NFL Combine 2012: 7 Players Who Have Hurt Their Draft Status
The NFL Combine is underway, and so far, we've gotten a taste of the skills and athleticism players from across the country possess.
However, there are some, even high-profile and potential top draft picks that haven't met expectations from NFL scouts. Though the NFL Combine isn't the be-all, end-all event of how a potential pick is judged, their performance in it certainly affects their value, be it higher or lower.
With that said, here are seven players so far in this year's event that have failed to meet those expectations and have hurt their chances in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III and wide receiver Kendall Wright were one of the best duos in college football last season.
He has been the go-to guy for Griffin, and time and time again, he made big touchdowns for his team, including making the first score in the high-scoring Alamo Bowl against the Washington Huskies.
However, whereas Griffin has showcased phenomenal numbers at the combine, Wright has been unable to do the same.
At the combine, he posted a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash.
Now compared to the average human, that's great. For a wide receiver ready to play football at the professional level, it's just not good enough.
In addition, like most receivers, he suffers a height advantage at just 5'10."
He possesses great hands, as he was able to catch every ball during the gauntlet drill, but without the speed to pass by opposing defenders, how effective of a receiver can Wright be in the pros?
Marc Tyler, Running Back
The son of former Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers running back Wendell Tyler, Marc Tyler played for USC, coming in as the second best running back prospect of 2006.
Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to do the same in college. It's been an up-and-down collegiate career for him, especially in his senior season.
He began the year suspended for making inappropriate comments to the media, started games for the Trojans, and then shared time as the season progressed.
In the combine, his 4.76 time in the 40-yard dash was the second-worst amongst all running backs that participated (ahead of another USC player, Rhett Ellison, who posted a 4.88 in the dash).
With such slow speed, forget about playing at running back. Can he even play special teams?
Case Keenum, Quarterback
Case Keenum has been the man for the Houston Cougars for the past several years now. However, in the NFL Combine, he has been anything but.
During throwing drills, he lacked zip and accuracy in his throws. Often, his passes would either sink or receivers would have to slow down and wait in order to catch them.
Keenum may have broken NCAA passing records, but that's not going to help if you can't show you have both the strength and accuracy to play in the NFL. In addition, his small (for a quarterback, anyway) 6'1" size will also play a factor.
Vick Ballard, Running Back
At 5'10" and 219 pounds, Vick Ballard is a bruiser of a running back. He certainly played that way for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and he recorded nearly 1,200 rushing yards and averaged more than six yards a carry last season.
However, in a draft filled with talented running backs, Ballard failed to impress.
He posted a 4.63 on the 40-yard dash. While that wasn't the worst time on the board, it's not going to make scouts go, "We need to draft this guy and make him an integral part of our team!"
Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle
After a poor showing, however, featuring him posting just 19 reps in the bench press, that might no longer be the case. His strength is obviously in question, and his chances of being picked in the first round have severely hurt as a result.
It also doesn't help that he has been in trouble in the past. He was one of the players involved in the tattoo scandal that cost him a five-game suspension. He also sold his NCAA Championship ring for $1,000.
Ladarius Green, Tight End
I don't know how many of you know about Ladarius Green, seeing as he played for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns of the Sun Belt conference.
However, he did a great job last year, recording 51 receptions for 606 yards and eight touchdowns. He also played very well in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against San Diego State, catching the ball five times for 121 yards and a touchdown.
In the NFL Combine, he showed that he has the speed, posting a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash.
However, what he has in speed, he lacks in strength.
He could only muster 16 reps in the bench press, second-lowest of any tight end participating. Like Mike Adams, his poor performance calls for questions on his strength and whether or not he can perform effectively in the NFL as a blocker.
Kirk Cousins, Quarterback
Kirk Cousins came into the NFL Combine as one of the more high-profile quarterbacks.
After all, last season, playing for the Michigan State Spartans, he threw for 3,316 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
On the positive side, he did a great job in the passing drills, and scouts should be more than happy about his performance.
Unfortunately, his poor showcasing of athleticism will hurt his draft stock considerably and will bring up questions as to how long he can last..
While the 40-yard dash isn't the most important thing to look at, it should be noted that his 4.93 time was the 11th best out of the 19 quarterbacks in the combine.
In addition, he posted a 7.05 in the three-cone drill and a 4.50 in the 20-yard shuttle, times that were beaten out by the likes of guys like Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish and Southern Miss' Austin David.
No disrespect towards either of those guys, but a high-profile quarterback coming from a school in the Big 10 should be able to put up better numbers. A quarterback needs to be show that he has short but quick bursts of speed, but Cousins was unable to do so, compared to most of the other quarterbacks.
Hopefully, his pro day at Michigan State next month will showcase him in a more positive light.
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