NFL Draft 2013: Biggest First-Round Risers After Latest Combine Workouts

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NFL Draft 2013: Biggest First-Round Risers After Latest Combine Workouts
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The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is a little more than halfway over in Indianapolis, and the first two days of on-the-field drills have given us a pretty good understanding of what kind of first-round talent we are dealing with when it comes to the 2013 NFL draft.

The 40-yard dash and vertical jump are two of the biggest drills that scouts look at, but the rest of the events make for important notes that teams use during this grueling process of finding the best fit for their franchise.

We're enamored with placement in the draft, and there's a good chance some of these prospects affected their stock positively—and negatively—based on the final numbers from Indianapolis.

Here's a look at a few guys that did the former after impressive showings across the board at the 2013 combine.

 

Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson

Johnson's athleticism has a chance to earn him a big paycheck over the next few years.

He's a former QB that converted to both TE and OT in college, and the Sooners utilized him in the last role protecting Landry Jones this season. He did an admirable job despite not being a big name on the draft list, but he's on it now.

After a fast 40 time and a good showing in both the bench press and individual drills, Johnson has a real chance to be one of the first two tackles taken. While he's not a household name just yet, he has a chance to become one on draft night.

That being said, Luke Joeckel was largely disappointing in Indianapolis. All of the OTs will have a chance to compete for scouts' affection once more at their pro day, and that could be where Johnson closes the door on being a first-round pick.

 

West Virginia WR Tavon Austin

Austin and Marquise Goodwin were the two blazers in this year's 40-yard dash, particularly at the wide receiver position. Austin was already a first-round prospect after a stellar career at West Virginia, but he cemented that assertion with a mind-bending 40 time.

As an option both on special teams and in the slot, Austin is a great propsect for teams like New England, Denver and even Baltimore.

But after his performance in Indianapolis there's no guarantee he lasts that long in the draft.

Wes Welker has captivated us all for years with his skill in the slot. After Austin's performance, there's a good chance he could take that mantle in the NFL for the next decade. 

 

North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper

Cooper won't get out of the second round. After a stunning performance and display of athleticism and football know-how at the combine, he might not get out of the top 15 picks.

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Tony Pauline agreed in his latest article for USA Today, noting that the North Carolina prospect could be a top 10 pick if things go his way in the selection process. Here's what Pauline had to say about Cooper:

Cooper was quick, flexible and moved effortlesslyaround the field. The All-American guard also snapped the ball from center during a number of drills, displaying a degree of versatility in his game. Cooper came to the combine as a mid-first round choice, but could leave as a top 10 pick.

With Chance Warmack struggling a little bit, there's a chance Cooper could usurp his fellow prospect after this showing. There's no chance one of the two get past the St. Louis Rams at No. 16 and No. 22, and there's a good chance San Diego could be in play at No. 11. Solid showing for Cooper.

 

West Virginia QB Geno Smith

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Let the Robert Griffin III comparisons commence.

Smith ran a 4.59 40 on Sunday, and managed to impress enough during the drill portion of the day that he's probably going to be picked somewhere in the first round.

After rumors of a Kansas City-San Francisco trade for Alex Smith began to swirl Sunday (from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports), it might not be for the Chiefs. But there's plenty of teams that would select Smith from No. 10 on down if he was to fall that far.

Although Smith didn't exactly top the charts when it came to his pocket presence and footwork, he'll have room to improve upon those traits in the NFL.

You can't teach speed—especially at QB—and the NFL is moving to that phenomenon by the second these days.

Mark it down—Smith is a sure-fire first-rounder.

 

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