2012 NFL Combine: Matt Miller's Overall Winners and Losers
NFL scouts have packed up their whistles and stopwatches as the combine comes to a close. But now, the fun part begins, as teams and those of us in the media reshuffle and adjust our big boards to reflect the workouts and interviews at the scouting combine.
Which players did the most damage to their draft stock this week, and on the flip side, who helped themselves most?
Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
St. Louis Rams: Winners
The St. Louis Rams have to be incredibly happy with the combine performance put on by Robert Griffin III. The faster RG3 ran and the more laughs he elicited in interviews, the more the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft was worth. Judging by recent reports, that pick will be worth a bounty.
The Rams have needs, but they would also love to rebuild their team by trading back four spots in the first round and picking up two more first-round picks over the next two drafts. If the Rams play this right, they could pull off a Herschel Walker-style trade that will put the franchise back on the map.
Kellen Moore: Loser
Kellen Moore apologists should skip down to the next bold print. The bony Boise State quarterback failed to impress in Indianapolis after a poor showing at the Senior Bowl in January. Moore's athletics were on display in Indianapolis, and he came up lacking.
For comparison's sake, Peyton Manning (at 6'5", 230 lbs.) ran a 4.81 during his pre-draft workouts. Moore, at 5'11", 191 lbs., ran it in 4.87 seconds.
Speed isn't the only indicator of success at the position. In fact, it's far down on the list, but small quarterbacks in the NFL succeed only if they are athletic. Doug Flutie, Drew Brees, Michael Vick—any list of smaller-than-average quarterbacks features a list of some of the most athletic players to ever strap on a helmet at the position. Moore doesn't measure up.
Wide Receivers: Winners
The 2012 draft has been criticized for lacking elite wide-receiver talent, which is true after a 2011 class that featured A.J. Green and Julio Jones spoiled us. What the class doesn't lack is speed.
Stephen Hill set the bar high with a 4.30 in the 40-yard dash, and he did it at 6'4", 215 lbs. Following in his very fast footsteps were A.J. Jenkins (4.37), Chris Owusu (4.31), Tommy Streeter (4.34) and Chris Givens (4.37).
The group of wideouts will cause NFL teams to take a second look at their game film after posting such impressive times.
Justin Blackmon: Loser
Justin Blackmon entered the combine as the consensus No. 1 wide receiver, on most boards at least. He leaves the combine with a bitter taste in the mouths of NFL scouts.
Blackmon told the media he wouldn't work out due to a tender hamstring, which is to be respected. A hurt player shouldn't work out. The trouble started when Blackmon did a "Gaunlet" workout—a player sprints across the field, catching alternating passes left to right. He didn't pull up lame or complain about his leg, yet Blackmon used the hamstring as an excuse not to run.
For a player not known to be very fast, Blackmon found a convenient excuse not to run in front of scouts.
Dontari Poe: Winner
Anytime a player measures 6'4" and 346 lbs. (third-biggest player in attendance) and runs a 4.87 in the 40-yard dash, people will take notice. Poe took home the gold in the "Underwear Olympics" with his blazing 40 time and 44 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press.
Poe's game film doesn't show consistency, but NFL coaches will fall in love with his raw talent. Enough so that it's likely Poe will be a Top 10 pick.
Mike Adams: Loser
Mike Adams had a chance to cement himself as the fourth offensive tackle—if not higher—with a good showing at the combine. Instead, Adams leaves as one of the bigger disappointments.
Adams' positional workouts were average at best, but most concerning were his 19 reps bench-pressing 225 lbs. Even with a reach of 34", far from the longest among attendees, Adams should have done more. By comparison, Cordy Glenn did 31 reps with a 35 1/4" reach.
Cordy Glenn: Winner
Speaking of Cordy Glenn, the big man from Georgia impressed in his three-day workout session. Glenn was polite and articulate behind the microphone, but did the most work on the field.
His 31 reps were a very respectable number for a man his size, but Glenn made the biggest waves by running a sub-five-second 40-yard dash at 345 lbs.
Teams needing a guard in a power-run scheme should pencil Glenn in at the top of their late first-round wish lists.
Vontaze Burfict: Loser
This one hurts.
Vontaze Burfict opened the season as my No. 2 overall prospect, just behind Andrew Luck. Since then, he has taken himself out of games, beaten up a teammate, been ejected from games, racked up personal fouls like they are trophies and refused to do media interviews.
A solid, all-around guy he is not.
Burfict's stock currently resides in the fourth-round range.
Kirk Cousins: Winner
The Michigan State quarterback is jokingly referred to as a "Ken doll," and while he does look the part of a starting quarterback, he also throws the football like one.
Cousins impressed from start to finish. His command at the podium was second only to Robert Griffin III. His throwing on the field was the best of the competing quarterbacks.
Cousins' experience (46 career starts) put him ahead of the competition for the No. 3 quarterback slot. His ability to find the receiver, anticipate routes and deliver strikes doesn't hurt things either.
Janoris Jenkins: Loser
Janoris Jenkins has the talent of a top-15 pick, but at some point, we have to stop qualifying every Janoris Jenkins reference by talking about his talent.
Instead, let's start like this—Janoris Jenkins has been arrested three times (twice for drugs). He has four children from three different women. He was kicked off the Florida football team.
That's the story that needs to be told about Jenkins. He is talented, but he's also incredibly troubled. Can he overcome his past? Perhaps, but recent history would show us that people rarely change. Pacman Jones is still a troublemaker, and that's the player NFL teams will have on their minds when considering another talented, but troubled cornerback.
Devon Wylie: Winner
Be honest. How many people knew who Devon Wylie was before the combine?
I'll be truthful. I didn't have him ranked in my top-300 players before Indianapolis. You can bet he's ranked there now.
Wylie dominated drills and workouts with an impressive stat line, highlight-worthy catches and enough agility to have people on hand wondering if we were seeing the next Wes Welker.
Wylie has a lot to live up to, but based on his combine performance, the talent is there for him to carve out a nice NFL career.
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