2015 NFL Combine Wrap Up: Winners And Losers

Now that the 2015 NFL Combine is complete, let’s look back at all the positions and pick out the winners and losers from Indianapolis.

Winners:

Leonard Williams/DL USC – He showed why he’s the consensus best play in this year’s draft. Long, lean, and a violent punch, Williams made the drills look effortless, easy, and fun. Three things the Combine typically isn’t known for.

Kevin White/WR West Virginia – Most figured the West Virginia product would run around a 4.5. He blew the doors off of everyone with a 4.35, fastest of the top receivers. Stacked that by looking good in drills, something Georgia’s Chris Conley failed to do and the reason he’s off the list.

La’el Collins/OT LSU – Collins is off the radar for the Pittsburgh Steelers but regardless, had a fantastic day. Would be considered light for his position at 305 pounds but very well build. Thick upper body with broad shoulders. Collins looks like a great athlete who can seamlessly combo block and work to the second level.

Vic Beasley/OLB Clemson – Beasley is an obvious one. We knew he was a tremendous athlete before the combine, but it’s always nice to see the numbers. To lay it out once more: 4.53 40, 1.53 split, 41 inch vertical, and a 10’10” broad jump. All at a healthy 246 pounds.

Shows explosion and the ability to flatten the edge in drills.

Henry Anderson/DE Stanford – We’ve given Anderson a hard time for his reportedly short arms prior to the draft. But the Combine gave him a more generous measurement of 33 1/2 and his shuttle times for a player 294 pounds were incredible. 4.19 in the short shuttle. Or just four hundredths slower than Beasley. 1.63 ten split also shows his explosion.

Byron Jones/CB UConn – Would be remiss if I didn’t add Jones. Wish he would have run the 40 but his vertical of 44.5 inches and possible world-record broad of 12’3” are impossible to ignore. Jones has everyone rushing to the Connecticut tape.

Jesse James/TE Penn State – We profiled James shortly before the combine. After it, everyone knows his name. Big, long body at 6’7 261 who showed off better than anticipated athleticism, jumping 37 inches in the vert and recording a 1.7 ten yard split. Caught the ball well in drills, too.

Justin Coleman/CB Tennessee – Coleman had by far the best ten split of any corner at 1.42, did well in the other tests, and showed a quick feet and turn in drills. Soft hands in the gauntlet while playing fast.

David Johnson/RB Northern Iowa – The running backs who worked out tended to be bigger and slower and only a couple turned in sub 4.5 times. Northern Iowa’s David Johnson was on that cusp, turning in a 4.5 flat, but his ten yard splits were each under 1.6, the only back in Indianapolis to do so.

Johnson jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical and a respectable 10’7” in the broad.

As expected, he was a natural hands catcher and looked fluid running routes.

Ali Marpet/OL Hobart – Marpet, from Division III, paced the group in terms of speed. Best 40 time and ten split, the latter a 1.74. Earned a lot of praise from coaches in drills for his ability to sink his hips, maintain his base, and move laterally.

Marcus Mariota/Jameis Winston – Quarterbacks are always under the microscope in front of the eyes of all 32 teams and sometimes, they can be picked apart to no end (see Bridgewater, Teddy, circa 2014 Pro Day). But the top two quarterbacks played like just that. Winston was obviously natural in his five and seven step drops while Mariota looked smooth. I liked the former Duck’s carriage of the football. Quick, compact release.

Both did everything you want in quarterbacks at the Combine. Go out and compete, spin the ball well, and show you’re willing to play in front of an NFL stage.

Jake Fisher/OT Oregon – Fisher is like Collins though a bit leaner. His ten splits were second of the offensive lineman and I love his bend and base in drills. Room to add to his frame. Had a really nice day.

Alvin Dupree/OLB Kentucky – He didn’t drop into coverage but we didn’t need to see it. What is nice is watching 269 get up 42 inches vertically and 11 feet, six inches horizontally. Dupree is a true freak.

Craig Mager/CB Texas State – Mager is a small school kid without much tape and though he has short arms, he’s just under six foot and a tick over 200 pounds. Short shuttle and three cone were good but more importantly he did well in the DB drills. Manages to stay low in his pedal and is explosive out of his turn.

Deon Simon/NT Northwestern State – Simon is someone I need tape on but he caught my attention. Carries his 321 pounds on his 6’4 frame well and his ten yard split was excellent, recording a 1.78.

Benardrick McKinney/LB Mississippi St – Not a lot of love for off the line linebackers this year and for Steelers’ fans, they won’t get much talk either. But McKinney was impressive. Good size at 6’4 246 with 33 inch arms. Ran a 4.66 and jumped over 40 inches in the vertical.

Josh Shaw/CB USC – Shaw has off the field issues but his workout numbers were solid. 26 reps to lead his group, ran a 4.44, a 10’10” in the broad, and looked fluid in his transition.

Losers:

LaDarius Gunter/CB Miami (FL) – Gunter was awful. Tall corner with tall corner woes. Tall, stiff when asked to flip. Dropped passes in drills. Showed zero explosion in drills – his vertical was surpassed by 13 offensive lineman.

Devin Funchess/WR Michigan – He’s an awkward 237 pounds, profiling as a tweener WR/TE. Too small for a TE, and after a 4.7 40, too slow for a WR.

Even worse, Funchess dropped everything thrown his way in Indianapolis. One of the biggest losers of the week.

Leon Orr/DL Florida – Orr wasn’t bad in drills but as I mentioned the other day, he had a bizarre moment in running the 40. Got into a minor disagreement with the Steelers’ scout on how to line up for the 40 before lining up in a nontraditional stance and after two or three minutes, taking off.

Ereck Flowers/OG Miami (FL) – There’s no doubt Flowers measurable are pretty and to his credit, did rep 37 times. But he was ugly in drills, showing a terribly overextended kickslide and issues moving laterally. Was unable to get his shoulders square to the defender. Need to put on the Hurricanes’ tape but he sure looks more like a guard to me.

Lynden Trail/DE Norfolk State – Trail still has potential but I can’t figure him out. Too tall for his own good, over 6’6, and was stiff in drills. Ran a poor 4.91 and didn’t show explosion in drills. He’s a big, long body but there’s currently too much working against him. Teams are also showing interest in Trail as a tight end. He will run routes as one at his Pro Day.

Nick O’Leary/TE Florida State – He did do well in drills but his measurable are awful. Short, light, slow (4.94 40) with T-Rex arms (29 3/8). Profiles as an H-Back more than a tight end.

He was kicked off Florida’s team after refusing to play after being named the backup. Not a good follow up for Orr.

Quinten Rollins/CB Miami (OH) – It was a disappointing day for Rollins and the first time I’ve soured on him. The Combine is a great chance for me to watch DBs turn and run, something that’s tough to do on TV tape. Rollins was tight-hipped and didn’t run well nor was he explosive.

Rashad Greene/WR Florida State – Greene’s week wasn’t terrible but not the showing he probably was hoping for. Small, 4.5 receiver with short arms and had a tendency to body catch in drills. Tough fit at the next level.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • steeltown

    Of the Losers, I think Greene will have a successful career, undersized but crazy productive and savvy WR

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Alex. I agree with about all of your winners and losers. I’m still hoping Rollins could be a 2nd round pick for us, though. Also, I believe it should be Deon Simon from Northwestern State, not Smith. I would love to see him in a Steeler uniform.

  • ApexSteel

    I still feel like Mariota will be a dud at the NFL level.

  • NinjaMountie

    I think both him and Winston will be.

  • steelburg

    I agree. What I would like to see is his knowledge on the white board like they showed with Winston. He also said at the combine that he hasn’t called a play since high school. How about going from 32 dive in high school to shift to halfback twin right open, swap 72 all-go special halfback shallow cross wide open.’” which is a play call that Aaron Murray recited QB of the Chiefs.

  • steelburg

    I disagree about Winston.

  • ApexSteel

    I think Winston really can be a great NFL QB. He can make all the throws and he plays alot faster than that 4.9, but still has great pocket presence. As long as he keeps his days as a dumbass behind him he’ll be great.

  • Paddy

    I used to be stiff in the hips but I met a great woman now look at me!

    Good analysis as usual

  • ApexSteel

    That’d be a problem no doubt, but I did hear philly might try to move up to grab him. If Chip Kelly gets him then I can definitely see him succeeding, but he might struggle with any other NFL team.

  • cencalsteeler

    Johnson and Bell in the backfield….. like peas and carrots,…..it just goes well together.

  • Brian Miller

    I don’t agree with O’Leary on this list. His measurable are what we already knew. Yes he ran slow, but he plays faster on tape, catches everything naturally, and was Winston’s go to guy the entire season. IMO looked the best through the catch drills and gauntlet for TEs. The question is and always will be his blocking, but if he can even be adequate to good in that department he can be a great weapon for someone. Maxx Williams looked great too in the gauntlet

  • Brian Miller

    true, he looked great…I thought Dwyer looked good too

  • steelburg

    I feel the same way that would be the only thing that keeps him from being great. It won’t be his play on the field like most people who don’t know football are saying. People who compare him to Russell, and Manziel as far as his on the field play and practice habits and study habits have no clue. His only issue is the off the field stuff and that’s it.

  • steelburg

    I agree. Its refreshing to talk with someone who knows football and can break down the two players. I have been saying that all along if MM goes to Philly that’s the only way I can see him being equal to if not better then JW in the NFL over a long period of time unless whatever coach takes him picks up that system and commits there offense around what he did in college.

  • Ryan

    Why would you argue with scouts about lining up for a 40? Just do what they ask…looks better on you.

  • cp72

    I am so shocked by Gunter . He looked really solid at the Senior Bowl. He went up against some pretty quick guys (Dorsett and Crowder) and more than held his own.

  • puCrepeaP

    I think Mariota will be good. The best thing he’s got going for him is his attitude. He’s got all the natural ability that people drool over, but his humbleness and coach-ability is what will get him far. I think he’s the type of guy that will do anything he can to become better. Winston also has some natural ability and is intellectually there as far as football goes, but I foresee this guy getting distracted by the glitz and glamour of the pro life, and maybe won’t focus as much. That’s my thoughts.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m still crying about Celiscars bad 40 time!
    Do we know why he didn’t participate in any other drills?

  • LucasY59

    If the Steelers can get 3-4 of the guys on the winners list I would classify them as winners at the draft, a couple of disappointments in the losers list but no one I was really excited about to begin with either, and a couple that I expected to be there e.g. Funchess

  • Shannon Stephenson

    A guy who I had on my radar before the combine was MyCole Pruitt who did amazing at the combine….surprised he didnt make the list.

  • Alex Kozora

    Didn’t like his hands, even if he timed well.

  • GoSteelerz

    I’d like to see some of these guys at their pro days and see if they show improvement, especially guys that are relatively inexperienced and may not be used to combine type skills. In particular, I’m thinking of Rollins, but there are others, mostly smaller school guys, like Byron Jones who didn’t do everything due to the shoulder injury. The combine is a helpful tool if used properly, when in doubt the tape doesn’t lie…

  • Shannon Stephenson

    On what tape I could find he seemed to have soft hands and a big catch radius but thanx for the reply.