NFL Draft 2012: 5 Prospects Who Never Should Have Participated in the Combine
Skipping the NFL Scouting Combine is a luxury that few players can afford. Unless you're an elite prospect of the Andrew Luck/Robert Griffin III level, it's hard to avoid doing all the drills.
A lot of players helped their stock at this year's Combine. I'm writing about the players who did damage to their draft stock by participating at the Combine, whether it be fully or partially. This decision could cost these players millions of dollars.
We know that NFL stands for Not For Long. Everything these prospects do will be examined ad nauseum for the next two months. They're giving the naysayers fuel by their Combine actions.
Vontaze Burfict: Everything
Some players hurt their stock at the NFL Combine like a paper cut hurts. It's painful but you go about your business and soon forget about it. No player took a flamethrower to his draft stock like Vontaze Burfict. Burfict tore all three ligaments in his draft stock's knee.
Here are some quotes on Vontaze's Combine performance by some of the best covering the NFL:
Don Banks: "This is a guy who came across to the league as having blind spots the size of, well, the Grand Canyon, which coincidentally is in Arizona."
Mike Mayock: "I’m not a fan at all. I just watched a bunch of his tape the other day. I came away unimpressed.”
Mayock saying that you can't play is like Stephen King saying that you couldn't put together a sentence if you were spotted the subject and the verb.
Silver lining: There is the Arizona State Pro Day. Baltimore Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz has this to say: “Ultimately you have to look at the film. Does he play faster than he ran at Indy? There are a lot of players that fall into that case.”
That's a question Burfict better answer in a better fashion than he did during the interview portion of the Combine. He has been compared to Ray Lewis, so if the Ravens' director of college scouting gives him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the rest of the scouting world will give him another chance.
Kendall Wright: 40 Time
Before the Combine, Kendall Wright was in a pool with the likes of Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery and Justin Blackmon for top wide receiver of the 2012 NFL draft class. He did not crush it.
When there is a dynamic duo in college and both guys are top prospects, you always wonder who was Batman and who was Robin. Robert Griffin III didn't have to do a thing other than make his flight, and he impressed everyone. Wright ran, and ran poorly.
From Don Banks: "I knew RGIII's favorite target had run slower than expected when the scouts put away their stopwatches and took out their sun dials for his second attempt at the 40."
Running a 4.61 40 at the Combine is not a death knell for Wright's NFL future. No one's dropping Wright out of their mock draft first rounds. If Wright skipped the 40-yard dash at the Combine, his value would have remained steady. Because of the number, it took a hit. Kendall Wright will run well at Baylor's Pro Day, and the number "4.61" will be forgotten. If he had skipped the 40 in the Combine, there would be nothing to forget.
Michael Brockers: All the Drills
You don't see a lot of redshirt sophomores entering the draft. If you're an NFL-caliber player, your coach is going to be loath to keep you on the sideline for an entire season. We do have successful exceptions such as Mike Vick and LeSean McCoy.
Michael Brockers left LSU after his redshirt sophomore season. The former Bayou Bengal has been a mainstay in mock drafts, usually ending up in the top 10. Teams are lining up for athletic defensive tackles who can clog up passing lanes and get pressure on a QB up the middle.
Brockers looks the part, measuring at 6'5 and 322 pounds. His 35" arms are a plus measurable for the position.
Then he took part in drills. Thanks to Rob Rang at CBS Sports, we have the following information:
Tied for last among all defensive linemen on the bench press
Third-worst 40 time of all defensive linemen
Poor results in the vertical jump, broad jump, and short shuttle
Basic agent mathematics dictate that you never set up your client to fail. Brockers looked really bad while fellow defensive tackle standout Dontari Poe had a fantastic combine. Brockers should have stopped at the measurements and saved himself for LSU's Pro Day.
Dwayne Allen: 40 Time
The battle to be the top tight end in this year's weak tight end class may come down to Dwayne Allen versus Orson Charles. Charles chose not to run at the Combine.
Allen has one over on Charles as last year's Mackey Award winner for being the top tight end in college football. He might not win the battle of draft position. Allen ran a 4.89 40-yard dash.
A slow 40 time is one of many factors in determining a player's draft position. A 40 time that's about three-tenths of a second slower than what you'd like to see from your "move" tight end is going to be hard to overcome. Allen should have followed Charles' lead and passed on running the 40.
Justin Blackmon: Unsure Participant
Colleges routinely list players at heights and weights that are, shall we say, elevated from the truth. Blackmon measured at six feet and 7/8 of an inch, 207 pounds, at the Combine. Elite wide receivers in the NFL are usually taller and have more bulk.
After claiming that a hamstring injury limited him, Blackmon decided not to run the 40 at Indy. He performed other drills, such as the Gauntlet, which measures straight-line speed.
It's sometimes hard to remember that these guys are in their early 20s, and some draft prospects were born after 1990. Indecisiveness is to be expected. If Blackmon was going to save his 40 for Oklahoma State's Pro Day, he should have said it earlier than the Friday before the Combine.
It's possible that Michael Floyd's great Combine performance jumped him ahead of Blackmon. It only takes one team to put Blackmon in the top 10 overall picks, and make us forget his Combine performance.
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