NFL Draft 2013: Players on the Rise Following Epic Combine Performance

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2013

December 1, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) carries the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during the third quarter at Milan Puskar Field. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 59-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine came and went in a flash, but not before a few players made headlines with their impressive individual workouts.

Whether it was West Virginia's Tavon Austin showcasing his top-end speed, an unknown offensive lineman showing off his track background or a highly-touted defensive star proving to be one of the most versatile athletes coming out.

Below we'll highlight a trio of combine stars whose stock is rising after epic performances in Indy.


Terron Armstead, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, OT

Terron Armstead proved at the combine that he is arguably the most athletic offensive lineman coming out of college football in 2013. 

Not only did the Arkansas-Pine Bluff star run a 4.71-second 40-yard dash (best among all offensive linemen), but he recorded the top vertical jump (34.5) and the fourth-best broad jump (9'4") among the offensive line prospects present at the combine. 

Armstead's memorable 40-yard dash and leaping ability will only raise his already rising stock. Those who watched Armstead during the East-West Shrine Game last January were impressed with how he handled some of the nation's top defenders. 

Although Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson and D.J. Fluker are the hands-down top offensive tackles coming out this spring, Armstead has certainly elevated himself right behind those players. At 6'5" and 306 pounds, he's definitely going to get a long look from teams in the second or third round of the draft.


Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR

Mountaineers playmaker Tavon Austin confirmed our original suspicions that he is fast at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds to catch the eye of every scout and coach in the building. Austin's impressive time was the second fastest at the combine, second behind only Texas Longhorns track star Marquise Goodwin (4.27).

NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport describes Austin's smooth stride:

In addition to wowing in the 40-yard dash, Austin posted a tremendous time in the 20-yard shuttle drill, finishing in 4.01 seconds, second at the combine only behind Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe (3.96).

Although many NFL higher-ups knew Austin was a speedster capable of breaking a game open before this year's scouting combine, those in charge of making draft day decisions love having numbers and facts to go off of. Austin's 4.34 40-yard dash will likely make him a first-round selection this year.

His production in three seasons in Morgantown was pretty jaw-dropping (3,260 career receiving yards, 1,023 career rushing yards and 33 total touchdowns), but now that NFL scouts, coaches and executives can speak his 40 time and make sense of those numbers, he's certainly a player on the rise.


Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE

KeKe Mingo delivered at the combine this February, posting phenomenal times in some key workouts, including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump and the 3-cone drill. 

Mingo ran the 40 in a time of 4.58 seconds, which was second-best among all defensive linemen. Mingo again showed up at the vertical jump, recording a 37-inch vertical to finish second among defensive lineman. His 10'8" broad jump and his 6.84-second time in the 3-cone drill were both best among all defensive linemen.

Mingo's draft stock was already through the ceiling before this winter's combine, but now his production at LSU looks even better. Just like with Austin, Mingo's impressive combine marks confirm what scouts saw on tape all season long. He's more than just an explosive outside edge rusher, he's a remarkable athlete with tremendous versatility. 

After proving he can move his 6'4", 240-pound frame around with ease, NFL coaches have to be confident that Mingo can star at defensive end or as an outside linebacker at the next level. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter