Sunday was media day for the defensive backs that made their way to Indianapolis in search of a job they've likely been dreaming about for years.
Defensive backs usually have at least a few traits in common, none bigger than confidence. I don't know an NFL DB who doesn't like having the opportunity to be challenged, resulting either in the feast of a victorious matchup or the famine of another 'could-have-been' opportunity.
Each player I spoke to on Sunday had that confident demeanor, including Florida State S Terrence Brooks, who was asked which defensive player on his championship Seminoles team is the best.
“Of course I’m going to say me," Brooks said confidently. "But, definitely, there are a few guys over there that are really good. You’ve got Telvin Smith, Christian Jones and Lamarcus Joyner; they’re all great players."
Playing on the other side of the country, USC SS Dion Bailey, who converted from linebacker, isn't lacking any faith in his abilities to play at the next level.
"I learned how to read the triangle play at linebacker, so now in the back end, I have the ability to read high-hat, low-hat on the offensive linemen," Bailey said. "I wasn't one to get fooled on play-action as much as others do, because of my experience in the box. I gained a lot more experience to avoid getting blocked by big guys; I feel like that really helped my game, playing screens and things like that."
When I say the combine DBs are confident, that's far different than being cocky. Every player answering reporters' questions on Sunday did so with a respectful and unshakable belief that nobody will stop them from playing in the world's best league.
Entering the combine, after a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, NC State S Dontae Johnson (6'2, 200) was asked if he's most comfortable playing safety or corner.
"I feel comfortable playing either/or," Johnson said. "Just going through the experience in my college days, I feel real comfortable playing either/or at the next level. I feel I can use my length to the best of my abilities, and with my abilities, I'm able to make plays on the ball that a typical 5'11 corner can't make. The game is transitioning to tall corners; I feel like my length is going to help me, and my versatility is going to help, as well."
The DBs finished their media sessions on Sunday, two days shy of when they'll hit the field inside Lucas Oil Stadium to try and further prove why each belongs at the next level.
Also taking place on Sunday, the QBs, RBs and WRs each had their opportunity to complete drills in front of the NFL brass in the stands. I know Johnny Manziel is high-profile and very much worth the praise, but the one player whose performance stood out was Kent State RB Dri Archer, who ripped up the Lucas Oil turf with a top 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds.
On Monday, the defensive linemen and linebackers will complete their on-field workouts, before the DB's fittingly "shut down" the combine on Tuesday.
2014 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 1
2014 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 2
2014 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 3