The on-field portion of the 2014 NFL Combine kicked off on Saturday with offensive linemen and tight ends working out for evaluators in attendance. Lets keep this short and sweet. Here are a few notes from day one:
*Michigan’s Taylor Lewan showcased his athletic ability by timing as the fastest offensive lineman at the 2014 NFL Combine, running 4.87 officially. The 6’7″ 309-pounder had the best broad jump (9’9″), while placing as a top 5 performer in the vertical jump and 3-cone drill. Got a little upright at times during some drills, but moved well throughout drills. Good posture and bending.
*Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson, at 6’5″ 332-pounds ran 4.92 (good enough for second best time), and repped 32 times with 35″ arms. Looked powerful in the lower half and drove well in pad drills. “Pad level” at point of attack in certain drills was particularly impressive, but had a slight tendency to overextend. Overall, strong day.
*Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio had arguably the best workout. Very fluid mover with good feet and hips. Ran well (4.97), plus had high marks in the broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. Extended arms well in pad drills.
*Top guard of the day was UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo. Fluid, fluid, fluid. Movement skills were up there with any of his fellow linemen, if not better. Tested very well in the 20-yard shuttle and performed particularly well in short-area movement drills. Second-round pick with potential to fit into the bottom portion of round one, supported it with a good workout.
*Johnny Football’s left tackle Jake Matthews entered the day with the distinction of being a potential top 3-5 selection and did nothing to harm that with his performance. Didn’t stand-out like some of his fellow linemen, but put together a professional workout and displayed a solid ability to square his frame in pad + mirror drills.
*Colorado State center Weston Richburg is someone I’ve been praising highly for quite a while now. He, like Su’a-Filo, was a standout with regards to transition movement. Fluid, able to stay balanced, and even bent pretty well. At 6’3″ and a shade under 300-pounds, he was able to exhibit strong short-area quickness.
*The big, physical University of Tennessee tackle Antonio Richardson was never going to be in his element at the combine, but competed well throughout the workout. Strong in pad drills that required him to make some contact and extended pretty well. Kept his feet under him well when driving. Decent agility.
*Similar to Tiny Richardson, another lineman who wasn’t at an advantage without the pads on was Stanford’s David Yankey. His pedestrian 5.48 time isn’t concerning, as he’s a strong blocker who extended his 34″ arms nicely in pad drills. He showed enough.
*It was very difficult not to take note of Tennessee State’s A.C. Leonard. The Florida transfer officially ran the fastest time with a 4.50 and was tied for the best positional broad jump at 10’8″. In drills he continued to display very natural movement ability while maintaining reliable hands throughout. If he can be as clean off the field as he was on it Saturday, he will be an interesting one moving forward.
*Notre Dame underclassman Troy Niklas didn’t run the 40, but participated in drills. He was one of the more eye-grabbing pass catchers of the group to me, exhibiting natural hands. Comfortably catches off-body and didn’t lose stride in the process during drills. Combine stats weren’t great, but he had a good day when you consider he was reportedly dealing with a strain.
*North Carolina product Eric Ebron ran the second best official time at 4.60, but reportedly tweaked a hamstring during his second 40-yard dash attempt. He was seen with an ice wrap on his right leg and did not workout.
*Colt Lyerla of Oregon ran well at 4.61 officially, but didn’t “wow” in drills like some may have expected, but showed off his athleticism quite well.
*Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro looked a little off-balance while running drills and hands were up and down throughout the day. Had a decent overall workout.
*Quarterback-turned-H back Trey Burton of Florida worked out with the tight ends and looked very athletic. He ran well (4.62) and his ability to get downfield and change direction was solid enough. He was clearly raw as a pass catcher and it showed in drills. An athlete without a position at the moment, but he has talent.
*C.J. Fiedorowicz, the big Iowa in-liner, did well in pad/block-mimicking drills and displayed a decent ability to catch underneath or short-passes. As expected, he struggled a little with the downfield catching drills and wasn’t always comfortable when locating the football.
*CSU’s Crockett Gillmore is coming off a good platoon role at the Senior Bowl and continued to display reliable hands in drills at the combine. Would have liked to see him run better (than an official 4.89), but overall his workout wasn’t bad.
*Cal H-back Richard Rodgers ran less than what I’d have expected at 4.87, but moved better than his time would indicated when participating in drills. Natural hands and fluid route runner, but I was disappointed not to see him make more of his physical skills during combine testing.