NFL Combine 2014: Top Performers in Indianapolis so Far

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NFL Combine 2014: Top Performers in Indianapolis so Far
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Even though the 2014 NFL combine is only two days under way in Indianapolis, many eyebrows have been raised from the proceedings thus far.

The offensive linemen, tight ends and special teamers have performed on the bench press, so little can be deduced about the field from physical workouts, as the 40-yard dash has only just begun for offensive linemen. Weigh-ins, however, have caused some initial fluctuations in the draft stock of some.

Even though the talk of the first two days was Johnny Manziel measuring in at less than 6 feet, here are four players who were the topic of conversation for better rather than worse.

 

1. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Robinson is seemingly in a deadlock with Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews with regard to who will be the first offensive lineman taken off the board. Arm length can be a factor in a team's ranking of offensive linemen, and Robinson's arms (35 inches) measured almost two inches longer than Matthews' (33 3/8 inches).

The bench press, though, was where Robinson gained his biggest advantage over Matthews so far. Even though the Tiger weighed in at 24 pounds heavier than the Aggie, putting up eight more reps than Matthews was impressive.

Robinson is emerging as the favorite for the Atlanta Falcons at No. 6.

 

2. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame

This year's tight end class is very deep, and Troy Niklas may have inched his way closer to being chosen on Day 1 of the draft after his initial measurements. He's already highly considered to be the best blocking tight end in the class but hasn't completely proved himself as a pass-catcher.

Niklas ranked fourth on the bench press amongst tight ends, logging 27 reps of 225 pounds. That put him one rep behind Jace Amaro and three ahead of Eric Ebron, the top two tight ends in the draft. He weighed in at 6'6", 270 pounds, with 10-inch hands and 34-inch-plus arms.

Try to convince an NFL team that a man of that stature can't catch a ball.

 

3. Russell Bodine, C, North Carolina

Bodine put up a number that will be tough to beat on the bench press, as his 42 reps of 225 pounds topped the next-best number by six reps. Although he is not a very highly touted center, last year's draft showed that the position can go higher than expected.

If Bodine can perform well in the rest of the workouts, his projected landing spot could move toward the upper to middle rounds.

Especially in the early stages of the combine, one must give credit where credit is due. He doesn't have eye-popping physical characteristics, but his bench-press domination is worthy of recognition.

 

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Don't worry: The comments section is open for criticism with this one. Even though Manziel did measure shorter than Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, there were still positives from his day. Whenever Johnny Football leaves the podium without stirring up some sort of debate is a win for him, and although his interview responses were seemingly scripted, nobody can criticize his answers.

He also had the biggest hands among the group of three elite quarterbacks, which is drawing praise early on. The on-the-field workouts will ultimately determine if he goes No. 1 overall, but for now, he's off to a good start.

 

Note: Combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.

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