(Photo by BYU Photo/BYU Creative Design)
PROVO, Utah (Feb. 26, 2014) — Former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen turned in some of the top performances at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, which wrapped up Tuesday in Indianapolis, achieving not only some of the best times recorded this year but also going back nearly a decade of NFL combines.
In all, five former Cougars were among more than 300 top NFL prospects from 124 different college programs participating to this year’s combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Only 13 programs had more than BYU’s five combine invitees and only three—Alabama, Florida State and Florida—had more defensive players invited.
Two-time All-American outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy was joined by inside linebacker Uani ‘Unga, defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna and Sorensen as Cougar defenders at the combine, along with record-setting BYU receiver Cody Hoffman. Last year two BYU players participated in the combine, including offensive lineman Braden Brown and defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah. Ansah, who was later selected No. 5 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, went on to record the most sacks by an NFL rookie last season. BYU's five combine participants this year was the most since 2002, when six Cougars were invited to the combine.
Combine participants underwent the scrutiny of executives, coaches, scouts and doctors from all 32 NFL teams during an intense four-day schedule of physical and psychological tests, medical examinations and formal and informal interviews. Workout drills consisted of the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and shuttle runs, while additional position-specific drills and interviews took place to help NFL teams assess the top professional prospects in advance of the 2014 NFL Draft and free agent signings in May.
In the workout drills, Sorensen stood out in the 3-cone drill and shuttle runs. The 3-cone drill tests an athlete's ability to change directions at high speeds, while the shuttle runs test lateral quickness, explosion and acceleration.
Sorensen not only turned in the fastest 3-cone drill by any defensive back but also the top time by any player at any position in the entire combine. His time of 6.47 seconds was also the fastest time recorded at a combine since 2006 by a safety, the second-best time among all defensive backs including corners, and the fifth-fastest performance from any position overall in that timeframe. Sorensen's time significantly topped the previous high mark by a safety of 6.60 seconds recorded by Texas' Michael Griffin (first-round pick in 2007), Troy's Sherrod Martin (second-round pick in 2009) and Notre Dame's David Bruton (fourth-round pick in 2009).
Sorensen ran a 10.80-second time in the 60-yard shuttle to record the top time by any safety in the past nine combines and the fourth-fastest 60-yard shuttle time among all combine participants at any position over that timeframe. The only NFL prospect to best Sorensen in the 60 this year was Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks, whose time of 10.72 is the fastest time recorded in the past nine combines. The only other players to record a faster time than Sorensen in recent combines were Oklahoma cornerback Jamell Fleming (third-round pick in 2012) and Tennessee-Chattanooga cornerback Buster Skrine (fifth-round pick in 2011).
Another drill in which Sorensen excelled this year and comparatively over past combines was the 20-yard shuttle. The BYU safety again topped all defensive backs at this year's combine and finished tied for fifth among all positions overall with a time of 3.95 seconds. Only one safety since 2006—Oregon State's Sabby Piscitelli (second-round pick in 2007)—has recorded a faster time at the combine than Sorensen. Including corners, Sorensen's time is tied for ninth since 2006 among all defensive backs.
Sorensen also stood out in other workouts according to Dion Caputi of NFL Draft Update. "BYU S Daniel Sorensen with maybe the most comfortable display of soft hands I've seen from the entire DB group," offered Caputi on his Twitter account @nfldratupdate.
Van Noy also put up strong results in his workouts, including a 4.20 time in the 20-yard shuttle to rank seventh among all linebackers. Manumaleuna tied for ninth among defensive linemen in the bench press with 29 reps at 225 pounds, while Van Noy did 21 reps to show good strength as well. Hoffman turned in a 4.20 time in the 20-yard shuttle, which tied for 18th among receivers where the best time was OSU's Cooks at 3.81. Hoffman also finished tied for 16th among receivers in the 3-cone drill at 6.89 seconds. ‘Unga did not conduct physical drills at the combine due to an injury suffered in BYU’s bowl game.
BYU will also host an NFL Pro Day in March, providing additional opportunities for NFL teams to test and evaluate BYU players desiring to play football professionally. The Pro Day in Provo also affords opportunities to players who did not attend the combine to conduct workouts for NFL teams.
Listed below are the complete results of workout drill for BYU participants at the combine:
Safety (one of 20 safeties; 59 total DBs invited to combine)
Measured: 6'1", 205 lbs, 31" arm length, 8 1/2" hands
NFL.com Pre-Combine Grade: 5.05 (indicating better-than-average chance to make NFL roster)
40-yard Dash: 4.67 (15th among safeties — top S time was 4.42)
Bench Press: 13 (12th among safeties — top S reps was 25)
Vertical Jump: 32.0 (tied for 16th among safeties — top S jump was 38.0)
Broad Jump: 114.0 (15th among safeties — top S jump was 127.0)
3-Cone Drill: 6.47 (1st among safeties and all DBs)
20-yard Shuttle: 3.95 (1st among safeties and all DBs)
60-yard Shuttle: 10.80 (1st among safeties and all DBs)
Kyle Van Noy
Linebacker (one of 35 linebackers invited to combine)
Measured: 6'3", 243 lbs, 31 5/8" arm length, 9 5/8" hands
NFL.com Pre-Combine Grade: 5.5 (indicating chance to become an NFL starter)
40-yard Dash: 4.71 (tied for 13th among linebackers — top LB time was 4.51)
Bench Press: 21 (tied for 18th among linebackers — top LB reps was 30)
Vertical Jump: 32.5 (20th among linebackers — top LB jump was 42.0)
Broad Jump: 112.0 (tied for 27th among linebackers — top LB jump was 130.0)
3-Cone Drill: 7.22 (tied for 15th among linebackers — top LB time was 6.64)
20-yard Shuttle: 4.20 (tied for 7th among linebackers — top LB time was 3.96)
Defensive Lineman (one of 56 defensive linemen invited to combine)
Measured: 6'2", 296 lbs, 32 1/4" arm length, 10" hands
NFL.com Pre-Combine Grade: 5.15 (indicating better-than-average chance to make NFL roster)
40-yard Dash: 5.16 (33rd among defensive linemen — top DL time was 4.53)
Bench Press: 29 (9th among defensive linemen — top DL reps was 36)
Vertical Jump: 28.0 (tied for 33rd defensive linemen — top DL jump was 40.5)
Broad Jump: 101.0 (tied for 36th defensive linemen — top DL jump was 129.0)
3-Cone Drill: 7.78 (25th among defensive linemen — top DL time was 6.83)
Wider Receiver (one of 48 wide receivers invite to combine)
Measured: 6'4", 223 lbs, 33 1/4" arm length, 9 3/4" hands
NFL.com Pre-Combine Grade: 5.07 (indicating better-than-average chance to make NFL roster)
40-yard Dash: 4.65 (42nd among receivers — top WR time was 4.33)
Bench Press: 13 (tied for 19th among receivers — top WR reps was 23)
Vertical Jump: 27.5 (42nd among receivers — top WR jump was 41.0)
Broad Jump: 108.0 (40th among receivers — top WR jump was 132.0)
3-Cone Drill: 6.89 (tied for 16th among receivers — top WR time was 6.64)
20-yard Shuttle: 4.20 (tied for 18th among receivers — top WR time was 3.81)
Linebacker (one of 35 linebackers invited to combine)
Measured: 6'1", 231 lbs, 31 3/8" arm length, 10" hands
NFL.com Pre-Combine Grade: 5.2 (indicates NFL backup or special teams potential)
**Did not conduct physical workouts due to injury at BYU bowl game