NFL Combine Recap: Cornerbacks

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, Sr.


In college:** Dennard became the first Spartans player to be unanimously selected first-team All-America and win the Jim Thorpe Award in 2013. He was also first-team All-Big Ten after recording 62 tackles (33 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss and a career-best four interceptions in his senior season. He was second-team All-Big Ten in 2012 with 52 tackles (34 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. Dennard was first-team All-Big Ten in 2011 after posting 42 tackles (30 solo), one tackle for loss, and three interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. He played in six games and started two as a freshman in 2010.

On playing at multiple spots: "I can definitely play the nickel. I can play anything in the secondary. I have experience in the safety area, and in our base defense I played inside, which blitzed from the slot and covered the slot."

On transitioning to the NFL from NCAA rules: "I think I'm going to transition well because in the college game you're allowed to (be physical with receivers). It was in the rules, so I'm going to play to the rules and use that to the best of my ability. I know in the NFL it's a five-yard (limit) but I can run with receivers and don't have to be so aggressive as well and can still play good ball."

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, Sr.


In college:Gilbert was second-team All-America, first-team All-Big 12 and a Thorpe Award finalist after tying for third in FBS with seven interceptions, including two he returned for touchdowns, in 2013 when he also had 42 tackles (36 solo) and returned 18 kickoffs for 453 yards and a TD. Gilbert was second-team All-Big 12 as a returner in 2012 with 32 returns for 827 yards and a score and 63 tackles (53 solo) on defense and was voted Defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl. He had five interceptions and 59 tackles and returned 26 kickoffs for 703 yards and two TDs in 2011. Gilbert had 18 tackles and returned 26 kickoffs for 698 yards and two touchdowns and eight punt returns for 55 yards as a freshman in 2010. Gilbert's time of 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash was the fastest of any cornerback at the 2014 NFL Combine (Results Tracker**).

On if he prefers coverage or returning kicks: "It all buys in together. The most important thing is being around my teammates wherever I am and having fun. As long as we're making plays and having fun together, the wins will build up. … "I think I'm a dangerous return man with the ball in my hands and on an interception there is always a possibility for me to take it back to house."

On what Dennard is like: "I met him when we were in Orlando for the awards show. He's a pretty good guy. He always has me laughing. He calls me 'Pretty Boy.' He makes fun of me because I always take selfies on my phone. He's fun to be around though."

Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech, Sr.


In college:** Fuller was named third-team All-ACC in 2013 after recording 24 tackles (17 solo), two tackles for loss and two interceptions in nine games in 2013. Fuller was honorable mention All-ACC after notching 52 tackles (44 solo) with three tackles for loss and two interceptions in 13 games in 2012. He was second-team All-ACC in 2011 after leading the Hokies with 14.5 tackles for loss and tallying 65 tackles (46 solo) and two interceptions in 14 games in 2011. Fuller had 32 tackles and four tackles for loss as a freshman in 2010. He is the younger brother of former Titans defensive back Vincent Fuller and Lions receiver Corey Fuller.

On if growing up in a football family helped: "It means a lot. It definitely makes you want to get to that level. It definitely keeps you humble to continue to work hard to get there. I believe it just shows all the hard work all of my brothers have had to get to this point and we're just thankful and blessed for that."

On comparisons to Vincent Fuller's style of play: "I would definitely say it was similar. He moved around, played corner, nickel, safety. Physical, I've learned a lot from him. I take a lot from his game."

Bradley Roby, Ohio State, Jr.

In college: Roby had three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown, 70 tackles (55 solo) and two tackles for loss in 2013. He was second-team All-America, first-team All-Big Ten and a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 2012 after recording two interceptions and returning one for a TD and posting 63 tackles (41 solo) and two tackles for loss. Roby had three interceptions, 47 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in 2011 after redshirting in 2010. Roby ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds at the NFL Combine.

On why he started slowly in the first half of his final season: "Me not playing that first game, my mindset in camp wasn't where it should have been. I knew I wasn't playing the first game, so I might have maybe not gotten as many reps as I normally would have. At corner, reps is everything, training your eyes, looking at the right places all the time, all those type of things. Kind of got away from that. (I was playing) kind of undisciplined at the beginning of the season."

On if his decision to turn pro after his junior season was based on getting to his second pro contract quicker: "I think so, a little bit. You don't come out until you know you're ready mentally and physically. If you're coming out just for the money, sometimes with your situation you have to, you're family situation and things like that. That's not a factor in my situation. I wanted to leave when I felt like I was mentally and physically ready for the NFL. Maybe the contracts, yes, you're not getting as much money in the first rounds and in the early rounds like you were. So that's an incentive to go ahead and get out there."

Jason Verrett, TCU, Sr.

In college: Verrett was second-team All-America and co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 2013 after recording two interceptions, 39 tackles (31 solo) and 3.5 tackles for loss. He was third-team All-America and first-team All-Big 12 in 2012 when he had six interceptions, 63 tackles (46 solo) and five tackles for loss. Verrett had one interception, 58 tackles (40 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore in 2011 and was honorable mention All-MWC after playing his freshman year in junior college. He ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at the combine.

On if his size is a disadvantage vs. bigger receivers:"I've been challenged with receivers that have been over 6-foot my whole college career. I played against Odell Beckham, I played against Mike Davis, Eric Ward, Antwan Goodley. I played against a lot of good receivers in college that were over 6 foot. I feel like I'm this height for a reason, but I can compete with the best." And on if he's tired of the height questions: "Oh yeah, of course. If I'm 5-9, I'm 5-9. But I can compete with anybody."

On his nickname "Feeva Island": "It's just a little nickname. Feeva, not too much. It was a nickname I had in high school. I'm just a player that's always hot." On the Island part of nickname: "I'm always pretty much man-to-man, on an island."

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