Rod Woodson is racking up the frequent flier miles these days. The Raiders have been sending him across the country to look at every possible defensive back in the upcoming draft. After having just been spotted in South Carolina to take a closer look at Clemson DB Marcus Gilchrist he, as Billy Joel said, “hop(ped) a flight to Miami Beach” to work out the entire Hurricane secondary.
The main work was with their two intriguing cornerback prospects, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Brandon Harris according to the National Football Post.
Harris is by far the most accomplished of the two — so much so that he will likely not be around when the Raiders pick is in at #48. He started all 13 games as a junior last season and is known for being a solid man coverage corner throughout his career at Miami.
He was a Thorpe award semifinalist in both his sophomore and junior campaigns. His best season came as a sophomore when he had 52 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, and an ACC leading 15 passes defended. Those numbers had him named to the All-ACC first team. The numbers came down slightly as a Junior when he was named to the All-ACC second team. What that could signal is teams were throwing away from him. But he still managed 10 passes defended, 44 tackles, and an interception.
His critics point to his having just 4 interceptions over 39 games and 32 starts. But he averaged nearly a pass deflection per start and over 3 tackles and added 5 forced fumbles as well.
Van Dyke doesn’t have great tape as he just started 21 games in four seasons for Miami, including just three as a senior. He was relegated to nickel corner for most of his senior season. But he put up a 4.28 40 yard dash at the combine, which was tops among all combine invites. He is a slight 6-0, 174 lbs which is another of his detractions.
While Woodson was there, he also took a look at defensive backs Ryan Hill and Jared Campbell.
Hill is regarded by some as the best defensive back prospect on this Miami squad. He is seen as having more upside than either Van Dyke or Harris.
Hill came to Miami as a wide receiver and was switched to corner as a Junior. Then he tore a muscle in his shoulder that had him out the entire 2009 season. But when he was back healthy, he supplanted Van Dyke and sent him to play nickel. He had a nice season in 2010 with 51 tackles, 7 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. It is his three interceptions in one season compared to Harris’ four total in three seasons, that has some scouts looking favorably on Hill. At this point he is considered no higher than a round three prospect, possibly lower.
Campbell started just six games at safety for the Hurricanes, all as a junior. He didn’t start a single game as a senior and mainly saw the field on special teams. He will likely go undrafted.