2012 NFL Scouting Combine: Top 20 Disappointments
While some 2012 NFL draft prospects, such as Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill and Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, made the scouting combine a personal showcase of their skills, other prospects failed to live up to expectations, and therefore left the combine with worse stock than what they came in with.
These are the 20 players who were the most disappointing at this year’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, Ind.
20. Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
Watch the video of Vick Ballard’s first attempt in the 40-yard dash, and it becomes easy to understand why he is included on the list.
Ballard’s 40-yard dash did not get much better from there, as he ended up with an official time of 4.65 seconds when he ran it without falling.
In all fairness, Ballard’s combine was not all bad. Although he did not put up great athletic numbers, he is primarily a power runner who does most of his damage between the tackles, so he was not expected to be a combine standout.
Unfortunately for Ballard, the image of him falling during his 40-yard dash is an image that will remain in my memory, and undoubtedly will be an image remembered of him by many scouts, coaches and executives. He remains worth a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick, but when it comes to making the tough decisions on draft day, the image of his fall is not going to do him any favors.
19. Marc Tyler, RB, USC
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Marc Tyler ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, the slowest time among all halfbacks at the combine. Tyler, already a late-round draft pick at best, is now likely to go completely undrafted.
Tyler never lived up to his potential at USC, in large part due to character issues, which resulted in him starting his senior season on suspension.
Tyler really needed to show the scouts something in his pre-draft workouts, but more than anything, he has displayed that he is slow and lacks the athleticism necessary to be an NFL running back.
18. Robert Blanton, FS/CB, Notre Dame
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Robert Blanton came into the combine as a cornerback prospect, but leaves as a safety. Blanton ran an official time of 4.70 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a very slow time for an NFL cornerback.
Blanton’s combine was not all bad, as he did have very good times in both the three-cone drill (6.71 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (3.97 seconds) which ranked among the best times for all defensive backs. However, Blanton looked very slow in the on-field drills, and appeared very stiff in his hips.
Fortunately for Blanton, he has the size to make the transition at 6’1’’ and 208 pounds, and plays with very good physicality. His stock is down after a poor combine, but he should be a fifth- or sixth-round draft pick who can transition to free safety and play special teams.
17. Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri
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Missouri’s Dominique Hamilton is a good run-stopper who may be able to be a backup nose tackle for a team that runs a 3-4 defensive scheme, but he lacks explosive athleticism, which showed at the combine.
Hamilton ran the 40-yard dash in 5.52 seconds, slowest among all defensive linemen. He also ran slow times of 7.82 seconds in the three-cone drill and 4.78 in the 20-yard shuttle, and did not participate in the vertical or broad jump.
Hamilton continued to look very slow in the on-field positional drills. Hamilton’s lack of athleticism is going to be a hindrance at the next level, even as a defensive tackle.
Hamilton is worth a seventh-round draft pick, but nothing more.
16. Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
By accounts of scouts in attendance (I was not one of them), Coastal Carolina’s Josh Norman had a tremendous week of practices at the East-West Shrine Game, which really propelled Norman’s stock up the draft boards. Unfortunately, Norman’s stock is in regression after a poor performance at the combine.
Norman ran a 4.66 second 40-yard dash, a very slow time for a cornerback. He had a very impressive performance in the broad jump (10’4’’), but did not do well in the other athletic drills, including a disappointing vertical jump of only 33 inches and a slow time of 7.09 seconds in the three-cone drill.
Norman is a talented cornerback with great size who plays with physicality, but his lack of athleticism is a major concern, especially with him coming from a lower level of competition.
His performance in the East-West Shrine Game establishes him as worthy of a fifth-round draft selection, but he should be taken no earlier.
15. Ryan Steed, CB, Furman
As a small-schooler and relative unknown, Ryan Steed really needed to have a strong showing at the combine. While Steed looked good in the positional drills, his time of 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash is damaging to his draft stock.
At only 5’10’’ and 195 pounds, Steed is too small to play safety, which means he will be generally looked at as a slow cornerback. While he is a skilled player who looks good on tape, he played against a lower level of competition, and that combined with his lack of athletic ability makes it very questionable whether he can play the position at the next level.
He should not be selected earlier than Round 6.
14. Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
Amini Silatolu has drawn considerable hype by many draft scouts, with some projecting him as a second-round draft pick. However, after being unable to participate in the Senior Bowl, he really needed to make a statement at the combine, and he failed to do so.
Coming out of a Division II program, Silatolu faces a major step up in competition, and will make the transition from left tackle to guard. While Silatolu did show some good things in some drills, including the kick-slide drill, he struggled with other drills, and was not particularly impressive athletically.
Silatolu did not necessarily have a bad combine, but considering the lack of quality game tape available of him, I was hoping to see him stand out in Indianapolis, which he failed to do. He should be a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick.
13. Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
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After missing the majority of his senior season due to a torn pectoral muscle, a strong showing at the combine was important to Jared Crick’s draft stock. With a poor performance at the combine, Crick’s stock continues to decline.
Crick weighed in at only 279 pounds, undersized for a defensive tackle, which means that his best fit will come as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. However, Crick did not show impressive athleticism for a defensive end at the combine, running disappointing times of 4.99 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 7.47 seconds in the three-cone drill.
When on the field for Nebraska, Crick was productive, but his next-level potential is very limited. He is worth a fourth-round draft choice.
12. Trevor Guyton, DE, California
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Trevor Guyton has been considered a potential third- or fourth-round draft pick coming off of a very good senior season, but he did nothing to help himself at the combine.
Guyton did not show well athletically in Indianapolis. He was among the lower end of participating defensive linemen in all of his athletic measurables, including a disappointing time of 5.07 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Guyton also really struggled with the on-field drills.
Guyton should be selected somewhere in the fifth or sixth round.
11. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
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Mike Adams had a tremendous week at the Senior Bowl, where he solidified his stock as a first-round draft pick, but he lost momentum at the combine, where he had a disappointing performance.
Adams only managed 19 repetitions on the bench press, which puts his strength into question. He also struggled athletically, running a time of 5.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and looking stiff in the positional drills.
Adams is a well-rounded left tackle who remains a first-round draft prospect, but should slide down some team’s draft boards after his combine showing.
10. Trumaine Johnson, FS/CB, Montana
Coming from the FCS level of collegiate football, Montana’s Trumaine Johnson really could have benefited from a strong showing at the scouting combine, but his performance was a disappointment.
Johnson has been viewed primarily as a cornerback prospect, but ran a 4.61 second 40-yard dash. Any 40-yard dash over 4.6 seconds is viewed as too slow for a cornerback, so his poor time hurts his draft stock.
Fortunately for Johnson, his size at 6’2’’, 204 pounds should enable him to make the move to free safety, but given that he is more of a projection to that position than he is at cornerback, he should be selected no earlier than the third round of the draft.
9. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
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As one of the top pass-rushers in this year’s draft class, Vinny Curry’s stock has really been rising. However, explosion and athleticism are key traits of a pass-rusher, and Curry’s performance at the combine did not reflect those traits.
While Curry did have one of the best times among defensive linemen in the three-cone drill at 6.90 seconds, he had a very disappointing time of 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash, with a vertical jump of only 32’’ and broad jump of 9’2’’, all unimpressive marks for a pass-rusher. He also did not look very fluid in the on-field drills.
Curry has been projected to potentially make the switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme, but the lack of athleticism that he displayed at the combine certainly raises questions about his ability to do so.
Curry remains a likely second-round draft pick, but his value has certainly dropped in the combine’s aftermath.
8. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
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Some have considered Mohamed Sanu to be a first-round draft pick, whereas I rated him as a third-round draft value prior to the combine, so he was already one of the most overrated prospect in this draft class. With a poor combine showing, he has dropped even farther in my ratings.
Sanu is not a deep threat, which further showed by his time of 4.67 seconds in the 40-yard dash. While Sanu is a good route runner with good hands, he does not have great lateral athleticism to be an impact slot receiver, while his speed limits his ability as a downfield receiver.
Sanu is a productive player who could be worth a fourth-round draft pick, but with nothing in his game pointing to him being an impact player at the next level, he should be drafted no higher.
7. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
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As the top tight end in the draft class, Dwayne Allen was in good position to be a late first-round draft pick, but after a poor combine showing, he should drop into the second round.
Allen showed a lack of explosiveness, with a disappointing 40-yard dash time of 4.89 seconds, combined with subpar measures of 32 inches in the vertical jump and 9’2’’ in the broad jump. Among the 10 tight ends who participated in the measurable drills at the combine, Allen’s marks ranked eighth in all three of those drills.
Allen is a well-rounded tight end who is talented as both a receiver and blocker, but his ability to be an impact receiving threat is going to be limited by his athletic ability, knocking him out of the first round.
6. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
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Georgia’s Orson Charles may be the best receiving tight end among any player at the position in the 2012 draft class, and had a chance to establish himself as the No. 1 tight end in the draft class with a strong performance. Even with a bad day for Dwayne Allen, he came well short of doing that.
Charles’s weekend got off to a bad start when he measured in at only 6’2’’, short for a tight end. He could project as an Aaron Hernandez-like player at the next level, but did not show that at the combine.
Charles opted out of all of the on-field measurable drills, and struggled in the positional drills, in which he dropped too many passes, failed to follow instructions in the gauntlet, and bent at the waist in the blocking drills. Charles did have a tremendous performance in the bench press, leading all tight ends with 35 repetitions of 225 pounds, but that does not make up for his poor day on the field.
With displayed proof of a lack of height, and a lack of displayed proof of his athleticism at the combine, Charles should be no better than a third-round draft pick, although he could move his stock back into the second round with a great pro day.
5. Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
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Joe Adams was not supposed to be among the disappointments of the combine. He was expected to be one of the event’s stars; I ranked him No. 3 among the combine’s projected standouts.
“I project that Joe Adams will have the combine’s fastest times in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drills, both tests of lateral agility.” Adams did not participate in the 20-yard shuttle run, and he ran the three-cone drill in 7.09 seconds, one of the worst times among all wide receivers. I was wrong about that one.
I also said that “Adams is also a strong bet to run one of the combine’s fastest 40-yard dash times, likely as one of a select group that will run faster than 4.4 seconds.” This was also incorrect, as Adams managed a time of only 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Adams is a dynamic wide receiver and punt returner who has often displayed his speed and agility, but it was surprisingly not on display at the combine, and he really needs to have a great pro day to bounce back. Combined with inconsistency in his collegiate career, the poor measurables that Adams put up at the combine should drop him to the fourth round of the draft.
4. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
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In January, I ranked Cliff Harris as the seventh-most explosive player in the 2012 draft class, so I certainly expected him to put up very good measurables at the combine.
Harris did not do so, running a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, one of the slowest times among cornerbacks. Harris is a player not only viewed as a cornerback but also as a skilled punt returner who is dangerous any time the ball in his hands. However, with such a poor 40 time, he may not be able to be as dynamic at the next level.
Harris put up disappointing measurables and struggled in on-field drills. For a player who was kicked off of Oregon’s football team after multiple traffic violations, his pre-draft workouts are very important to his draft stock and he is off to a very bad start.
Harris already has serious red flags about his character, and as a football player, he tends to be too aggressive and give up big plays. Following a poor combine effort, Harris stands as a sixth-round draft value.
3. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
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On tape, Michael Brockers shows up as a very athletic defensive tackle, so he was projected to be one of the most impressive performers at the combine. Unfortunately for Brockers, the athleticism he has displayed in games did not show up at the combine.
Brockers did weigh in as larger than expected at 322 pounds, but adding weight may be affecting his athletic ability. Brockers ran a 5.36-second 40-yard dash, one of the slowest times among defensive linemen, and only managed 26.5’’ in the vertical jump. Brockers also looked unimpressive athletically in the on-field positional drills.
Brockers’ value as a potentially difference-making defensive lineman comes with his athletic ability, so his poor display at the combine is very concerning. Additionally, Brockers could be looked at by 3-4 defensive teams as a 5-technique defensive end, but at 322 pounds and poor athletic measurables, it is hard to see him fitting well in that position.
With Memphis’s Dontari Poe and Mississippi State’s Fletcher Cox standing out at the combine, both have established themselves as first-round picks, and Brockers’ stock is now far behind theirs.
2. Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
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NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, considered by many to be the best draft analyst in the media, has raved about Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson frequently, praise that I do not quite understand. After Johnson’s combine showing, it is hard to image that Mayock will continue to rate him as highly as he has.
Johnson is a physical cornerback who tackles well, but lacks the athleticism to cover effectively downfield, which was exposed at the combine. Johnson ran a horrendous 4.71-second 40-yard dash, third-worst among cornerbacks in Indianapolis, and looked very stiff in the positional drills, really struggling to flip his hips and change directions.
While Johnson does some very good things in his game, he lacks the athletic ability to be a starting cornerback at the next level. He should be no better than a sixth-round draft pick.
1. Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
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Well, I predicted this one accurately in my projected disappointments for the scouting combine...
“He may not have the speed that many believe he does, and my hunch is that he will not be in his best shape in Indianapolis and will end up performing poorly in the drills.” Burfict ran his 40-yard dash in 5.09 seconds, the slowest among all linebackers.
Burfict’s case is truly unfortunate. Earlier this season, I believed Burfict was worth a top-10 overall draft pick. Unfortunately, he had a complete collapse over the course of the season: he ran into problems with the coaching staff, looked out of shape and unmotivated, and ended up being taken almost completely out of the lineup late in the season.
Burfict has the potential to be a star middle linebacker at the next level, but that will require focus, a much better attitude and getting back into the shape where he was once a very athletic playmaker for the Arizona State defense.
Given how much he has fallen off, combined with a horrendous combine performance, Burfict will be removed completely from many team’s draft board, and could slide very far down the draft. He currently rates as a Round 5 draft pick, based simply on the talent and skill he has displayed in the past.