In what are some of the first results of this year's NFL Combine, offensive linemen and tight ends took to the weights in the hopes of improving their respective draft stocks.
According to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com, the top offensive lineman rep total came from Ohio offensive guard Eric Herman (36). Vance McDonald of Rice was the top tight end in the bench press (31).
As far as notables are concerned, the top offensive linemen in this year's class, Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan, both totaled 27 reps.
Top tight ends Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame (22) and Zach Ertz of Stanford (24) both notched solid totals in their respective efforts.
Let's take a look at which players will get a boost in their draft stock as a result of the bench press.
Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina: 35 Reps
Cooper's rep total tied for the second most among offensive linemen this year.
The North Carolina guard showed some impressive strength on Friday and that's a good sign for him. Cooper has long been known for surprising speed and agility in his blocking skills, but the fact that he posted a great showing in the bench press will make him look like a more complete lineman.
Chance Warmack has been considered to be the top guard on the board for the NFL draft, but Cooper may be inching his way up to the Alabama guard's status after this.
Cooper is slated to be a mid-to-late first-rounder, so we'll wait and see if this combine helps change his position at all.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: 28 Reps
Johnson is one of many offensive tackles slated to go in the first round this year, but his rep total of 28 was tops amongst them. The Oklahoma product did better than Joeckel, Fisher and Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker (21).
Everyone knows that Johnson can pass-block, and that has been seen as his biggest strength. A good bench press total such as this is beginning to show scouts that he has the necessary physical qualities to make him a good run-blocker as well.
Johnson won't catch Joeckel as far as being the top tackle in this year's class, but he does have a decent shot to catch Johnson. Granted, he still has more work to do, but if he can keep it up, expect Johnson to make a significant move up the board heading into draft day.
Vance McDonald, TE, Rice: 31 Reps
McDonald hasn't been on many people's radars as a top tight end in this year's class, but his performance at the combine should begin to change that.
The Rice product totaled an impressive 31 reps to lead all tight end prospects and had seven more than Ertz and nine more than Eifert.
McDonald was a playmaker for Rice and proved he can be a threat from anywhere on the field, but up until now his blocking abilities were a bit suspect. However, his combine showing proves he is one strong man and he should be an effective blocker in the NFL.
With this combination of strength and an ability to make plays, McDonald's stock should get a nice boost as he attempts to show he's a good all-around player.
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