By The Numbers (per nfldraftscout.com):
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 204 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.56 Seconds
- 225 pound bench reps: 17
- Vertical Jump: 33”
- Broad Jump: 9’08”
- 3-Cone Drill: 4.57 Seconds
CBS Sports Position Rank: 16th free safety
Projected Draft Position: Undrafted
Just one line ago you read that Mike Tyson is projected to go undrafted in the NFL Draft on Thursday. I’m not sure that is entirely true, as his draft stock has risen slowly over the last few months thanks to a great senior year and solid showing at the NFL Combine. Also, there’s the fact that he got an invite to the combine at all, showing that at least some folks were interested in the versatile defender from Norfolk, Virginia.
Tyson wasn’t supposed to even be in this situation as recently as last summer. He was a solid, but not incredibly defensive player for the Cincinnati Bearcats, one who could fill in at linebacker and safety. He burst into the minds of NFL scouts and the hearts of Bearcats’ fans in 2016 by being an incredibly disruptive force in pass defense. He snagged five interceptions and five passes defended during his senior campaign, while also setting career-highs in tackles (46) and tackles for loss (4.5). It was a welcome sight for a player with four-star pedigree who made himself invaluable by proving he could play anywhere on the field, while excelling when teams dropped back to throw the ball. That pass defense excellence was built mainly on his ability to roam around in zone, however, as his man-to-man ability was not great.
Tyson had a decent showing at the combine. He ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, which was a solid time although the 40-yard isn’t a be-all measuring stick. He also put up 17 reps on the bench press and recorded a 33-inch vertical jump and a 118-inch broad jump. His vertical jump shows that he may have some trouble working against larger receivers, especially on balls thrown up for grabs. But his strength, nose for the ball and tackling technique generally made him able to make up for that in other areas.
With all that written, Tyson did all he could to make sure he was more than just a senior we said goodbye to in 2016. He made his draft stock go from non-existent to reasonable and that’s not an easy thing to do, especially when playing for a 4-8 squad which washed its year down the drain. While its no guarantee that he has done enough, including his work at the NFL Combine, Tyson is at least poised to compete for a spot on an NFL roster.