NFL Draft101 is providing a Scouting Combine Live Chat (10 am - 2 pm daily) but we will also recap the day's biggest stories in article format as well. Here is the day one buzz:
Unlike last year when Andre Smith went AWOL and Michael Crabtree broke his foot, the first day of combine workouts kept the focus on the men in shorts (or however you describe Ciron Black and Brandon Carter's outfits). The story of the day was the breakout performance of offensive tackle Bruce Campbell .
After running a 4.85 40 Campbell went on to rank among the leaders in nearly every athletic category including bench press and vertical jump. Add ideal size at 6'6 314 lbs and 36" arms and Campbell had Lucas Oil Stadium buzzing about whether he had moved himself into the top 10 (with the Raiders picking eighth he might). While easily the day's biggest winner, remember the combine is only part of the process and in Campbell's case his performance was not a big surprise. In Campbell's case you have to remember the hype is about potential more than production. He has shown to be a good pass protector but with just 17 starts he needs to improve his awareness, technique and consistency. In any case, I see Campbell as a surefire first rounder and likely top 20 selection even if the Raiders pass because of his upside and the number of team's with left tackle needs.
Offensive Line Quick Hits:
OT Trent Williams - While Campbell had the strongest all-around workout, Williams was the most surprising. After struggling at left tackle as a senior, many questioned whether Williams has the ability to play the left side in the NFL and answered the athletic side of that question today. As Charley Casserly astutely noticed on NFL Total Access, Williams still looked much better on the right side than the left side in the drills portion of the workout. Based on the workout today, Trent Williams is the top right tackle in the draft and will slide no further than the San Francisco 49ers at number 17 overall.
OT Tony Washington - A bit of an unknown coming out of Abilene Christian (same school as 2009 draftees Bernard Scott and Johnny Knox) Washington showed a good combination of size and athleticism ranking among the leaders in the bench press, vertical and broad jump. More importantly he looked fluid in the drills. He has some character concerns but showed he has the talent to be a day two selection.
OT Rodger Saffold - Saffold's stock has been on the rise since an excellent week at the East West Shrine Game and he continued to build on that performance today. He has a good build at tackle at 6'4 314 and looked fluid in the drills. Ran a solid 5.22 40 and then ranked among then showed good explosion finishing among the leaders in the vertical and broad jump (9'5"!!). Future left tackle who is no longer a day two sleeper.
OT Charles Brown - Like Bruce Campbell, Brown entered the day as one of the athletic tackles and did not disappoint. Showed he is a left tackle with good athleticism and footwork in drills. Would have liked to have seen him run the 40 though.
OG John Jerry - Showed up in excellent shape (6'5" 325 lbs) and showed surprising athleticism for a right guard (including finishing 7th in the 40). Also was superb in the mirror drill. Teams need to avoid the urge to play him at tackle but Jerry is the ideal guard for a run oriented offense.
OT Anthony Davis - Only put up 21 reps on the bench press and followed it up by showing only pedestrian athleticism during the tests making one wonder whether he has the strength to play right tackle or the athleticism to play the Blind Side. On the plus side, he showed good footwork in the drills. Nonetheless, as much as Campbell helped his stock, Davis hurt his.
OT Adam Ulatoski - Was exposed for his lack of athleticism and could get the dreaded right tackle only label. Looked stiff and slow in the drills. Needs to learn to bend his knees better.
OG/C Jeff Byers - Has a lot of position versatility but is a very limited athlete who looked stiff and mechanical.
C Maurkice Pouncey - Did not stand out like expected. More solid than outstanding today. Still the top center but he is not a first rounder.
Tight End Quick Hits:
Dennis Pitta - Many (myself included) have questioned his athleticism but Pitta not only ran a great 40 (4.63 unofficial) but showcased good footwork, balance and agility throughout his workout to go along with great hands and route running ability. By answering the athleticism question he may have moved himself into the 2nd round.
Jimmy Graham - A raw developmental tight end with excellent measure-ables (6'6", good vertical and 4.57 unofficial 40) who looks like a natural pass catcher.
Tony Moeaki - An in-line tight end with good all-around skills and athleticism. Look for him to be a nice 3rd or 4th round value.
Jermaine Gresham - Looked a little rusty and did not have a tremendous workout but by working out he proved he is healthy and did enough to solidify his number one tight end ranking. That said, the depth at the tight end position could result in zero first round tight ends.
Honorable mention: Dorin Dickerson - Generated good buzz with an unofficial 4.40 40 and good receiving skills for a tight end. Unfortunately, weighing in at 226 lbs did little to answer questions about what position he will play as he lacks the explosiveness off the line for a receiver. Seems to be a Legedu Naanee type which limits his upside.
Anthony McCoy - Was slower than expected in the 40 and did not display great hands or burst throughout his workout.
Rob Gronkowski - Coming off back surgery he needed to workout to show the back injury is behind him. Even if he skipped the 40 and other timed tests, he would have benefited from taking part in drills. Most concerning was the comment that he he had only been running for 2-3 weeks. The longer players who missed the season wait to show they are healthy the more concerned teams should be.
Aaron Hernandez - Measured at just 6'2 and did not help himself in a crowded tight end position. Could be the biggest loser in Dennis Pitta's strong performance.