Here are the complete results for all 12 former Notre Dame Fighting Irish players that participated in the university’s Pro Day Thursday.
The event was attended by 54 representatives of 27 NFL teams. Skip below the graphic for some comparisons for Cole Luke, his fellow defensive back class and the former Irish corners and safeties who participated in NFL Combines of years past.
- Luke is 5-foot-11, which would have put him in the bottom third of defensive backs who attended the NFL Combine. The Louisville Cardinals’ Josh Harvey-Clemons is the lankiest DB this year at 6-foot-4. And the Maryland Terrapins’ Will Likely scored a Combine invite, but he’s going to have a tough road to stardom at just 5-foot-6 1⁄2 inches.
- Luke’s height is actually pretty common among former Irish defensive backs with NFL aspirations. He’s as tall as KeiVarae Russell, Tom Zbikowski, Shane Walton and Vontez Duff. The Minnesota Vikings’ Harrison Smith and the Washington Redskins’ David Bruton were the tallest Irish DBs at the Combine, at 6-foot-2. Both of those guys are safeties, though. The tallest cornerback was Robert Blanton, now of the Buffalo Bills, who was 6-foot-1.
- The median weight among defensive backs at the NFL Combine was 201 pounds. Luke is three pounds lighter. The weights ranged from 224 (Connecticut Huskies’ Obi Melifonwu) to 177 (Wisconsin Badgers’ Sojourn Shelton). Melifonwu impressed scouts with this strength and is being slotted as a late first rounder by several draft analysts.
- Among Irish alums who went to the NFL Combine, Luke is one of the lighter DBs. Russell weighed in at 192, while Duff was 203. The heaviest was Glenn Earl at 222 pounds and the lightest was Brock Williams at 183.
- Luke’s hands are, uh, slender. His measurement of 8 7/8ths inches would be near the bottom of all DBs in the NFL Draft. Ohio State’s Malik Hooker — considered to be a Top 10 pick - has massive fingers - 10 3⁄4 inches. The Tennessee Volunteers’ Cameron Sutton had seven career interceptions, which is kind of amazing when you consider he has 8 1⁄4 inch hands.
- Luke’s hands are the same size as Kyle McCarthy, who was passed over in the 2010 NFL Draft. (McCarthy kicked cancer’s ass and now is director of coaching at Athletes First.) Smith had the largest hands of any Irish defensive back who went to the NFL Combine — 10 1⁄4 inches.
- Luke does not possess long arms, which is going to be a problem when he’s trying to shed blocks at the professional level. He measured at 29 7/8ths inches, which would have been the second-shortest (out of 60 defensive backs) at the NFL Combine. Only Maryland’s Likely had less arm span. Harvey-Clemons has the longest arms — 35 3/8 inches.
- The only Irish alum who went to the Combine and had shorter arms was McCarthy. Smith — a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft — had the longest arms, reaching 32 5/8th inches.
- Luke’s 11 reps of 225 pounds puts him in the bottom quarter of his defensive back class. It could have been far worse: Michigan Wolverines’ Channing Stribling only managed 4 reps. Then again, the Florida Gators’ Teez Tabor is considered a late first round pick — and he only managed nine reps. The high was 22 by Lamar’s Brendon Langley.
- Williams and Walton both benched the weighted bar 11 times as Irish alums at the Combine. McCarthy put it up 24 times, and Zibby had the same.
- ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay considers 10 reps or fewer to be “red flag” territory for cornerbacks.
- There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Luke’s 4.64 time in the 40-yard dash is a red flag for guys like McShay who have been tracking times for years. It would have been third slowest among DBs in this year’s combine and fourth slowest if all Irish alums who were DBs replicated their Combine results.
- Only Miami-Florida Hurricanes’ Jamal Carter (4.65) and St. Francis (Pa.)’s Lorenzo Jerome (4.71) turned in more disappointing times than Luke. The fastest was the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Jalen Myrick, who took just 4.28 seconds to cover 40 yards.
- Zeke Motta’s performance still ranks among the worst NFL Combine 40 yard dashes for defensive backs — 4.83 seconds. (He still got drafted, going in the 7th round of the 2013 event.) Bruton and Williams both ran theirs in 4.46 seconds.
- There were 50 defensive backs who tried the vertical jump at the NFL Combine this year. The median height reached? 34 1⁄4 inches. Luke’s leap of 35 1⁄2 puts him above that average. Melifonwu — who is being discussed as a late first round pick - impressed the most with a 44 inch high leap. The Clemson Tigers’ Cordrea Tankersley brought up the rear, only managing 29 1⁄2 inches.
- Among Irish alums, Luke’s leap matched Motta’s vault. Walton only managed 31 inches, while Williams stood out by eclipsing 42 1⁄2 inches. (Williams was a third round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft.)
- Luke’s broad jump performance was terrible. Had he been at the Combine, it would have been dead last among the 51 participants. Stribling turned in a similarly bad performance — 9 feet, 6 inches — while Melifonwu continued to impress scouts with a 11-foot-9 inch leap. That’s quite a disparity!
- As bad as Luke’s jump was for the class of 2017, Sapp and Walton both jumped fewer inches when looking at Irish alumni at the NFL Combine. Bruton had the best leap of the Irish group, at 11 feet.
SHORT (20-YARD) SHUTTLE
- Luke was a bit better than the average defensive back at the NFL Combine in this drill. His time of 4.15 seconds is a hair faster than the median time of 4.19 seconds among 30 participants. The Washington Huskies’ Kevin King did this drill in 3.89 seconds, while Jerome of St. Francis could not have been happy with his 4.68 second effort.
- Luke was middle of the pack for his class. He’s middle of the pack among Irish alums with NFL Combine results. Blanton did this drill the fastest - 3.97 seconds - while Elijah Shumate stumbled here during last year’s Combine (4.51 seconds).
- Luke’s time is very close to the five-year average for cornerbacks, according to McShay.
- There were 12 defensive backs who chose to run the 60-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine this year. Had he been there, Luke would have finished in the middle of that pack. King had the best effort (11.14 seconds), while the LSU Tigers’ Jamal Adams brought up the rear (11.92 seconds). Adams is considered a top 10 pick, so I doubt this drill has much accuracy in predicting draft order.
- An Irish defensive back has never participated in the 60-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine.
3 CONE DRILL
- Luke’s 3 cone time of 6.82 seconds would have put him just above the median line of the 25 defensive backs that did this agility drill at the NFL Combine. This time would be considered outstanding if Luke were a safety. King finished the three-cone in 6.56 seconds to lead all DBs, while Jerome again was the worst — 7.65 seconds.
- Luke would have been sixth out of the 10 Irish defensive backs who have run this drill at the Combine in years past. Duff, Walton and Sapp all ran it slower.
Other than that, we can’t recall seeing Luke in any other mock drafts. Expect him as a third day pick — if at all — when the NFL Draft runs April 27-29 in Philadelphia.