The NFL Scouting Combine is a place for prospects to improve their draft stock, and a few players did that in a big way this week in Indianapolis.
Also known as the "Underwear Olympics," former college stars are brought in to show off their speed, strength and overall athletic ability in a variety of workouts and drills. While these do not overrule a career of production, it gives scouts a closer look at the men they plan on drafting in April.
A few players like safety Shamarko Thomas, defensive end Margus Hunt and running back Knile Davis put up eye-popping numbers in the workouts, but these men truly improved their position in the draft after all-around great weeks.
Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The defensive line group might have seen the biggest shifts between the winners and losers of the combine.
While defensive tackle Star Lotulelei did not participate in drills, Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore looked slow and unathletic. All of these men were expected to be among the Top 10 picks in the draft coming into the week.
Meanwhile, players like Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo were really impressive. Specifically, Jordan was one of the top performers in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and 20-yard shuttle run, each showing different aspects of his athleticism that will help his game.
In addition, he showed off his quickness in the on-field drills run by the coaches. He also participated in the linebacker drills, showing he can drop back in coverage if needed in a 3-4 system.
Jordan needs to add some weight in order to really excel at the next level, but he was likely secured a spot as a Top 10 pick in April.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
The top of the offensive line class is among the best in years. Luke Joeckel has long been considered the top tackle in the class in front of Eric Fisher, while Chance Warmack is an elite prospect at guard.
Lane Johnson was considered a step behind these players, but he has moved into that category after the combine.
Johnson finished with the second best 40-yard dash time of all offensive linemen at 4.72 seconds. He was also either first or second at his position in the vertical jump, broad jump and three-cone drill.
This level of athleticism is not surprising considering his history. The tackle spent time at quarterback, tight end and defensive end at different times in his Oklahoma career.
While this inexperience on the offensive line will make him more of a long-term project, teams will jump at the opportunity to get a player with this level of potential.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
There were few certainties at the wide receiver position in this year's class. Keenan Allen and Cordarrelle Patterson are likely first-round picks, but the rest is filled with uncertainty.
However, Tavon Austin might have solidified his spot among the first 32 picks with his day at the combine.
His 40-yard dash time of 4.34 tied for the second-best time at the entire combine behind Marquise Goodwin of Texas. This helped confirm the speed that he has shown on the field over the past few years at West Virginia.
Additionally, Austin lifted the 225-pound bar 14 times, an impressive mark for a person that weighs only 174 pounds.
These marks should ease concerns about the receivers 5'9" height. General managers should feel comfortable drafting the playmaker and watching him put up huge numbers in the NFL.
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