Photo Credit: John Peterson

Nebraska Defensive Backs to Take Next Step Toward NFL at Pro Day

March 20, 2022

At Nebraska’s Pro Day on Tuesday, multiple Huskers will take their next steps toward a shot at the NFL.

The defensive backs will be represented in the workouts more than any other position, with cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and safeties Deontai Williams and Marquel Dismuke all participating.

Taylor-Britt is one of the highlights of the group as a whole, being one of four Huskers to participate at the NFL combine.

“Cam did a great job yesterday, and I was happy as crap to see him go out and, and do the stuff that he’d been doing for years here,” defensive backs coach Travis Fisher said at a press conference last week. “You know, and it looks just like practice the way that he handled that deal. His technique and his and his individual workouts were right on point.”

Taylor-Britt was a leader in the Husker secondary during his time at Nebraska, a position group that has been a strength for the Huskers the past few years. Not only was Taylor-Britt a team captain in 2021, but he was a second team All-Big Ten selection in both 2021 and 2020. He had 11 pass breakups, along with 51 tackles, a sack, an interception and a blocked kick last season. In 2020, he had two interceptions in seven games.

However, the Huskers still haven’t had a defensive back drafted since Nathan Gerry in 2017, and he ended up playing linebacker in the NFL. Taylor-Britt has a good chance to be the next one selected.

Fisher said that while he was able to coach the former high school quarterback on how to play defensive back, that’s not why he’s come so far.

“What I didn’t give Cam is his heart. I didn’t give him that, he came to Nebraska with that,” he said.

That’s a big part of what it takes, according to Fisher, for players to be successful with the Huskers and beyond.

“What’s inside of them will have to come out of them before we can use them on this football team,” Fisher said. “That’s Cam Taylor-Britt running down on punt and you saw him starting on defense. That’s Deontai Williams that’s running down on kickoff, and you saw him starting on defense. That’s Marquel (Dismuke), plays every special teams. And you saw him starting on defense. It’s the same thing.”

That special teams play could also serve as a route to the professional level, even for the players that don’t get drafted. Fisher mentioned that he didn’t play much special teams during his nine-year NFL career, but that wasn’t his choice and he was ready to answer the call when needed.

This method has already paid off for a few defensive backs under Travis Fisher at Nebraska. Lamar Jackson, who was signed by the Bears in January, only saw snaps on special teams for the Jets last season. Chiefs cornerback Dicaprio Bootle played 19 of his 46 snaps last season on special teams, and could end up having a larger role in that department.

This may be useful for players like Williams and Dismuke, who were all-conference honorable mentions last year but aren’t expected to be drafted. Dismuke has blocked a kick and a punt in his career, and made his biggest plays on special teams early in his career before moving into a starting spot.

Even without a draft pick yet, Fisher’s unit has a solid track record with development that he hopes to see continue. For the players still on the team, that process starts with doing whatever they can to contribute to the team now.

“The younger guys that’s in the room right now that want a chance to have the chance to be in that position to be seen by the National Football League and even being scouted by the National Football League,” Fisher said. “Well, they know what they got to do to get to that point, so it starts right here”

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