Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck
With the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, we take a look at who helped themselves and who hurt themselves in Indianapolis.
The importance of the combine can sometimes be overstated when it comes to grading players but it is an important part of the process. The 40-yard dash is not terribly important for offensive or defensive linemen but it is crucial for cornerbacks and wide receivers.
Not surprisingly Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III stole the show, but some other prospects also really helped themselves to stand out from the crowd as we move closer toward the beginning of the 2012 NFL draft on 26 April.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin
He performed as expected at the combine. He wowed every media member present and posted excellent numbers on the field. He compared very favorably from an athletic standpoint to Cam Newton.
It is indicative of the calibre of prospect Luck is that his athletic ability is not considered to be one of the core strengths of his game. He chose not to throw at the combine.
Robert Griffin III
He had a very impressive combine also. He was very engaging and charismatic in his dealings with the assembled media. He blazed a 40-yard dash time of 4.41 seconds, the second fastest time ever posted by a quarterback. The NFL has not seen an athlete of his caliber at the quarterback position since Michael Vick was selected first overall in the 2001 draft.
He had the best quote of the week when he said, “I am not an athlete playing quarterback; I am a quarterback who happens to be an athlete.”
He also elected not to throw at the combine.
He boosted his stock more than any quarterback in Indianapolis.
With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin electing to wait until their respective pro days to throw for scouts, the opportunity was there for the other quarterbacks to step into the spotlight and Cousins did just that. He displayed a good arm, showcasing excellent touch and accuracy.
He helped to move himself toward the forefront of the second tier of quarterbacks like Brandon Weedon, Brock Osweiler and Nick Foles.
He inexplicably chose not to throw at the combine because he had a whole lot to gain and not much to lose by doing so. It is different for top prospects like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Their status has been solidified well before they ever arrived in Indianapolis.
Osweiler needed to separate himself from the pack and he passed up a golden opportunity to do so.
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd
He tested well across the board. His blend of size (6'3", 220 lbs) and speed (4.47 in the 40) is very impressive. He had to face some difficult media questions regarding his past but came through that fairly well.
With Justin Blackmon electing not to participate, much of the spotlight fell on Floyd and he did not disappoint. He has solidified his status as the second-best receiver in this class and could hear his name called in the top half of the first round.
He stole the show in Indianapolis. His performance was as impressive as any other athlete at the combine regardless of position. He tied for the fastest time among receivers with 4.36 in the 40 and posted an electric time 1.20 in the 10-yard split, showcasing his explosion.
Hill’s combination of elite physical skills and terrific size (6'4", 215 lbs) poses a dilemma for scouts when they are determining a grade for Hill because of his limited production in college. He had only 28 catches in Georgia Tech’s run orientated offense this season.
He looks to have secured himself a spot at the top of the second round.
He is one of the more underrated prospects in the draft. He helped himself at the combine by running a 4.41 in the 40. He had excellent production this season for Wake Forest, catching 83 passes for 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns.
He is not the biggest receiver in the draft at 5'11", 198 lbs, but should have ensured he hears his name called on Day 2 of the draft with this performance.
He is not far behind Stephen Hill in terms of having a very impressive size-to-speed ratio. He ran a 4.40 in the 40 after measuring in at 6'5", 219 lbs. He is a very raw player who may have been best served by spending another year in the college ranks.
However his rare physical skills should prompt some team to take a chance on him in the third round. The tools are there for him to develop into a very good player down the line.
He surprised onlookers with a 4.61 time in the 40. This was a lot slower than expected based on his film. He was pegged as one of the top deep threats in the wide receiver class so this time will be concerning for scouts.
He is not a very big receiver (5'10", 192 lbs) so his lack of elite speed could cause him to fall in the first round. He will hope to run faster at his pro day.
He answered concerns about his weight by measuring in at 6'3" 216 lbs. However he did nothing to alleviate similar concerns about his speed by electing not to run the 40-yard dash.
He will need to run well at his pro day if he is to have any shot of being a first-round pick in the draft.
Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen
He had a very good combine. He posted a time of 4.62 in the 40. He looked fluid in pass-catching drills. Egnew has good size for the position at 6'5", 252 lbs.
He could be a good option for a team in the third round looking for a guy who can be a factor in the red zone and threaten the seams vertically in the passing game.
He came into the combine under the radar but made scouts sit up and take notice with the best all-around performance of any tight end at the combine.
He has solid measurable at 6'4", 252 lbs and a time of 4.49 in the 40 and a 36-inch vertical jump illustrated what an explosive athlete he is.
He is a small school prospect who has been receiving some buzz in recent weeks. He is a very good athlete and looked very smooth in receiving drills. He posted a time of 4.53 in the 40.
The knock on him is his size (6'6", 238 lbs). He is light for the position but should be able to add weight with his frame. He looks like a fourth-round pick at this point.
He posted a very disappointing time of 4.89 in the 40. This will be a concern to teams because it casts doubt on his ability to be a potent receiving threat in the NFL.
Allen does not have elite size (6'3", 255 lbs), which will prevent him from developing into a dominating blocker. Allen has eliminated himself from the first-round discussion and has probably put himself firmly behind Coby Fleener and Orson Charles with this performance.
Boise State running back Doug Martin
He looked very explosive in everything he did. He ran an excellent time of 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, showcasing the big-play ability that stood out on tape. He is likely to be drafted in the late first or early second round.
He is locked in a battle with Miller to be the second running back off the board and he also made a very strong case for himself in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 41-inch vertical leap, easily the best among running backs. He is also a possibility to be selected in the first round.
He put himself forward to be a selection on the second day of the draft. He is a bigger back (5'10", 222) but that did not stop him from running an extremely impressive 4.44 in the 40. He also lifted 225 lbs 28 times, tied with Doug Martin for best among running backs.
He has very similar physical traits to Robert Turbin. He measured in 5'9", 223 lbs and ran a 4.47 in the 40. His size and speed combined with the excellent production he had while at Boise State (1,299 yards rushing in 2011) put him in prime position to be an early selection in the second round of the draft.
He posted an alarmingly slow time of 4.72 in the 40-yard dash. The USC product is not a big running back (5'11", 219) so it is hard to see a role for him in the NFL. He does not look like a draftable prospect at this point.
USC tackle Matt Kalil
He displayed fantastic athleticism for a player of his size (6'5", 345 lbs). He dispelled any concerns over his ability to play tackle in the NFL by showcasing very good footwork and balance in drills.
He ran 5.15 in the 40-yard dash, which is not really important for an offensive lineman but is impressive nonetheless. He solidified his first-round status.
He ticked all the boxes at the NFL combine. He measured in at 6'6", 306 lbs, ran a 4.99 in the 40 and bench-pressed 225 lbs 30 times.
He looked very fluid in drills for a player his size and cemented his status as an elite left tackle prospect. He is likely to be the first player selected once Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III come off the board.
He had a very disappointing 19 repetitions in the bench press. Scouts had some concerns regarding his work ethic and motor, and this performance will have done little to alleviate them.
He has a lot of talent but there are some questions surrounding him from a character standpoint. He is a borderline first-round pick at this point.
Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe
He is a beast. He weighed in at a mammoth 6'4", 346 lbs yet still managed to run a 4.98 40-yard dash. He also did 44 repetitions in the bench press, the most by any player.
He is raw, but NFL teams are salivating over his potential. He could go as high as the top half of the first round.
He did not blow anyone away with his numbers in the drills but he did impress at the weigh-ins by measuring 6'5", 322 lbs. That is significantly more than his previous listed weight of 307.
He looked fluid going through the drills and carried the weight well. He will be a top-10 pick in the draft.
He has been rising steadily on draft boards throughout the year and continued to do so at the combine. He displayed his explosiveness by posting times of 1.63 in the 10-yard shuttle and 4.79 in the 40-yard dash. Those are excellent times for a man of his size (6'4", 298 lbs).
He has the flexibility to play in either a 3-4 as a defensive end or in a 4-3 as a defensive tackle. He may have moved himself into contention to be selected in the first 20 picks of the draft.
He had a very solid showing in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.88 in the 40-yard dash, a 1.69 in the 10-yard shuttle and had 36 repetitions in the bench press.
He has decent size (6'1", 306 lbs) and had a very productive career at Michigan. He could be selected as high as the third round in the draft.
Clemson defensive end Andre Branch
He helped himself in Indianapolis. He measured in at 6'4", 259 lbs and ran 4.70 in the 40. He also posted an excellent time of 1.56 in the 10-yard shuttle, showcasing the explosiveness which he has flashed at times for Clemson.
He looked very fluid going through drills and looks like an ideal candidate to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. He is likely to be selected in the latter portion of the first round.
He came in bigger than anticipated at 6'3", 271 lbs. This did not affect his mobility however. He ran 4.64 in the 40. He will appeal to a lot of teams on draft day.
He is big enough to play defensive end in a 4-3 and looks to be fluid enough to transition to outside linebacker if selected by a team that runs the 3-4. He will be a first-round selection.
He kept pace with Andre Branch and Nick Perry by matching their numbers across the board. He weighed in at 6'4", 261 lbs. He ran a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash and a 1.56 in the 10-yard shuttle, showcasing the explosion which helped him lead the nation in sacks with 16.
It will be interesting to see the order in which Branch, Perry and Mercilus come off the board on draft day. All three pass-rushers are scheme-versatile.
He excelled in everything he did in Indianapolis. He has shed some weight since the Senior Bowl. He weighed in at 6'1", 264 lbs. He ran a respectable 4.79 in the 40 but it was in the drills where he really stood out.
He looked extremely fluid and coordinated. He will be a top-15 pick in the draft.
Vinny Curry looked sluggish in Indianapolis. His time of 4.98 in the 40 was alarming. He is unlikely to be considered as a candidate to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 going forward. He is unlikely to be among the top 60 players selected in the draft.
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly
He made scouts sit up and take notice by blazing a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash. Kendricks, who was selected as the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for his performances at California, tested better as an athlete than expected.
His broad jump (10'7") and vertical leap (39.5 inches) were also outstanding. He has moved himself into consideration for the second round of the draft.
He was expected to test very well at the combine and he did not disappoint. After weighing in 6'1", 244 lbs, he ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash.
The North Carolina product may be the most athletic linebacker in the draft and is an ideal candidate to play outside in a 4-3. He is likely to be an early selection in the second round.
He was also very impressive. He measured in at 6'3", 245 lbs and ran a 4.50 in the 40. He has had good production as a pass-rusher at West Virginia and will convert to outside linebacker in a 3-4 at the next level.
Character concerns will hold him back, however. He is likely to be a third-round selection in the draft.
He arguably had the most disappointing combine of any prospect present. His draft stock is in free fall.
He began the weekend by blaming his coaches for his poor play at Arizona State. He then ran a 5.07 in the 40-yard dash, which is extremely slow for a linebacker.
He has no shot of being selected in the first round at this point and could fall as far as the third or fourth.
North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins
He posted the fastest time of any player at the combine with a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. He also put up good numbers in the broad jump (11'1") and the vertical leap (38.5").
He is a small school prospect having played at Central Florida, but his speed has grabbed everyone’s attention. He has moved himself into contention to be selected late in the second round.
He faced some difficult questions from assembled media, but seemed to come through the process fairly well. Jenkins was kicked off the Florida football team after multiple arrests. He played last season at North Alabama. While his behavior off the field can be questioned, the same cannot be said for his play on it.
He has elite physical skills and showcased them by running a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash and an electric 1.47 in the 10-yard shuttle. It will be interesting to see where Jenkins gets selected.
His talent indicates he could be a top-10 pick but he comes with way too much baggage to be considered that high. He is likely to come off the board in the second half of the first round.
He had a chance to stand out among the safeties in the absence of consensus top prospect Mark Barron. Smith seized his chance. He posted a time of 4.57 in the 40 and looked very fluid and balanced going through his drills.
He has clearly established himself as the No. 2 safety on the board. He should be selected in the second round of the draft.
He really hurt himself by running a time of 4.71 in the 40. Cornerback is a stopwatch position, and that time is not even close to being fast enough to play that position in the NFL. He may have to move to safety.
He is another cornerback who killed his chances of being selected in the early rounds by running a very slow 40-yard dash time (4.68). He will hope to turn things around at his pro day.