Predicting Former Penn State Players' 2014 NFL Combine Performance
With the NFL draft quickly approaching, a select group of former Nittany Lions will showcase their skills to NFL teams in a few days.
Penn State will be represented by three players at the 2014 NFL Combine. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, wide receiver Allen Robinson and offensive guard John Urschel will travel to Indianapolis to take part in the event. They'll meet with various franchises before performing on-field drills.
Of the bunch, Robinson is expected to be the highest Penn State alumnus drafted. The junior left school early after two record-setting seasons in Bill O'Brien's offense.
While equal attention might not be on Jones and Urschel, each will be on a mission to impress a potential employer. Both players will look to increase their stock by standing out amongst players in their respective position groups.
Here are some brief predictions as to how each Nittany Lion could fare in the on-field drills.
40-yard dash: 5.23 seconds
Bench press: 27 reps
Broad jump: 8 feet, 3 inches
Jones' stock may have slipped a bit since the start of last season. Nevertheless, he's poised to become the fourth Penn State defensive tackle drafted since 2010.
A good showing at the combine could be a huge boost to scouts' views on the defensive tackle. Talent evaluators seem to be concerned with Jones' weight and conditioning, and a respectable time in the 40-yard dash could help calm some of those nerves.
The bench press is the most important test for any lineman, providing a good understanding of a player's strength in the trenches. Jones has previously maxed out at 405 pounds on the bench, so he should be able to knock out close to 30 repetitions at 225 pounds.
According to CBSSports.com, Jones is the No. 10-rated defensive tackle prospect. He's projected as a mid-round pick.
40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds
Vertical jump: 38 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 2 inches
Allen Robinson is the Nittany Lion with the highest draft stock right now, and the combine will be an important part of the wide receiver's leap to the NFL.
On paper, he's as good as any receiver in this year's draft. But when it comes to the measurables, he might not present the same "wow factor" as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or Marqise Lee.
The 40-yard dash will be the most important test for Robinson. If there's one knock on him at this point, it's his speed—specifically his ability to break away from defenders. Take for example this catch made against Wisconsin, where he ended up being tackled from behind and denied a touchdown.
He has tremendous leaping ability, which Penn State fans will remember for a very long time. He should have good showings in both the vertical and broad jumps—areas that might not be causes for concern right now amongst scouts.
Robinson is a fringe first-round pick right now, per CBSSports.com. The site rates him as the sixth-best wideout in this year's draft.
40-yard dash: 5.25 seconds
Bench press: 25 reps
Wonderlic test: 48
John Urschel was a contributor on the offensive line the last few seasons and was able to stay healthy along the way. That alone should help toward shaping his NFL career.
Like Jones, he'll have to turn in a solid showing on the bench press to stick out. He too once maxed out at 405 pounds, so 25 repetitions of 225 pounds seems like a reasonable estimate. A strong effort in the broad jump could help speak to his explosiveness off the line, too.
Aside from the on-field assessments, he will likely dominate the Wonderlic test. Remember, we're talking about a guy who has published an astronomy paper and taught a math class. He should make quick work of a few rudimentary brainteasers.
CBSSports.com projects Urschel to be selected toward the end of the draft, but his stock could rise significantly if all goes well in Indianapolis.