NFL Combine 2011 Results: Julio Jones and 10 Pro Prospects Who Shined Sunday

Ryan BraunAnalyst IFebruary 27, 2011

NFL Combine 2011 Results: Julio Jones and 10 Pro Prospects Who Shined Sunday

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Today was Day 4 of the NFL combine, which brought the QBs, RBs and WRs to Lucas Oil Stadium.

    They didn’t disappoint. In perhaps the flashiest day of the combine thus far, Julio Jones outran A.J. Green, Stephen Paea outlasted gravity and an increasingly impressive quarterback field got to measure itself against consensus top-prospect Blaine Gabbert (and his hands).

    Let’s take a look at 10 of the prospects who shined the brightest on Sunday.

    (PS: I’m typing this in an Under Armor E39. My biometrics are off the charts.)

10. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Height: 6’1”

    Weight: 217

    40-yard dash: 4.51

    Vertical jump: 37.5

    Broad jump: 10’6”

    There was only so much Tyrod Taylor could do in a day to prove himself capable of quarterbacking an NFL team, but, regardless, Taylor came out firing.

    On Sunday, the Virginia Tech QB flashed both his strong arm and overall athletic ability, punctuating the latter by posting the fastest 40 time among quarterbacks.

    The biggest question marks surrounding Taylor regard his decision making and his accuracy, and neither of those concerns were really dispelled today. But those particular worries aside, by showcasing many of his strengths, Taylor undoubtedly gave his stock a boost. Whether the team that drafts Tyrod ultimately envisions him as a quarterback is another matter entirely, but as long as he keeps testing well, the team that drafts him will do so sooner rather than later.

9. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 5’9”

    Weight: 215

    40-yard dash: 4.58

    Vertical jump: 31.5”

    Bench: 21

    Mark Ingram ran slow but, perhaps because his time was in line with expectations, that didn’t seem to negatively influence the reaction his day garnered.

    Ingram showed great short-area burst and he was able to make the type of sharp, on-a-dime cuts that are often great indicators of an effective NFL running back.

    Ingram will be a first-round pick and he has the potential to rise out of the round's lower-tier. NFL.com’s Steve Wyche compared Ingram to Emmitt Smith. While he prefaced that with “at least physically and speed-wise,” that’s still pretty high praise.

8. Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 6’2.5”

    Weight: 231

    40-yard dash: 4.53

    Vertical jump: 35

    Broad jump: 10’0”

    NFL Network analyst Charles Davis:

    "The guy who I thought gained a lot of ground—if you can here at the combine—was Jake Locker. I thought he threw very well today, and it was Locker we were all kind of waiting to see. He looked confident, he looked in control, and he was very accurate throwing the ball, and that had been the big knock against him...I thought it was a a very good day for Locker.”

    All that and he ran a 4.53. It's not out of the question: Locker could still find himself taken in the first round of the draft.

7. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Height: 6’5”

    Weight: 233

    40-yard dash: 4.53

    Broad jump: 9’7”

    Big, strong-armed and the second-fastest QB in this class, Colin Kaepernick went a long way toward pushing his draft stock into the first round on Sunday.

    Kaepernick was very good in the throwing drills, but more then anything, I think it was the confirmation of his athleticism that will be remembered. Kaepernick made his living scrambling around at Nevada. His performance today seemed to indicate he could be similarly effective in the NFL.

6. Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 5’10.25”

    Weight: 191

    40-yard dash: 4.46

    Vertical jump: 32.5

    Broad jump: 9’7”

    Bench: 16

    Cobb, sure-handed and a tremendous route-runner, projects as a slot receiver in the NFL.

    And he still does—only no one expected him to run this fast.

    While his tape shows a receiver who plays slower then his 40 time, Cobb’s performance can’t help but act as momentum for a guy who was already looked upon as a very safe pick.

    Former GM Charley Casserly described Cobb as a “poor man’s Hines Ward.”

5. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 6’4.38”

    Weight: 234

    40-yard dash: 4.62

    Vertical jump: 33.5

    Broad jump: 10’0”

    By not doing much at all, Gabbert did nothing to dispel that notion that he’s the top QB prospect in the draft.

    Passing the eye test, the Missouri signal caller looked big (comfortably carrying 234 pounds) and measured in with a 10-inch hand span—an excellent attribute for a ball handler.

    Gabbert will wait until his March 17th pro day to throw.

4. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Height: 6’3.63”

    Weight: 211

    40-yard dash: 4.50

    Vertical jump: 34.5

    Broad jump: 10’6”

    Bench: 18

    Though Julio Jones stole the show, A.J Green wasn’t bad himself. He looked to be in terrific shape, with the frame to add weight as he matures. Green displayed good hands (albeit not quite up to his standard) and he had the second-longest arms of all wide receivers (important for a jump-ball specialist).

    On a day when his competition was flawless, Green did enough to maintain his spot as the top wide receiver in the draft.

3. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Height: 6’7”

    Weight: 253

    Had I proposed Ryan Mallett be included on this list yesterday, you might have thought me high (an accusation I would've awkwardly disputed: “First question, huh?”).

    After coming off terribly while fending off drug abuse questions in his media session, Mallett rebounded to make a contrary impression on Sunday. 

    By all accounts, he was spectacular, displaying a rifle of an arm while throwing the ball with more accuracy than any of his counterparts.

2. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Height: 6’1”

    Weight: 295

    Bench: 49

    After reporting notching 48 reps in the bench press on Monday, Paea put up a monstrous 49 today (officially breaking the combine record of 45 reps).

    Billed as a strong, stout lineman, Paea continues to prove he has the goods. The enormously mighty Beaver, rated as Mike Mayock’s No. 5 defensive tackle, was invited to the Senior Bowl last month but couldn’t participate while recovering from a damaged lateral meniscus in his right knee. With this performance under his belt and his continued recovery from his injury, it’s not inconceivable Paea could move up in a class of unusually-strong DTs.

    After his record-setting bench session, here's Paea, via NFL.com:

    “I think I could go back and do another one.”

1. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    Associated Press

    Height: 6’2.75“

    Weight: 220

    40-yard dash: 4.39

    Vertical Leap: 38.5

    Broad Jump: 11’3”

    Bench: 17

    Julio Jones is kind of a beast and, by most accounts, he stole the day. The Alabama receiver was very sharp, explosive out of his breaks and demonstrated tremendous functional speed.

    And then there were the running/jumping drills, in which Jones tested off the charts. The 4.39-second 40 is exceptional for a 220-pound man, and it is more then a 10th-of-a-second faster then consensus top-rated receiver A.J. Green.

    It didn't stop there: Jones’s broad jump was two inches below the combine’s best since 2000, his vertical leap was, again, astonishing for a 220-pound man. And he looked like he does in the picture above.

    Fluidity, speed, picture above.

    Julio Jones wins Day 4 of the combine.