2014 NFL Scouting Combine: Initial Takeaways from TE and OL Workouts

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2014 NFL Scouting Combine: Initial Takeaways from TE and OL Workouts
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The first day of workouts at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books, and there were quite a few interesting storylines that played out during the day.

While the combine results and performances have to be looked at with some perspective, there's still some valuable information that can be gleaned from watching a player work out and go through physical tests.

The offensive line workouts were revealing for a number of tackles. While everyone likes talking about 40-yard dash times, they are pretty irrelevant for offensive linemen.

But Michigan product Taylor Lewan's 4.88 40-yard dash (with a 10-yard split of 1.70) is absolutely phenomenal for a 6'7" tackle. He also posted the best broad jump of all linemen. He sometimes looks a little stiff on tape, but the senior proved Saturday he's a heck of an athlete.

Lewan was probably the biggest winner of the day because his stock was a little more in flux, but Auburn's Greg Robinson also put on a heck of a show. 

After benching 32 reps, Robinson went out and tied Lewan's 40-yard dash time of 4.88 and had a 10-yard split of 1.69. 

Robinson also looked extremely fluid in position drills and had scouts absolutely buzzing. He's a phenomenal athlete, and to do all that at 332 pounds? That's insane. He'll push to be considered for the first overall pick in the draft.

UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo also had a really strong day, tying for the third-best time in the 20-yard shuttle, which is arguably the most position-relevant physical test for offensive linemen.

After coming in a little taller than expected (just over 6'4") and then looking predictably quick and fluid in drills, teams will take a long look at Su'a-Filo in the first round for both guard and tackle.

The junior started at both left tackle and guard throughout his career. He also had a really impressive interview with Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks, and he should continue climbing boards.

Joe Bitonio of Nevada and Gabe Ikard of Oklahoma were two other guys who should garner more attention after their performances.

Bitonio absolutely tore up the physical tests, which will be duly noted by scouts. He looks athletic on tape, but the fact that he had the fourth-best 40, second-best broad jump, third-best three-cone drill and tied for the best 20-yard shuttle will make him a serious riser.

Ikard had the fastest time in both the three-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle, and although his strength and upside are limited, that type of quickness will certainly make scouts go back and watch his tape again.

On the other hand, Cyrus Kouandjio will see his stock absolutely tumble. Things started poorly when some issues came up with his physical.

After that, he had just an absolutely dreadful day. He looked slow and stiff, and his numbers reflected that. But even off the turf, he looked bad as well. Twenty-one reps on the bench press is just unacceptable for a 6'7", 322-pound NFL lineman.

He ran a dreadful 5.59 40-yard dash and had poor times on the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle as well. For comparison, D.J. Fluker ran a 4.31 40-yard dash last year.

There's no hiding from reality at this point: Kouandjio is really slow. Maybe he came to the combine a little out of shape, but that would be extremely concerning in and of itself.

There's almost no way he can play left tackle in the NFL, and I suspect that teams will be hesitant to line him up out wide on the right side now too, especially as a rookie. He's going to start getting projected as a guard and should move down to the second round as a result.

Baylor's Cyril Richardson is another big lineman who didn't really help himself. He wasn't awful in drills but had some pretty rough numbers and isn't the possible first-round pick some pegged him as in the middle of the season.

Finally, David Yankey of Stanford was really disappointing as well. The potential first-round pick had a really slow 40-yard dash time of 5.48. He measured in at 6'5.625" and has started at both guard and left tackle, but he will be looked at as a guard because of his lack of quickness and more stout frame.

Yankey didn't exactly show up in the strength department either, putting up a mere 22 reps on the bench. That's not great for a guy who is likely to permanently move to the inside.

The tight end class' workouts were a bit strange this year. Notre Dame's Troy Niklas has been rising up boards for the past month, and he continued his hot streak with an impressive 27 reps on the bench. But he competed in every other drill besides the 40-yard dash, which is a pretty important one for tight ends.

It's not necessarily a deal breaker, but it still says something that Niklas didn't want to compete. His time probably wouldn't have been too great (he had the slowest three-cone drill of all tight ends), but he should have still done it.

Another unexpected situation was the absence of 2014 Mackey Award winner Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The junior gave no prior indication that he would not compete in drills, but he wasn't out there at all.

It's strange to say the least, and it allowed other guys to step up and steal the spotlight. UNC's Eric Ebron was expected to dominate, and although he didn't necessarily blow everyone away, he also didn't disappoint.

He came in with an official 4.60 40-yard dash, second-best for all tight ends. He also had the third-best broad jump, which confirms how explosive he looks on tape.

But another tight end stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Ebron on every single drill. Colt Lyerla, the former Oregon player who left the university at the beginning of last season, came out and made a serious impression.

He tied for the best broad jump, was just one-tenth of a second behind Ebron in the 40 and he absolutely dominated the vertical jump.

Lyerla posted a 36.5" vertical, by far the best of all tight ends. But he only put up 17 reps on the bench, which will be of some concern. He's going to get drafted, but his interviews and teams' general willingness to take a risk will determine how high he goes.

Arthur Lynch from Georgia is another guy to keep an eye on. He doesn't do anything especially well, but he looked strong and smooth during drills. He showcased his strength on the bench, putting up 28 reps to tie for the second-most among tight ends.

He's really well-built, and has a big frame at 6'5", 258 pounds. He's not going to be a No. 1 tight end or legitimate playmaker but could be a very solid No. 2 guy in the NFL.

I'd also be remiss not to mention A.C. Leonard. The LSU standout showed off some impressive athleticism Saturday, putting up impressive times in every drill other than the bench press. 

He may not be polished and his stock likely should stay in the middle rounds, but he could be an interesting high-upside kind of guy.

Make sure to keep in mind that these numbers and workouts have to be kept in perspective. But they're more information, and that's all anybody is trying to get on these prospects.

Check back Sunday night for another report on quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

 

All stats taken from NFL.com/combine.

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