The Combine Report: 2015 NFL Regional Combine (Denver) – Defense

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Englewood, CO – To skiers’ delight, the overcast in Denver Saturday was perfect as an expected snow storm was surfacing the area. In the midst of the snow, a whirlwind of talent was upon the Broncos’ state of the art training facility as the NFL Regional Combine showcased their pool of NFL dreamers on the newly laid turf.

The defensive players were on display for the morning session, and for the most part, they did not disappoint.

The defensive backs were 35 strong, and this group was quite athletic and competitive. Collectively, the defensive backs didn’t have the best hands compared to the groups from the Miami and Houston workouts, but their quickness and tenacity on the field was just as equal if not more than┬áthe previous platform locations.

Safety Tyrequek Zimmerman of Oregon State is an aggressive player and moves off his toes very well. For the “W” Drills, where the defensive back have to back pedal and break towards the cone on a 45-degree angle three times before sprinting to the endzone while receiving a dart of a pass, the 6-0, 213-pound safety showed great technique and exploded to the ball.

Zimmerman plays like a linebacker as he led the Beavers in tackles for the last two seasons (195).

The competitive juices flowed heavily within the cornerbacks. In the end, Willie Creear of Eastern Michigan shut down the group, and the training facility, in terms of the athleticism.

While waiting patiently for his vertical jump attempt in the midst of competitive banter from the players, the 5-11 defensive back stepped under the Vertec, extended his arms and – boom, up, up and away to 47 inches.

A 47-inch vertical jump, that was insane.

Willie Creear/

Willie Creear/

The group erupted and the news spread quickly around the training facility. Creear explained that he have a solid basketball background. Nevertheless, football became his sport of choice because of his strength and power. Overall, Creear displayed a decent workout.

After finally settling down his nerves, cornerback Joseph Phillips of Chadron State presented to be the most balanced out of the crew. Phillips displayed a combination of speed and power. During the spring of 2013, Phillips eclipsed the 40-yard dash record of former CSC standout and now San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead by clocking a 4.4.

Phillips reflected that speed during his session, and was one of the few defensive backs who showcased good hands.

The defensive front was impressive, especially from the linebacker core. Overall, the lean defenders showed out their speed and power.

Bret Shannon of Butler University is a monster. He punished all his drills and it’s not that the 6-3, 250-pound defensive end didn’t warn the bags because he made furious sound effects. Shannon approach his sessions like it was gameday as he attacked the workouts with a high motor. He was quick, balance and in full control of his body.

Travis Williams of Youngstown State was electric from the gate. Williams’ foot work was flawless and around the cones and the bags, he got low and popped up with explosive speed to get around the corners.

Williams, surprisingly, stated that he would excel in the NFL as a special teams player. Most kids want the flash of the starting lineup, but stars can be made by helping to pin opponents deep in their territory so the defense can be aggressive.

Williams understands his lane and that path can lead him to his destiny towards the NFL.

New Mexico State linebacker Dior Moore was solid. The 6-1, 222-pound linebacker transferred from Butte College to the Aggies and was a valuable piece for their special teams. Moore showed balance and control throughout his sessions.

Emporia State standout Deshawn Dinwiddle was sharp in all his run throughs, mainly in the position drills. While witnessing Dinwiddie’s workouts, he showed patience as if he was thinking about each move before he proceed, without being mechanical.

Similar to Williams, Dinwiddle believes he will excel in the NFL as a special teams players. New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater, son of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater, is a three-time All Pro special teams ace. The 6-2, 215-pound linebacker passionately feels he will be a huge playmaker on special teams, if given the opportunity.

Dinwiddle’s big brother, Deveon, will attend the NFL Regional Combine in Chicago. Deveon is Deshawn’s role model. The Dinwiddle brothers bounced around homes in their youth after being removed from their mother and the abandonement of their father. This is a story to be followed, and if they make it to the NFL, how glorious will it be.

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