This year’s NFL Scouting Combine was certainly one for the books.
There were several players who did themselves good going into April’s draft, but there were also many who hurt their draft stock.
The expectations were high for former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, but his already-falling draft stock took another tumble with a forgettable combine performance. While Te’o surely didn’t help himself, there was another defender who greatly assisted himself.
Former LSU corner Tyrann Mathieu put up great numbers in most drills, except for an embarrassing showing in the bench press (only four reps of 225 pounds). While he definitely wasn’t the strongest player at the combine, Mathieu proved he was an elite athlete.
These were just two of several players whose draft stock was impacted at the combine.
Desmond Trufant, DB
Desmond Trufant ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes at the combine, and that was just the tip of the iceberg for the former Washington Husky.
He did well in the on-field drills and also put up 16 reps on the bench press. Trufant was already considered to be a potential first rounder but now looks like a lock to hear his name called on the first day.
Trufant’s stock will continue to rise, especially if he has a strong showing at his pro day.
Manti Te’o, LB
Perhaps the most impressive part of Te’o’s combine trip was his ability to remain calm and face all questions surrounding the continuously beaten dead horse that is his “Catfish” hoax.
He ran a slow 40-yard dash and was average in the bench press and field drills. Following a bad performance in the BCS National Championship game and his off-field drama, a bad combine is the last thing Te’o needed.
He will have a chance to avenge himself at his pro day, but it may be too late to renew his draft stock.
Two months ago, Te’o was considered a lock to be picked in the top 15; here we are two months later and he may not even be a first rounder.
Dee Milliner, DB
The former Crimson Tide star didn’t need to do much at the combine in order to maintain his status as the class’ top corner.
While he struggled with catching the ball, it is not likely to affect his stock. Milliner has likely sprinted himself into the top five as both the Eagles (fourth overall pick) and the Lions (fifth overall pick) are in need of an elite defensive back.
Geno Smith, QB
Geno Smith was one was the most closely looked at prospects at this year’s combine. There are several questions surrounding this quarterback class, with Smith considered to be the one with the least doubt surrounding him.
He is considered by many to be a lock as the first overall pick, but it would be more out of desperation than actual desire. While he didn’t have a bad combine workout by any means, he didn’t really separate himself as many teams would have liked him to.
Smith is running out of chances to win over teams’ comfortability which is something he will need in order to be the first quarterback off the board.
The best thing Smith did at the combine was run a quick time in the 40-yard dash (4.59). By showcasing his speed, Smith has proven he can fit into a read-option offense, although it is not his forte.
When it comes to Smith’s situation, you either help yourself or you hurt yourself. By not helping himself, Smith has actually hurt himself.
Tyrann Mathieu, DB
The Honey Badger needed this combine as bad as anyone.
He ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash, and also looked smooth during the field drills. Although they were non-contact exercises, Mathieu still looked like he had very little rust after being out of football for the past year.
Mathieu also did well in the broad jump and vertical leap as he jumped 117 inches and 34 inches respectively.
It seems like he has solidified himself as, at the very latest, as a second-round pick. At that point, teams will jump on Mathieu, especially with the success of last year’s troubled corner Janoris Jenkins.