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Sunday Was A Big Day At The Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 27, 2012 – 7:44 am

The action on Sunday at the Combine was non-stop, with QBs, RB and WRs going through on-field workouts and with many of those players creating a buzz in the building with impressive physical displays. In fact, there were several players who either solidified their standing as elite players at their position or who raised eyebrows and drastically improved their draft stock.

Here’s a look at a few of those players and how they were able to impress on what turned out to be an action-packed day at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine…

Head of the class
We’ll start at the top of the draft, where QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III solidified their standing as not only the Top 2 QBs, but also the two best prospects in the entire draft class. Luck, considered the top QB prospect, actually compared to last year’s top prospect, Cam Newton, in many of the on-field drills. Luck’s unofficial 4.59 in the 40-yard dash (officially Luck ran a 4.67) matched Cam Newton’s official best time from 2011, his 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump was just 2 inches off Newton’s 10-6, and his 36-inch vertical bested Newton’s 35-inch jump from last year. You can count on the Colts selecting Luck with the #1 overall pick.

As for RG3, he registered 4.41 in the 40-yard dash (he was unofficially time at 4.38), which was the fastest time for a QB at the Combine since 2006. I’ve also been told that RG3 has been super-impressive in the team interview environment. I will be completely shocked if he is not selected with the #2 overall pick in the draft, which ultimately means the St. Louis Rams are going to trade out of that spot and likely receive a King’s Ransom for doing so.

WRs shooting up draft boards?
There were several WRs who stood out on Sunday, but I want to highlight three of them here. First is Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech. He created a buzz in the building by running a blazing fast 4.36 in the 40-yard dash. That’s impressive enough for a WR, but also consider that Hill measured in at 6-4, 215 pounds. With that combination of speed and size, you might wonder why Hill doesn’t come with more hype. Perhaps one reason is that he played at Georgia Tech, a program that features an option offense. This means Hill doesn’t have a ton of experience catching the ball or playing in sophisticated passing schemes. Of course Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas came from the same program, and clearly they haven’t struggled with adjusting to NFL offenses. So all-in-all, Sunday was a great day for Hill, and I believe he made himself a lot of money because I’m thinking he will be a rare case of a player who jumps up several rounds on many teams’ draft boards based on a performance at the Combine. According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, Hill also “showed strong hands catching the ball in individual drills and looked like a natural pass catcher in the route running portion of the workout.”

The second receiver I want to highlight is Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, who ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash. That’s a good time for Floyd and it should assuage many teams’ concerns about his speed. Floyd has prototypical size (6-3, 220 pounds), physicality and ball skills, and his 40 time at the Combine will give his supporters an even stronger argument. I still think he looks a touch stiff and I wonder if he’s quick enough coming out of his breaks. That will be for scouts and coaches to decide, not me. My gut still has a 2nd-round value on him, but I’m guessing a solid performance at his pro day will result in some team grabbing him in the late stages of the 1st round.

The last receiver I’ll mention here is Chris Givens from Wake Forest. He ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, and he’s a guy NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock mentioned to me on Sunday afternoon. Mayock and I got into a discussion about mid-round WR prospects, and Givens is a guy Mayock seemed to favor. He talks more about Givens in this week’s Wobcast, so be sure to check that out on Tuesday when we post it to the site. Givens has elite speed and was a great deep threat at Wake Forest. His profile page on NFL.com compares him to Jeremy Maclin, saying “He has adequate size and is a blazing straight-line runner who looks similar to Philadelphia’s Jeremy Maclin with his movements in-route. He relies heavily on his speed in all he does and is the type of receiver capable of taking a speed-out and cutting up field to daylight.”

3 tweets from a former GM
Charlie Casserly is one of my favorite NFL analysts in the business. He was an NFL GM for 16 years and worked in NFL front offices for over 20 years, serving with Washington Redskins from 1977-99 and then with the Houston Texans from 2002-06. Anyway, I pay attention to what he says, and on Sunday afternoon he had a series of tweets (@charleycasserly) where he listed players who helped themselves during on-field workouts at the Combine. Here they are, with a few edits for clarity…

RB’s who helped themselves today: Miller (Miami), Pierce (Temple), Gray (Texas A&M). All of them ran faster than projected.

– Some WR’s whose speed helped them: Jenkins (Illinois), Posey (Ohio State), Hill (Georgia Tech), Givens (Wake Forest), Hemmingway (Michigan), Coale (VPI), Owusu (Stanford).

– WRs I liked in drills: Posey (Ohio State), Quick (Appalachian State), Blackmon (Oklahoma State), Coale (VPI), Adams (Arkansas), Givens (Wake Forest), Hemingway (Michigan), Owusu (Stanford), Page (Toledo), Jenkins (Illinois).


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