Tag Archives: Combine

2014 NFL Combine Notes: Quarterback, Wide Receiver & Running Back

Things heated up at the 2014 NFL Combine on Sunday, as we witnessed an infusion of speed with the offensive playmakers. We saw a few of the “name” quarterbacks participate in throwing drills, while others opted to hold out until pro days. This year’s wide out class is as deep as it has ever been and coupled with a long list of running backs with very different skill-sets. Certainly an intriguing bunch to evaluate. here’s what caught my eye on day two of workouts in Indianapolis:

Quarterback

*Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater was in attendance, tallying a 30″ vertical + 9’5″ broad jump, but chose not to throw. Johnny Manziel also opted to wait for his pro day to showcase his throwing, but ran a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash, 31.5″ vertical, and 9’5″ broad jump.

*Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas let it rip on Sunday. On film he exhibits an inability to control his arm with consistency, leading to erratic spells. In Indy, he was regularly throwing ropes to receivers in intermediate and longer range drills. He showcased well and surely will catch the eye of coaches who feel they can massage his most obvious creases. There obviously is no physical limitations, and he even clocked the best time of any quarterback with a 4.60. Without ruling out his future as a passer, it’s worth noting that he’s got the size + speed to entice some as a prospective tight end… a position he was highly touted at out of high school.

*Tajh Boyd of Clemson displayed pretty solid timing with his foreign receivers. Drops were quick and easy, release was compact. Made a couple nice throws downfield.

*Alabama’s A.J. McCarron is one of the more under-appreciated passers of this class, and his downfield throwing abilities don’t get the due credit, in my view. On Sunday, he made three very nice, very accurate deep throws for completions. McCarron was putting a little bit of loft under his short-intermediate throws and out-route simulation drills, but overall it was a positive showing.

*Highly touted UCF passer Blake Bortles threw and had a good day. Solid on deep passes. Perhaps most importantly, there was no evident loss of velocity, as some have been increasingly concerned about in this pre-draft run up. Short-intermediate range throws were released with pretty noticeable strength.

*Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t really stand out to me, but continued to display really good footwork. This carried over from his solid Senior Bowl performance, and I believe it translated into pretty good timing despite unfamiliarity with the receivers.

*Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage was arguably the best of the second group on Sunday and displayed a strong arm with good timing.

Running Back

*Nobody did more to earn the label of “workout warrior” out of the running back group than Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon. He marked the second-fastest 40-time among his position (4.41), the most bench press reps (32), second best vertical (40.5), second best broad jump (11’0″). Performed well in drills, looked fluid and quick when running routes. Had a really good day.

*Kent State’s Dri Archer was, by far, the fastest timed player of his positional group after posting a blazing 4.26 time in the 40-yard dash. He exhibited comfortable, off-body hands. Archer made me a believe that he can be utilized as both a running back and slot-receiver in order to get him touches in space. Could be a legitimate playmaker if placed in the right system.

*Blake Bortles running back at UCF was the talented Storm Johnson, who put together a very solid combine workout. The Miami (FL) transfer solidified the notion that he has good hands and can be a factor in the passing game, making a handful of quality off-body grabs. Loose, fluid movement for a well-sized ‘back. Likely to remain in my top 5 for the position.

*Washington’s Bishop Sankey made a bit of a statement. A primarily downhill, North-South runner who ran really well (4.49) and showed reliable hands in catching drills. Good hips, bent well, stayed loose.

*Alabama State’s Isaiah Crowell did himself good with a solid performance at the combine too. Was moving really nicely and intrigued with a couple quality catches off his frame. Timed speed was average at best, but the former 5-star recruit from the University of Georgia flashed enough talent to warrant a look.

*Lache Seastrunk of Baylor checked out physically. Very muscular, strong lower-body and it translated well – the ex-Oregon Duck had the best vertical (41.5) and broad (11’2″) jumps, putting his explosion on full display.

*Oregon x-factor and return specialist De’Anthony Thomas underwhelmed in his 40-time, clocking in at a 4.50, but looked as quick as you’d expect. Teams will have to find creative ways to get him in space, but he has the electricity to intrigue a team hungry for a potential playmaker and returner.

*Auburn’s Tre Mason wasn’t really a standout amongst his positional group, but didn’t perform poorly either. Solid in receiving drills, but could have maybe ran routes with a little more purpose. Aside from that, he competed and did himself no harm.

*Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde ran his first 40-yard dash and pulled up holding his left hamstring. He did not participate in any drills afterward as a precaution.

*For a bigger, bulkier ‘back like Toledo’s David Fluellen, he was able to sink his hips and change direction really nicely. Pleasantly surprised by his decent fluidity.

Wide Receiver

*First and foremost, the fastest timed receiver was Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, who clocked a 4.33. A fleet-footed burner with the ability to play in the slot or out wide. Looked explosive during drills.

*Clemson’s Sammy Watkins didn’t get me out of my seat with his workout, but he flashed the occasional “wow” moment during the day in drills. Great body control, really solid hands, and did everything at a high speed, while remaining efficient in his movement He may be disappointed with it, but his official 4.43 time was nothing to scoff at.

*Johnny Manziel’s most talented target Mike Evans was a standout among his section of wide receivers. Long athlete who displayed really good hands all throughout the day, plucking off his frame with regularity and comfort. Looked a little stiffer in and out of his breaks, but strides nicely downfield.

*Kelvin Benjamin looks like a specimen at 6’5″ 240 lbs. definitely passed the eye-test. Ran a 4.61, which is fine for a player of his stature, and demonstrated his ability to use his length when making catches. Had a bit of a propensity to drop the occasional pass this past season, but was pretty consistent in making catches during combine drills. Appeared to be a little less rigid than Mike Evans when changing direction or sticking his foot in the ground in/out breaks.

*Big, physical Rutgers pass catcher Brandon Coleman ran a really solid 4.51 time at 6’6″ 225 lbs. Made a few nice catches downfield and overall, I believe he helped himself. Physical makeup is very interesting.

*Disappointing 4.60 time for Penn State underclassman Allen Robinson, but he proved on film that he could get separation and win in 50-50 situations when he was in them. Still, his physical testing wasn’t anything more than average.

*LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. exhibited impressive body control during the gauntlet drill and ran routes with authority. Timed speed of 4.43 was a good figure for him, as well.

*Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief was up and down in drills, but physically did well. Ran an impressive 4.40 and was a top performer in the vertical and broad jumps. Big frame was carried well.

*A surprise from Pittsburgh State (KS) John Brown blazed a 4.34 and looked very quick in and out of cuts during drills. Accelerated quickly and stayed loose all throughout the day. I’ll have to do a little more work.

*Alabama’s Kevin Norwood is a player I’ve been high on for some time now. He struggled to consistently complete drills without the occasional drop.

*Oklahoma slot-man Jalen Saunders was agile and electric, ran fast (4.44), and looked good enough in a variety of drills to indicate he could line up out wide on occasion too – which film also suggest, in my view.

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2014 NFL Combine notes: Offensive Line & Tight End

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:


Offensive Line

*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.

Tight End

*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.

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