2014 NFL Draft

Power Ranking the 25 Best 2014 NFL Combine Performances

Dan HopeContributor IIIFebruary 27, 2014

Power Ranking the 25 Best 2014 NFL Combine Performances

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    Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was among the stars of this year's NFL Scouting Combine.
    Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan was among the stars of this year's NFL Scouting Combine.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The annual NFL Scouting Combine is the only pre-draft event each year in which a vast majority of the draft’s top prospects have the opportunity to compete against one another on an equal playing field.

    This year’s top combine standouts included some of the draft’s biggest names, such as Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson and Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.

    There were also many lesser-known and/or small-school prospects, such as Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon and Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp, who made names for themselves by running fast, jumping high, displaying strength in the bench press and/or standing out in positional skill drills.

    Altogether, the most impressive workouts were ones that included not only a strong set of numbers across the board but were also completed with an impressive display of translatable skills in on-field drills.

    While there were many draft prospects who appeared to raise their respective stock with strong showings this year in Indianapolis, the following 25 put together the strongest performances from top to bottom.

     



    All combine measurables courtesy of NFL.com’s results tracker.

Honorable Mentions

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

    Clowney put up one of the most remarkable numbers of this year’s combine with a 4.53-second 40-yard dash time, the best among defensive linemen and rare speed for someone who stands 6’5” and 266 pounds.

    The South Carolina superstar was also impressive in the vertical jump (37.5”) and broad jump (10’4”), but Clowney’s combine was left incomplete by his decision to opt out of on-field workouts.

     

    Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

    Shazier’s week started out well on Saturday, when he weighed in at 237 pounds, a statement which answered questions about whether he is too small to be an NFL linebacker. He continued to impress on Sunday by putting up 25 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and he then posted the highest vertical jump (42”) of all combine participants on Monday.

    He failed to make the top 25, only because he did not participate in either on-field drills or the 40-yard dash. Per CollegeFootball 24/7's official Twitter account, Shazier told reporters on Sunday that he had a tweaked hamstring and was also battling a cold.

     

    Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

    A 4.53-second 40-yard dash time might not usually turn heads for a wide receiver, but it does when you’re 6’5” and 231 pounds like Mike Evans.

    Evans also had a 37” vertical jump, measured in with long arms (35.125”) and looked good catching passes in on-field drills. As a result, the Texas A&M wideout likely solidified himself as a top-15 draft selection.

     

    Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

    Jason Verrett was one of four cornerbacks and only seven players in total to run a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash at this year’s combine. He was also among the combine’s top-15 performers in the vertical jump (39”), broad jump (10’8”), three-cone drill (6.69 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.00 seconds).

    Verrett is a small cornerback at 5’9” and 189 pounds, and he had an inconsistent performance in on-field drills, but his fantastic speed and agility measurables help his cause as a potential first-round draft selection.

25. Henry Josey, RB, Missouri

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’8”

    Weight: 194 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.43 seconds

    Bench Press: 20 reps

    Vertical Jump: 34.5”

    Broad Jump: 9’10”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.07 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.13 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.67 seconds

     

    Henry Josey’s NFL dreams appeared to be in serious jeopardy when he suffered a torn ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in his left knee in November 2011. But after missing the entire 2012 season while recovering from the injury, Josey bounced back in 2013 with a 1,166-yard, 16-touchdown redshirt junior season.

    Josey followed up his comeback year with a terrific performance at the combine.

    He finished among the top-five running backs in the 40-yard dash and both shuttle drills, but the positional drills were where he really stood out. Josey’s cuts were consistently quick and made at full-speed, and he also made a catch in his hands on every pass that came his way.

    The combination of speed, agility and receiving ability that Josey showed, both throughout his collegiate career and at the combine, give him high potential as a third-down back.

24. Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’0"

    Weight: 175 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.40 seconds

    Bench Press: DNP

    Vertical Jump: 38”

    Broad Jump: 10’4”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.09 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    The depth of this year’s wide receiver class was on full display at this year’s combine, as many of the top wide receivers performed well. One of the standouts among the potential early-round selections was Colorado’s Paul Richardson.

    Richardson weighed in at only 175 pounds and participated in only four measurable drills, but he performed well in those he opted into, including posting a 40-yard dash time that tied for eighth-fastest among all combine participants.

    He continued to show his speed in pass-catching drills, during which he consistently caught the ball in his hands and away from his body, and he also ran good routes.

    Richardson is a likely Day 2 selection in this year’s draft.

23. Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’3”

    Weight: 234 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.67 seconds

    Bench Press: 22 reps

    Vertical Jump: 37.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’0"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.89 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 3.96 seconds

     

    Jordan Tripp didn’t always have to go up against top competition during his college football career at the FCS level, but the Montana product stood out against more well-known, large-school peers in Indianapolis at the combine.

    Tripp put up good measurable numbers across the board, including a 20-yard shuttle time that ranked as the best among all linebackers. But the on-field skill drills were where he really stood out.

    He made an immediate impression before those drills even began, when he stepped up as a vocal leader and broke down the huddle of linebackers following a speech from a coach. Once the drills got moving, Tripp continued to excel by displaying quick feet, fluid hips and good hands.

    Tripp, who B/R’s Matt Miller considers to be a top-75 prospect in this year’s draft, likely solidified himself as a mid-round draft selection.

22. Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’0"

    Weight: 232 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.51 seconds

    Bench Press: 28 reps

    Vertical Jump: 39”

    Broad Jump: 10’8”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.92 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.02 seconds

     

    An undersized linebacker at only 6’0" and 232 pounds, Kevin Pierre-Louis might not have a true position in the NFL, but teams may be more inclined to try to find a role for him after he was an all-around standout at the combine.

    Pierre-Louis led all linebackers with his 40-yard dash time, and all six of his measurable drill results were among the top six at the position. His athleticism continued to stand out in on-field drills, though he showed some hip stiffness and had some issues catching the ball consistently.

    While he might not be a three-down NFL linebacker, players with as much athleticism as Pierre-Louis can typically find a spot on a roster, even if only on special teams. He likely solidified himself as a Day 3 draft selection who can play special teams and be developed for potential.

21. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’3”

    Weight: 251 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds

    Bench Press: 23 reps

    Vertical Jump: 40”

    Broad Jump: 10’8”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.08 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

     

    Widely considered to be among the top two defensive players in this year’s draft class, Khalil Mack lived up to expectations at this year’s combine with an explosive all-around performance.

    Mack was second only to Ryan Shazier among linebackers in both the vertical and broad jumps, and he continued to show explosion by running a 4.65-second 40, a very good time for a 251-pound linebacker.

    Sloppy footwork was exposed at times in his on-field drills, but overall, Mack looked like the draft’s most explosive linebacker prospect. He only continued to separate himself from the draft’s other top outside linebackers, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy and UCLA’s Anthony Barr, by performing well throughout a complete combine workout.

20. Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’11”

    Weight: 222 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.45 seconds

    Bench Press: 16 reps

    Vertical Jump: 35.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’1”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.37 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.25 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.76 seconds

     

    Damien Williams’ draft stock was destroyed in November when he was dismissed from the Oklahoma football program for a violation of team rules, but he might have gained some of what he lost back with an exceptional combine performance.

    Williams’ 40-yard dash was the fastest among running backs of 210 pounds or more, while his set of measurables was impressive across the board. He followed that up with a terrific showing in on-field drills, during which he ran everything with speed, exploded in his cuts and consistently caught the ball in his hands.

    The most important part of Williams’ combine came away from the field, as whether he gets drafted will likely come down to how well he answered the tough questions in interviews.

    While Williams proved that he has the physical tools to succeed as an NFL running back, he must convince teams that he can meet the character demands of a professional at the next level.

     

19. Keith McGill, CB, Utah

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’3”

    Weight: 211 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.51 seconds

    Bench Press: DNP

    Vertical Jump: 39”

    Broad Jump: 10’9”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.29 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    Like Mike Evans on the other side of the ball, Utah’s Keith McGill is a prospect whose athletic measurables become significantly more impressive because of his impressive size for his position.

    McGill showed his lower-body explosiveness at the combine by posting a 4.51 40a good time for a 211-pound cornerbackwhile posting the position’s second-longest broad jump and tying for third among cornerbacks in the vertical jump.

    On the other end of the spectrum, McGill’s three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times were among the worst of the defensive back crop, but he made up for it by looking surprisingly fluid in drills, though he displays some stiffness in hips.

    Overall, McGill has made a name for himself with his intriguing physique and has backed it up with his athleticism, which should have many NFL teams taking a close look at him.

     

18. Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’4”

    Weight: 302 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.97 seconds

    Bench Press: 22 reps

    Vertical Jump: 32”

    Broad Jump: 9’6”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.34 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.44 seconds

     

    By standing out athletically among his peers in the first group of offensive linemen on Saturday, Joel Bitonio was the first standout of many at this year’s combine.

    Overall, Bitonio ranked among the top-four offensive linemen in every measurable drill except the bench press. He continued to show that athleticism with quick feet and natural lateral movement skills in positional drills.

    Bitonio is slightly undersized for an offensive tackle, but his athleticism gives him high upside in handling outside speed rushers and in covering significant ground as a run-blocker. Whether he ends up as a tackle or guard might ultimately depend on which teams drafts him, but he is a well-rounded offensive lineman who displayed in Indianapolis why he would be a worthy Day 2 draft selection.

17. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6’5”

    Weight: 308 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 5.07 seconds

    Bench Press: 24 reps

    Vertical Jump: 30.5”

    Broad Jump: 8’9”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.34 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.47 seconds

     

    Jake Matthews was overshadowed at this year’s combine by the draft class’ other top offensive tackle prospects, but he had a very strong performance in his own right.

    Matthews’ measurables aren’t eye-popping, but they are still very good for an offensive linemen. His three-cone drill time was the second-fastest among linemen, while his vertical jump tied for third-best in his position group.

    In on-field skill drills, Matthews was the clear standout at the position. A fluid athlete who moves incredibly naturally for his size in every direction, the Texas A&M product set the bar for his entire group while displaying textbook positioning and technique.

    While Matthews might not be generating as much buzz as Greg Robinson or Taylor Lewan, he showed at the combine why he still deserves to be the draft’s top offensive tackle.

     

16. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’11”

    Weight: 198 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.43 seconds

    Bench Press: 7 reps

    Vertical Jump: 38.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’2”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.69 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 3.94 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 10.93 seconds

     

    Arguably the most complete wideout in a star-studded class of receiver prospects, LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. continued to prove himself at the combine as a first-round-worthy talent.

    Beckham’s athleticism was on full display in the measurable drills. He finished third among all wide receivers in both shuttle drills, while his 40-yard dash, vertical jump and three-cone drill all ranked among the position group’s top nine.

    The LSU product continued to excel in on-field drills. Beckham consistently ran crisp routes, caught the ball in his hands with little trouble and showed his aptitude for tracking the ball downfield.

    Beckham lacks the ideal size and strength of a No. 1 wide receiver, but he is a polished playmaker with game-changing ability, and he did nothing but show that in Indianapolis.

     

15. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Height: 6’0"

    Weight: 202 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.37 seconds

    Bench Press: 20 reps

    Vertical Jump: 35.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’6”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.92 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: DNP

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    Justin Gilbert might have already been considered the draft’s top cornerback coming into the combine, but he proved his worthiness of a high draft selection by standing out inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

    It’s not easy to find a cornerback who is at least six-feet tall, 200 pounds and runs a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash, which are all criteria that Gilbert met at the combine. His 40-time was the best among all defensive backs, while he also tied for fifth among defensive backs with his 20-rep performance in the bench press.

    Gilbert proved himself as the most impressive physical specimen among cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, and for the most part, he also looked good in positional drills. He had a couple of uncharacteristic drops, but his backpedaling and hip-flipping were both among the smoothest of all defensive backs who worked out in Indianapolis.

    A big playmaker at Oklahoma State, Gilbert’s combine performance did nothing but solidify him as a top-20 draft selection.

     

14. Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’2”

    Weight: 221 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.40 seconds

    Bench Press: 13 reps

    Vertical Jump: 39.5”

    Broad Jump: 11’0"

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.02 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.30 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    Donte Moncrief did not do enough in his junior season to stand out among a talent-laden wide receiver class in a draft he decided to enter early, but a strong showing at the combine might help him make a late push up the wideout ranks.

    By measuring in at 6’2” and 221 pounds and then tying for the third-fastest 40-time among receivers who ran at the combine, Moncrief proved that he has the size/speed combination teams look for in starting outside receivers. A tremendously explosive athlete for his size, Moncrief also tied for the lead among wideouts in the broad jump and tied for third in the vertical jump.

    Physical tools aren’t the issue for Moncrief, but rather it is about how well he can utilize them to excel on the football field. Those concerns were not necessarily answered at the combine; despite his measurables, Moncrief had trouble tracking the ball deep downfield.

    Nonetheless, Moncrief made it clear in Indianapolis that he has a physical skill set that shouldn’t be ignored. That could be enough for a team to take a chance on him as a Day 2 draft selection.

     

13. Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’0"

    Weight: 193 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.38 seconds

    Bench Press: 11 reps

    Vertical Jump: 36.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’2”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.62 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.04 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    In joining three potential first-round picks as a cornerback with a sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash time at this year’s combine, Rice’s Phillip Gaines proved that he could hang with big-name talent.

    Gaines showed a tremendous amount of athleticism in Indianapolis, not only with an impressive set of measurables across the board but also in on-field drills. He showed an ability to backpedal quickly while also being able to explode through his hip flips and make smooth transitions.

    Coming off a productive collegiate career, Gaines likely solidified himself as a mid-round draft selection with his display of physical tools at the combine. He has the size, speed and movement skills NFL teams should covet at the position.

12. Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’11”

    Weight: 220 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds

    Bench Press: DNP

    Vertical Jump: 36.5”

    Broad Jump: 9’8”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.78 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.36 seconds

     

    If there was a pre-combine stigma against Tyler Gaffney that he was a methodical, athletically-limited, between-the-tackles runner, the Stanford running back shattered that perception in Indianapolis.

    Gaffney was one of the combine’s most surprising standouts, as he posted some of the top numbers among running backs. With the position group’s fastest 60-yard shuttle time, second-fastest three-cone drill time and a sub-4.5 40-yard dash time, Gaffney showed an impressive display of explosiveness and agility.

    At 5’11” and 220 pounds, Gaffney has ideal size for a running back, while he also catches the ball cleanly in his hands, as he showed in combine on-field drills.

    Even in a deep class at a position of declining value, Gaffney likely solidified himself as a mid-round selection with his combine performance.

     

11. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’3”

    Weight: 212 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.46 seconds

    Bench Press: 21 reps

    Vertical Jump: 35.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’0"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 11.84 seconds

     

    There were many aspects of Jordan Matthews’ game that stood out during his productive four-year Vanderbilt career, but speed wasn’t one of them. That didn’t stop Matthews from posting a 4.46-second 40-yard dash time, though, which is a very good time for a receiver of his size.

    Known more for his size, strength, route-running and hands, Matthews put all of those assets on display between the weigh-in, bench press and on-field drills at the combine. Already widely considered to be a second-round talent, his somewhat surprising display of athleticism could propel him into the late first-round conversation.

    Matthews participated in every drill and finished the combine with solid measurables in all of them. By also looking as good as ever catching the ball and putting himself in playmaking position with crisp routes, Matthews followed up a productive collegiate career and impressive Senior Bowl week in strong fashion.

     

10. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’4”

    Weight: 211 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.42 seconds

    Bench Press: 16 reps

    Vertical Jump: 39”

    Broad Jump: 10’4”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.18 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.15 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    No wide receiver came into the combine with more hype than Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, but he didn’t even have the best wideout performance among players from his own team. Instead, he was overshadowed by Martavis Bryant, whose combination of size, speed and vertical ability could propel him into Day 2 of this year’s draft.

    Bryant ran a stellar 40-time for a receiver of his size, while he also finished in the top 10 among receivers in both the vertical and broad jumps.

    That said, the most impressive part of Bryant’s combine might have actually come in the positional skill drills. While he suffered from unrefined route-running and inconsistent hands during his Clemson career, he looked great in both of those capacities Sunday.

    With proven big-play ability and ideal measurables for an NFL wide receiver, there will likely be a team to take a chance on Bryant by the third or fourth round.

     

9. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’9”

    Weight: 209 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds

    Bench Press: 26 reps

    Vertical Jump: 35.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’6”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.75 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.00 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    While a hamstring injury ended Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde’s combine early, Washington’s Bishop Sankey did everything he could to make his case for being the draft’s best running back.

    Best known for his ability to cut away from defenders in space, Sankey proved his agility at the combine by leading all running backs in the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle while also making terrific cuts at full speed in the positional skill drills.

    Sankey also finished second among running backs in the bench press and tied for fourth at the position in the broad jump. He put up respectable numbers in the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump, while he caught everything thrown his way in positional drills.

    In both the measurable and on-field aspects of the combine, Sankey stood out among his peers. He likely solidified himself as a Day 2 draft pick and as one of the first running backs off the board.

     

8. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’11”

    Weight: 194 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.39 seconds

    Bench Press: 17 reps

    Vertical Jump: 38.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’4”

    Three-Cone Drill: DNP

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.04 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    Despite a disappointing final season at Ohio State, Bradley Roby showed at the combine how he very well might still be the most talented cornerback in this year’s draft class.

    Roby posted marks that finished within the top 10 for cornerbacks in all five of the measurable drills that he participated in, including a 40-time that ranked seventh among all combine participants.

    On top of that, Roby might have been even more impressive in positional workouts. He stood out as the most fluid cornerback on the field, as he displayed a clean back pedal, quick hip turns and great hands.

    None of this came surprisingly for Roby; his struggles during his redshirt junior season had nothing to do with his physical tools but everything to do with his overaggressive, undisciplined play. But if Roby was able to compound his impressive on-field workout with convincing teams of his coachability in the interview room, he could still be a very high selection in this year’s draft.

     

7. Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’8”

    Weight: 173 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.26 seconds

    Bench Press: 20 reps

    Vertical Jump: 38”

    Broad Jump: 10’2”

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.86 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.06 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

     

    As the only player to run a sub-4.3 second 40-yard dash at this year’s combine, Kent State’s Dri Archer established himself as perhaps the 2014 draft’s most electrifying offensive weapon.

    In addition to running fast, Archer proved in Indianapolis that he has more than just straight-line speed.

    He also showed terrific agility, as he cut smoothly and sharply in on-field drills while posting top-four times among running backs in the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. He also tied for fourth among running backs in the vertical jump and put up 20 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, an exceptional feat considering he weighed in at just 173 pounds.

    Most importantly, Archer caught the ball consistently and cleanly in positional drills, which might help alleviate some concerns about whether he has good-enough hands for a potential shift to slot receiver at the next level.

    Archer’s lack of size could leave him without a true position at the next level. Nonetheless, considering the incredible athleticism he displayed at the combine, it would come as little surprise if someone takes a chance on him during Day 2 of the draft.

     

6. Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’6”

    Weight: 272 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.72 seconds

    Bench Press: 22 reps

    Vertical Jump: 35.5”

    Broad Jump: 10’9”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.20 seconds

     

    While Jadeveon Clowney stole the headlines with his fast 40-time, a complete workout from Kareem Martin actually made the North Carolina product the most impressive defensive end at the combine.

    Martin’s explosive athleticism was on display throughout his combine performance.

    His 4.72 40 was the second-fastest among all combine participants 270 pounds or larger. His 10’9” broad jump was the best among all defensive linemen, while his vertical jump tied for seventh among the position group. In positional drills, Martin displayed as much first-step quickness as any defensive lineman on the field.

    Martin showed surprising quickness and agility throughout the on-field drills, while his ability to power through the blocking dummies in pass-rushing drills also stood out. All in all, Martin proved himself as one of the draft’s most impressive physical specimens, and he might have solidified himself as a Day 2 draft selection.

5. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’10”

    Weight: 189 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.33 seconds

    Bench Press: 16 reps

    Vertical Jump: 36”

    Broad Jump: 10’0"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.76 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 3.81 seconds

    60-Yard Shuttle: 10.72 seconds

     

    Even in a group of highly-talented wide receiver prospects, teams looking for an explosive athlete and big-play threat at the position might not look any further than Brandin Cooks after his stellar showing at this year’s combine.

    Cooks proved himself as an elite athlete in Indianapolis. He proved his straight-line speed by running the combine’s second-fastest 40-time, and he displayed just as much lateral agility by leading all combine participants in the 20- and 60-yard shuttles.

    Through the on-field positional drills, Cooks also showed that he is more than just a track star by running clean routes and catching the ball well in his hands.

    While Cooks is small for an outside wide receiver, his athletic ability will enable him to line up anywhere on the field and make plays. As he combines tremendous production at Oregon State with an exceptional set of measurables, Cooks is likely to end up as a first-round draft pick.

     

4. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 6’5”

    Weight: 332 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.92 seconds

    Bench Press: 32 reps

    Vertical Jump: 28.5”

    Broad Jump: 9’5”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.80 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.86 seconds

     

    The sub-4.4 second times run by Dri Archer and Brandin Cooks might be flashier, but no display of straight-line speed was more impressive than the 4.92-second 40-yard dash run by Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson on the combine’s first day of on-field drills.

    332-pound men aren’t supposed to be able to run sub-5.00-second 40s, but that’s what Robinson did. Throughout both the measurable and positional drills, Robinson proved himself as an elite athlete for his size, all the while showing great size in weigh-ins and great strength on the bench press.

    Overall, Robinson’s 40 was the second-fastest among all offensive linemen. That mark would be impressive in itself, but it truly stands out because Robinson also weighed in as the third-largest offensive linemen and then put up the seventh-most repetitions among his position group in the bench press.

    Robinson wasn’t quite as fluid as Jake Matthews in the positional skill drills, but his athleticism and ability continued to stand out above most of his peers. One of the elite prospect in this year’s draft, Robinson did nothing but strengthen his case to potentially be a top-five pick and/or the first offensive tackle drafted.

     

3. Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 5’9”

    Weight: 209 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.41 seconds

    Bench Press: 32 reps

    Vertical Jump: 40.5”

    Broad Jump: 11’0"

    Three-Cone Drill: 6.83 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.12 seconds

     

    The Georgia Southern quarterback-turned-running-back might not have been a household name going into the combine, but if they weren’t already, NFL scouts will certainly be aware of Jerick McKinnon after he made the combine his personal showcase.

    McKinnon excelled in everything he did in Indianapolis. He finished among the top-four running backs in all six of the measurable drills he participated in, including a bench press performance that included six more repetitions than any other running back.

    He might not have as much experience playing running back as his combine peers, but that didn’t stop McKinnon from also excelling in the positional drills, where he displayed quick cuts at full speed and consistently made catches cleanly in his hands.

    Having also stood out among the running backs at the Senior Bowl, McKinnon has likely solidified himself as a mid-round draft pick.

    In last year’s draft, troubled Texas A&M running back Christine Michael became a second-round pick, largely on the heels of also standing out above his competition at the combine. McKinnon outperformed Michael in three of the six positional drills, is only 11 pounds lighter and comes without the character baggage Michael carried.

     

2. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’7”

    Weight: 309 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.87 seconds

    Bench Press: 29 reps

    Vertical Jump: 30.5”

    Broad Jump: 9’9”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.39 seconds

    20-Yard Shuttle: 4.49 seconds

     

    Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson might be considered the top-two offensive tackles in this year’s draft, but Taylor Lewan made certain that he wouldn’t be left out of that conversation by putting together an outstanding workout on the first day of on-field drills at this year’s combine.

    By leading the entire position group in the 40-yard dash and broad jump, finishing in the top five in the vertical jump and three-cone drill, and by showing natural movement skills in on-field positional drills, Lewan established himself as the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft class.

    Lewan is not as technically sound as Matthews or as overpowering as Robinson, but he proved with his size, strength and speed that he has all the physical tools to be a great NFL offensive tackle.

    The combine performance might not be enough to vault Lewan ahead of Matthews or Robinson, as both of them were also impressive in Indianapolis, but it should solidify himas long as teams feel comfortable about questions surrounding his characteras a top-three offensive line prospect in this year’s draft.

     

1. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Height: 6’1”

    Weight: 285 lbs

    40-Yard Dash: 4.68 seconds

    Bench Press: 35 reps

    Vertical Jump: 32”

    Broad Jump: 9’8”

    Three-Cone Drill: 7.11 seconds

     

    Despite being smaller and shorter than the prototypical NFL defensive tackle, Aaron Donald has been on an incredible roll since the start of his senior college football season, and he might have established himself at the combine as the draft’s top interior defensive lineman.

    Donald, who led the entire FBS with 28.5 tackles for loss in 2013 and then went on to be the best player on the field during Senior Bowl week, continued his run of excellence with a superb display of athleticism at the combine, highlighted by a 4.68-second 40-yard dash time.

    He might not meet the ideal size criteria for a defensive tackle, but he is certainly a prototype in terms of strength and athleticism. His 35 repetitions on the bench press were the second-most among defensive linemen, while his 40-time, broad jump and three-cone drill time were all best among defensive tackles.

    Donald was superb in on-field drills, too, where he looked more like an outside linebacker moving around than a defensive tackle; that’s a compliment. While most defensive tackles looked sloppy trying to change directions or maneuver their way over and around bags, Donald completed the drills with incredible fluidity and quickness for a man of his size.

    From production to athleticism to technique, there is no reason why Donald shouldn’t be able to overcome his size and be a disruptive penetrating interior lineman at the next level. His combine performance, this year’s most impressive, likely solidified him as a top-20 draft selection.

     

     

    Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

     

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