NFL Draft Odds – Athletic Defensive Draft Prospects

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 23: Wide receiver Jadon Haselwood #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners gets drilled by safety Trevon Moehrig #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs for a fumble and turnover in the second quarter on November 23, 2019 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. OU held on to win 28-24. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The ability to explode off the line when the ball is snapped is a special athletic trait. It shows a combination of power and speed, something scouts crave. When displayed before the draft, it can increase NFL Draft betting odds that an athlete will be taken earlier by an NFL squad. That’s why the vertical jump is so important.

This spring, the NFL Combine in its usual form was canceled (pandemic), and the league instead turned to on-campus pro days to fill that void. NFL scouts still run the events, and then they input the results to a central database where they are shared. Some pro days attract dozens of scouts, and others might only have five or six teams represented.

In normal years, athletes take advantage of on-campus pro days when they didn’t get an invitation to the NFL Combine. And if a combine invitee isn’t happy with his performance in Indianapolis, he returned to his home campus to try it again.

The vertical jump not only measures the athlete’s ability to leap high in the air, but it also measures raw explosiveness from a standing position. Just as the bench press and 40-yard dash are more critical in evaluating certain positions, the vertical jump is key when it comes to the passing game. First and foremost, wide receivers and defensive backs need to exhibit these qualities.

So who performed well and improved their NFL Draft odds to be taken early in the event? We checked the site DraftScout.com thoroughly for pro-day data.

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The Vertical Jump  – By Defensive Position

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Defensive Backs

Vertical Jump — Measured in how many inches an athlete can jump, measuring explosiveness.

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of inches)

46.0 — David Sensabaugh, S, North Carolina (5th round pick in 2005)

45.0 — Donald Washington, CB, Ohio State (4th round pick in 2009)

45.0 — Chris McKenzie, CB, Arizona State (undrafted free agent in 2005)

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. – 2021 (number of inches)

43.5 — Marco Wilson, CB, Florida (projected 3rd to 4th rounder)

43.0 — Robert Rochell, CB, Central Arkansas (projected 3rd round)

42.5 — Brandin Echols, CB, Kentucky (projected free agent)

42.0 — Caleb Sterns, FS, Texas (projected 3rd to 4th rounder)

TOP DB PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Trevon Moehrig, FS, Texas Christian

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: -400

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 33.0 (tied for 20th best DB)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 41 overall)

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

ODDS OF FIRST CB PICKED: -300

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 39.0 (tied for 9th best DB)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 6 overall)

Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina

ODDS OF FIRST CB PICKED: +225

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 41.5 (tied for 5th best DB)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 14 overall)

Jevon Holland, FS, Oregon

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: +350

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 35.5 (tied for 15th best DB)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 43 overall)

Richie Grant, FS, Central Florida

ODDS OF FIRST SAFETY PICKED: +550

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 34.5 (tied for 17th best DB)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd to 3rd round (No. 67 overall)

Linebackers

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 01: Trestan Ebner #25 of the Baylor Bears is tackled by Azeez Ojulari #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 01, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Vertical Jump — Measured in how many inches an athlete can jump, measuring explosiveness.

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of inches)

45.5 — Cameron Wake, Penn State (undrafted free agent — 2005)

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. – 2021 (number of inches)

42.0 — Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky (projected 1st round)

42.0 — JaCoby Stevens, OLB, LSU (projected 4th round)

TOP LB PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Micah Parsons, OLB, Penn State

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: -450

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 34.0 (tied for 13th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 8 overall)

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, OLB, Notre Dame

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +650

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 36.5 (tied for 11th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 17 overall)

Azeez Ojulari, OLB, Georgia

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +900

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 30.0 (tied for 20th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 20 overall)

Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +1100

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 42.0 (tied for 1st)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 27 overall)

Zaven Collins, OLB, Tulsa

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +2000

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 35.0 (tied for 12th best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 23 overall)

Joseph Ossai, OLB, Texas

ODDS OF FIRST LB PICKED: +2000

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 41.5 (tied for 2nd best)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st to 2nd round (No. 39 overall)

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 19: Gregory Rousseau #15 of the Miami Hurricanes in action against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Defensive Linemen

Vertical Jump — Measured in how many inches an athlete can jump, measuring explosiveness.

TOP COMBINE PERFORMANCE SINCE 1999 (number of inches)

42.0 — Mark Anderson, DE, Alabama

42.0 — Alvin Dupree, DE, Kentucky

37.5 — Josh Shaw, DT, Michigan State

TOP PRO DAY PERFORMANCES BY POS. – 2021 (number of inches)

41.5 — Elerson Smith, DE, Northern Iowa (projected 6th round)

38.5 — Milton Williams, DT, Louisiana Tech (projected 2nd to 3rd round)

TOP DL PROSPECTS (by BetMGM odds)

Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: -225

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 35.5 (tied for 8th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 15 overall)

Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami (Fla.)

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +225

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 36.0 (tied for 7th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 2nd round (No. 42 overall)

Greg Rousseau, DE, Miami (Fla.)

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +900

PRO DAY VJ (inches): 30.0 (tied for 17th)

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 24 overall)

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

ODDS OF FIRST DL PICKED: +900

PRO DAY VJ (inches): opted out

DRAFTSCOUT PROJ: 1st round (No. 22 overall)

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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America selections, and handled FCS college football for HERO Sports. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.

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