Biggest Winners/Losers Thus Far at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
By Ryan Ratty on February 24, 2014
After four days in Indianapolis, there have been many risers and fallers because of their comine performances. Many events such as the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, bench press, and countless skill drills have been done to bring out the best of the participants. In this article, I will say who has helped their stock and who has hurt their stock for May's upcoming draft.
Greg Robinson, Left Tackle, Auburn
There a few players in this class that I think could go on to be NFL Hall of Famers, and Greg Robinson is one of them. Even before the combine, I had Robinson as my top tackle because I loved his flexibility in the speedy Auburn offense. The converted left tackle measured at 6'5", and 332 pounds. That frame alone is perfect to be an elite left tackle. To go along with his size, Robinson ran an official 4.92 40-yard dash and he also put up 32 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Another thing I love about this player is his arm length. This is a trait that is becoming really popular in the NFL. Having a left tackle with long arms gives him an edge against opposing pass rushers. Robinson made it clear in Indianapolis why there is so much hype surronding him.
Taylor Lewan, Left Tackle, Michigan
With all of the size and speed that Lewan has, many have compared him to a former Michigan star in Jake Long. Lewan had a rocky 2013 season, but he has the size/speed that scouts love. The ex-Wolverine could be a Pro Bowler if he is given the right people around him. After having the fastest official 40-yard dash out of any tackle, teams are really taking notice. Another thing that Lewan has going for him is that he could always play guard if needed. A player that can play four positions on the offensive line is really valuable to NFL teams.
Russell Bodine, Guard, North Carolina
At North Carolina, Bodine played center. But in my opinion, his skillset is better-suited to play as a pulling guard. The bench press is where the ex-Tar Heel turned heads.
In that event, Bodine put up 42 reps of 225 pounds. That number is truly crazy. If he is able to move his feet a little quicker, I don't see why Bodine can't be an excellent pulling guard at the next level. He already has the strength to be a road-grader, but he needs to work on his technique.
The Seattle Seahawks have a great zone-blocking scheme, and they need improved play from their guards. If Bodine is drafted by a team that could help him immediately like Seattle, there is no question he could be an immediate starter in the NFL.
A.C. Leonard, Tight End, Tennessee State
After switching schools and a couple of arrests, it almost seemed like Leonard fell of the map. But, there weren't many players that improved their draft stock as much as Leonard. Remember, this is a guy that was heavily recruited by the Florida Gators. At 6'2", 255 pounds, Leonard has long arms and the speed to be a contributor for an NFL team. Leonard has drawn comparisons to Vernon Davis because of their similar speed. If he keeps his head on straight, this guy could become a real good tight end. Hopefully he doesn't end up like another tight end from the University of Florida.
Blake Bortles, Quarterback, Central Florida
While he was particularly bad in the 40-yard dash, Bortles actually threw at the combine. That is something you cannot say for his competitors for the top overall spot in Teddy Bridegwater and Johnny Manziel. Afterall, speed isn't Bortles' game.
The reason why throwing at the combine improves draft stock is because NFL teams will have to wait until at least late-March to see other plays throw. I still have the Houston Texans taking Bortles with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Dri Archer, Running Back, Kent State
There are times in the draft process where I just want to say "I told you so, I told you so!" That's the case with Dri Archer who impressed many with the fastest 40-time out of any player in the combine. Running a 4.26, Archer was ridiculously close to beat Chris Johnson's record of 4.24. I see so much of Darren Sproles in Archer's game. Both are crazy fast, and both have soft hands out of the backfield. The NFL team that drafts Archer will get a playmaker who can produce across the field.
Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State
When I watch tape on Cooks, I see a lot of Tavon Austin in him. Both are excellent route runners, who get low out of their cuts. The receiving yards leader in the country showed everyone why he is so good. Cooks put on a show, as he caught almost every ball thrown to him and he ran a 4.30 40-yard dash. Once known as a late second round pick, I would be surprised if he was not off the board by the middle of the second round.
John Brown, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh State
I'll be honest, I really didn't have a clue who Brown was before the combine. But, he improved his stock at the combine with a fast 40. Tied with Cooks, Brown ran a 4.30 40-yard dash. Another thing that I liked about Brown is how he caught almost every pass that was thrown to him in the gauntlet drill. Brown is definitely a name to remember as the draft nears.
Cyrus Kouandjio, Left Tackle, Alabama
In my opinion, there wasn't one player that hurt his draft stock as much as Kouandjio. While Alabama is known as an offensive linemen powerhouse, Kouandjo could be a third round pick after his weekend in Indy.
He has long arms, which is a plus. But, there are big concerns long-term over his arthritic knee. To go along with that, Kouandjio looked stiff when turning his hips and his 40-time was simply bad. Once known as a first round talent, I doubt he will get selected by the second round.
Dakota Dozier, Guard, Furman
Dozier had a big opportunity to make a lot of noise because of the bad performances by the other guards. But, Dozier had a bad 40-yard dash and he looked weak in the bench press event. Judging players by their combine performance is a bit premature, but his game tape is very impressive. But, it's worth noting that Dozier played against inferior competition. The guard had a golden opportunity to turn heads, but he underachieved in the spotlight.
Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
Speed is the name of the game in the NFL. Tight ends who get off the ball with ease tend to have more success than players who are sluggish off the ball. While Amaro's game is all about catching passes, his speed acceleration speed is concerning to me. Amaro ran a 4.74 40-yard dash. Top tight end Eric Ebron sat out after his first 40, so Amaro had a chance to sway some people in his direction for the top tight end spot. Luckily for Amaro, he performed pretty well in the bench press event where he had 28 reps.
Jarvis Landry, Wide Receiver, LSU
Don't get me wrong. I love Landry and his skillset. But, his 40-time really concerned me. Landry has soft hands and he is a great blocker similar to Hines Ward. I didn't expect Landry to run the slowest 40-time, but he did. Watching tape on Landry, it sometimes felt like Landry was better than his counterpart Odell Beckham Jr.. Landry didn't have to break the 40-time record, but he needed to at least finish in the middle of the pack. To go along with his rough 40-yard dash, he also posted one of the lowest amount of reps in the bench press event out of any receiver. LSU's pro day will be really important for Landry as he will look to improve his draft stock after his bad performance at the combine.
De'Anthony Thomas, Running Back/Offensive Weapon, Oregon
I really thought the "Black Mamba" was going to come close to the 40-yard dash record. But it was Dri Archer that stole the spotlight, and not De'Anthony Thomas. There is no doubt that the best part about Thomas is his speed. He was awful in the bench press with only eight reps, but his 40-time was plain mediocre. Thomas is much faster on tape, so his combine performance should not matter that much. But with the ability to move up in the draft with his game-breaking ability, Thomas failed to show teams how fast he really is.
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, South Carolina
In my opinion, the best overall player in this draft class is Clowney. With the speed of a quick running back and the frame of a top-notch pass rusher, there is no reason why Clowney can't be a stud in the NFL. In his rodeo to get scouts to fall even more in love with him, Clowney put up only 21 reps. The fact that Miami's punter had 23 reps is just sad. Heck, even Brady Quinn had 24 bench press reps in 2007. Obviously Clowney plays with more strength on tape, but I'm starting to wonder just who Clowney really is. Sometimes it just doesn't look like Clowney cares, and that really scares me.