The 2016 NFL Regional Combine: Houston-Held Defensive Review

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Houston, TX – In consecutive years, the Houston Texans proudly opened their doors to NFL Operations to host a NFL Regional Combine session. For the 2016 workouts, Houston propel the platform to expected heights as the defensive talents graced the Houston Texans Methodist Training Facility Saturday morning to start the campaign.

And what a commencement it was.


Jordan Landry/

Many of the defensive backs who started their 40 drills were probably rusty or nervous knowing that was a ponderous drill. As a result of that notion, a hand full of them didn’t get off to a great start, until Jordan Landry of Tennessee-Martin turbo boost out the gate with a 4.37 speed time. The 5-8, 165-pound corner displayed decent hands, but his speed distinguished him from the rest, despite being continuously questioned because of his physical stature.

“My was always recognized for his talent, speed and heart, but looked over because of his height,” said Landry’s mother, Michelle Landry. “He plays bigger than his size and always succeed. I know that if any team gives him a chance, they will get a steal.”

Related Article: 2016 NFL Regional Combine – Houston-Held Offensive Review

North Texas cornerback Jamal Marshall had a lot on his mind coming into his exercise following an incident which led to his arrest in mid-January of his involvement of two pedestrians being struck by a vehicle. Marshall was a passenger and was no charged for any wrong doing.

However, the 6-3, 203-pound athlete was nearly wrong by fretting with Landry’s 40-time by posting 4.4.

Converted running back Kelvin Bennett flexed his newly found defensive back skills with a solid outing. Bennett started his collegiate career at McNeese State as a ball carrier until his senior season when he joined the secondary. Bennett displayed great footwork, balance and hands.

Along wide Bennett, Demundre Freeman of Stephen F. Austin was pretty polish and caught the ball well for a cornerback.

The Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision All-American corner Justin Grier from Morehead State is very explosive. The Third-Team selectee turned some heads.

Davarus Shores/

Speaking of explosive, the lengthy Davarus Shores from Texas A&M-Commerce have crazy hops (basketball term). The 6-1, 180-pound defensive back exploded for nearly 10 feet in his broad jump. For his size, Shores demonstrated good balance and control.

Nicholls State’s Darius Knight has tremendous balance and his baseball background was evident due to his good hand-eye coordination.

Clearly, E.J. May plays bigger than his size. Standing 5-10, 185-pounds, the confident, aggressive cornerback has great hands with a burst after the catch.

Lehigh University had only one representative in the Houston-held trials in Olivier Riguad. Riguad displayed his explosiveness through his broad jump, and the six-footer showed off his potential playmaking abilities with his aggressive towards catching the ball.

Kevin Rucker Jr. of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff is a compact, solid build safety who possesses good speed.


Cavellis Luckett/

Cavellis Luckett stole the show for his core group of linebackers by recording 4.5 for his 40-time. The powerful linebacker from Middle Tennessee State ran hard, and has great lateral movement.

Nevertheless, linebacker Jatavis Brown of Akron and defensive end Trent Corney from Virginia meet the standards of being quality defenders on the next level. Brown was very intense and moves violently, with a purpose. The 5-11, 212-pound linebacker was disciplined in all his movements, have good speed and his footwork was essential.

Corney was balanced and aggressive in all of his sessions. Standing 6-3, the 255-pound tackling machine can get low, has a quick burst and the chip on shoulder isn’t going away.

Apparently, Corney was out to prove a point.

Simply put, linebacker DeAntae’ Glover of Tennessee-Martin is quick, and Ferris State University defensive tackle Justin Zimmer is ridiculously strong.

Zimmer is best known for bench pressing 225-pounds 46 times. For a 303-pound defensive tackle, standing 6-3, his 4,89 40-time and 33-inch vertical (best among his group) kept scouts writing and talking.

And that was just the first half of the day.

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