Miami Dolphins' 2014 Scouting Combine Stock Report
The NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone. All 32 NFL teams have had a chance to view potential draft selections up close as the offseason moves forward.
How a prospect performs at the combine can be the difference between being a first-round selection and a second-round selection. In some cases, it can be the deciding factor in whether or not a player is drafted at all.
Some players improved their draft stock while others have damaged it, to a degree. The Miami Dolphins can start to move players up and down their board now that the combine is completed. Here are a few players who helped their stock with the Dolphins, and a few who may be moving down Miami's board.
Stock Up: Taylor Lewan
The big left tackle out of Michigan was likely on the Dolphins' radar before the combine. He is without question on their radar now after an impressive week in Indianapolis.
Taylor Lewan recorded the fastest 40-yard dash time of any offensive lineman with a mark of 4.87 seconds. His broad jump of 9'9" was also tops among OL and his vertical jump of 30.5" was third best among OL.
Lewan finished fourth among offensive linemen in the three-cone drill and an unimpressive 11th in the bench press. Still, Lewan had arguably the most impressive week of any OL. He definitely improved his stock with the team in most need of help on the offensive trenches.
Stock Down: Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins could not have asked for a worse showing at the combine. The dynamic receiver from Clemson dropped a few balls and was outperformed by "lesser prospects" in several key drills.
Watkins' best performances came in the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the broad jump where he finished seventh, ninth and fifth, respectively, among receivers. He failed to finish among the top 15 receivers in any other drill.
It's true that combine drills cannot replicate a live game experience. It's also true that Watkins is a big-time player and seemingly a lock to be selected in the first-round of May's draft. That being said, to think his performance at the combine won't have an impact moving forward is willful ignorance.
Watkins is still a top prospect, but he didn't do himself any favors in Indy.
Stock Up: Crockett Gillmore
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I honestly believe Crockett Gillmore is a mid-round sleeper pick. Gillmore has been quietly climbing up the draft boards since the college football regular season ended. He followed up a big performance in the Senior Bowl with a strong showing at the combine.
Gillmore recorded the 13th best 40-yard dash among tight ends, which was disappointing. He helped his stock by registering the fourth best vertical leap, third best broad jump and eighth best time in the 20-yard shuttle. He also had the ninth best time in the three-cone drill.
Gillmore bested top TE prospect Eric Ebron in four of the six drills at the combine and should be moving up the draft boards for a number of teams. Gillmore could be one of the big steals of the draft once the mid-rounds begin.
Stock Down: Louis Nix
I had previously placed Louis Nix 11th on the Dolphins' big board, but after his performance at the combine, I'm not so sure. Nix did not participate in the bench press and failed to finish in the top 15 among DL in any drill.
In all fairness, Nix has never been known for his speed and has always been a run stopping specialist. Still, it would have been nice to see a bit more out of him during his time in Indy.
I'm still high on Nix and feel like he can make a solid NFL defensive tackle if he is in the right scheme. However, I am going to say his stock is down because I personally would have to drop him a few spots on my board.
Stock Up: Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack was already considered one of the top linebackers of this year's draft class. He took a big step at the combine towards silencing any doubters that may still be out there. Mack was one of the top performing linebackers in several critical drills.
Among linebackers, Mack recorded the fourth best 40-yard dash time, 11th best bench press, and second best vertical jump. He added the second best broad jump, 10th best time in the three-cone drill and fifth best time in the 20-yard shuttle.
The OLB from Buffalo may have used the combine to solidify himself as the best available LB in this year's draft.
Stock Down: Zack Martin
Zack Martin is in the same boat with me as the previously mentioned Louis Nix. Admittedly, having Martin as the fourth best overall prospect on my original Dolphins big board may have been a mistake. Martin is moving down on my board and his stock is going down with him.
The offensive guard from Notre Dame elected not to run the 40-yard dash and failed to finish in the top 10 of any other OL drill at the combine. I am trying my hardest to not put too much stock into combine results as history as taught us they are far from an indicator of future success.
I still believe Martin will be the Dolphins' first selection on draft day. I also believe he has a set of skills that can allow him to be a very effective OG at the next level. However, I also feel like Miami could trade back a few places in the draft and still land Martin.
Stock Up: Damian Copeland
Damian Copeland is not a household name, but he may have done more to improve his draft stock than any other player at the combine. Entering the combine, he was projected by most mock drafts as a late seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent.
Copeland finished second among receivers in the 60-yard shuttle, 20-yard shuttle and vertical jump. He was one of just two receivers to record a vertical leap of 40" or higher. He finished first among all receivers in the three-cone drill and showed his ability to keep both feet inbounds on sideline catches.
Copeland's ability to keep both feet inbounds can be seen in the video above.
Copeland has improved his draft stock astronomically when you consider where his pre-combine projections were. He will still be a late-round selection but has turned a few heads around the league, if only for a moment. Playing three years with Teddy Bridgewater doesn't hurt him either.
If the Dolphins decide to use a late selection on a developmental player, Copeland could at least get a look. Especially with Armon Binns and Brandon Gibson coming off injuries.
Stock Down: James WIlder
There has been some talk about the Dolphins looking to add a running back during the offseason. After the performance James Wilder had at the combine, the Dolphins may be able to grab a decent RB in the later rounds.
Among RBs, Wilder finished 12th in the broad jump, seventh in the three-cone drill and 10th in the 20-yard shuttle. He failed to finish in the top 15 of the 40-yard dash, bench press or vertical leap drill.
Still, Wilder was instrumental in Florida State's run to the BCS National Championship and has made a career out of punishing would-be tacklers. At 6'3" and 235 pounds, Wilder could be an ideal back to replace Daniel Thomas should the Dolphins choose to go that route.
Fortunately for the Dolphins and unfortunately for Wilder, his stock could be falling after a subpar showing at the combine. If Wilder is still on the board in the fourth or fifth round, and many think he will be, then the Dolphins might just pull the trigger on the big back from Florida State.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com