2014 Draft

2014 NFL Scouting Combine Wrap Up, Musings – Winners & Losers

By Alex Kozora

A wrap up of what went down at Indianapolis this past week. Some winners and losers along with other musings.

Winners

– It’s still a battle to determine who the number one offensive tackle will be but Michigan’s Taylor Lewan sure made one heck of a case for it. 309 pounds on a 6’7 frame with nearly 34 inch arms, he can still grow into his body. Showed his athleticism in the events and drills. His 4.87 40 was fastest among offensive lineman. More importantly, his 1.64 10 yard split was the second best of the group. Showed fluid hips in drills, too. Can be tough for guys at his height but not Lewan.

– 40 times however, aren’t very relevant for offensive lineman. Ten yard splits the crucial figure to look at to judge burst. Four lineman ran sub 1.70 with the average being 1.76. Boston College’s Matthew Patchan (1.59), Lewan (1.64) Nevada’s Joel Bitonio (1.68), and Auburn’s Greg Robinson (1.69). Jake Matthews ran a 1.70.

At 6’7 331, Miami (FL) OT Seantrel Henderson had an impressive split. 1.71 and 1.72 on his two attempts. Guy has great size, a wide base, and can move. Just about how bad he wants it.

On the other hand, though some lineman ran respectable 40s, their 10 yard splits are less impressive. Clemson’s Brandon Thomas ran a 5.09 40 but had a below average split of 1.78. Similarly, Colorado State’s Weston Richburg turned in a 5.10 but splits of 1.85 and 1.78.

– Was happy to see Blake Bortles throw at the Combine. Something others didn’t do. Looking at you Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr.

As I said in my original write up, I just want to see guys go compete. No one is expecting perfection. It’s just odd the most important position on the team be the only one where it’s acceptable to sit out of drills. I can respect Bortles more for showing himself to coaches and general managers.

– The wide receivers can be summed up in one phrase: triangle numbers. These guys have it. Height/weight/speed abounds. 16 receivers at Indy that were 6’2 or taller. 13 of those weighed more than 206 pounds. Seven ran 4.5 or faster. Only three ran slower than a 4.60.

One in particular whose numbers stand out is Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews. 6’3 212 with the sixth longest arms (33 1/4 ) and the biggest hands of any receiver (10 3/8). Ran a 4.46. His “true” height is 9.2, larger than Kelvin Benjamin’s. He looked like a natural catcher in the gauntlet. Fluid and plucked the ball away from his body.

Certainly did not lack production at Vandy, either. In his last two years, he caught 206 passes for 2800 yards and 15 touchdowns. Player I can’t wait to take a look at.

– Ole Miss’ Donte Moncrief numbers are a tick slower than Mike Wallace but the comparison isn’t that far off. Moncrief ran a 4.40 with a 1.5 split, a 39.5 vert, and jumped 11 feet in the broad jump.

Wallace’s numbers respectively: 4.33, 1.43, 40, 10’9”.

Keep in mind Moncrief is bigger. 6’2/3 221. Averaged nearly 16 yards per catch in 2013.

– Didn’t get the opportunity to do a full write up on the defensive lineman and linebackers so a condensed notes version.

Not winners or losers but a list of “true” nose tackles at the Combine. Obviously, the mold for a nose tackle is adjusting away from the “you have to be huge” theory. But some notables.

Ryan Carrethers/Arkansas St: 6’1/2 337

Justin Ellis/Louisiana Tech: 6’1/4 334

Michael Pennel/Colorado St Pueblo: 6’4/2 332

Louis Nix/Notre Dame: 6’2/3 331

Robert Thomas/Arkansas: 6’1 327

Zach Kerr/Delaware: 6’1/3 326

Daquan Jones/Penn St: 6’3/6 322

Tennessee’s Daniel McCullers was the heaviest DL at 352 but at 6’7, isn’t a traditional NT. Difficult to say where his fit will end up being. Tommy Kelly mold who spent the majority of his career in a 4-3.

Even though they don’t need to be supreme athletes, nose tackles still have to be quick off the ball. Splits and vertical measure explosiveness.

Kerr had the best with a 1.72 and tied for the best vertical with a 28.5 inch showing.

Pennel also respectable numbers. 1.75 and 28.5.

Aaron Donald ran a 4.68 at 285. The next fastest 40 time of someone heavier between 273-305 pounds? 302 pound Caruan Reid’s 4.91. A one gapper whose length isn’t awful to play five tech, (32 5/8) a position Donald played in 2011. Versatility will make him even more appealing.

– Shepard’s Howard Jones is an interesting prospect. Will have to stand up and play outside linebacker and he has to add size at just 235 pounds. But he’s got supreme length at 34 1/8 with the third best 40 (4.6) and a 40.5 vertical. Full three inches more than the next man. Possible small school sleeper.

Kareem Martin from North Carolina is a possible 3-4 end for the Steelers. Certainly has the frame to add a little bit of weight to (6’5/7 272) and supreme length of 35 inches. 4.72 40 and 35.5 vert were both in the upper tier. Scouting report on him will likely come out in a week.

– Mixed on Florida State’s Telvin Smith. Super athletic, ran a 4.52 and 1.53 split but at 218 pounds, he’s a tweener. Does have a frame he can grow into at 6’3 but still have concerns.

Jordan Zumwalt is 6’4 but doesn’t have the length to match. UCLA kid has 31 1/4 arms and 8 3/4 hands.

– As I wrote in my defensive back write-up, Lindenwood corner Pierre Desir is similar to Cortez Allen.  Long, leggy corner that looked fluid in drills.

– Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptise gets all the love as a bigger corner but Keith McGill from Utah is even larger. 6’3 211 with 33 inch arms. 4.51 40 and rocked the vertical, jumping 39 inches.

– Became a fan of Rice corner Phillip Gaines. Sub 4.4 40 and looked explosive in drills. Really did a nice job of getting low in his pedal.

– TCU’s Jason Verrett got good news on and off the field. 4’38 40 with a 39 vert. Also doctors said he likely will not need surgery on his shoulder. Played with a torn labrum throughout the year.

Kyle Fuller is a bit tall in his backpedal. At nearly 6’0, that isn’t completely surprising. Important thing is he is fluid in his hips. Can teach him to get lower.

Losers

– Like I alluded to, wanted to see the quarterbacks compete. Especially Teddy Bridgewater, who didn’t throw or run the 40. Only healthy quarterback to sit that section out. Disappointing.

– Manziel’s stock won’t be affected by his 5’11 3/4 weigh-in. Lack of size didn’t surprise any scouts. Evaluated on the notion that he was extremely short. Biggest issue for him to combat that size is his mobility inside the pocket. Being able to slide within the pocket to find throwing lanes. Major thing I’ll be looking for when I watch him.

– Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses may have had one of the worst showings at the Combine. Does look the part at 6’6 314 with just under 35 1/2 inch arms. But that was the only positive. Couldn’t stay in a straight line during his drills. Looked sluggish in his events. 1.94 and 1.95 ten yard splits were the worst and his 21.5 inch vert tied for last. Lumbered around and a really poor showing.

– Disappointed in North Dakota State OT Billy Turner. His tape is still impressive but I was hoping for a better showing going against top competition. Makes scouts re-evaluate if you truly are a good player or if you just beat up on lower competition.

Cyrus Kouandjio failed the drills and more importantly, failed his physical. Medical one of the most aspects of the Combine. Still, I have a sneaking feeling those reports were leaked because there is a team that really likes him and wants to try and drop his stock. Rare for physical information to get reported. Especially just two days after he took it.

– Update on Adam Muema, the San Diego State running back who left the Combine because God told him to. Originally wasn’t heard from for a few days. Spent three days at an airport before he contacted a friend, got some food, and took a flight back home.

– One thought that may explain Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro’s average 40 time. He rarely had to play in a three point stance in college. In the games I watched, no more than five per game. And he was often asked to run block in those situation. Yes, it’s an event he trained for but a disadvantage compared to some other tight ends. Possible explanation. Why you watch the tape.

– It’s just amazing to say that nearly no wide receiver ran poorly at the Combine. Only 10 of the 48 in attendance ran 4.6 or worse.

Michael Sam got the headlines for struggling in drills, and he definitely did, but his linemate Kony Ealy. Only seven pounds heavier, he ran a 4.92 and his vert was 31 inches, in the bottom half of the group. Sam and Ealy’s broad jumps were the same at 9’6”.

Aaron Donald wasn’t the only undersized defensive tackle at the Combine. Will Sutton came in 6’0/4 303 but with shorter arms – 31 1/4 .Questions linger about the former Sun Devil’s ability to carry his weight. 5.36 40 doesn’t help his cause, either.

– Louis Nix looks quicker on tape but recorded 1.85 and 1.87 splits and 25.5 vertical. McCullers didn’t run the 40 but had a poor 20.5 vertical. Lack of burst is something I noted in my scouting report of him.

– Illinois’ linebacker Jonathan Brown had a chance to stand out but failed. Just 238 but ran the worst 40 of any linebacker, a 5.03. Also had the worst time in the three cone, 7.77.

Carl Bradford’s build isn’t anything impressive. 6’0/6 with just 30 1/4 arms. 40 times and splits were below average and he lifted the bar only 23 times.

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