NFL Combine Results: Roy Helu and the 10 Biggest Surprises in Sunday's Workouts
Sunday is the most scrutinized day of the NFL Combine.
It is the day where all the skill players get their measurables measured. They also have defensive linemen work out, which doesn't make any sense to me, but there you have it.
All of the biggest names were on the field today.
There were definitely some eye-catching performances, and stocks are rising and falling.
The following are the players who went well enough above or below their expectations to affect their draft status.
Shane Vereen, RB, California
Shane Vereen's 5'9" stature would lead people to believe he would be a specialty back.
However, his 210 pounds and strength say otherwise.
Vereen put up the second most reps for a RB on the bench with 31.
He posted a respectable 4.48 40-time and then followed it up with solid showings in the 3-cone and shuttle drills.
Vereen had been projected as a late second- or third-round pick. He certainly helped that status today.
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
A.J. Green is staring at a top-five selection in the draft. He probably still is, but that standing is a little more tenuous after his combine workout.
Green had several drops in the gauntlet drill. Still, his size and speed should keep him near the top of the draft.
He posted a 4.48 40-yard dash time. Which is right around what scouts expected.
Still, when you are expending a top-five pick on a receiver you don't want them dropping anything.
Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
This combine was huge for Austin and his North Carolina teammates that were forced to sit out the 2010 season with suspensions.
Understandably, scouts want to see that they did not let the time off allow them to go soft.
I think we can put those concerns to rest with Austin. His 38 reps on the bench was the second-highest mark among defensive linemen.
By all accounts, he appeared to be in top physical shape. He is likely going to be a first-round pick.
Edmund Gates, WR, Abilene Christian
Edmund Gates is flying under the radar...and I mean flying. Gates posted a 4.37 time in the 40 on Sunday.
He may now be leaping over the radar. Gates' vertical leap was 40". If I jumped 40" I would be afraid of coming down.
Gates was considered to a be a very late-round selection. He is still likely a late-round selection and almost assuredly going to be a Raider.
Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Scouts weren't doubting Stephen Paea's strength, but they had no idea he was this strong.
Paea set a NFL Combine record with 49 reps on the bench press. That's just incredible. I don't think I could lift the bar 49 times—let alone when there is 225 pounds on it.
Paea was projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick. He just guaranteed he won't last beyond the first now, and may even slide into the mid-first range.
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
As was expected, Cam Newton looked great in all the athletic drills—if you don't consider throwing an athletic drill.
Newton surprised many when he announced when he was going to throw at the combine. He probably should have waited.
He was consistently high with his throws, which is a bad place for QBs to miss.
Prior to the combine, there were whispers that Newton may have been working his way to the No. 1 overall selection. Those whispers are gone now. He now is in a large group of players fighting to be the first QB taken.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Hankerson's draft stock had been limited by the fact that he was not perceived to have either the size or the speed to be a deep threat in the NFL.
Hankerson came out and ran a much faster than expected 4.43 in the 40-yard dash.
He did struggle early in the gauntlet drill, which was also a big surprise as he is considered to have some of the best hands in the draft.
However, that will be overshadowed by his very solid sprint. Hankerson is now a solid second-round projection.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Jake Locker had a solid day of workouts. The biggest question mark has been his accuracy. He was reportedly on target at the combine.
He also wowed scouts with his arm strength as they noted the ball pops out of his hands.
Locker's performance reportedly caught the attention of many onlookers. After catching passes from many of the QBs, A.J. Green was asked which one stood out to him, and he said Locker put on a show.
No one has doubted his running ability, but he posted a better than expected time in the 40. His 4.52 was second among QBs to Tyrod Taylor. Considering Locker is 228 pounds, this is an impressive number.
He also displayed excellent footwork and throwing mechanics.
Locker undoubtedly cemented his status as a first-round pick.
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Scouts knew Julio Jones was explosive. They didn't know he was this explosive.
He posted a blistering 4.39 40-time. Even more impressively he put up the best broad jump number the combine has seen in years at 11'3".
Jones also posted a vertical leap of 38.5".
While his numbers were better than Green's across the board, he is still likely going to be the second receiver taken. There is no way he will last beyond the Rams and the 14th pick, though.
Roy Helu Jr.
Roy Helu Jr. was considered a solid but not explosive back. He may have just changed that perception.
Helu is well built at 5'11" and 219 pounds, and he can move that compact body. He posted a 4.42 in the 40. He then posted the second best (among RBs) 3-cone drill time at 6.67.
Not content with that, Helu posted the best RB times in the 20- and 60-yard shuttles.
He then went for the eighth-highest vertical leap among RBs with 36.5" and a 10th-best broad jump at 9'11".
Helu's explosiveness likely just propelled him from the fifth round to the third.