While the NFL Combine doesn’t tell the whole story about a player leading up to the draft, it can often give us quite a bit of information about a player. Players are tested physically and mentally, and often times the manner in which players conduct themselves when things don’t go their way says a lot about what kind of locker room guy they will be. Guys can help themselves or they can do some serious damage to their draft stock in the few days they are in Indy. Today we’ll look at our NFL Combine risers and Fallers; three guys who helped themselves at the combine and three guys who, well… didn’t.
Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
Poe’s draft stock is way up after the combine. This 6’4″, 346 pound monster showed quickness and athleticism that a man of his size just shouldn’t have. Poe ran a 4.87 40, broad jumped 9’9″, and had a 29.5″ vertical leap. Oh, and he also led all players at the combine with 44 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He was quick in drills, excelling in all phases of the combine. Teams looking for an anchor for their defensive line are salivating.
Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
Scouts had a feeling that Stephen Hill might run well in the combine, but goodness gracious, I don’t think anyone expected the eye-popping numbers he put up. A 4.36 40 yard dash, 11’1″ broad jump, and a 39.5″ vertical leap highlighted his impressive stay in Indy. He showed incredible burst getting off the gun in his 40 yard dash in particular. At 6’4″, 215 lbs, Hill’s hands measured a tad bit small at 9 3/8″, but he showed he has the physical tools to be a potential big play threat who can get over the top of NFL secondaries.
Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal
I loved watching Kendricks in the drills. He really stood out to me. Kendricks is short for a linebacker, standing just 5’11”, but he is stout, weighing in at 239 lbs. Even more impressive was that he ran a blazing 4.41 40 at that size. He easily had the best long jump for linebackers at 10’7″, and he also led all linebackers in the vertical leap at 39.5″. Physically, he made all the other linebackers look like amateurs in comparison. Kendricks is also a great character guy, having served as a leader on his college team at Cal. I love me a football player with a great work ethic, strong character, and jump-out-of-the-building-type athleticism.
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Nobody did themselves more of a disservice this week than Burfict. A player who once graced the revered “Mel Kiper’s Big Board”, Burfict is now facing the possibility of not being drafted at all. Burfict finished last among linebackers in the 40 yard dash and the broad jump. He tied for second to last in the vertical leap at 30 inches. He showed up out of shape, and for some reason he did not participate in the bench press event, probably because he didn’t want to be the only guy to finish last in every category. Burfict reminds me a lot of LeGarrette Blount, for some reason. He’s a good football player, but his work ethic and his attitude are atrocious, and he will at best be a late round flier at this juncture.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
Two Arizona State players on the Stock Down list? Yep. I’m not trying to insinuate anything, I’m just calling ’em like I see ’em. Osweiler had the chance to bring himself into 2nd round consideration by having a strong showing at the combine, so what did he do? Well, nothing. Osweiler declined to participate in throwing drills. In a situation where Ryan Tannehil, his prime competition for the #3 spot among quarterbacks, was sitting out, he failed to seize his opportunity to potentially stand alone as that #3 guy. That screams out “lack of confidence” to me, and that is not something you want in your quarterback (see Gabbert, Blaine). Osweiler better have a heck of a pro day or he will regret his decision not to throw for a long, long time.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
The unfortunate thing for Worthy is that some of his defensive line counterparts looked so much better compared to him at the combine. Poe, Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, Nick Perry, and others all looked much more explosive and impressive. His broad jump of 8’11” was ok, but his vertical leap of 28.5″ wasn’t very good. He ran a rather unimpressive 4.97 40 yard dash, and he didn’t participate in the bench press event. In other words, he blended in with the pack, which is something that a guy fighting to be considered for 1st round consideration simply cannot do.
Other NFL combine notes and observations:
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina
I was impressed when I learned of Alshon Jeffrey’s weigh-in total. He showed up at the combine a slim and trim 216 lbs, standing 6’3″. I began to think that he was on his way to solidifying his 1st round status. Then he announced that he would not be running the 40, cancelling out all the good that came from his weight loss. One word: Inexplicable.
With that being said, his ball skills are undeniable. If he runs well at his pro day, he will likely be a first round pick. He is just too good and too athletic of a prospect to be passed over. Yes, his production dropped last year, but as Giselle would say, “he can’t throw the ball to himself”. His quarterback play was awful. At least he put to rest any concerns that he can’t drop weight.
Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Everyone was excited to watch Kendall Wright run the 40 yard dash, expecting to see a blazing time. Instead, Wright turned in a time of 4.61, a disappointing time for any receiver, let alone a speed receiver. I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I don’t think you can be too concerned about it, because the fact of the matter is that he produced on the field and he consistently ran by defenders. If anything, this will cause scouts and coaches to reevaluate game tape and take a closer look. Wright would be wise to tighten things up and see if he can’t improve his performance in the 40 yard dash for his pro day.