Carolina Panthers: Players Who Impressed at the Combine on Day 1
Now that Saturday's events have concluded, it's time to take a look at which players may have caught the attention of the Carolina Panthers' scouts.
The offensive linemen and tight ends had the field to themselves today and there were some impressive performances; some players dominated the workouts while others impressed in position specific drills—which I weigh much more heavily.
Here are some of the players that may have caught the eye of Carolina's scouts and coaches in attendance.
David DeCastro, Guard, Stanford
DeCastro was used by the NFL Combine staff as the model for other participants to follow in nearly every position-specific drill. It showed that he was a true technician and he performed flawlessly during the drills.
DeCastro is a natural blocker and plays with elite quickness, excellent hand placement and strength—he placed third among linemen in the bench press. DeCastro was also at the top of his position in the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
Kelechi Osemele, Guard, Iowa State
Although Osemele was just average in the 40-yard dash—5.36—he showed why he could go as high as the early second round on Saturday. He measured in at 6'6", 333 lbs. and his 36" arms were among the longest of any participants.
Osemele looked slow in the workouts, but that's exactly why he's expected to bump down to guard in the NFL. He looked powerful in position drills, making him particularly attractive to a team like Carolina who wants a mauling run blocker at guard.
Cordy Glenn, Guard, Georgia
Glenn is another college tackle who projects to play guard in the NFL due to his inability to keep up with speed rushers. Also like Osemele, Glenn showed off great size—6'5", 345 lbs. and 36" arms.
Glenn showed that he can get that mass to move as well, running a 5.15 in the 40-yard dash. He also put up 31 reps at the bench press and looked good in the position drills; showing enough lateral movement to pass protect at the next level.
Jeff Allen, Guard/Tackle, Illinois
Allen didn't make this list by running a great 40 or setting a bench press record—he made it by showing up consistently in every drill and looking the part all day. Allen looked athletic and seemed to have enough strength that, coupled with his mental makeup, will allow him to be effective in the NFL.
There were some questions of his athleticism heading into the day, but he looked fluent during the drills and his footwork was solid. He's not a great run blocker, but would be a solid pass protecting tackle as a backup for the Panthers.
Orson Charles, Georgia
Charles had been labeled as a player with a great skill set who had yet to put it all together, but he stood out to me today for a number of reasons. First off, he set the benchmark for tight ends with 35 reps of 225 lbs. and he also looked polished as a receiver when many thought he might struggle in receiving drills.
Charles looked athletic and although he didn't participate in the 40-yard dash, you could tell what type of athlete he truly is. He's not going to blow you away with long speed, but he will beat you with his route running and come back the next play and pancake you to open up a running lane.
Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Green looked as good as any tight end in the position drills on Saturday. He was a natural catcher and smooth route runner. He also posted the second best 40-yard dash time of the day—4.53.
Although Green underwhelmed scouts in the bench press, teams knew not to expect much from him. He has decent technique, but obviously needs to hit the weight room some more to become a better blocker and more rounded player. He has a lot of room for growth and if he can continue to progress, he'll be a steal as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.
James Hanna, Oklahoma
It seemed that the nerves were getting to Hanna early on, as he dropped his first two passes, but after that, it was smooth sailing. He did a great job of adjusting to the ball on deep routes and was catching everything, low or high, when he went through the gauntlet drill.
However, Hanna was far more impressive as an athlete in the workouts. He finished first in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and 60-yard shuttle among tight ends while also placing second in both the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill.
Sadly, he came up short in the broad jump and bench press, finishing only third and fourth, respectively. I doubt anybody will have dominated the physical drills at their position as much as Hanna did Saturday and he may have just earned his way into getting drafted.
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