With last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in the books, teams are further armed with an arsenal of data that can aid in the process of uncovering diamonds in the rough in the April draft.
While many players made the most of their combine experiences, others disappointed in some of the drills. Either way, NFL teams have to take these workout performances with a grain of salt—for every steal in the draft, there is a bust.
Former Florida State gunslinger EJ Manuel followed up a Senior Bowl Most Outstanding Player performance with a strong showing at the combine.
Manuel ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash of any quarterback at the combine, turning in an official time of 4.65 seconds. Manuel is a big, mobile quarterback, standing 6’5” and weighing 237 pounds, which should sound even more appealing to NFL scouts.
Throw in the fact Manuel is a big-game performer—he won four bowl games for the Seminoles over the course of his collegiate career—and he sounds even more tantalizing to NFL teams looking for a hidden gem in the draft.
Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu had a strong showing in Indianapolis, making a big statement when his draft stock was on the line. Mathieu ran a sizzling 4.50 40-yard dash and looked “extremely agile” in drills, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports.
Mathieu is on the shorter side—he stands 5’8”—and the 2011 Heisman finalist was dismissed from the Tigers prior to the 2012 season for repeated violations of LSU’s substance-abuse policy for athletes.
But with the performance he had last week, Mathieu may be the type of player to take a gamble on and could pay off big time for a lucky NFL team.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o needed to make a big statement at the NFL Scouting Combine following his subpar performance in the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama and the “catfishing” story that made headlines nationwide.
While USA Today’s Brian Spurlock said Te’o “performed admirably” in the massive press conference held Saturday, the former Irish star left much to be desired in his 40-yard dash.
Te’o was officially clocked at 4.82 seconds, a time that ESPN’s John Clayton said could have dropped the linebacker to the second round of the draft.
But Te’o was a Heisman runner-up in a season that saw the Irish linebacker lead the team to an undefeated regular season. Te’o has the potential to be a steal—or a bust.
All statistics via the NFL.