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Posted on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

Donovan Warren ready for NFL combine, intent on 'proving all those people wrong'

By Dave Birkett

Thumbnail image for Donovan-Warren.jpg

Former Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren isn't fazed by Mel Kiper's opinion that he would have been better served by returning to the Wolverines for his senior season. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Former Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren would have been better off staying in school for his senior season, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said in a conference call Wednesday.

But Warren, who led the Wolverines with four interceptions last year, said he’s comfortable with his decision to turn pro and focused on getting ready for next week’s NFL combine.

“I feel like I’m right up there talent wise with any cornerback that’s coming out,” Warren said Wednesday during a break from workouts at the Performance Gaines training facility in Westlake Village, Calif. “Just cause those guys had people around them and things went well for their team, my (play) at the combine and my ability, my interviews will speak for itself.

“Right now I’m focusing on that. Once I made that decision, it was full speed ahead just proving all those people wrong.”

Kiper said Warren “probably should have stayed” in school and would have helped his draft stock by returning for his senior season.

“If you even look back at the young kids that would have been maybe moving up to (next year’s draft) class, he still would have been right there at the top,” Kiper said. “That, to me, puts him in the category where right now you’re looking maybe third, fourth round as opposed to going back and being certainly one of the top two or three corners going into next year.”

Warren does not rank among Kiper’s top five cornerbacks for 2010, and Kiper said fellow underclassmen Joe Haden of Florida, Kareem Jackson of Alabama, Amari Spievey of Iowa and Dominique Franks of Oklahoma all could get drafted before Warren.

Haden, the No. 1 cornerback in the class, is projected as a top-10 pick.

Kiper praised Warren as “a physical corner” who “likes going head-to-head on an island with the best receivers in the country,” but knocked him for taking too many chances in coverage.

“If he had been a little bit more consistent in that area in terms of not allowing the big pass plays and big plays overall and being a little up and down, I would have said, ‘Hey, come out and be a second-round pick,’” Kiper said. “So I’d say, yeah, it probably would have been better for him to go back and maybe you could have been a first- or second-round pick guaranteed with a strong senior year.”

Warren still may end up being a high pick. He said he expects to run the 40-yard dash “somewhere in the 4.4s - 4.45 or lower” at the combine next week, and likely would solidify a spot in the top two rounds if he makes good on that time.

“It’s a real big week for me,” Warren said. “Basically, any guy in the combine, you just want to go out there, prove that you can compete with anyone out there.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 6:07 p.m.

I watched the quote top corners in the country and without a doubt had Michigan had the safeties around him he would be in that top 5. Don't sleep on Donovan he will be a phenomenal pro.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:15 p.m.

I think Kiper is right. Warren has not been any kind of dominant CB for Michigan despite his high ratings coming in. His coverage was good at times, but not consistent enough. Agreed, he would have "looked" better had we had better play from our safeties. But, he would have benefitted from another year of college football in my opinion.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

If he is still around in round 3, the Lions would be dumb not to take him.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 6:12 p.m.

talented kid with alot of size..I never understood how he got beat deep playin off 7yds...Honestly he'll be a much better pro then he was a college player..michigan db's tend to make good pros..I expect him to be off the board late in the 2nd or early 3rd..i like him better then every db the lion have other than maybe 41..( cant even remember his name)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 5:59 p.m.

You have to read between the lines with scouting reports. What Kiper (and many others) are saying about Warren is that he's a first-round talent with a low-round head. Instead of proving everyone wrong, Warren needs to prove he has the maturity to learn an NFL defensive scheme. Someone will jump at Warren in round two, maybe even round one. There's always a team or two drafting purely on the physical numbers. He just has a high chance of busting, that's all.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 4:41 p.m.

Hey look at it this way, if they don't think he is very good maybe the lions could scoop him up in a later round and be a great upgrade to what they have now! He didn't quite live up to his hype but I think with better saftey's he would have looked a lot better.


Wed, Feb 17, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Kiper made the classic mistake of only watching selected clips of Warren. If he had been a little bit more consistent in that area in terms of not allowing the big pass plays and big plays overall and being a little up and down..." Given Michigan's terrible safety play, 1) Warren needed to be aggressive to create turnovers/ make a play on D and 2)He never had help over the top. He should get more love for the simple fact that the back 7 were terrible last year (except for him and Woolfolk).