10 Players Who Killed Their Draft Stock at the NFL Combine
Death in the context of a prospect's draft stock is a term used liberally when considering every draft hopeful still has a chance or two to revive their flatlining heart and bring life once again to their career.
Besides, having your draft stock "killed," for whatever reason, can be a term relative to each prospect.
The higher a player is projected to be drafted the less it takes for that draft stock to be countered by disappointment, or in our case, killed.
This is a list of the prospects whose stock is obviously trending downward after the combine—so much so that you might have to put em' in a body bag!
Note: All the combine numbers were supplied via email in a PDF file. Most of the results can be found at NFL.com.
Michael Sam, Edge-Rusher, Missouri
After punching in the complete combine numbers from 21 different edge-rushers this year, Michael Sam finished with the lowest score out of all 21. His comprehensive measureables grade, or entire set of physical tools, was so bad that over the last 3 years of doing this system, he falls into the bottom quarter of all draft prospects looking to earn an NFL career.
|40-yard dash||Bench||Vertical Jump||Broad Jump||3-cone||Short Shuttle||Height||Weight||Arms|
There haven’t been many defensive players who've overcome those physical shortcomings to go on and have success in the NFL.
Michael Sam was considered a mid-round selection heading into the combine and has most likely dropped into the sixth or seventh round at this point.
Unfortunately, if Sam happens to go undrafted now, nobody will be able to definitively say it was the result of his monumental announcement. This is why I personally was rooting for him to post up some really big numbers over the weekend. Instead, he had one of the worst showings of all the defensive prospects invited.
De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
In order for De’Anthony Thomas to make significant headway onto the NFL stage, he was going to need to put up some impressive numbers at the combine.
When you put on tape of the "Black Mamba", nothing pops out in his game quite like his unparalleled speed—or at least that was the perception.
Thomas is significantly shorter than NFL teams are comfortable with and weighed in at less than 180 pounds. That degree of size disparity calls for an elite level of speed that can offset such a diminutive stature.
Unfortunately for Thomas, his undersized counterpart Dri Archer stole the show by posting the type of blazing 40s that can raise some eyebrows. Thomas on the other hand, put up shocking numbers in the opposite direction.
By comparison, Archer ran his 40-yard dash in 4.26, just a few tenths of a second away from the all-time record held by Chris Johnson. Thomas ran his in a 4.5—a time hardly indicative of his game tape.
Even his bench press (eight), vertical jump (32) and broad jump (124) tests all came in well below expectations. Dri Archer exceeded Thomas in each of the categories, except the broad jump, on his way to becoming the hands-down winner of the “little speedster” award.
At this point Thomas has likely dropped down into the last few rounds of the draft and is at real risk of not being drafted at all.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
According to Matt Miller's pre-combine big board, Jarvis Landry is listed as the seventh-best receiver in this draft and 42nd overall.
Landry had the slowest 40 time (4.77) at the position of all wide receivers at the combine and opted out of the short shuttle and three-cone. Despite the apparent leg injury he did etch some underwhelming numbers into the annals of combine history forever.
Reversing that perception will be an uphill battle, especially if he has to rest his injury while other players are only trying to get faster. Besides, pulled hamstrings tend to linger a long time, which could end up costing the talented receiver a slot in the top 50 this May.
If Landry isn't good to go by his pro day, teams could opt for the other wideouts available considering the depth at the position this year.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
As you can gather from the consensus of the experts from the video above, Manziel is a talented quarterback who shouldn't last long regardless of what he measured at the combine in any one area.
With that said, it does seem that his physical tools were limiting enough to keep him away from Houston and the top pick in the draft. When you have the potential to be the top pick in the draft, every spot you fall down can feel like an entire round in the green room.
Johnny Manziel measured in just under six feet in Indianapolis, which may or may not have come as a surprise. But in addition to underwhelming in stature, he ran a mediocre 40–yard dash time and declined to throw for coaches during drills.
Though electing not to throw at the combine is common, he also seemed overly rehearsed and somewhat uncomfortable when standing in front of the press. The stage is obviously getting a whole lot bigger as he enters the homes of Americans from all over the country. With that said, Manziel will always be a guy who prefers to do his talking with a football helmet on rather than behind a microphone.
Louis Nix III, NT, Notre Dame
Louis Nix III made this list after failing to close the book on his ability to move less than five months away from meniscus surgery on his knee.
Nix posted the worst three-cone time of the entire 2014 combine with an 8.29. He also ran a 5.42 in the 40-yard dash while weighing in at 331 pounds. Nix is not expected to put up blazing times with his speed and change of direction.
However, using a formula that calculates his weight into his overall speed, it appears that this first-round hopeful is the slowest defensive tackle per pound at the combine.
These types of numbers, paired up with medical concerns, could push Nix into the second round and beyond. There’s a good chance already that some teams have taken him off their board.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
NFL.com reported that several teams may have already failed Cyrus Kouandjio on their medical due to knee issues. Most experts agree Cyrus was a first-round talent, but just as with Louis Nix III, it’s possible some teams could end up taking him off their boards completely because of the injury concerns.
In addition to his worrisome medical news, Kouandjio has also demonstrated one of the least impressive sets of physical tools of all the tackles in the combine this year with an overall grade of 4.75. To put that into perspective, he would have ranked 372-of-432 total prospects over the last two years' worth of collecting data.
Expect this violent blocker to slide somewhere into the second round at this point. But then again, it only takes one team to fall in love with him.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
This talented matchup nightmare with promising upside received some unfortunate news during his routine medical evaluation while in Indy.
Apparently he was diagnosed with a foot issue that kept him from working out in any of the on-field drills. He said on NFL Network that he wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to work out on Washington’s pro day.
In a recent update, per CBSSports (h/t Rotoworld), Austin Seferian-Jenkins underwent surgery on Friday to repair the stress fracture in his right foot. We can only assume at this point he will not be able to workout for his pro day later on in March.
Seferian-Jenkins was widely considered a borderline first- or second-round guy based on tape but teams could take him off their boards now that he adds medical concerns to an already checkered past.
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
I don't think anyone really expected Will Sutton to blow the doors off the combine or anything. We all knew he was undersized. But did anyone expect his numbers to be so horrendous?
Will Sutton finished up at the combine demonstrating a complete lack of size, speed, power and explosion. His arms measured in at 31 inches, which is considered extremely short for an NFL defensive tackle. How short you ask? Well, he had the shortest arms of any defensive lineman in Indy this year.
In fact, Sutton had one of the worst all-around measureable scores recorded in the last three years.
This is not unlike former Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict who actually went on to become one of the most productive linebackers from his class. Perhaps it’s a part of the Sun Devil DNA to falter in Indianapolis in February only to defy the odds as a successful pro.
Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
Chris Borland may have the shortest arms at the entire combine measuring in at 29 inches. He also ran slow and lacked any real explosion beyond bench press, which notoriously favors the shorter-armed prospects anyhow.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Borland also measured in at just under six feet tall and ran a 4.83 in the 40-yard dash. Each of these numbers by themselves would be major cause for concern by NFL execs.
Does this mean he can’t play in the NFL? Absolutely not. But it likely means he’ll drop out of the first two or even three rounds of the draft unless he shows significant improvement in his speed at his pro day—and by speed I mean much more than just a good 40 time. He’ll also need to produce a better short shuttle and three-cone as well.
Zack Martin, OT/OG, Notre Dame
Zack Martin struggled in numerous areas at the combine allowing the big three or four to further separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Martin’s performance was so uninspiring, it may have been that final nail in his coffin towards any hope of being a tackle at the next level.
The former Notre Dame standout failed to impress on the bench press, cranking out 22 reps. An average number for the offensive line is around 26 reps.
In addition to Martin falling short in upper body explosion, he had one of the slowest combined speed grades of his class. So not only is he lacking in strength and explosion, but he’s also not very fast either.
Despite the poor showing at the combine, I fully expect this kid to have a solid NFL career. His tape was among the best of all the tackles this year and he certainly understands how to play the game. But it’s naive to think his numbers won’t hurt his draft stock, at least momentarily.
Ryan Riddle is a former NFL player and current FC for Bleacher Report
Follow Ryan on Twitter @Ryan_Riddle