All good things must come to an end, including the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, which shut down Tuesday, following workouts by the defensive backs, including Oklahoma State DB Justin Gilbert.
The 6'0, 202-pound DB entered Tuesday admitting that he'd be satisfied if he ran a 4.2-4.3 40-yard dash, during his workout; he finished with a time of 4.37 seconds. Gilbert also bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times and his vertical jump registered at 35.5 inches, along with his broad jump that covered 126 inches.
When asked what traits make him a top cornerback in this year's draft, Gilbert didn't hesitate to answer.
"Dedication to the game and the work that I put in day-in and day-out," Gilbert said. "Off the field, I'm watching film, making guys around me better, the younger guys, when I was Oklahoma State, always talking to them and bringing them in and watching film."
One day before working out in front of the NFL general managers, coaches and scouts, Northwest Missouri State DB Brandon Dixon told me he was embracing the whole combine experience; he then went out on Tuesday and ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, logged 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and reached 32.5 inches on his vertical jump, among his other DB drills.
I asked Dixon to describe his biggest strengths.
"Man-press coverage," Dixon said. "I love man-press; that’s my biggest strength. I lead by example and I’m very humble. I’ll be at practices on time, be at meetings on time and do the little things."
Dixon later shared his approach to workouts, knowing he's not widely-recognized, because of playing at a 'smaller school'.
"I have a chip on my shoulder," Dixon said. "I feel like I can play at any Division I school. I played with a couple of guys that are here, from Division I, in high school. So, I do have a chip on my shoulder and I have something to prove to the world."
Another local connection is Lindenwood DB Pierre Desir, who lives in Kansas; his best forty time on Tuesday was clocked at 4.59 seconds and he also recorded a 35-inch vertical jump and covered 133.0 inches on his broad jump, during his Combine workout.
Like Dixon, Desir is also facing the stereotypes of playing at a 'smaller school', but says he used the Senior Bowl and Combine to help open the eyes of talent evaluators, across the league.
"The Senior Bowl was just a great opportunity to prove myself," Desir said. "It showed that I can go toe-to-toe with bigger-school receivers and just show the scouts that just coming from a small school and the level of competition will not be an issue."
Desir wasn't just asked about his on-field skills, but the husband and father also shared how his off-the-field life has helped prepare him for the NFL.
"Being a father has made me become more focused," Desir proudly said. "It’s made me pay attention to my goals and kept me motivated in what I want to do."
Speaking of motivation, the Chiefs brain trust is filled with it and will continue to follow through on their Combine evaluations, making sure every player detail is covered in search of the best fits for the 2014 roster.
ICYMI: The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
Day 1 - Special Teams, OL and TEs
Day 2 - QBs, RBs and WRsDay 3 - D-Line and LBs