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NFL Combine Risers and Fallers: Defense

February 27, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Offense | Defense

Risers:

DL Margus Hunt, SMU-

-Hunt had a huge Combine showing the potential he brings to the table at the next level. He excelled in pretty much every drill and displayed elite athleticism. He's still raw as a prospect, but teams will feel more comfortable taking him early.

DL Ziggy Ansah, BYU-

-Another raw prospect, Ansah lit up the Combine and flashed the top notch athletic ability that we would see take over for stretches in games. He really solidified a first round pick for himself and is definitely trending up draft boards.

DL Dion Jordan, Oregon-

-Jordan is one of the most athletic players in this draft class, and he showed that in spades throughout the Combine. He looks like he can cause nightmares for opposing offensive linemen, and should easily hear his name called in the top 20 picks.

DL Devin Taylor, South Carolina-

-Taylor is a later round prospect who had questions about his motor coming in. By shining in all the drills it helps to show that he's been focused and working on being a better player. He has the frame to bulk up to a 5 technique, but could intrigue teams as an edge rusher as well.

DL Shariff Floyd, Florida-

-Had probably the best all-around day for defensive tackles. Showed some good athleticism and really helped his case to be picked in the top 20 of the first round.

LB Sio Moore, Uconn-

-Really loved the burst and acceleration that Moore displayed, really looks the part of a starting OLB (preferably as a rush LB) at the next level. Add this with a big East/West Shrine Game week, and his stock is very much rising.

LB Zavier Gooden, Missouri-

-Gooden showed great tools in the Combine and while it wasn't always clear in games he flashed that ability previously. Teams should now feel more confident in believing they can make him a starting backer and he could work his way into the late 3rd-early 4th range.

LB Cornelius Washington, Georgia-

-Had one of the best all-around Combine's, and the fact that he worked out as a LB makes him quite interesting for a 3-4 team in need of a pass rusher. He didn't do much in college, but the potential is there.

CB Dee Milliner, Alabama-

-Milliner solidified his spot atop the corner board and should be a lock for a top 10 pick. He did drop a couple of balls, but that really shouldn't be a knock on him.

CB Darius Slay, Mississippi-

-Slay outperformed his college teammate Jonathan Banks, by showcasing really nice speed and good quickness.

CB Robert Alford, SE Louisiana-

-Small school guy who really rose up draft boards after a big Senior Bowl, really looked good at the Combine and looks to be moving fast up draft boards.

S Matt Elam, Florida-

-Elam had a great all-around day at the Combine, which is exactly what he needed. He showed the athletic ability to play either safety spot, and should be a lock for a top 40 pick.

S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse-

-Thomas is a shorter safety who hasn't been on a lot of people's radar, but with a good East/West week and now Combine he's had to have opened some eyes. He won't go too high in the draft, but he's probably looking to be in the 4th round range now.

Fallers:

DL Demontre Moore, Texas A&M-

-Moore was one of the top pass rushers entering the Combine, but some questions were raised with his slow 40 time. This could cause teams to go back and watch his tape and perhaps focus more on the games where he disappeared. His certainty as a top 10 selection is very much in doubt and he could fall to lower in the first round.

DL Jordan Hill, Penn State-

-There is a lot to like with Jordan Hill but he put up a pedestrian 40 time and really looked bad in the bench press. He didn't look that great in drills either leaving some question about his impact early on.

LB Chase Thomas, Stanford-

-Chase Thomas figured to get some 2nd day interest given his ability as a pass rusher, but a poor combine after a rough Senior Bowl could force him to fall to the third day. He didn't show the burst you like to see in starting caliber pass rushers, and his lack of coverage ability could make him a liability.

CB Marc Anthony, Cal-

-Anthony had one of the worst 40 times among corners, and while he had good game tape to watch, that time could plummet him down draft boards.

S Zeke Motta, Notre Dame-

-Motta really didn't have a good Combine, but most troubling is not his 40 time, but rather his bench press numbers. He's supposed to be a big physical safety, but he didn't show that on the bench.

NFL Combine Risers and Fallers: Offense

February 27, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Offense | Defense

Risers:

WR Tavon Austin, WVU-

-Austin blew up the Combine with some fantastic workouts, while looking quite smooth running routes as well. This should have answered any remaining questions about whether or no Austin is a first rounder. Now the question will be if he will still be there for some teams picking at the end of the first round who were probably targeting him.

WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M-

-Swope came in with a highly productive reputation, but he wasn't expected to show well in workout drills. Instead he had one of the best all-around combine's, tying with Austin with the best 40 time among receivers. Swope did have a couple drops/double catches in positional work, but overall created a lot of buzz which could now firmly put him as a 2nd day prospect.

WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee-

-Hunter was a prospect that was sliding some after a bit of a disappointing senior year. He wasn't expected to put up the workout numbers he did, in fact many thought his college teammate Patterson would have the better showing. Hunter proved his doubters wrong and showed that he's a physical specimen. He should hear his name called in the 2nd round and probably moved up a few slots in the deep WR position.

WR Josh Boyce, TCU-

-Boyce was a surprise early entrant to the NFL Draft this season, as he's had three good years, but had never dominated at the collegiate level. After his remarkable combine, it is clear that he knew what he was doing. He tested well in just about every category and looked solid in the positional drills. He may be making a case to now go in the 3rd round.

RB Christine Michael, Texas A&M-

-Michael had a rough career at Texas A&M filled with injuries and some off the field issues. Teams didn't know what to make of him, but after a strong showing at the Combine, he has definitely earned himself consideration in the 4th round as someone with the potential to start early in his career.

RB Knile Davis, Arkansas-

-Davis had a huge 2010 season, but after missing 2011 due to an ankle injury and a disappointing 2012 his draft status was murky at best. after running a sub 4.4 40 at 227 lbs, and having one of the better bench press numbers Davis put himself back on the NFL radar. I wouldn't expect him to go too, high, but a good Combine could allow him to go in the 5th round.

RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska-

-Burkhead is another back who has dealt with some injuries and a disappointing 2012 season, but he made up for it with a nice Combine. Though many will point to his 4.7+ 40 time, he dominated the remaining drills, and looked good in the positional work. He's a great fit for a zone blocking scheme, and will be a really nice late round pick-up.

QB Geno Smith, WVU-

-Geno Smith was one of the top performers in every drill he did, while also looking pretty good throwing the football. With no Matt Barkley to compare him with and none of the other QB's seemingly ready to challenge him, he helped cement his number 1 QB status with this Combine.

QB E.J. Manuel, FSU-

-Manuel really looked good in all the drills and threw the football pretty well. I don't think he's any threat to Geno Smith, but this Combine should help push him into the discussion for the 3rd or 4th QB spot. He should be particularly attractive to teams looking to begin incorporating the read-option into their playbook.

OL Eric Fisher, CMU-

-Fisher is going to make a run at the top tackle spot after a big Combine and Senior Bowl week. Luke Joeckel may hold him off, but Fisher could still end up with a pick in the top 5, and should be top 10 at the worst.

OL Jonathan Cooper, UNC-

-Like Fisher, Cooper made a case to jump the top guard on most team's draft boards. Cooper showed up really well, and definitely looks to be a better fit for zone blocking schemes (over Warmack).

OL Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff-

-Armstead is a smaller school guy who had a big Combine, which in conjunction with his strong East-West Shine Game week could have him moving up into the 3rd round range.

OL Lane Johnson, Oklahoma-

-Johnson doesn't have a ton of offensive line experience, but he showcased well throughout the day at the Combine. He probably won't challenge for the top two tackle spots, but he should be locked in as the third tackle.

OL David Quessenberry, San Jose State-

-Quessenberry looked great throughout the day in both positional and workout drills. He didn't have much buzz during the season, but after a strong Senior Bowl showing and this, he is in the discussion of a top 100 prospect, and should go no later than the 4th round.

TE Vance McDonald, Rice-

-McDonald for his size had a tremendous Combine and looked pretty good catching the ball as well. He continues to move up TE boards, and will make a lot of teams go back and rewatch their tape of him these past few seasons.

TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame-

-Eifert locked up his status as the top TE in this draft with a big Combine day. He dominated just about every drill and is now a lock to be drafted in the first round.

Fallers:

QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse-

-Nassib is a guy who has a good bit to like on tape, but he really needed to test well in the Combine. His speed/quickness numbers were among the worst in every drill, which is not what you want to see from a quarterback who likes to move in the pocket some. He also didn't wow throwing the football leading to some more concerns.

RB Ray Graham, Pitt-

-Graham plays a lot faster than his 4.8 40 time, but that time will scare off quite a few teams, even with the recent success of Pitt running backs. He just didn't have a good all-around day and it firmly places him as a day 3 (likely late day 3) prospect.

WR Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas-

-Hamilton really didn't test well in any drill which is a real body blow for this draft stock given just how deep of a class that this is. He is falling and is probably looking more like a 6th round pick.

OL Oday Aboushi, UVA-

-During the season there was a lot to like about Aboushi, but since then a poor Senior Bowl and Combine will likely knock him firmly out of the top 100, and may keep him from going in the top 4 rounds. He will likely need to kick inside to guard at the next level, and really has a lot of question marks surrounding him heading into the final two months before the draft.

OL Menelik Watson, FSU-

-Watson is a bit of a one year wonder so he needed a strong Combine to help his stock. Unfortunately he showed that he's not only raw, but he's also athletically behind the curve. That makes him a much bigger risk than you want to take in the top 3 rounds. He could still find a way to go that high, but this Combine really hurt him.

Defensive Backs Preview: NFL Combine

February 26, 2013 in 2013 Combine

-Dee Milliner is the top corner in the draft, but there is some question with how high he should go, a huge combine could lock up a top 5 pick for Milliner.

-Matt Elam is known as a premier in the box safety, but this combine will allow him to show some speed and quickness that should allow him to play some free safety as well at the next level.

– Jordan Poyer might not run the best times, but expect him to be very good in the positional drills, keeping him in the 2nd round discussion.

-Tyrann Mathieu came in under 5'9", and managed only 4 reps on the bench press, but how he looks in the drills and speed workouts will be big. Also the interviews will end up being the biggest x-factor for him.

-Jonathan Cyprien had to pull out due to a hamstring, that's rough given that he was flying up draft boards and could have used a big Combine to continue his path up boards.

-T.J. McDonald had a rough senior year, but began to rebuild his rep with a strong Senior Bowl, if he can test well it will help his cause to be drafted in the top 3 rounds.

-Robert Alford and Will Davis are two smaller school guys who are moving up boards and should be helped with big time Combine numbers.

-David Amerson looked great from a heigh-weight perspective, but he got beat too much in college this past year. Speed will be important, but I'm really curious about his quickness and footwork.

-Desmond Trufant is another player who had a huge Senior Bowl, but could use a big Combine to improve his stock and maybe get into the first round.

-Overall both of these positions are just stocked with depth and there should be plenty of good guys to watch, guys who are 1st-2nd round talents as well as late round guys who can develop.

2013 Linebackers and Defensive Linemen Combine Preview

February 25, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Linebackers:

-Sean Porter should have a big Combine as I expect him to really shine in all the workout drills. He should also do pretty well in the linebacker as well and could work his way into the 2nd round discussion.

-Manti Te'o will have to deal with the biggest part of his combine in the interview rooms, but I expect him to workout well in addition to clearing up his off the field issues with teams.

-Alec Ogletree also has to clear up some off the field issues, but should time well. His bench press was a bit disappointing which shows he probably needs to be pretty well protected with quality defensive tackles in front of him.

-Sio Moore had a big East/West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl and should continue to shine at the Combine. He put up a good bench number and came in at a good weight.

-Georgia's Cornelius Washington had a good Senior Bowl week and paced the linebackers with 36 bench press reps. He could fit as a down lineman, or play in a 3-4 as a rush linebacker.

Defensive Linemen:

-Ziggy Ansah should really do everything well, but it will be interesting to see if he shows the feet and quickness to play standing up.

-Margus Hunt will probably blow up all the drills at the Combine, he tied with the defensive lineman bench press number at 38. It should interesting to see him go through the defensive lineman drills, and ace them despite his lack of experience.

-Dion Jordan is another athletic freak who should just blow up at the Combine. He will convert to a rush linebacker at the next level, but if he could get some looks as a DE.

-Montori Hughes won't run too well, but he has good initial quickness and should do well in the positional drills. Shariff Floyd is another defensive tackle who should test well, and help his case for a top 10 pick.

-David Bass, Chris Jones and Ty Powell are three late round defensive linemen to watch today as they try to work their way up the draft boards of teams.

Quarterbacks, Receivers and Running backs Combine Preview:

February 24, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Quarterbacks:

-Geno Smith is working out and should impress scouts with his speed, accuracy, and arm strength. With Matt Barkley having to sit out he should lock up the top quarterback spot.

-E.J. Manuel needs to have a big day, and not just athletically but throwing the football as well. If he can show some balance of skills he should help ensure he's a top 75 pick.

-I expect Tyler Wilson and MIke Glennon to show well in the throwing drills as well.

-Two later round quarterbacks to watch are Colby Cameron and Matt Scott.

Wide Receivers:

-DeAndre Hopkins could have a big day and really raise his draft stock. I expect him to be one of the best catching the football, and to do well in the workout drills.

-Marquise Goodwin is expected to be the fastest at the 40 in this year's class (not just WR's but everyone). In addition his quickness should be pretty high and he should be okay catching the football as well. One thing to watch is whether or not he unnecessarily jumps to catch the ball, it was something he did some at the Senior Bowl and can drive coaches crazy.

-Tavon Austin should also blow up the combine with his quickness and speed. Expect him to be a leader in the 3 cone and shuttle drills.

-Robert Woods might not run as well as some other receivers, but expect him to be one of the best route runners and ball catchers of the day.

-Da'Rick Rogers and Cordarrelle Patterson are two guys who should have just fantastic Combine numbers across the board.

-Aaron Mellette is a guy who I think will have a better combine than people expect. I think he'll catch the ball really well, and run routes really nicely. Also, I think he'll run and jump better than people think.

-Denard Robinson needs to have a huge Combine. With essentially zero receiver tape and a poor performance at the Senior Bowl he looks to be a major project. While it will be nice if he runs well and shows quickness, the key with be in the receiving drills, both from a route running and ball catching standpoint. He needs to show progress in both of these areas, and it needs to be fairly dramatic.

-Corey Fuller, Brandon Kauffman and Tavarres King are three later round guys I expect to have pretty big Combines.

Running back:

-Kenjon Barner should be a combine star from a speed, quickness perspective.

-Ray Graham might not run extremely well, but he should be one of the best at changing directions in the RB drills.

-Zach Line who many consider a fullback should show better in the RB drills than most are giving him credit for.

-Montee Ball seems to be forgotten in some draft circles, but I'd expect him to have a really nice all-around day.

-Stepfan Taylor I expect to blow up the RB specific drills, he might not have the best timed speed, but he should be very fluid and showcase good vision and hands.

-Stefphon Jefferson and Kerwynn Williams are two later round running backs I'd expect to have pretty good days and who you should keep an eye on.

2013 Offensive Line Combine Preview

February 23, 2013 in 2013 Combine

NFL COMBINE Offensive Line Preview:

-Oday Aboushi needed to come in and help himself with this combine, but he fared poorly in the bench press yesterday. He'll need a strong day today to boost his stock back up, and hopefully he shows the feet to be a tackle at the next level.

-Terron Armstead coming off a big East-West Shrine Game and invite to the Senior Bowl, Armstead is moving up draft boards A great combine could really help him out as he's a small school guy with promise.

-David Bakhtiari not a lot of people know much from Bakhtiari given that he played at a struggling program in Colorado, this Combine could be a signature moment for the underclassman to shine.

-Jonathan Cooper is one of the top players (at any position) in this draft class and led the way among offensive linemen in the bench press. Expect him to test out well today across the board.

-D.J. Fluker dropped weight from his Senior Bowl weigh-in which is a great benefit to him as teams will feel more comfortable drafting him high. His bench reps were lower than expected, but given his massively long arms it shouldn't be too much of a concern.

-Number two tackle Eric Fisher should fare well at the Combine especially with his footwork, with a strong day today he could seal up a top 10 draft pick.

-Luke Joeckel should also shine today at the combine, especially athletically. I'll be interested to watch his footwork which should be the barometer for every offensive lineman to be judged on.

-Lane Johnson is another very quick left tackle prospect and given that he doesn't have as much game tape this will be another big test for him. He aced the first one Senior Bowl week and should have another fine showing today.

-Brian Winters unfortunately suffered an injury doing the bench press which could cause his early- 4th round projection to tumble. Coming from a smaller school he needed to workout to really raise his stock, now it's very much up in the air.

-Chance Warmack is the top guard and is another guy to watch in terms of putting on a clinic. I wouldn't expect great speed from him, but expect him to do well in everything else.

-David Quessenberry, Jordan Mills and Reid Frankel are three mid-late round tackles to watch, expect good solid all-around combines from all of them.

-Garrett Gilkey and Earl Watford are two really interesting late round guards, expect them to open up some teams eyes given that they are smaller school guys who didn't get as much attention.

 

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2013 Combine Preview: Tight End

February 23, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Top Tight Ends to Watch:

Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame:

-Eifert is fighting to be the top tight end drafted and should showcase well with his speed and physicality. Expect him to catch the ball well and continue his ascent into the first round.

Zach Ertz, Stanford:

-Ertz is battling Eifert on being the first tight end taken and this should be a good showdown. Like Eifert he offers good size/speed combo and should catch the ball pretty well.

Vance McDonald, Rice:

-McDonald should be a darling of the Combine, he's already had an impressive weigh-in with some of the longest arms and biggest hands in the draft as well as doing the most bench press reps among tight ends. Expect him to look well in all the drills, though the pass catching ones will be watched a bit more closely as he's had some drop issues in the past.

Other thoughts on the tight ends:

-Sad to see that D.C. Jefferson from Rutgers tore a muscle while doing the bench press. He wasn't a lock to be drafted, but he was an intriguing late round option with his size/speed combo. Now he's going to be looking at a camp invite and will face long odds as he recovers from this injury.

-Neither Travis Kelce or Gavin Escobar participated in the bench press, given that they are considered top 5 TE's it shouldn't hurt their stock too much if they can't do any of the drills, but they would have been interesting to watch.

-Jordan Reed came into the Combine pretty light and shorter than expected. He really needs to run well and show a lot of quickness to ensure he doesn't slide too much.

-Dion Sims and Nick Kasa are two of the more intriguing mid-round tight ends. Both have excellent size and look to be good inline tight ends with some movement potential. Neither has a big track record so good showings will be key.

-Chris Pantale and Mychal Rivera are two late round tight ends to watch today. Rivera put on 5lbs since the Senior Bowl which should only help his draft stock. Pantale is a borderline draftable guy, but he's got great size and upside.

Check back later for a recap!

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Infographic: Does Combine 40 Time Equal Success in the NFL?

February 20, 2013 in 2013 Combine

Does a player's great time in the Scouting Combine's 40-yard dash mean they'll end up succeeding in the NFL? We crunched the numbers (analysis and embed code beneath the infographic).

To embed this infographic on your website, use the following code:

<a href="http://fanspeak.com/nfldraft/2013/02/20/infographic-does-combine-40-time-equal-success-in-the-nfl"><img title="Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com" alt="Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com" src="http://fanspeak.com/images/nfl-combine-40-times.jpg" /></a><br /><div style="width:601px; padding: 10px;"><a href="http://fanspeak.com/nfldraft/2013/02/20/infographic-does-combine-40-time-equal-success-in-the-nfl">Does Combine 40 Time Mean Success in the NFL? From Fanspeak.com</a></div>

 
The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine starts this weekend, and unfortunately the importance of the event will be lost on most people, as one number above all will stick out: the 40 time. The NFL Combine is a four-day experience for these players as they interview with most of the teams, undergo intense medical and psychological testing, and participate in a series of on the field drills, yet one number can seemingly make-or-break a player's Combine in the eyes of fans (and even some NFL teams).

Forty times are no doubt valuable to a degree. You want to see burst and acceleration, and having long speed never hurt anybody. That being said, they aren't the be-all end-all for determining speed. Even for a speed position like wide receiver, you aren't starting from a track position and likely won't run in a perfectly straight line. You will also be wearing pads, which is another hinderence. Even if a defender allowed you to start from a track position and didn't try to get in your way at all, it still doesn't have a direct correlation to the NFL because so few passes are actually thrown 40+ yards (to say nothing of the other skills needed to track the ball and catch it). What really comes from the 40 time is the little things.

For instance, the 10- and 20-yard splits (especially for positions other than WR, RB and DB) are very important. If two guys run the same 40 time but one guy is better in the first 20 yards and the other better in the last 20 yards, the guy who is faster in the first 20 yards is probably more desirable. Even if the 2nd runner runs it slightly faster, that initial quickness is probably more applicable to football than long speed. The other positive is it gives you another benchmark to compare players. If two corners are roughly the same size and show the same cover ability on tape, and one runs a 4.35 and the other runs a 4.55, then you can probably feel comfortable taking the faster one. What gets teams in trouble is when the guy who runs a 4.55 grades out better in skills and the mental side of things, but they take the more athletic one.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is the weight people try to give to non-speed positions like quarterback, defensive line and offensive line. Unless something goes incredibly well or terribly wrong, these guys aren't ever running 40 yards or anything close to it. These are guys who should be judged on their 10- and 20-yard splits, yet people try to care about their 40-yard dash times. Even with the quarterback position changing and guys like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton having good 40 times, this has little to do with their success. It was great to see that level of speed, but they still have to be quarterbacks first. That is why the majority of signal callers with that speed either converted to wide receiver or are out of the league.

People who like the 40 will say that it matters to the speed positions, but not even there is there a good correlation between success in the 40 and success in the NFL. Sure, there are exceptions like RB Chris Johnson or WR Mike Wallace, but even the majority of the sub-4.4 times from running backs, receivers and corners didn't help them do anything significant in the NFL (and many were down right busts).

So while much of the focus will be on the 40-yard times, remember in reality this is just one of the many drills these prospects participate in, and the drills are just part of the grade a player gets from the Combine. Enjoy watching the Combine and checking back here for coverage, but don't let 40 yard dash numbers make or break a prospect for you to root for.