Obviously this is far later than I would have liked to be posting this, but exams were a bit more of a pressing need. The big key to take away from the NFL Combine is that a bad Combine won’t kill your stock, but a good one can help you out a lot. The Combine is just a small part of the draft process. It’s more important for the lesser-known guys to have good days than the big names, because the big names are highly touted for a reason. The eye in the sky does not lie, and game tape is still the best way to determine a player’s abilities.
The NFL Scouting Combine consists of 11 groups each holding certain positions that take the field for drills over the course of four days. Group one has kickers, special teamers, and some offensive linemen. Group two is all offensive linemen, and group three is the tight ends. Groups four and five consist of quarterbacks and wide receivers, and the running backs are in group six. Groups seven and eight consist of defensive linemen and group nine has the linebackers. Groups 10 and 11 hold the defensive backs.
The big three offensive lineman, Taylor Lewan, Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews all checked the boxes on their day at the NFL Combine. Lewan showed off his athleticism, running the fastest 40 of all of the offensive lineman. When going through drills he looked a bit tight in the hips, but he still has explosive power and athleticism that makes him a highly coveted player. Running a 4.87 40, with a 10-yard split of 1.64 and adding 29 reps on the bench with a 30.5” vertical is impressive.
Robinson’s combine was simply outstanding, posting a 4.92 40 time at 332 pounds, which is absurd. His 1.68 split with 32 reps on the bench and a 28.5” vertical is scary for a guy that big. Robinson is a bit more raw than Jake Matthews at this point, but I think that Robinson’s Combine moved him into the conversation for best tackle available. Robinson has the highest ceiling in the draft and it wouldn’t surprise me if he is the first tackle taken off the board.
Matthews has been the most-talked about offensive tackle and with good reason. His Combine was nothing amazing, but it showed why he is talked about so highly. Posting a 5.07 40, with a 1.70 10-yard split, 24 reps on the bench and a 30.5” vertical aren’t amazing numbers, they just confirm what is already known. All three of these offensive lineman will go in the Top 10, unless there is a run on quarterbacks where teams reach. It would be a mistake, but it also wouldn’t surprise me.
Michael Schofield was another player that stepped up his performance and since the Senior Bowl, his stock has been on the rise. Schofield ran well at the Combine with a 5.01 time. He showed fluidity in his movements and his versatility between right tackle and right guard will help him get drafted in the 3rd or 4th round.
Seantrel Henderson is one of the most intriguing draft prospects. If you can keep him motivated and help him develop, he will be a solid right tackle. He’s athletic and absolutely massive. At 6’7” 331 lbs, a 5.14 40 with a 1.71 10-yard split is absurd. He can move well and even though he’s a bit stiff in his movements, he’s a player when he wants to be.
Cyrus Kouandjio had a rough Combine, multiple teams failed him physically because of his surgically repaired knee. He needs to work on pass protection and was slow and stiff in his movements, but he’s a road grader. That being said, there are teams that have taken him off their board because he failed his physical and that is going to limit his landing spots. He’s definitely one of the big losers of the Combine, but not because of anything that he can really control.
UPDATE: Interesting update from Alabama’s Pro Day.
Cyril Richardson was once thought to be one of the top offensive guards at the start of this season but he has fallen off the map. He’s extremely slow, stiff and is a liability in pass protection. At the Combine he ran a 5.36 40 (1.82 10-yard split) and only put up 25 reps on the bench at 6’4” 329 lbs. At that size, if you’re going to be slow, you need to put up more reps on the bench. Obviously it’s tougher to do when you have long arms like Richardson, but as a road grading offensive lineman, you’d think he’d be stronger.
Other notable offensive lineman with good Combines: Gabe Jackson, Gabe Ikard
Here are the measurables for all of the offensive linemen:
Eric Ebron ran a great 40-yard dash time and posted a 4.60, but unfortunately he hurt himself and was unable to participate in any of the drills. It’s not ideal, but it won’t hurt him much. The 40 time confirmed his on-the-field speed and has solidified him as the best available tight end in this year’s NFL Draft.
Jace Amaro, one of the top 3 tight ends, had a good Combine from a measurables stand point. Posting a 4.74 40 time with 28 reps on the bench. He’s very solid athletically and is going to be a mismatch like Jimmy Graham. During drills Amaro had some drop issues and ran a few poor routes. It’s not going to be the end of the world or greatly affect his stock, but he certainly didn’t do himself any favors with that.
Colt Lyerla is an intriguing prospect. He’s a stud athletically, but he has major off-the-field issues. He ran a 4.61 40 with 15 reps on the bench and a 39” vertical, but getting arrested for cocaine possession after quitting on your college football team is no-joke. It’s going to take a strong organization and a solid locker room to keep Lyerla in line and make sure he stays on track and keeps developing.
Here are the measurables for the tight ends:
Also,this clip shows you that the official 40 times might not be all that official. Just some food for thought.
Michael Sam was also the big story of the day, getting a chance to speak to the media. Between he and Clowney, it was the most populated media sessions the Combine has ever had. Here’s the video of Sam’s press conference, definitely respect his attitude and poise at the podium.
It’s too bad the media is stirring the pot and wondering if a locker room can handle a gay NFL player. According to Deion Sanders, there was a gay player on every team that he played on and every one knew about it. None of them care because they all want to win. Guys will play with sworn enemies if it is the only way that they can win.
I figured this was as good of a place as any to put this, but Doug Baldwin went on an absolutely epic rant about the NFL Combine. I don’t completely agree with it, but I can see where he is coming from.
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Backs
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Line and Linebackers
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 2: Quarterbacks, Runningbacks and Wide Receivers