Friday, March 06, 2009

Whoosh | by Pat

The annual NFL Combine, professional football's version of the SAT, took place in Indy recently and ND's only invited player, David Bruton did quite well for himself. Just take a look at the table and notice that Bruton was near the top of just about every category for safeties.

Player 40 Yard
3 Cone
60 Yard
David Bruton


More than just among fellow safeties, Bruton's numbers were top notch when compared to all the results from the 300+ participants. Only three players at the entire combine had a higher vertical leap. Only one player had a better 3 cone drill time or better 60 yard shuttle. Basically, Bruton was one of the fastest and quickest players at the Combine. He also did all this while checking in at 6'2" 219 pounds, heavier than he ever was at ND. But we all knew Bruton was a very fast guy....or at least I thought we all did.
Notre Dame S David Bruton. He was easily the best testing safety with a 10.96 60-yard shuttle and an 11-foot broad jump (both tops at his position), a 41.5-inch vertical jump and a 6.60 three-cone drill (both of which tied for best among safeties) and a 4.46 40-yard dash. No one expected that from Bruton.
--Chicago Tribune

The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Bruton caught NFL scouts off guard when he scorched the track, running a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. He posted the second fastest 40-time in his class.
-- Dayton Daily News
It certainly caught me off guard that Bruton's home town paper and the major city paper that covered his college career seemed surprised that ND's star special teams gunner was fast. After all, that was the book on Bruton from the start. Tremendous athlete, raw football player. Heck, Charlie was singing praise about Bruton's "measurables" at the start of last year's spring practice.
David Bruton, for example, we just finished testing as we finished the off season program and his measurables are off the chart. I mean, his weight is a pound or two different, maybe a pound or two lighter but his body fat is like three and a half and he's vertical jumping 41 and a half. He's in phenomenal shape.
Despite the apparent surprise in some corners, the net result is the same. Bruton definitely made himself some money with his combine showing. The Dallas Star listed him as the #1 player on the rise as a result of the combine. He also impressed off the field too.
According to one AFC North scout, Bruton not only helped himself during drills, but in the interview process as well. He called the player highly intelligent, well-spoken and a student of the game. Bruton is due to graduate from Notre Dame in May with a degree in political science and sociology.

The scout added that the safety increased his draft status and is projected as a mid-to-late third round selection.

Third or fourth round seems to be the consensus now, but it's also possible that he might slip as the impact of the Combine numbers wear off. After all, each year there are players who shine in the combine and it doesn't translate to the field. What will help Bruton's case is that he will be an instant boon to a team's special teams and he proved that on the field at ND and not just because of his times at the Combine.

Finally, the NFL Network did a nice profile piece of Bruton and his main source of motiviation going forward into the professional ranks. Next up will be ND's Pro Day on March 19th. Given his strong combine performance, Bruton will likely stick to the positional drills while his fellow draft hopefuls run the full gauntlet of tests for the NFL scouts and coaches.