The 2013 NFL combine brought a few surprising numbers that came in while player measurements were being taken. Surprises come in the shape of weight gain or loss, height, arm length and hand size and it happens every year. Looking at player measurables is an important part of the evaluation process and it gives us another piece in the puzzle.
This is the time of the NFL draft season when things we thought we knew are proven to be false, sometimes in a big way. It’s also a time when information comes out that surprises us, information that was unavailable before and either confirms what we have seen on tape, or makes us go back to the tape to watch more. All combine results courtesy of nfl.com.
This year there are more surprises from the height/weight measurement process. Let’s take a look at 10 surprising measurements that should make people take notice.
D.J. Fluker walked onto the stage at the weigh-in for the Senior Bowl in Mobile and it was obvious he was one of the bigger players there, but no one expected to hear that he weighed 355 pounds. That’s too heavy for a player who needs to be able to move laterally and slide his feet to quickly meet defensive ends at the turn point.
It was welcome news that Fluker came out of the weigh-in at the combine weighing 339 pounds, a much more realistic weight. It is still a big number, but Fluker is a massive man who will always be bigger than his contemporaries.
Fluker also has ridiculously long arms, measuring 36-3/4” long. This gives him an enormous advantage over the defenders he will go against in the NFL, as he can hold them away from his frame by locking out his arms. Fluker was one of the clear winners in the weigh-in and measurable area of the combine.
Corey Lemonier played a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position during his time at Auburn, but is expected to play at outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the NFL. He weighed 240 pounds during his last season at Auburn and he needed to add weight to play in the NFL.
When Lemonier tipped the scales at 255 pounds, he dispelled any notion that he was too small and comes in at a really nice weight. As long as Lemonier keeps his athleticism, the addition of weight is nothing but a good thing. Look for the weight gain to open the door to more than just a 3-4 scheme for Lemonier, and for that to really improve his draft stock.
Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan weighed as little as 226 pounds during his junior season, and at 6’7”, his slight frame made evaluators concerned about projecting him to a certain position in the NFL. There is no way that Jordan would be able to set the edge in a 4-3 defense at 226 pounds, and there were questions about whether he could hold up at outside linebacker weighing so little.
Jordan alleviated some concerns as he weighed in at 248 pounds on Saturday. This opens the door for him to be an option in multiple schemes instead of being stuck at playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense.
Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the entire draft class. He is quick off the ball and can penetrate gaps as quickly as anyone in the class, but he measured in with very short arms and could have trouble disengaging with guards at the next level.
Floyd’s arms were measured at 31-3/4”, significantly shorter than others at the position. It is surprising to see the arms measured as short as Floyd’s are, and it could limit him and his production in the NFL. He won’t be able to stand up offensive linemen and shed them because he won’t be able to lock his arms out in a powerful position.
The arm length is surprising and just another piece in the evaluation puzzle.
University of California wide receiver Keenan Allen has enormous hands and it is a gigantic asset as he goes into the NFL. He is a very reliable pass-catcher who plucks the ball away from his frame with naturally soft hands. He also shields the defender away from his body with his body, like a basketball forward posting up down low.
What wasn’t known until now was the sheer size of his hands, even though his skill in catching the ball shows up watching his film. Allen’s hand size will help him against the stronger defenders in the NFL as he has the size to win a fight for the ball. It was great to see Allen come in with such big hands, and it will do nothing but help his draft stock going forward.
BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is an athletic marvel that has amazing skill for a player who is so new to the game of football. He has a lot of physical gifts too, and he is going to be one of this class’ more interesting players to watch over the next few years.
Ansah has drawn comparisons to New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Both players were not born in the United States, and they didn’t play football growing up. Both went to somewhat smaller football schools and were very fast risers in the draft process.
They stack up physically too, and it was one of the things that those who liked Ansah pointed to. It turns out the Ansah’s arms are actually longer than Pierre-Pauls’ as Ansah’s arms were measured at 35-1/8” long at the combine. The long arms will allow Ansah to disengage from an offensive tackle or to bull rush him, and they give him a tremendous advantage as a defensive end.
Georgia defensive tackle appeared at the Senior Bowl and weighed 359 pounds. He was a force on the interior of the defense, but it was easy to see him get tired, stand up and lose at the line of scrimmage because of poor leverage. Jenkins is a handful on the interior and one of the more intriguing defensive line prospects in this draft.
It was a pleasant surprise to see his weight down to 346 pounds at the combine, and it will go a long way in helping him to complete the drills completely. He needs to use his size relentlessly, and he can’t do that if he is too heavy. It might be wise for Jenkins to continue to get himself in better condition, and if he can do that, he will be a pleasant surprise for whatever team that drafts him.
Justin Pugh comes into the NFL from Syracuse. He played at left tackle for the Orange, displaying good movement skills and the ability to get to the edge in college. However, he measured in with 32” arms, and the short arms only complicate Pugh’s problems going forward.
Pugh is not big and lacks the bulk required for the position, and the short arms limit his ability to keep defenders away from his frame. He is susceptible to the power rush move on the edge and will most likely have to get kicked inside to play guard in the NFL.
Clemson defensive tackle Malliciah Goodman has amazingly big hands, measuring 11” from the tip of his pinky to the tip of his thumb. Seriously, grab a normal piece of paper and view it width wise, and that’s how big his hands are. It is an advantage for a large defensive tackle to have big hands like Goodman does, as long as he uses them.
Goodman does, as he uses them violently to move offensive linemen around and disengage from them. He can lay a heavy punch on an offensive lineman, and it can help to create the room he needs to make a play as he isn’t overly athletic and has to rely on his brute strength to make plays.
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was a highly regarded quarterback prospect coming into his senior season, but he had a very disappointing year and has seen his draft stock plunge throughout the season. He lost three receivers coming into his senior season, and he played through a tumultuous year with coaches coming and going.
He enters the 2013 NFL draft as an interesting player, but there is a reason for concern as Wilson has small hands and it will hurt him at the next level. His hands were measured in at 8-3/4” at the combine, and I believe Wilson will struggle with his grip on the bigger NFL football.
We have seen quarterbacks with smaller hands have ball security issues as well, as those with smaller hands can fumble the ball upon contact mush easier than the quarterbacks with bigger hands.