NFL Combine 2013: Biggest Disappointments and Surprising Successes

Morgan ChalfantContributor IIIFebruary 26, 2013

Experts have pretty much universally labeled Te'o as a disappointment at the combine.
Experts have pretty much universally labeled Te'o as a disappointment at the combine.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine comes to a close, buzz surrounds several players that either heavily disappointed or really impressed football experts because of their performances.

One of the most talked about disappointments of Monday was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. Though he had an impressive 2012 season and registered 113 tackles and seven interceptions, Te’o ran an official 4.82 40-yard dash time, the seventh slowest of the 26 linebackers at the combine.

Moreover, he came away with a broad jump measurement of 9’5’’, which is quite disappointing considering last year’s average broad jump for middle linebackers was 9’8’’ according to NFL draft expert Mike Mayock during the telecast.

Yahoo! Sports reported after Te’o’s poor performance, “The question now isn’t if the bad 40 time hurts Te’o’s draft stock, it’s how much it does.” Experts questioned Te’o’s ability after his bad showing during the BCS Championship Game between Notre Dame and Alabama. They also questioned him after the infamous girlfriend hoax. Now, Te’o’s draft stock is sure to be in jeopardy.

One of Sunday’s disappointments was running back Stepfan Taylor of Stanford. Taylor ran the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, which seemed slow compared to his apparent speed during play on the field.

Furthermore, the running back did a meager 17 repetitions on the bench press. As USA Today reported, “During cone drills he significantly slowed down changing direction to the point of coming to a complete stop.”

Though Taylor was initially believed to go in the second round, his NFL Combine Player Profile now says otherwise; according to the website, “[Taylor] is likely to go in the second or third round.” Unfortunately, Taylor’s stock has obviously fallen given his poor performance at the combine.

In contrast, the combine saw two standout wide receivers on Sunday. In particular, Tavon Austin of West Virginia showed incredible speed, clocking in at 4.34 seconds for the 40-yard dash. He also “caught the ball very well,” according to ESPN, and as a result “might have sprinted his way to the bottom of the first round.”

Daniel Jeremiah of even speculated that the Steelers could pick Austin at the No. 17 spot during the first round: “The Pittsburgh Steelers have a multitude of needs to fill on the defensive side of the ball, but I would think Austin has to be in the discussion for their selection at No. 17.”

After a strong 2012 season with West Virginia during which he caught more than 100 passes and rushed for more than 700 yards, Austin made a compelling case for his ability as a wide receiver with his combine performance.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin of Texas also had a very impressive showing on Sunday. Specifically, he was the fastest receiver with a 4.27 second 40-yard dash, only three-hundredths of a second behind the record of 4.24 seconds posted at the 2008 combine.

USA Today’s Tony Pauline labeled Goodwin a clear “riser” after his performance at the combine. The wide receiver played well last season for Texas, catching 26 passes for 340 yards and totaling three touchdowns.

Pauline also stated, “Goodwin continues to build on the momentum he started at the Senior Bowl last month and further elevated his draft grade with his combine performance.” With the fastest time for the 40-yard dash, Goodwin has surely elevated his draft status.