NFL Combine 2014: Day 3 Notebook

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NFL Combine 2014: Day 3 Notebook
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the NFL Scouting Combine, former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen will bring you his daily notebook from Indianapolis.

 

Top offensive tackles put on a show during workouts

The numbers posted from Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews are ridiculous when we look at the size of these three offensive tackles.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Both Robinson (6,5”, 332 pounds) and Lewan (6’7”, 309 pounds) posted 40 times in the 4.8-4.9 range, with Matthews (6’5”, 308 pounds) checking in at the 4.9-5.0 range. Lewan also threw in a broad jump of 9’9” to go along with a three-cone time of 7.39.

We expect Robinson to come off the board first this May (possibly to St. Louis at No. 2), with both Matthews and Lewan carrying top-10/top-15 grades because of their size, speed and overall athletic skill set at the tackle position.

 

UNC’s Eric Ebron is the clear No. 1 at the tight end position

Most considered the North Carolina product the No. 1 prospect at the position heading into the combine, and he solidified that ranking by posting an unofficial 4.50 40-yard dash time (4.6 official) on Saturday.

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

At 6’4”, 250 pounds, Ebron has the ability to produce after the catch, separate within the route tree and use that size to gain leverage versus defensive backs. Think of matchups here and the multiple alignments NFL offenses can use to showcase Ebron’s skill set.

Ebron can be aligned as the in-line “Y” tight end or removed from the core of the formation (slot, backside of a 3x1 set) to run the option routes, seam, dig, skinny post, 7 (corner), etc. He's a player who gives offensive play-callers some formation flexibility within the game plan to cater to his talents.

Given his film—and the workout here in Indianapolis—Ebron should carry a top-15 grade.

 

Jadeveon Clowney checks in at the combine

Listed at 274 pounds this season, Clowney dropped some weight and checked in at 6’5”, 266 pounds with 34.5" arms and an 83" wingspan.

John Raoux/Associated Press

With that wingspan and speed (Clowney hopes to run in the 4.4s on Monday), is it possible the Houston Texans look to land the defensive end at No. 1 overall? That’s a discussion we’ve heard often on the media floor this week.

This would pair Clowney with Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar. I’ve seen Kollar coach firsthand during stops in St. Louis and Buffalo during my career. The veteran coach is demanding, preaches accountability and brings an energy level to the practice field that is hard to replicate anywhere in the league.

If there are concerns about Clowney’s work ethic, I believe Kollar can facilitate the defensive end’s development as a rookie.

 

Odds and Ends

  • Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will not throw here in Indianapolis. While I’m not surprised to see one of the top quarterbacks elect to throw back on campus at his pro day, the combine would have been a nice stage for Bridgewater to showcase his accuracy with the football.
  • I loved the response from new Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine when he learned of the report that the team tried to trade for coach Jim Harbaugh before he got the job: "I got a phone call that the report was about to come out, and I shot the messenger a little bit," Pettine said at the podium on Saturday. "My first question was, 'How does that affect my tenure as the head coach?' I either used the world 'flying' followed by something or I referenced a part of a rat's body."
  • Aaron Donald doesn’t have the ideal NFL “measureables” at 6'1”, 285 pounds, but looking at his film—plus the skill set (quickness, technique, pass-rush ability) he displayed at the Senior Bowl—the Pittsburgh product should be considered one of the top prospects at the defensive tackle position. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Donald sees himself as a 3-technique tackle (4-3 front) at the pro level.
  • Auburn defensive end/outside linebacker Dee Ford (6’2”, 252 pounds) should test well during workouts. A rush end/'backer who starred at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile with his electric burst off the ball, Ford has the opportunity to display his athletic ability, speed and lateral quickness during the drills on the field.
  • Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla (6’4”, 242 pounds) has some real off-field concerns, but he also presents an athletic skill set (posted an unofficial 4.47 40 time, 10'8" broad jump) and has the ability to align as a “move” tight end. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller said Lyerla has “second-round talent,” but how will the red flags in his scouting report impact his overall grade?
  • Tennessee State tight end A.C. Leonard ran an unofficial 4.43 40 today at 6’2”, 252 pounds. That’s wide receiver speed.
  • Don’t forget about Missouri’s Kony Ealy. At 6’4”, 273 pounds (with 34.25" arms), Ealy should be the second defensive end to come off the board after Clowney. We expect him to run in the low 4.7 range on Monday.
  • Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs will be on the field Sunday inside Lucas Oil Stadium for workouts. With Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Johnny Manziel electing not to throw here in Indianapolis, the stage is set for Central Florida’s Blake Bortles to showcase his arm in front of the entire league.
  • Can Texas A&M’s Mike Evans run in the 4.5 range at 6'5", 231 pounds? The wide receiver can make some money on Sunday.

 

Seven-year NFL veteran Matt Bowen is an NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.

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