Big 12 Football: Standout Stars from the NFL Combine

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Big 12 Football: Standout Stars from the NFL Combine
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Underwear Olympics, better-known in layman's terms as the NFL combine, is over. With the exception of individual pro days, all anyone can do is wait until the NFL draft in May.

So how did the Big 12's brightest stars perform in front of NFL scouts?

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the best players in the conference posted some of the best numbers at their respective positions during workouts. Fringe first-round talents like TCU cornerback Jason Verrett and Texas Tech wide receiver Jace Amaro definitely helped their stock.

For other players like Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, the combine corroborated what many already knew: The guy is a freak.

Here are the highlights from Big 12 standouts in the combine.

 

Justin Gilbert, Cornerback, Oklahoma State

As NFL offenses put greater emphasis on large red-zone targets in the passing game, the need for bigger defensive backs has grown along with it.

At 6'0" and 202 pounds, Justin Gilbert fits that mold.

Gilbert flashed more than just size at the combine, though. His 4.37 40-yard dash was the best among defensive backs. He also displayed excellent burst with a 35.5" vertical and 10'6" broad jump.

His combine numbers impressed NFL.com writer Bucky Brooks and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has long been a huge fan of Gilbert. Miller has Gilbert coming off the board at No. 14 to the Chicago Bears in his latest mock draft.

Bleacher Report AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz wrote a full breakdown of Gilbert's game on Tuesday. There are obviously aspects of Gilbert's game that need improvement, like his overall coverage skills, but there's no denying that his athleticism is worthy of a first-round pick.

 

Jason Verrett, Cornerback, TCU

Gilbert was the Thorpe Award finalist, but there wasn't a better shutdown corner in the Big 12 than Jason Verrett in 2013.

The knock on Verrett is his size: He measured in at 5'9" and 189 pounds. In the combine drills, though, Verrett performed bigger than his frame would indicate. He recorded a 39" vertical and a 10'6" broad jump. Verrett also ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash.

Verrett's workout also caught the eye of Brooks, who had this to say about the TCU corner:

He followed up the strong showing in athletic drills with a terrific performance in the position-specific portion of the workout. Verrett dazzled scouts with his swivel hips and explosive breaks while also displaying strong hands and ball skills.

Miller has Verrett being drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 25 overall pick.

 

Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech

Jace Amaro was already considered one of the best tight ends in the 2014 draft. At the combine, Amaro showed he was more than just a receiving threat.

His 28 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press surprised Mike Huguenin of NFL.com in a good way. "That's an impressive number for a guy whose arm length is 34 inches," Huguenin wrote. "Generally, the shorter your arms, the easier it is to lift."

Amaro spent the majority of his time at Texas Tech split out as a receiver. With a 4.74 40-yard dash, he should translate well to a pro passing game. However, a strong showing in the bench press indicates he may have what it takes to be an inline blocker at the next level too.

Miller has Amaro going No. 29 overall to the New England Patriots, a pick that almost doesn't seem fair to the rest of the league.

 

Other Notables 

Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, fourth-best among defensive linemen, and was clocked at 6.97 seconds in the three-cone drill, second among D-linemen.

Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk recorded a 11'2" broad jump, the best of any running back. Then again, no one ever doubted Seastrunk's explosiveness.

Additionally, Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard had the best 20-yard shuttle (4.37 seconds) and three-cone drill (7.3 seconds) among offensive linemen.

 

Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All scouting combine information courtesy of NFL.com.

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