Though the NFL combine is more than simply times and repetitions, sometimes a player’s performance in the workout drills can open an NFL team’s eyes as to what sort of tools that player has.
The workout schedule consists of seven events: 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three cone drill, 20-yard shuttle run and 60-yard shuttle run.
For more information on each event, visit the NFL combine’s workout page.
Here are the top performers from each workout drill, with a few honorable mentions along the way.
Jonathan Baldwin, the 6’4” wide receiver out of Pittsburgh, showed his jumping abilities with a second-place finish in the vertical jump (42.0 inches) and a fifth-place finish in the broad jump (10’9”).
He already has great size, and the ability to jump up and snatch the ball over defenders adds to his potential.
His speed will also allow him to make an impact in the NFL.
Ever since Tony Gonzalez first suited up for the Kansas City Chiefs, the mold of athletic tight ends has really caught on.
While most teams stick to a conventional blocking tight end, players like Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis are considered regular receivers for their respective teams.
Virgil Green showed his athleticism with a 42.5" vertical jump. He also performed well in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, three cone drill and 60-yard shuttle run.
He’s slightly undersized, so he may slip to the later rounds, but athletic tight ends are still a rare commodity.
Of the top performers, Julio Jones is one of the few that projects as a first-round pick.
Jones posted 11’3” in the broad jump. He also had a strong 40-yard dash.
He will likely be one of the first two wide receivers drafted, along with A.J. Green from Georgia.
Jones has the tools to be a No. 1 receiver. Analysts believe he “stole the show” at the workout.
Not only does his name barely fit on his jersey, it’s almost impossible to read it because of this guy’s speed.
Dane Sanzenbacher, a 5’11” wide receiver from Ohio State, may be a late-round sleeper.
He finished second in the three cone drill, second in the 60-yard shuttle run and third in the 20-yard shuttle run.
He is said to be a good route runner and a fearless competitor.
Austin Pettis from Boise State posted the top time in the 20-yard shuttle run at 3.88 seconds.
He has a variety of skills, but he projects mostly as a special teams player who will be snatched up in the middle rounds.
He may not be the biggest receiver or the fastest receiver in the draft, but Jeffrey Maehl plays with a huge heart.
The Oregon receiver finished first in the three cone drill with a time of 6.42 seconds. That time also set a new record.
He wasn’t even rated in the top 30 receivers, but his start-and-stop speed may move him up.
Maehl posted a time of 10.88 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle run, just one hundredth of a second from tying the record.
He also finished second in the 20-yard shuttle run.
His performances should open some eyes for a team looking for speed on the outside. He could be a later-round steal.
Stephen Paea set a new record in the bench press, benching 225 pounds 49 times, 11 more than the next competitor.
Paea is still quite new to football, but he has shown his brute strength along the defensive line.
He was described as a “gym rat,” and his performance on the bench further cements that description.
Wide receivers Edmund Gates and Ricardo Lockette finished tied for second overall in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.37 seconds.
Gates is a 6’0” wideout from Abilene Christian. He is said to be a work in progress, but his 40 time proves the speed is there.
Standing at 6’2”, Lockette played at Fort Valley State. He also is a very raw talent, which may cause him to slip to the later rounds.
The 40-yard dash is the glamour event of the NFL combine. Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, known for his elusive speed, set the record in 2008 with a time of 4.24 seconds.
Maryland running back Da’Rel Scott had an impressive run, recording a 4.34, good enough for the best time of the day.
Scott is an agile runner, but he still projects as a later draft pick because scouts believe he can’t physically carry the load of an every-down back.
With his performance, he at least showed scouts that he can provide a burst of speed out of the backfield.