The NFL combine is currently taking place in Indianapolis, as NFL teams poke and prod potential NFL Draft Picks, as they look to assemble their draft boards in Indianapolis. Let’s take a look at who the winners and losers have been so far at the 2013 NFL combine, who has improved their stock the most, and who has hurt themselves:
(NOTE: The combine is still ongoing, and this post will be updated regularly throughout the week. Keep it here, and refresh for updates, there will be a steady stream of information posted on this “live” blog.)
Tavon Austin, WR (5’8 174 lbs) West Virginia - Austin proved that he is very fast, running a 4.34 40-yard-dash, but he also was impressive catching the football and really showed that he will be able to make plays on the next level. He is explosive, and will be a matchup nightmare in the pros, the kind of player that will have to be accounted for whenever he is on the field. Due to his small size, teams will have to be creative getting him the ball, but he will be a threat to score whenever he touches it.
Margus Hunt, DE (6’8 277lbs) SMU - There have been a lot of whispers about Margus Hunt, who came to the United States to train for shotput and discus, in which he won gold medals (in both events) at the 2006 World Junior Track & Field Championships. His coaches said he was a physical freak, and to just wait and see what he does at the combine, that scouts will be blown away. Hunt did not disappoint, he completed a combine high 38 repetitions of 225lbs on the bench press while running an absurd 4.60 40-yard-dash despite being 6’8 277lbs (the 4th fastest for all defensive lineman). He is as advertised, maybe better than advertised, as a freak of nature. Of course, the problem with Hunt is that he is not a good football player yet, as evidenced by his film and his performance at the senior bowl. However, if a team is willing to work with Hunt and allow him to develop, the sky is the limit for this kid down the road.
Nick Kasa, TE (6’6 270lbs) Colorado - A hot name right now, Kasa has been very impressive, both at the combine and in the film room and scouts have taken note. Kasa started garnering a lot of attention from scouts in the weeks leading up to the combine, and many draft experts currently seem smitten with the tight end prospect out of Colorado. He ran an impressive 4.71 40 yard-dash, did 22 repetitions on the bench press, and continues to climb the draft boards. He is definitely a name to know, because he is a player that scouts are buzzing about more and more, as we continue through the draft process.
Denard Robinson, WR (5’10 200lbs) Michigan - A name we all know, Denard Robinson had to impress at the combine, because the former star quarterback lacks a true position in the NFL. Well Robinson did just that, running a blistering 4.43 40-yard-dash and showing great measurables across the board, displaying his all-around athleticism. Teams are intrigued by Robinson’s ability to make plays, and coaches will need to find ways to get the ball in his hands, because he is very dangerous. He showed that he was raw in the wide receiver drills, but also showed potential, and some teams asked if he could play cornerback which Robinson did not dismiss. His upside is high as a specialty player like an Antwaan Randle-El or a Brad Smith, who can play receiver and return kicks, while also playing some quarterback. Teams are interested.
Ziggy Ansah, OLB/DE (6’5 271lbs) BYU - Scouts are absolutely drooling over Ansah, who has not played a ton of football, but is oozing with potential. He has risen more than any other prospect at this point of the draft process, and I am now convinced that he will be a top-ten draft pick when all is said and done. Ansah ran a very strong 4.62 40-yard-dash and was solid on the bench press with 21 reputations, but also showed his pure athleticism during positional drills. It may take him a few years to gain some experience, but he has superstar potential, and interest in him is very high.
Sharrif Floyd, DT (6’3 297lbs) Florida - NFL teams are enamored with Floyd, who showed that he is explosive for his size, by running a 4.92 40-yard-dash and turned heads with his athleticism at the NFL combine. There is some concern, Floyd has just 31 3/4 inch arms, which is far below the average of defensive tackles and may hurt his ability to shed blocks. However, there is now a chance that Floyd will be the first defensive tackle off of the board in April, especially with the developing situation with Star Lotulelei (see below).
Marquise Goodwin, WR (5’9 183lbs) Texas - As expected, Marquise Goodwin was the fastest player at the combine in the 40-yard-dash, running a blazing 4.27. He also has the best broad jump at the combine, but all of this was to be expected from the two time Texas Gatorade Track & Field Athlete of the Year, and he lived up to the high expectations. NFL teams love speed and explosion, and although he is small in stature, Goodwin has plenty of those key attributes to go around.
Ryan Swope, WR (6’205lbs) Texas A&M - Although productive in college, but once thought of as a no more than a mid-round prospect who had a shot to stick as a possession receiver, Swope proved he could be much more at the NFL combine. He measured a little bigger than expected, but proved he was much faster than scouts once thought by clocking in at 4.34 in the 40-yard-dash and displaying an excellent 37″ vertical leap. He also showed that he is a natural route runner and pass catcher, and turned a lot of heads with his overall performance at the combine, keep an eye on him in April.
Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE (6’4 241lbs) LSU - A defensive end in college, Mingo proved that he will be able to play standing up in the NFL, as he showed great speed with a 4.58 40-yard-dash and displayed excellent fluidity in linebacker drills. He has cemented himself as a top ten pick in April, and while he is still raw when it comes to football experience and needs to add strength, he should instantly become a double digit sack threat on Sundays. The sky is the limit for Mingo, he oozes potential, and should be a star in the NFL one day.
Lane Johnson, OT (6’6 303lbs.) Oklahoma - He probably will not catch Luke Jockel or Eric Fisher, but Johnson has cemented himself as third offensive tackle off of the board and a potential top 10-15 pick in April’s Draft with his performance in Indianapolis. Johnson ran the second fastest 40-yard-dash ever (4.75) for an offensive lineman and has the size and frame to be a prototypical left tackle in the NFL. He needs to get stronger (he did complete an impressive 28 reps on the bench press) and add some bulk, but he has the frame to do so, and his tape really holds up.
Corneilus Washington, LB (6’4 265lbs) Georgia - Washington is now as highly touted of a prospect as fellow Georgia linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, but he wowed NFL scouts at the combine, by running an shocking time in the 40-yard-dash (4.55) seconds and putting up 225lbs a jaw dropping 36 reps on the bench press. He was a solid player at Georgia but was overshadowed by his teammates, I expect him to be a prospectively on the rise after his stunning performance in Indianapolis.
Tyler Bray, QB (6’6 230lbs) Tennessee - There is no doubt that Tyler Bray is an immense talent with a huge arm and the prototypical NFL quarterback frame, and he really impressed scouts with his throwing ability at the combine. Bray does have some red flags, both medically and off the field, however scouts saw a quarterback who can make every NFL throw. He is rising quickly in a weak quarterback crop, he has the tools to be a good NFL starter with some development and maturity.
David Amerson, CB (6’1 205lbs) NC State - David Amerson is clearly a ball hawk, he had 13 interceptions in 2011, but did not match those totals in 2012. In fact he had a sub par 2012 season, was abused by Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee, and there was talk of him moving to safety in the NFL due to slow foot speed. He shut up his detractors at the combine, running 4.38 in the 40-yard-dash and completing 15 reps on the bench, strong numbers for a corner with great size for the position. He has thrust himself back into the first round discussion with his workout in Indianapolis.
Dee Milliner, CB (6′ 202lbs) Alabama - At first I thought that Milliner, who revealed that he has a torn labrum in his shoulder that will require surgery after the combine, would end up on the losers list because of the injury, but instead he decided to run the 40-user-dash and ran a blazing 4.31. One of the fastest times at the combine. One of the biggest questions about Milliner was his top end speed, and he displayed plenty, proving he should be the first cornerback drafted and that he is worthy of a potential top five selection.
Xavier Rhodes, CB (6’2 210lbs) Florida St. - I was one of Rhodes detractors before the combine, saying he had to run well before I would consider him in the first round, well he did. Rhodes has elite size for the position, as one scout said “That’s what a cornerback is supposed to look like” then he ran a 4.41 40-yard-dash. I would not be shocked if he is the second cornerback selected in April’s draft and think he comes off the board in the teens.
Other Cornerbacks. Several other cornerbacks improved their stock at thr combine, including Desmond Trufant (6′ 190lbs, Washington 4.38 40-yard-dash) who is on the first round bubble, Jamar Taylor (5’11 192lbs, Boise St. 4.39 40-user-dash) who is a second rounder and Darius Slay (6′ 192lbs, Mississippi St. 4.36 40-yard-dash) are examples of three players that made strong impressions and boosted their draft stock. The cornerback class is not strong at the top, but it is deep, and you can find very good players with high upside in the middle rounds.
Star Lotulelei, DT (6’2 311lbs) Utah - A scary situation here for the former All-American, who is projected to be a top five pick by many experts, a test revealed that the left ventricle in his heart was only pumping at about 44% efficiency. The normal range is 55%-70%, so Lotulelei will not be allowed to work out until he has further testing done and this issue is resolved. He did impress NFL teams however, by staying upbeat, and remaining confident that he would be fine and planned to impress everyone at his March 20th Pro day. Even if Lotulelei checks out medically, do teams in the top five really want to risk a player who may be at risk of a serious heart issue, and when does he become worth the risk? How serious is it? Will be play football again? Will he be fine? Lots of questions need to be answered before draft day.
Jarvis Jones, OLB/DE (6’2 242lbs) Georgia - One of the most productive defensive players in college football last year, and he was likely to be a top five draft pick in April, if his well documented spinal stenosis was a non-issue. This turned out not to be the case, and several scouts expressed grave concerns over Jones’ spinal stenosis, after reviewing the medical exams at the combine. I have heard some scouts go as far as saying that they will pull Jones off of their draft board entirely and that Jones should expect a Da’Quan Bowers like plummet on draft day. Bowers if you remember, was projected to be a top five pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he fell to the 51st pick (second round) due to concerns with his knee. Jones could be in for a similar free fall on draft day due to this back issue.
Damontre Moore, OLB/DE (6’4 250lbs) Texas A&M - There was a point in time when many scouts had Moore pegged as a surefire top-ten pick in April’s draft, but he began to slide even before the combine after studying his tape, and he has done nothing to stop that slide in Indianapolis. Moore was able to complete just 12 reps of 225lbs on the bench press, and embarrassing number for a man who weighs 250lbs, then ran a slow 4.90 40-yard-dash before pulling up lame. He will need to improve on those numbers at his Pro Day, scouts are disappointed and wonder if he is taking the draft process seriously. Showed up to Indianapolis unprepared, which teams and scouts absolutely hate. Another problem with Moore is the fact that he is not a standout on tape, and NFL teams are concerned with how productive he can be in the big leagues, which is causing him to drop on draft boards.
The Running Backs - I am not going to bother to list them all, because as a group, the entire running back class at the combine was extremely disappointing in Indianapolis. Remember that the consensus top back in the draft, Alabama’s Eddie Lacy, did not work out due to a quad injury. Out of the rest of the running backs, just four of them broke the 4.50 mark in the 40-yard-dash, which was borderline shocking. Knile Davis from Arkansas was impressive by running a 4.37 at 225lbs and benching 31 reps, however he will not be drafted until the later rounds do to serious injury concerns. It was already well known that Davis was an absolute monster in workouts, but can never stay healthy. After he and Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb (4.34 but still considered a later round prospect) the group varied from performing about as expected (Le’Veon Bell, Jonathan Franklin, D.J. Harper, Cierre Wood) to disappointing (Giovani Bernard, Kenjon Barner, Montee Ball, Andre Ellington, Joseph Randle, Jawan Jamison, Theo Riddick). Following their performances at the combine, I would think that Eddie Lacy is the only running back with a shot to be selected in the first round of the draft.
Manti Teo, LB (6’1 241lbs) Notre Dame - The Fighting Irish star came off well during the interview process, as he faced loads of questions about his personal life following his “fake dead girlfriend scandal” and scout came away impressed, but Te’o forgot to perform on the turf in Indianapolis. First he weighed in at just 241lbs, much lighter than his listed weight of 255lbs, which should have made him faster. Te’o did not participate in the bench press due to a stinger suffered in Notre Dame’s National Title Game loss to Alabama, then he ran a 4.82 40-yard-dash, which placed him 22nd out of 26 possible linebackers. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was notably unimpressed. Te’o has a lot of work to due if he wants to work his way back into the first round of the NFL Draft and must excel at his Pro Day, there are questions not only about his personal life, but also his ability to compete in the NFL.
Jonathan Banks, CB (6’2 185lbs) Mississippi State - There had been buzz that, with a good showing at the combine, the long and lean Banks would be the second cornerback off of the board. Ouch. A 4.59 40-user-dash hurts badly, plus he completed just 10 reps on the bench press. Banks hurt himself a lot more than he helped himself this week, and he has a lot of making up to do before the draft, if he wants to be the second cornerback selected.
SportSmasher 2013 NFL Draft Content:
2013 NFL Draft: Ranking The Pass Rushers (02.14.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft: Version 4.0 (02.14.2013)
2013 NFL Draft Big Board (Version 1.0) (02.08.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 3.0) (01.24.2013)
Geno Smith: Dispelling The NFL Draft Myths (01.17.2013)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 2.0) (11.30.2012)
2013 NFL Mock Draft (Version 1.0) (10.19.2012)
Other NFL Draft Links:
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