Participating from Nevada will be guard Chris Barker, running back Stefphon Jefferson, safety Duke Williams and cornerback Khalid Wooten. Jefferson, a junior, is the only underclassman from Nevada.
There will be 14 players at the combine from the Mountain West . . .
- Hawaii: Alex Dunnachie (punter), Mike Edwards (cornerback), Luke Ingram (long snapper).
- San Diego State: Leon McFadden (corner), Gavin Escobar (tight end).
- UNLV: John Lotulelei (linebacker).
- Boise state: Jamar Taylor (corner), D.J. Harper (running back).
- Fresno State: Phillip Thomas (safety), Robbie Rouse (running back).
- Nevada: Duke Williams (safety), Chris Barker (guard), Stefphon Jefferson (running back), Khalid Wooten (corner).
NFL.com analysis of Chris Barker . . .
Strengths: Athletic. Shows good bend getting into his three-point stance and can fire out to get into his opponent off the snap. His foot quickness allows him to flourish on zone plays, get blocking angles while engaged, as well as combo effectively to negate second-level targets even if they try to elude him. Moves behind the line well to pull and trap per the design of the play. Has a thick overall build. Experience on the left and right sides of the line is a nice bonus.
Weaknesses: Does not necessarily dominate in terms of latching onto the numbers of better defenders to drive them backwards or turn them out of the hole in the run game. Lets up before the whistle blows at times, allowing his man to get back into the play.
Bottom Line: Barker, the cousin of former USC and NFL defensive tackle Manuel Wright, isn't a dominant force, but displays the athleticism to block on the move yet strong enough to hold his ground against bull rushes. He should be a mid- to late-round selection.
Analysis of Stefphon Jefferson . . .
Strengths: Extremely productive junior season, showed he can handle a high carry total. Very patient running back. Presses the line and waits for a hole to develop. Good vision. Possesses some burst through the line of scrimmage, and runs with authority. Makes smart decisions, takes what is given.
Weaknesses: Runs with a high pad level. Linear athlete, doesn't offer much in terms of agility. Won't make the first person miss very often. Poor technique as a blocker. Lacks an explosive aspect to his game. Only one season of production.
Bottom line: Jefferson is a back with great patience and vision. He has a good initial burst through the line of scrimmage, but he struggles to make people miss. He doesn't have great top end speed or elite power to compensate for this issue. A team might use a late selection of Jefferson for his reliability as a runner.
Analysis of Duke Williams . . .
Strengths: Sprinter background becomes obvious when watching him close to the sideline on running backs or track down the ball while it’s in the air. Physicality not typical of sprinter, relishes the chance to pound the shoulder or mid-section of ballcarriers after coming across the field. Fills a gap in the run games even if starting the play in a cover-two alignment due to his recognition and reaction abilities. His athleticism helps him break down in the open field and his length aids him drag them to the ground, making him a reliable open-field tackler. Another important component of Williams' game is that he shows great balance in coverage, showcasing a smooth back-pedal, and fluid hips. Shows the hands to make difficult interception, as well.
Weaknesses: Like many aggressive college safeties, gets sucked up by play action. Needs to prove his average size is enough to handle the strength and speed of larger pro receivers in coverage; often lines up against slot receivers, showing good agility but also manhandling them (which will draw a flag at the next level) down the field, especially if he gets tripped up on their first move. Has had multiple off-field issues while playing in his hometown, as well, including arrests for underage possession of alcohol (November 2009) and driving with a suspended license and without insurance after being in a car accident (December 2011).
Bottom line: The Reno native has become a hometown favorite for the Wolf Pack, earning second-team All-WAC honors as a junior, and second-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior. Williams is able to use his sprinter’s speed and nice agility to negate receivers downfield. He also has experience in man assignments versus slot players. While Williams' doesn't possess a large build, he is more than willing to throw his body around with impunity. His average size, overaggressive nature, and off-field incidents might limit how high teams will be willing to take him, but there are many aspects to his game that should still have him selected relatively early.
Analysis of Khalid Wooten . . .
Strengths: Solid overall physical package for an outside corner, possessing adequate height and good strength and length to handle large receivers. Flashes the strength and quick hands to press, also smart enough to get a hit before five yards even if not pressing. Hips are fluid enough for smooth transition. Physical tackler, has upper-body strength to wrap and throw down ballcarriers whether tracking down running backs in space or going through receivers after the catch. Solid hands as a punt returner, shows some agility to make the first man miss. Also has strong hands for the interception, snatching passes from the air like a receiver, and is able to switch field position after the catch.
Weaknesses: Straight-line and recovery speed are average for the position, though he typically gets back into plays if beaten unless facing pro-caliber receivers/quarterbacks. Must be more consistent reading the receiver to get his head turned around; when he does turn, he can’t stop his feet or the receiver will separate.
Bottom line: Joined 2012 sixth-round pick Isaiah Frey in a solid duo for the Wolf Pack in 2011, but has made his own name by making plays throughout both with Frey in 2011, and without him in 2012. Wooten's play as a senior has mitigated concerns about his athletic ability, and he will likely find himself a mid-round selection.