There weren’t as many “losers” this year as there have been in years past and I think that speaks to how athletically impressive everyone is now-a-days. The winners are more difficult to narrow down, but I selected three for each day, except for day 2. If you want to see more in-depth recaps on guys who helped themselves and see some clips from the Combine, check out each of my daily recaps that are linked at the end of this post. There were plenty of more winners than just the 13 I listed.
Day 1 Biggest Winners:
Taylor Lewan, LT, University of Michigan- Taylor Lewan showed up to the Combine and was the fastest offensive lineman there. His 4.87 40 with a 1.64 10-yard split is very impressive given his height. A 30.5″ vertical and 29 reps on the bench isn’t bad either, and he certainly brought himself into the conversation for best tackle.
Greg Robinson, LT, Auburn- Robinson is a complete freak of nature. At 6’5″ 332 lbs, a 4.92 40 with a 1.68 10-yard split and 32 reps on the bench is absurd. Robinson proved he has the highest ceiling of the offensive linemen in the draft and quite frankly, should be the first tackle taken in the draft. To be able to move like that at that size is extremely rare.
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina- Ebron wanted to run a sub 4.5 40, but a 4.6 40 as a tight end is nothing to turn your nose up at. Ebron ended up tweaking a hamstring during his second 40, so he didn’t go through the drills. His measurables were good enough to give him a huge day though. 24 reps on the bench, 10′ broad jump and a 32″ vertical at 6’4″ 250 lbs is going to make him a lock for a first round pick.
Day 1 Biggest Losers:
Cyril Richardson, LG, Baylor- Richardson has not had a good offseason. Once thought to be a first or second round pick, I’ll be shocked if he goes before round 3. Richardson is 6’4″ 329 lbs but had a 5.36 40 with a 1.82 10-yard split, 25 reps on the bench, 25.5″ vertical and a 7’7″ broad jump. He’s not strong or explosive and that’s what you need to be when you’re a road grading guard.
Cyrus Kouandjio, LT, Alabama- Kouandjio had a bad day from the stand point that he was failed medically by multiple teams. On top of that, he weighed in at 6’6″ 322 lbs and ran a 5.59 40 with a 1.79 split. He added 21 reps on the bench, a 27.5″ vertical and an 8′ broad jump. Not great numbers for a guy with a questionable knee, according to multiple teams. He’s a bit behind the clear-cut top 3 tackles at this point.
UPDATE: Interesting update from Alabama’s Pro Day.
Day 2 Biggest Winners:
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern- McKinnon showed up to the Combine and announced himself as one of the most impressive athletes invited. At 5’8″ 209 lbs he ran a 4.41 40 and then added 32 reps on the bench, a 40.5″ vertical and an 11′ broad jump. The only way to describe McKinnon is explosive. He’s going to be a developmental guy position-wise, since he was a quarterback in college, but he’ll be worth the pick.
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State- Originally wasn’t going to include Archer but he’s too fast not to discuss. Archer came in at 5’7″ 173 lbs and ran a 4.26 40 with 20 reps on the bench, a 38″ vertical, and a 10’2″ broad jump. He may be small, but he can run like the wind. He can change direction on a dime and is going to be an interesting player at the next level with the ball in his hand.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M- Evans was already thought of as the second-best wide receiver in the draft, but posting a 4.53 40 at 6’4″ 231 lbs with 35 1/8″ arms and a 37″ vertical gives him a massive catch radius. He’s going to be a hot commodity in the draft and will give any team an impressive threat.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech- I’m not a fan of Thomas as a quarterback, but given his measurables, he could develop into a good quarterback in the right system. Thomas measured in at 6’6″ 248 lbs and ran a 4.61 40-yard dash. That’s impressive for a guy that size and the fact that he had a 35.5″ vertical just adds to that. If he can get more accurate as a passer and has a good mentor, he could be a good player one day.
Day 2 Biggest Losers:
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU- Landry had a very disappointing day for a wide receiver at the Combine. He came in at 5’11” 205 lbs and ran a 4.77 40 and only had a 28.5″ vertical. When you compare that to the numbers other receivers had, that’s not very good at all. His Pro Day is going to be a big determinant of how much his stock drops because of his apparent lack of explosiveness.
Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky- Andrews was a very productive back at Western Kentucky but his Combine numbers were disappointing. To run a 4.82 40 just shows a lack of breakaway speed, though his 1.68 10-yard split isn’t bad. He also only had a 29.5″ vertical, further showing his lack of explosiveness. He’ll still get picked in the draft, but his Combine numbers didn’t do him any favors. Good thing he ran for 1,730 yards last year.
Day 3 Biggest Winners:
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh- Probably the biggest winner of the entire Combine next to Greg Robinson in my mind. He ran a 4.68 40 (1.59 10-yard split) at 285 lbs and then added 35 reps on the bench is impressive; not to mention he had a 32″ vertical. Those are serious freak-like numbers for a man that size and he easily solidified himself as a first round pick.
Howard Jones, DE/OLB, Shepherd- At 6’2″ 235 lbs, Jones ran a 4.60 40 with a 1.58 10-yard split. He then had 21 reps on the bench with a 40.5″ vertical and a 10’4″ broad jump. Another explosive athlete from a small school that looked very versatile in drills. He may be a bit raw as a player, but you can’t teach that kind of athleticism.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College- Another athletic freak, Pierre-Louis posted a 4.51 at 6′ 234 lbs. He added 28 reps on the bench with a 39″ vertical and a 10’8″ broad jump. He’s not a big linebacker, but he has the athleticism necessary to make up for his lack of height. His on-field drills, coupled with his numbers, make him a winner at the Combine.
Day 3 Biggest Losers:
Michael Sam, DE, Missouri- A very average day numbers-wise with a 4.91 40, 17 reps on the bench, and a 25.5″ vertical. Sam has now pidgeon-holed himself as a pass rushing 4-3 defensive end. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it limits his versatility at the next level. Versatility is a huge plus to catch on with NFL teams, especially if you’re not going to be an early pick.
Jonathan Brown, OLB, Illinois- Brown’s 6′ 238 lbs, ran a 5.03 40 and only put up 18 reps on the bench with a 31″ vertical and a 9′ broad jump, not very good for a linebacker. It’s not the end of the world, Brandon Spikes turned out just fine, but Brown does have his work cut out for him with these types of numbers.
Day 4 Biggest Winners:
Darqueze Dennard, CB, MSU- Dennard had one of the most important 40-yard dash’s of anyone at the Combine, because as I said before his long speed was the biggest question mark. Posting a 4.51 40 answers that question and his press ability is unquestioned. He’ll be a physical corner and a team like Seattle would be perfect for his abilities and scary for every other team in the NFL.
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State- Gilbert will undoubtedly be the first corner picked in the draft and his day at the Combine solidified that. Weighing in at 6′ 202 lbs and running a 4.37 40 is fantastic and adding 20 reps on the bench, a 35.5″ vertical and a 10’6″ broad jump further showcases his magnificent ability. His smooth movement in coverage and return ability will make him a coveted asset, though he may not return kicks in the NFL.
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU- Verrett moved up big time with his performance at the Combine in my opinion. Verrett may only be 5’9″ 189 lbs, but with a 4.38 40, a 39″ vertical and a 10’8″ broad jump, his athleticism is quite impressive. His explosive first step was on full-display during his drills and if he were 6′, he might be discussed as the best corner in the draft. Working out with a torn labrum says quite a lot about your work ethic too.
Day 4 Biggest Losers:
Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois- Not working out while Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have great days and solidify their spots as the #1 and #2 safeties is not exactly what you would call a good day.
That all being said, just remember the Combine isn’t the end all-be all, after all it doesn’t measure heart.
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
Related: 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 1: Offensive Linemen, Tight Ends, Special Teamers