As much as fans complain about the "workout warrior" college prospects shooting up the NFL draft boards in late February, there is also a flip side to the combine workouts.
Players like Kendrick Lewis, who are great players, get devalued because of a bad 40-yard dash time or a low number of bench press reps.
Before the 2010 NFL Combine, safety Kendrick Lewis, out of Mississippi State, was regularly appearing in the top three or four rounds of Mock NFL Draft projections.
But, due to a bad workout and a 40-yard dash time of 4.77 seconds at the combine, Lewis' stock fell off, and the Kansas City Chiefs ended up drafting Lewis in the middle of the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
At the time, Kansas City Chiefs' General Manager Scott Pioli said, "Kendrick Lewis was a guy who was thought pretty highly of up until his workout. At the combine he ran a 4.77 and it killed him. He dropped like a stone."
Pioli also said, "I’m a firm believer in tape, not just numbers, and while I didn't completely ignore [the times]—because when you saw the speed it affected him on our board—you go back and do more work on the guy."
And that is what Pioli did and will do again this year. Hopefully, he is already doing that for these ten players who had a bad NFL Combine, but still may be of great value to the Chiefs.
Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB
Beal ran a 5.12 40-yard dash which solidified concerns over his athleticism, while the second 40-yard dash over five seconds didn't help his stock at all.
Beal’s inability to distinguish himself may have cost him a second-round selection, as he did not perform with as much athleticism as most expected. Beal was a dominating pass rusher for the better part of four years with the Sooners of Oklahoma. There is no reason to think that he cannot be just as dominate of a force in the NFL.
Look for Beal to fall from the second round to the third or fourth round.
Thomas Keiser, OLB
Keiser decided to leave school a season early for some reason, and he did not receive an invitation to the combine—which says quite a bit about the likelihood of him being drafted.
Keiser is 6'5” and 240 pounds, but needs to add some strength to help in run support at the NFL level. He does, however, rush the passer very well. He had 15 sacks over the last two seasons and could be a diamond in the rough at this stage of the draft.
Look for Keiser to be drafted between the fifth and seventh round.
Derek Sherrod, OT
Sherrod showed up about 10 pounds heavier than he did at the Senior Bowl and recorded only 23 reps in the bench press.
Sherrod would have silenced a few of the concerns about his weight with a good performance in a strength exercise like the bench press but, with just 23 reps, he was unable to do that.
A four-year starter at MSU, Sherrod played his freshman season on the right side before starting his sophomore season on the left side, never looking back.
Athletically, he has very good initial quickness and excellent pass-blocking technique. He is very fluid in his lateral abilities to kick out and seal the edge. Aside from his physical attributes, he may also be attractive to the Chiefs because of his high character.
Look for Sherrod to fall out of the first round and be taken in the mid-late second round.
James Carpenter, OT
Carpenter weighed in at 321 pounds at the combine, which was up from 313 pounds at the Senior Bowl. These are big guys, but gaining eight pounds could raise a few eyebrows unless it's in the form of pure muscle.
Carpenter's hard work on the field should impress scouts much more than any numbers he produced in Indianapolis. Lined at guard or tackle at the next level, Carpenter’s strength at the point of attack and consistent effort make him a legitimate OG or OT.
Look for Carpenter to fall out of the second round into the third or fourth round.
Graig Cooper, RB
Cooper's career took a serious turn when he tore an ACL on an awful, muddy field at the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.
He never really got all the way back since the injury, and shared time in a busy backfield rotation. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the combine, which could hurt his stock as a change-of-pace running back who can contribute as a homerun threat or a returner.
The Miami standout surprised many with his decision to play this season, despite tearing the ACL. Not surprisingly, he wasn't the same player in 2010.
However, Cooper's burst and acceleration were clearly better at the East-West Shrine Game than he showed in the regular season.
Look for Cooper to fall to the fifth or sixth round.
Akeem Ayers, OLB
It probably will not have much of an impact on his overall draft stock, but most expected Ayers to run the 40 faster than 4.80 seconds. Any perceived lack of explosion, which is important for a pass rusher like Ayers, could influence teams' opinion of the Bruins' product.
Ayers' frame, which is ideal for playing outside in a 3-4 defensive scheme, has enough bulk to lock down a strongside linebacker position and can fill a lot of space. However, he takes a little too long to diagnose plays, which allows ball carriers to gain extra yardage on his side of the field.
Ayers may fall to the second round, but I doubt he makes it to the Chiefs' pick in the second round.
Orie Lemon, ILB
Lemon is another Sooner State defender whose 40-yard dash time could hurt his stock, as he ran 4.99 at the combine. Lemon did not get on the field during his junior season because of a knee injury suffered in preseason camp. As a senior, he was quickly appointed as the Cowboys' defensive leader and, despite any rust, he responded with a terrific season.
Look for Lemon to be a late round draft selection.
Greg Little, WR
Little exhibited impressive athleticism in the 40-yard dash and vertical leap, as well as his standing long jump. He even led the wide receiver field with 27 reps of 225 pounds. Little has clearly been staying in shape.
After an NCAA suspension cost him his entire senior season, NFL teams seem more concerned about him lying during the combine Q&A's than his athletic ability.
As Lance Zierlein of the Houston Chronicle pointed out, "Scouts already know the answers, Little." Which makes it unwise for Little to lie to them. Look for him to fall out of the third round into the fifth or sixth.
Tandon Doss, WR
The junior Hoosier receiver was unable to perform in Indianapolis, despite the fact that Doss was a multi-dimensional weapon at Indiana as a junior.
Doss was the Hoosiers' third-leading receiver and third-leading rusher, as well as top punt and kick returner. He has good size at 6'2" and 201 pounds, and is in the mix as a third or fourth-round receiving prospect. However, I would not be surprised if he fell to the fifth or sixth round due to his unimpressive combine workout.
Torrey Smith, WR
A straight-line receiver with surprising toughness. Those words remind me of another Maryland WR with speed who has done little in the league so far, Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Smith looked very rough and raw in the drills at the combine, losing his footing on more than one cut in the cone drills, and losing speed and momentum on several routes.
Smith could easily fall into the late second round or early third round.
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