts, I would go upstairs and watch film, and then we'd practice, and then after practice I would go upstairs and watch film again and I'd watch film on the other team to see how maybe I can do something or how something can be done."
4) Antoine Winfield Jr. made a name for himself at Minnesota.
Antoine Winfield Jr., the son of the three-time All-Pro for the Bills and Vikings, burst onto the scene in 2019. He tied the Gophers' modern-era record with seven interceptions while also forcing two fumbles, recovering three fumbles, and blocking a field goal. He finished his career with three touchdowns: one punt return and two interceptions.
While he mostly remembers just "a lot of snow" from his dad's playing days, Winfield has gone back and studied his tape.
"All the time. It's just incredible to see what he did at his size," he said. "He comes home every day and I see him, he's a little guy. But the next thing you know, I see him on TV and he's out there ballin' with great players. That is what was really incredible about watching him play."
Senior played at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds; Junior is the same height but 23 pounds heavier.
"When I was younger, my dad would lay in his bed with his laptop. I would be sitting right next to him watching film," Winfield Jr. said. "In particular, it was Calvin Johnson. I remember he had to play Detroit one week. I remember sitting next to him and he was watching it and breaking the film down and everything. That's a cool experience that most people don't get to do."
5) LSU's Grant Delpit thinks tackling issues are in the past.
In his scouting report, Jeremiah said Delpit (No. 26 overall prospect) has Pro Bowl potential at free safety but he has to "clean up some tackling issues." Delpit doesn't want to hear anymore "buts".
"I get a lot of hate and slander from the media and the experts," the 6-foot-2, 213-pounder said. "I think that's just going to make the glory so much better in the end. They say tackling is definitely the thing I have to improve on from last year. I got it fixed toward the end of the season. It's all about the approach and not trying to do too much, just get them on the ground. It's part of football and I know I can do it. I've been doing it my whole life."
Not that there is any tackling in combine drills, but Delpit will not participate in workouts in Indianapolis. Delpit played much of LSU's championship season with a high ankle sprain. That didn't stop him from wining the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's best defensive back) or the team from hoisting the CFP national championship trophy. Delpit said he is "close to 100" percent and will work out at his pro day.
"The ankle had a lot to do with it," Delpit said of the tackling concerns. "Like I said, I battled through injuries this year. But that's not the whole reason. I got it fixed toward the end of the season and hopefully it won't be a problem anymore."
View the best images from the first night of on-field drills with the wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks.