Here's a look at the 2013 Scouting Combine schedule:
2/20 - Day 1 Arrivals: Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL), Group 3 (TE) 2/21 - Day 2 Arrivals: Group 4 (QB, WO), Group 5 (QB, WO), Group 6 (RB) 2/22 - Day 3 Arrivals: Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL), Group 9 (LB) 2/23 - Day 4 Arrivals: Group 10 (DB), Group 11 (DB)
The kickers, punters and long-snappers are always the first group to take the field at the Scouting Combine. While this group is relatively unheralded there is a good chance that quite a few of them will hear their names called on Draft Day. Florida St. K Dustin Hopkins and Florida K Caleb Sturgis both looked like draftable prospects and shined on field goals and kickoffs. Sturgis in particular showcased a booming leg for such a relatively small guy. UCLA P Jeff Locke put his leg strength and directional ability on display and helped his cause while Louisiana Tech P Ryan Allen continued to prove he is one of the top specialists in this class. Hawaii LS Luke Ingram followed up a solid showing at the Senior Bowl with another strong performance in Indy and could come off the board in the late rounds. It's beginning to look like there will be an above average number of specialists selected this year and six seems like a pretty reasonable over / under.
Offensive Line Recap
It seems as though every year the offensive linemen are getting bigger and faster and this class was certainly no exception, with six blockers posting sub-5.0 forty times. The standouts were Arkansas-Pine Bluff OT Terron Armstead (4.71) and Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson (4.72), who both posted times more than two tenths of a second faster than anyone else. Now that is what you call separating from the pack! Johnson was already considered a Top 20 overall pick but could start generating interest as early as San Diego at #11 while Armstead may have worked his way into the top three rounds following standout performances at both the East / West Shrine Game and the Scouting Combine. Meanwhile Oregon OT / OG Kyle Long looked very athletic and also impressed in the positional drills. While Long’s 4.94 forty time was “only” a distant third behind Armstead and Johnson it would have been tied with Donald Stephenson for the fastest a year ago. Central Michigan OT Eric Fisher continued to close the gap on Luke Joeckel after following up an outstanding Senior Bowl week with another excellent performance at the Scouting Combine. One player who opened some eyes was Virginia Tech OT Vinston Painter, who ran a 4.95 and carried 306 pounds extremely well. Keep an eye on Colorado OT David Bakhtiari too, who came in at 6-4 ¼ and 299 pounds with 34-inch arms then ran a respectable 5.09 forty. Could the Top 100 be within reach? Cal C Brian Schwenke had a solid overall workout and is beginning to emerge as an early round possibility. On the other hand Wisconsin C / OG Travis Frederick and Glenville St. OL Mark Jackson disappointed, looking soft and sluggish while only managing to clock times in the 5.50+ range. North Carolina OG Travis Bond and Virginia OT Oday Aboushi didn’t look particularly great either. Florida St. OT Menelik Watson also failed to come through with the type of eye-popping workout that most expected. It’s not that Watson was awful but the England native and former college basketball player needed to show off some freakish measurables to help overcome an extreme lack of experience and solidify himself as a legitimate first rounder and the jury is still out. There were also a couple of notable results from the weigh-in. Alabama OT D.J. Fluker checked in at 339 pounds, which is 16 pounds less than he weighed at the Senior Bowl just a month ago. One of the biggest concerns with North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper is size after being generously listed at 295 pounds in college but the athletic Cooper weighed in at 311 pounds in Indy and shined on the field as well. As for the headliners of the group, neither Texas A&M OT Luke Joeckel or Alabama OG Chance Warmack were among the top performers at their respective positions but they certainly didn’t do anything to alter their status as two of the premier prospects in this class.
Tight End Recap
There are some who feel that tight end’s are the games best athletes and this group did their best to prove that point. The biggest story was Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame, who posted better numbers than Stanford’s Zach Ertz across the board. Eifert and Ertz are battling to be the first tight end selected and the fact that Eifert tested considerably better athletically than Ertz could be what ultimately separates the two on Draft Day. Gavin Escobar San Diego St. is one of a handful of players competing for the third spot behind Eifert and Ertz and even though he didn’t run quite as well as anticipated (4.84) the former Aztec star did perform well in the positional drills. Vance McDonald of Rice began ascending up draft boards at the Senior Bowl and that will likely continue after the athletic pass catcher ran a 4.69 at 6-4⅛ and 267 pounds. Nick Kasa of Colorado also showcased an extremely intriguing blend of size and speed, running a 4.71 at 6-5⅞ and 269 pounds. It’s also worth noting that Dion Sims of Michigan St. showed up in good shape, almost twenty pounds lighter than he was listed at in college, and ran faster than expected (4.75). Keep an eye on Jake Stoneburner of Ohio St. too because the former wide receiver is now up to 252 pounds and hasn’t lost any of that speed or athleticism. The fastest time was turned in by Chris Gragg of Arkansas, a classic H-Back type who should come off the board somewhere in the mid-to-late rounds. A couple of guys who struggled were Levine Toilolo of Stanford and Philip Lutzenkirchen of Auburn, both of whom ranked near the bottom of their group in the testing and also looked stiff in the positional drills.
All eyes were on Geno Smith of West Virginia, who needed to start making a case for why he should be a Top 10 and perhaps even the #1 overall pick after skipping the Senior Bowl. That mission was accomplished. That’s not to say Smith was perfect, but he checked out in terms of the triangle numbers (6-2⅜, 218, 4.59) while also participating in all of the positional drills and performing well. Smith still has some convincing to do between now and Draft Day but this was a big step in the right direction. Tyler Bray of Tennessee may have had the best performance of all the quarterbacks, showcasing the natural arm talent of a first round pick. Bray is a real wild card in this class but the former Vol definitely gave teams in need of a young signal caller something to think about. There is a chance that Bray inserted himself into the early second round conversation in Indy. E.J. Manuel of Florida St. began to heat up late in the Senior Bowl week and after winning MVP honors in Mobile last month carried that positive momentum over to the Scouting Combine. Manuel is undeniably the most impressive quarterback in this class physically, checking in at 6-4⅝ and 237 pounds with long arms, big hands and 4.65 speed. As always with Manuel there were some inconsistencies in the throwing session but the positives far outweighed the negatives. Don’t be surprised if Manuel is ultimately the second or third quarterback off the board in late April. Meanwhile the intriguing Matt Scott of Arizona was a bit of a revelation, showcasing all of the tools you look for in a developmental signal caller. Scott was already considered a late draftable prospect but the mid-rounds may now be within reach. As for the other high-profile signal callers, Mike Glennon of North Carolina St. and Tyler Wilson of Arkansas had plenty of good and bad moments which is basically their M.O. at this point, Ryan Nassib of Syracuse was solid but not spectacular and Landry Jones of Oklahoma continues to look like the odd-man out in that second / third tier of signal callers.
Wide Receiver Recap
The wide receiver workout is always one of the premier events at the Scouting Combine and as usual everyone was anxious to see the athletic pass catchers burn up the track in Indy. The big story this year was diminutive speed demons Tavon Austin of West Virginia and Marquise Goodwin of Texas, who both made a legitimate run at Chris Johnson’s modern day forty yard dash record (4.24). In the end Goodwin (4.27) and Austin (4.34) fell just short but they still displayed truly rare burst and acceleration. Both performed well in the positional drills as well but Austin in particular had a fantastic all-around workout and the first round talk continues to get louder. Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee tested like a freak, checking in at 6-1⅞ and 216 pounds then running a 4.42 and registering a 37-inch vertical. There was a hiccup or two in the positional drills but Patterson likely solidified his status as the top wideout in this class and a potential Top 10 overall pick. Robert Woods of USC came through with a much-needed standout performance, clocking a respectable 4.51 at 6-0⅜ and 201 pounds while looking very smooth in the workout overall. Woods has kind of been a forgotten man in recent months but this showing in Indy should reaffirm that early-to-mid second round grade. As expected DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson didn’t post a blazing forty time (4.57) but ”Nuk” impressed with a polished skill set in the positional drills. Justin Hunter of Tennessee was every bit as big (6-4, 196) and fast (4.44) as expected but struggled at times in the drills and probably didn’t do enough to push into the first round. Corey Fuller of Virginia Tech, who I have been singing the praises of for months, ran a 4.43 at 6-2¼ and 204 pounds and continues to climb up draft boards as a solid mid-round option with Top 100 potential. After a disappointing Senior Bowl week Denard Robinson of Michigan ran a little better than anticipated by clocking a 4.43 and may have jumped back into the top three rounds. Ryan Swope of Texas A&M really opened some eyes, running a 4.34 at 6-1⅛ and 205 pounds while also posting a 37-inch vertical. Most considered Swope to be a possession-type but those workout numbers may suggest a higher upside. Rodney Smith of Florida St. (6-4⅜, 225, 4.51) and Mark Harrison of Rutgers (6-2⅞, 231, 4.46) both caught the attention of onlookers by showcasing extremely intriguing blends of size and speed. A couple of other guys who outperformed expectations were Kenny Stills of Oklahoma (4.38) and Josh Boyce of T.C.U. (4.38) so look for scouts to go back and see if something was missed during their initial evaluations. There were some disappointments as well. Conner Vernon of Duke only managed to run a 4.68 and could slide into the late rounds after looking like a solid mid-rounder at one point. Ace Sanders of South Carolina (4.58) and Darius Johnson of S.M.U. (4.60) didn’t run particularly well but both play much faster on tape and Sanders compensated by making some highlight reel catches in positional drills.
Running Back Recap
For the most part this isn’t considered to be a great crop of running backs and in some ways that opinion was reaffirmed by workouts at the Scouting Combine, with none of the top runners really posting eye-popping numbers. Eddie Lacy of Alabama, who could be the first player off the board at the position, was unable to participate due to a hamstring injury and that didn’t help matters either. Both Giovani Bernard of North Carolina and Montee Ball of Wisconsin came through with the type of workouts that most expected. Bernard checked in at 5-8⅜ and 202 pounds, ran a respectable 4.53 and showcased a well-rounded skill set in the positional drills. Meanwhile Ball ran a 4.66 at 5-10½ and 214 pounds and failed to distinguish himself although he is clearly the type who is much better in pads than shorts. Christine Michael of Texas A&M drew rave reviews for his performance at the East / West Shrine Game and will likely continue to climb up draft boards after running a 4.54 at 5-10 and 220 pounds and enjoying a terrific all-around workout. If not for character concerns Michael would be a sure-fire Top 100 pick. Jonathan Franklin of UCLA has been flying under the radar despite an outstanding senior campaign but will likely start to get more ink after a strong performance in Indy. Franklin, who ran a 4.49 at 5-10 and 205 pounds, could be a Top 100 pick and is going to be selected ahead of a number of other more high-profile runners. At one point before injuries struck Knile Davis of Arkansas carried a first round grade in the eyes of some scouts but a disastrous junior season tempered that enthusiasm. However, after running a 4.37 at 5-11⅜ and 227 pounds Davis is now one of the most intriguing runners in this class and could begin an ascent back up draft boards. The underrated Kerwynn Williams of Utah St. also came through with an impressive all-around performance and is one of the top change-of-pace options in this class. Then of course there is Onterrio McCalebb of Auburn, who was initially credited with an unofficial 4.21 forty time by the NFL Network crew but ultimately checked in with “only” a 4.34. Despite that blistering speed McCalebb is still only a mid-to-late round value due to concerns about his size (168 pounds) and durability and his real value at the next level will likely come as a return man. While there wasn't a ton of amazing numbers posted by the running backs this year there were actually quite a few disappointments. Stepfan Taylor of Stanford is widely considered to be one of the top runners in this class but only managed to clock a 4.76. Nobody expected Taylor to run a 4.4 but that was definitely far worse than anticipated and could push him out of the top three rounds. The calling card of Clemson’s Andre Ellington is supposed to be speed so a 4.61 forty time certainly doesn’t mesh with what we see on film. That result is so far removed from what was expected that there almost has to be some underlying factor and Ellington will likely perform much better at his Pro Day. A couple of top underclassmen runners also let down, with Joseph Randle of Oklahoma St. and Jawan Jamison of Rutgers running 4.63 and 4.68 respectively. Needless to say mid-4.6 speed is not ideal for guys with relatively average size and both could now fall to the middle rounds. Ray Graham of Pittsburgh (4.80), Robbie Rouse of Fresno St. (4.80) and Rex Burkhead of Nebraska (4.73) were all excellent college players but their pro potential is likely limited. After all, small and slow is usually not a very good combination, which is especially true for Rouse who measured in at just 5-5¾.
Defensive Line Recap
Any conversation about the 2013 NFL Draft has to start with the defensive linemen because that is clearly the strength of this class. By and large that group lived up to their advanced billing at the Scouting Combine. The star of the show was Oregon DE Dion Jordan, who is emerging as one of the top prospects available regardless of position. A rangy athlete who could project to either defensive end or outside linebacker at the next level depending on the scheme, Jordan’s freakish blend of size (6-6¼, 248), speed (4.60) and athleticism all but ensures he won’t escape the Top 10 and the Top 5 overall (Philly?) could be within reach. While Jordan got more buzz one could make the argument that B.Y.U. DE Ezekiel Ansah was every bit if not more impressive. “Ziggy” ran slightly slower (4.63) than Jordan but was also 23 pounds heavier, checking in at 6-5¼ and 271 pounds. In fact, Ansah’s test results were eerily similar to the guy he has been compared to - Jason Pierre-Paul. At this point it will be a surprise if Ansah doesn’t join Jordan in the Top 10. Florida DT Sharrif Floyd also came through with the type of effort that you’d expect from such a highly-regarded prospect, weighing in at 6-2⅝ and 297 pounds then running a 4.92 while also looking great in the positional drills. One potential cause for concern with Floyd are his relatively short arms (31¾) but the darling of the scouting community is almost universally regarded as a Top 10 pick at this point. In fact, with the medical concerns now surrounding Utah DT Star Lotulelei there is a real chance that Floyd could be the first player off the board at his position. Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson was no slouch either (6-2½, 294, 5.02) and likely secured a spot in the top half of round one. S.M.U. DE Margus Hunt also opened a lot of eyes by running a 4.60 at 6-8⅛ and 277 pounds. The native of Estonia is still raw and doesn’t have the best tape but will likely get pushed up draft boards based on those measurables. However, it’s a buyer beware situation with Hunt because while he looks like Tarzan he too often plays like Jane. The same can also be said for Devin Taylor of South Carolina (6-7, 266, 4.75, 36-Inch Arms). Another über-talented pass rusher that had evaluators drooling was L.S.U. DE / OLB Barkevious Mingo, who ran a 4.58 at 6-4 ¼ and 241 pounds while effortlessly gliding around the field in the drills. There are certainly plenty of legitimate causes of concern with Mingo but it’s still difficult to not become enamored with that rare athleticism and unlimited potential. A number of other hybrids also impressed, including Corey Lemonier of Auburn (6-3 ⅜, 255, 4.60), Trevardo Williams of UConn (6-1 ¼, 241, 4.57) and Ty Powell of Harding (6-2 ⅛, 249, 4.64). For some reason North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams (6-2⅝, 313, 5.03) continues to be underrated despite a terrific senior season and strong showings at both the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine. Keep an eye on athletic Samford DT Nicholas Williams as a small school sleeper too, who created some buzz with an intriguing set of triangle numbers (6-4 ½, 309, 4.94) and a strong workout. Florida St. DE Bjoern Werner performed pretty well but even though his testing numbers were comparable to those of Chris Long coming out of college he didn’t look nearly as athletic or fluid in the drills. Finally, the biggest disappointment of this year’s Scouting Combine has to be Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore, who only put up an embarrassing 12 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press then ran a 4.95 forty before getting hurt on his second attempt and calling it a day. Most mock drafts have Moore as a Top 5-10 overall pick but the productive Aggies pass rusher will now most likely be leap-frogged by guys like Jordan, Ansah and perhaps others.
As the linebackers took the field at the Scouting Combine all eyes were on Manti Te’o of Notre Dame, who the media seems to be developing an almost Tim Tebow-esque fascination with. Te’o isn’t a physical freak and wasn’t expected to test off the charts so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see the Fighting Irish star run a 4.82 at 6-1¼ and 241 pounds. With that said Te’o looked solid in the positional drills and is reportedly interviewing extremely well with the teams. Meanwhile the two guys that Te’o is jockeying for position with on Draft Day failed to distinguish themselves, with Kevin Minter of L.S.U. posting similar triangle numbers (5-11¾, 246, 4.81) and the talented but troubled Alec Ogletree of Georgia putting up the best set of measurables of the three (6-2½, 242, 4.70) but not quite coming through with the standout performance that most expected. Every year there are always guys who emerge as “Workout Warriors”. These are players who test off the charts but for one reason or another weren’t particular productive or dominant in college. That description fits Cornelius Washington of Georgia perfectly. On the hoof Washington looks like a high first round pick, checking in at 6-4 and 265 pounds with a rocked up physique and running a 4.55 forty. However, despite those ridiculous measurables and sheer talent Washington only managed to record half a sack as a senior. Based on the film Washington probably grades out as a mid or perhaps even late rounder but don’t be surprised if some team becomes enamored with that potential and pulls the trigger much earlier. To nobody’s surprise Zavier Gooden of Missouri posted the fastest forty time for a linebacker with an official 4.47 while also throwing up 27 reps in the bench press and looking athletic in the drills, likely solidifying his status as a Day Two value. Jamie Collins of Southern Miss also impressed, running a 4.64 at 6-3½ and 250 pounds and broad jumping an absurd 11’7”. One prospect that outperformed expectations was Jon Bostic of Florida, who ran a 4.61 despite being regarded as more of an in-the-box thumper by most. Sio Moore of Connecticut (6-0⅝, 245, 4.65) is also beginning to generate some positive momentum after strong showings on the all-star circuit and fantastic workouts. A couple of guys that disappointed were Bruce Taylor of Virginia Tech, who couldn’t even crack 5.0, and Chase Thomas of Stanford, who looked stiff and only ran a 4.91. Unfortunately Arthur Brown of Kansas St. continues to be absent from the pre-draft process, now missing both the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine due to an injury. Of course the big story that everyone is watching involves Jarvis Jones of Georgia, who was indeed red-flagged by a number of teams during the medical checks. Jones also opted to wait for his pro day to work out despite admittedly being healthy and able. As long as a team is comfortable with Jones from a durability standpoint the guy is a sure-fire Top 10 pick but a Draft Day slide or maybe even an all-out freefall is still a very distinct possibility.
Defensive Back Recap
The Scouting Combine wrapped up with the defensive backs, which is always a great way to close out the event because speed is so important in the secondary. Alabama CB Dee Milliner is universally regarded as the top cover guy in this class but some were hesitant to slap a Top 10 grade on the Crimson Tide standout because there were some concerns about his speed. After running a 4.37 in Indy those concerns can now officially be laid to rest. Unfortunately Milliner struggled a bit in the positional drills but there is plenty of good film out there so nobody was particularly worried. Milliner’s most likely landing spot is the Lions at #5, although there is a chance that he won’t even last that long since the Chiefs, Jaguars, Raiders and Eagles could all potentially use a cornerback as well. Some clarity was also provided at the spots just behind Milliner. Florida St. CB Xavier Rhodes checked in at 6-1½ and 210 pounds then ran a 4.43, which should translate to a first round pick. Meanwhile Washington CB Desmond Trufant (5-11⅝, 190) followed up an outstanding performance at the Senior Bowl by running a 4.38. Look for a Rhodes / Trufant battle to be the second corner off the board and one could even sneak into the Top 20 overall. Unfortunately the questions about speed will only grow louder for Mississippi St. CB Johnthan Banks after running a 4.61, which could push the Jim Thorpe Award winner out of the first round. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was North Carolina St. CB David Amerson, who ran a 4.44 at 6-1 and 205 pounds. After a nightmare season in which he was routinely burnt for big plays there were some who felt that Amerson’s best fit at the next level might be at safety but that undeniably impressive display of timed speed means the debate will rage on for one of this year’s most polarizing prospects. Ex-L.S.U. CB Tyrann Mathieu (5-8¾, 186) is another controversial prospect who had an up and down day. The ”Honey Badger” ran a 4.50, which is about what was expected, then had some good and bad moments in the positional drills. Mathieu definitely displayed the best hands and ball skills of any of the defensive backs in attendance. Of course the interviews with teams were the most important aspect of this event for Mathieu and those are what will determine whether the talented but troubled star is ultimately a third rounder or a fifth rounder. Mississippi St. CB Darius Slay has been a favorite within the scouting community for a while now but had a coming out party in Indy, running a 4.36 at 5-11⅞ and 192 pounds. For those keeping track, that was the fastest forty time for a defensive back this year. It’s unlikely Slay will be selected before his more heralded teammate Banks but the gap isn’t as wide as some might think. At this point it doesn’t appear as though Slay will escape the top three rounds. Boise St. CB Jamar Taylor also solidified his status as a Top 100 pick by running a 4.39. Texas S Kenny Vaccaro (6-0, 214) clocked a solid but unspectacular 4.63 but should still be the first player selected at his position, most likely in the top half of round one. Matt Elam of Florida (5-9⅞, 208, 4.54) enjoyed a strong workout as well and should be either the second or third safety off the board in April. Southeastern Louisiana CB Robert Alford ran a 4.39 at 5-10 ⅛ and 188 pounds and that combined with a terrific Senior Bowl week should translate to the second or third round. If Alford had gone to Alabama or Ohio St. we’d be talking about a sure-fire first round pick. Miami (FL) CB Brandon McGee was one of the stars of the East / West Shrine Game and continued to generate positive momentum in Indy by running a 4.40 at 5-11 and 193 pounds. Other corners that opened eyes with their size and / or speed include Terry Hawthorne of Illinois (5-11¾, 195, 4.44), Dwayne Gratz of Connecticut (5-11⅛, 201, 4.47) and Steve Williams of Cal (4.42). Other notables at safety include Shamarko Thomas of Syracuse, who ran a 4.42 at 5-8 ⅞ and 213 pounds, and Earl Wolff of North Carolina St., who ran a 4.44 at 5-11¼ and 209 pounds, and both have emerged as potentially underrated prospects to keep an eye on. It wasn’t a good day for all of the safeties though and speed issues will likely push Tony Jefferson of Oklahoma (4.75), Robert Lester of Alabama (4.66) and Zeke Motta of Notre Dame (4.83) down draft boards into the middle (Jefferson) and late (Lester & Motta) rounds. With all that said there is no question that Dee Milliner's performance was the story of the day.
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