The 2012 NFL Combine wrapped up in Indianapolis today and some players have made themselves a lot of money by greatly improving their stock during the combine workouts, while others have hurt themselves with poor performances. Time to break this down stock watch style.
Dontari Poe – NT, Memphis - Before the combine, Poe was already being mentioned as a probable first round pick, but the massive (6’3 346lb) defensive tackle cemented himself in as an early selection with a jaw dropping performance on Indy. Poe completed 44 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press then ran a 4.85 40 yard dash, an absolutely absurd number for a man his size. Poe now has a great shot to be a top ten pick and the centerpiece of a defensive front. 3-4 teams such as Miami, Kansas City, Dallas and the Jets will have major interest. His lack of production on the field may hurt him somewhat, but he is now a first round lock.
Melvin Ingram – OLB/DE, South Carolina - A fiery leader who is an excellent natural athlete, I have always been a big fan of Ingram. He was always a first rounder, however he solidified his spot as an early first rounder in Indianapolis. Ingram weighed in at a 261 lbs, ran a 4.79 40 yard dash and stood out in position drills, looking explosive and fluid. If I had to guess, Ingram will be selected somewhere between the 7th and 16th pick in April.
Stephen Hill – WR, Georgia Tech - Going into the combine I thought Hill was a mid round prospect, who was nothing more than a big target (6’4 215lbs), however he wowed scouts in Indy with an incredible 4.36 40 yard dash, one of the fastest players at the combine and followed that up by catching everything in drills. Hill has leapfrogged many smaller, slower targets, because you can’t teach size. He is in the conversation at the start of the second round right now, and I would not be shocked if he’s selected late round one.
Josh Robinson – CB, UCF - The prospect that may have had the most impressive combine, Robinson blew scouts away by running the best 40 time at the combine (4.33) while posting the second best broad jump (11’1) and vertical leap (38.5″). Robinson is hardly an unknown as some scouts have suggested, he is a talented player with good size (5’10 199lbs) who worked out much better than expected, throwing himself into the second round mix.
Fletcher Cox – DT, Mississippi State - One of my favorite players in this draft since the process started, Cox had an excellent combine as I expected and solidified his status as a first round pick. He measured in at 6’4 298lbs, did 30 reps of 225lbs on the bench press and ran an impressive 4.79 in the 40 yard dash. The more film scouts watch of this kid, the more they will like his disruptive and violent nature, and I expect his rise to continue. Do not be shocked if Carolina considers him as early as ninth overall.
Travis Benjamin – WR, Miami - Always a deep threat at “The U” the diminutive (5’10 172lbs) wideout ran a blazing 4.36 seconds in the 40 yard dash and exhibited similar speed during position drills. He is also an electric return man, which really adds to his value, and he has moved up on my board from the late rounds into the middle rounds. He could become the next great return man in a long line from the University of Miami.
Nick Perry – DE/OLB, USC - The former top recruit was expected to wow scouts at the combine and he did not disappoint, weighing in at a chiseled 271 lbs and running in the 4.5’s in the 40 yard dash, while displaying a 38.5 inch vertically leap. Perry will be a first round selection in April, but I would be wary when selecting him. Perry has always had the talent, however he disappears at times. I think he’ll be a solid pro but do not think he has superstar potential. Prove me wrong, Nick. Prove me wrong.
Kirk Cousins – QB, Michigan State - Cousins will be the Andy Dalton of the 2012 draft. He’s a smart, accurate quarterback whose value will rise as the draft approaches, and I think he ultimately lands in the second or third round. I just do not think Cousins has the arm strength that Dalton possesses and compare him more to Chad Pennington, who will need to get by on his knowledge of the game and accuracy.
Stephon Gilmore – CB, South Carolina - A player that I have always had a first round grade on, but was not getting a lot of buzz before the combine, Gilmore exceled in Indy running a (4.44) 40 yard dash, measuring in at 6′ 190lbs and impressing during position drills. Due to a combination of Gilmore’s solid performance and character concerns with both Janoris Jenkins and Dre Kirkpatrick, Gilmore is right back in the mix to be the second cornerback drafted.
Michael Floyd – WR, Notre Dame - A stellar combine performance, combined with the struggles of Baylor’s Kendall Wright, have made Floyd clearly the second wide receiver on my board (just behind OKST’s Justin Blackmon). Floyd measured big at 6’3 220lbs and was able to run a 4.47 40 yard dash. He is clearly a first round selection and the Bears will do backflips if he is still available as a big target for Jay Cutler with the #19th pick in round one.
Mike Martin – DT, Michigan - Another of my favorite players throughout the draft process, Martin was excellent at the Senior Bowl, and followed that up with an excellent combine. At 6’1 306 lbs Martin completed 36 reps on the bench press and ran 4.88 in th 40 yard dash. He plays with excellent leverage and penetrates well, and I think his name will be called by the middle of the second round if not sooner.
Lamar Miller – RB, Miami - After Alabama star Trent Richardson, the second running back slot was wide open going into Indianapolis, however Miller ended the competition with his combine performance. Miller measured in at 5’11 212lbs and surprisingly had the fastest 40 yard dash amongst running backs with a 4.40. The Bengals could be looking at Miller with their #21 pick, and if he can stay healthy, he would be a fantastic component to their young offense.
Luke Kuechly – LB, Boston College - I have been critical of Kuechly during the draft process, too critical, and it was a mistake on my part. I did not think that the tackling machine would perform as well as he did at the combine, I thought he would slide into the second round of the draft, and I was wrong as his numbers leap off the page. Kuechly measured in at 6’3 242lbs, ran a ridiculous 4.58 40 yard dash, had a 10’3″ broad jump and a 38″ vertical jump. I saw the production on the field, but did not expect this type of athleticism in Indianapolis. He is a lock for the middle of the first round, and he totally showed me up.
Vontaze Burfict – LB, Arizona State - Entering the 2011 season Burfict was supposed to be a lock first round pick who might be the best defensive player in the country. He is a punishing hitter and a physical freak who made plays from sideline to sideline. He was also known to be a knucklehead who made a lot of unnecessary penalties and had questionable work ethic and character concerns off of the field. Burfict showed up at the combine looking out of shape and overweight, then ran two horrible 40 yard dashes (4.98 & 5.01) confirming scouts worst fears about this with ethic. I have heard that some teams have pulled Burfict off of their draft boards completely, and although I’m fairly certain he will get drafted eventually on physical talent alone, he must really impress scouts at a critical Pro Day.
Kendall Wright – WR, Baylor - I was surprised when I saw Wright at the combine, because I expected RGIII’s favorite target to be the fastest wide receiver in Indianapolis, and his performance was nothing short of disconcerning. Wright struggled in the 40 yard dash (4.61 while many predicted he would break 4.4) and looked a little doughy while measuring in 5’10 196lbs. Wright had a chance to be the second wide receiver drafted, however due to his lack of height and explosiveness, I think he slides to day two.
Riley Reiff – OT, Iowa - Projected as the second tackle off the draft board, Rieff looked solid (6’6 313lbs) and performed well at the combine, however I’ve heard that several organizations do not think he can hold up at tackle in the NFL, and they have moved him to guard on their draft board. I wonder if this is a little “Robert Gallery Syndrom”e from some scouts, since both are tackle prospects from Iowa and Galery was awful at tackle but eventually became an outstanding guard. If a team thinks Rieff can become a stalwart at right tackle, he could be a top ten selection. However if scouts are covinced that he is better off at guard, he could be waiting a long time to hear his name called in April.
Janoris Jenkins – CB, Northern Alabama - Do not get me wrong, Jenkins had great workouts in Indy, running a 4.44 and looking like one of the best players on the field during position drills. However, he struggled during interviews and scouts are not convinced he is past his character issues including three arrests, fathering four children with three different women and being dismissed from the University of Florida. I am fully expecting a slide down the draft boards for Jenkins, his character concerns make him a big gamble, despite his high skill level.
Pete Konz – C, Wisconsin – I was really surprised and disapointed when I saw the peformance of Pete Konz. There is no way a 6’5 314lbs center who was one of the most dominant run blockers on when of the best offenses in the country should manage only 19 reps on the bench press. I am sure that Konz is extremely disapointed in his performance and I expect him to peform much better at his Pro Day, but the pressure is on. He was considered a possible late first round pick, and he will slide down the boards if he does not improve on his combine results.
Devon Still – DT, Penn State – From day one of the draft process, I never understood why the heck Still was being projected so high, and again the combine has proven me right (see my twitter timeline for proof). Still was projected as early as the lowteens in some mock drafts, and while his numbers were not terrible (6’5 303lbs, 5.08 40 yrd, 26 reps on bench) other defensive tackles have clearly leapfrogged him. I would not be shocked if Still was a 3rd round pick when all is said and done.
Zebrie Sanders – OT, Florida State - Before the combine, many scouts thought Sanders had a shot to sneak into the first round with a stellar performance from what was perceived to be an athletic left tackle prospect. Well the 6’6 320lb Sanders struggled, running a 5.41 40 yard dash and struggling during position drills. He was often off balance and was easily handled and beaten off the edge. Sanders looks the part but there is no doubt that he is a developmental prospect who is a few years away from competing for a starting job.
Vinny Curry – DE/OLB – Marshall - There was a point early in the draft process when some analysts projected Curry as the best pass rusher in the draft and a potential first round pick. Curry measured at 6’3 266lbs and ran just a 4.98 in the 40 yard dash which is slow if he is going to conver to an outside linebacker in the 3-4. In my opinion Curry had to excel to have a shot in the first round, he did not, and now I think he is a mid-late second rounder.
Mohamed Sanu – WR, Rutgers - There was talk of Sanu being a late first round pick, and while I do think he can be a productive Pro, he struggled at the combine with a 4.67 40 yard dash. He still has excellent hands and solid size at 6’2 211lbs, but that 40 yard dash time will cost him. I think Sanu now lands somewhere in the third round, and he needs to have an excellent Pro Day to regain his stock.
Michael Brockers – DT, LSU - I am a huge fan of Michael Brockers, he is a massive (6’5 322lbs) and athletic defensive tackle who I do think will eventually be an impact player in the NFL. I just think he should have gone back to LSU for another year of development, and this was evident at the combine. Brockers managed just a 5.36 40 yard dash and just 19 reps on the bench press, and he was shown up by the likes of Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe and Mike Martin. Brocker is going to be a great pro, but he is a few years away, so if I’m a coach with some job security Brockers is a clear target. However, if I need to win now and need an impact guy right away, I would look towards Cox or Poe instead.
NOTE: Updated Post-Combine NFL Mock Draft coming on Thursday 3/1. Getcha Popcorn Ready!!!