2011 NFL Draft: Top 20 Combine Stars of the Last Decade

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Top 20 Combine Stars of the Last Decade

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    The NFL Scouting Combine is right around the corner.

    This is the time for players to show their true physical abilities.

    For some, their drafts stocks will rise following the combine after displaying immense talents.

    For others, their draft stock will plummet due to a poor showing.

    We’ve seen players perform extremely well at the combine yet remain late-round picks or even go undrafted.

    Although some players skyrocket in the draft after displaying incredible physical ability, it does not always translate into the NFL. A lot of the times, a great athlete is simply a great athlete. It’s a completely different story to be a great football player.

    Regardless, these are the top 20 combine stars of the last decade.

20. Darrius Heyward-Bey, 2009

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    Speed kills.

    Just ask the Oakland Raiders which selected Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree due to his speed.

    Heyward-Bey posted a 4.25 40-yard dash and 38.5-inch vertical leap to completely fool Al Davis into believing that he was actually a good wide receiver.

19. Gary Guyton, 2008

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    Guyton is now finding a home in Bill Belichick’s defense after being undrafted.

    Still, Guyton had a great combine.

    For a linebacker, he posted a 4.47 40-yard dash, 40-inch vertical leap, 10’6” broad jump and did 16 reps on the bench.

18. John Engelberger, 2000

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    For a man his size, Engelberger displayed impressive physical gifts at his combine.

    He was drafted in the second round after raising his draft stock.

    He posted a 4.65 40-yard dash, a 6.95 in the three-cone drill and a 34-inch vertical leap.

17. Kevin Kasper, 2001

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    Kasper didn’t translate well to the NFL, but he owned the combine, performing well in all of his workouts.

    Kasper posted a 4.43 40-yard dash, 43.5-inch vertical leap (fifth best ever), 3.73 20-yard shuttle (best ever at the combine), and 6.56 in the three-cone drill (seventh best ever).

16. Chris Henry, 2007

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    Chris Henry was a machine at his combine in 2007.

    He posted a 4.4 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical leap, 10’7” broad jump and 26 reps on the bench.

    If only his NFL career was as successful as his combine.

15. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 2007

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    Rodgers-Cromartie has been a stud for the Arizona Cardinals at the cornerback position.

    He posted great combine numbers which, luckily for Arizona, translated to the NFL.

    Rodgers-Cromartie posted a 4.29 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical leap, 10’11” broad jump and did 17 reps on the bench.

14. Fabian Washington, 2005

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    Fabian Washington was what I like to call a track star. I knew he wouldn’t translate to being a good cornerback, but boy did he have the speed.

    Washington posted a 4.25 40-yard dash, 10’9” broad jump and 41.5-inch vertical leap.

13. Santana Moss, 2001

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    Moss has been a great receiver in the NFL.

    Although he only performed two workouts at the combine, he wowed scouts.

    He posted a 4.31 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical leap.

    He needed just two workouts to prove his physical gifts…

12. Antwan Harris, 2000

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    Harris wasn’t a great pick, but he did win two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.

    He is still best known for his great combine.

    He had a 4.34 40-yard dash, 10’1” broad jump and a 39-inch vertical leap.

11. Gerald Sensabaugh, 2005

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    Needless to say, Sensabaugh killed it at the combine.

    He posted a 4.4 40-yard dash, 11’1” broad jump and an NFL-record 46-inch vertical jump.

    If only those workout wonders translated into the NFL.

10. Scott Fujita, 2002

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    Scott Fujita, or as my friends like to call him, “Super Saiyan,” displayed immense physical gifts at his combine for a man his size.

    He posted a 4.43 40-yard dash and a 42-inch vertical leap.

    He was never a top linebacker in the NFL, but he has been a solid one throughout his career.

9. Matt Jones, 2004

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    Jones was a fantastic athlete, evident by his switch from quarterback to wide receiver. Although the transition has not been successful in the NFL, Jones wowed scouts with his workout, especially considering they were freakish numbers for a quarterback.

    He posted a 4.37 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical leap and a 10’10” broad jump.

8. Adam Archuleta, 2001

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    Archuleta was a beast of an athlete. He exploded at the NFL combine and was selected in the first round by the St. Louis Rams.

    Archuleta ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, had a 39-inch vertical leap and put up 31 reps on the bench.

    He only participated in three workouts, but he was clearly a workout warrior.

7. Mario Williams, 2006

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    Williams was fantastic at the combine, especially for a man his size. His excellent combine helped secure him the No. 1 overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.

    He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, had a 40.5-inch vertical leap and did 35 reps on the bench press.

    As it stands right now, Williams is one of the elite defensive ends in the NFL.

6. Dwight Freeney, 2002

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    Freeney leaped towards the top of the NFL Draft after his excellent combine performance.

    Although he is not as tall as other defensive ends—he stands at 6’1”—he did run a 4.48 40-yard dash, had a 37-inch vertical leap and did 28 bench press reps of 225 pounds.

    Freeney has been one of the elite defensive ends in the NFL since being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.

5. Vernon Gholston, 2008

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    Has Gholston even recorded a sack yet? Whatever, it doesn’t matter.

    Gholston was a high draft pick by the New York Jets and given a huge payday. He’s been a bust.

    Still, he had an impressive combine.

    He posted a 4.58 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical leap, 10’5” broad jump and did 37 reps on the bench.

4. Chris Chambers, 2001

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    Chambers posted all-time great numbers at his 2001 combine.

    Although he has never been a top wide receiver in the NFL, nobody can take away his accomplishments at the combine.

    He had a 4.31 40-yard dash, 4.00 20-yard shuttle and a 45-inch vertical leap.

3. Vernon Davis, 2006

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    Vernon Davis finally reached his potential in 2009, heading to his first Pro Bowl.

    Vernon Davis is a remarkable athlete, truly one of the best in the league.

    At the 2006 combine, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, had a 42-inch vertical leap, a 10’8” broad jump and did 33 reps on the bench press.

    Following the combine, it was a lock. Davis was an elite prospect and was picked by the 49ers No. 6 overall.

2. Calvin Johnson, 2007

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    “Megatron” is one of the best athletes in NFL history, in my opinion. More importantly, he can back it up on the field. Everyone knew Johnson had immense talent and was an elite prospect. Johnson, though, was still a star at his combine.

    Johnson posted a 4.35 40-yard dash, 42-inch vertical leap, 11’7” broad jump.

    Johnson is one of the top wide receivers in the NFL right now.

1. Chris Johnson, 2008

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    Chris Johnson is one of the top NFL players, being selected to the Pro Bowl in all three of his seasons in the NFL.

    He is already in the NFL record books for most yards from scrimmage in a season with 2,059.

    Johnson assured himself a first-round selection when he posted the second-best all-time mark for the 40-yard dash with 4.24. He was also fourth among all running backs at his combine with a 35-inch vertical jump.

    He also posted a 10’10” broad jump, third best among the backs at his combine.