Congrats! You survived another NFL Combine. I hope watching grown men in tights for four days was worth it. Jokes aside, the Combine is has slowly become tradition, and an offseason ratings darling for the NFL Network.
The top prospects from college football show up every year, hoping to showcase their talents. While some blew the roof off Lucas Oil Field, others left scouts, coaches and GM’s with doubts, concerns, and disappointment.
Here’s a look at some of my favorite college prospects who boosted their draft stock, and the one’s who may come crashing down. Tried to focus on some low profile players, and not the Big Names.
You will not find Jadeveon Clowney or Michael Sam on my list, amongst some other top prospects. But hey, if you must have some Clowney/Sam talk, I’ll give you my short version.
Clowney is a Freak of Nature! Sam is a future special-teamer.
- Aarron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh, 4.68/40yrd, 35 reps/bench, 7.11/3 cone
One of my favorites in the Draft. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald shocked many, including myself with his speed and agility. Donald, viewed as a 2nd round pick prior to the Senior Bowl, made the case to be the first DT taken after the Combine. You just don’t find many DT’s who move the way Donald does. Add in his quickness and strength and you have an elite prospect.
- Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice, 4.38/40yrd, 36.5/vert, 6.62/3 cone
A small school prospect, who proved his athleticism was NFL caliber. Not only was I impressed by his speed, but Phillip Gaines showed very fluid and smooth movement skills as well. The Combine can be a great equalizer for small school players. Gaines, “gained” (couldn’t resist) some serious Draft stock.
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon St, 4.33/40yrd, 36/vert, 3.81/20yrd shuttle
Outside of Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, I was most impressed by Brandin Cooks. Brandin attacked the Combine, and set the tone early with a blazing 40 time. Brandin Cooks separated himself from the rest of the WR pack, and made a strong case to be the number three receiver off the board.
- Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon St, 4.84/40yrd, 24/bench, 7.19/3 cone
Underrated defensive end, who needed to show off athleticism at the Combine. Scott Crichton is a poor man’s Lamar Houston, and can develop into a solid 4-3 DE. While he didn’t show elite attributes, Crichton showed he is athletic enough to make some noise in the NFL.
- Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU, 5.24/40yrd, 20/bench, 7.93/3 cone
Anthony Johnson is a player I had high hopes for. Johnson dropped weight, hoping to showcase improved athleticism at the Combine. Instead his poor showing may lead to a fall from a mid round to late round prospect. Johnson nicknamed “Freak” at LSU, was anything but. The Combine exposed Johnson as a true tweener, who hasn’t maximized his talents.
- Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri, 4.92/40yrd, 22/bench, 6.83/3 cone
There is no doubt Kony Ealy is a talent. At the end of the day though, I came away wanting more. I expected Ealy to blow up the Combine, showcasing the speed, agility, and movement skills expected of a top prospect. While Ealy did excel in the 3 cone drill, he just didn’t keep pace with the stud DE/OLB prospects at the Combine.
- De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon, 4.50/40yrd, 32/vert
When your 5’9 and a buck seventy-four, you can not run a 4.50 forty yard dash! De’Anthony Thomas was set to light the 40 on fire. Watching his speed at Oregon made you think Thomas had the opportunity to break Chris Johnson’s record. With a limited skill set and position concerns, an average 40 time could kill Thomas’ chances in the Draft.
- Antone Exum, CB, VATech, 4.59/40yrd, 35/vert, 7.05/3 cone
Antone Exum was one of my sleepers at Cornerback heading into the Combine. While injuries ended his 2013 season, Exum was solid when on the field. After watching his movement skills during CB drills, it was obvious Exum was not 100% back in football shape. While Exum could still be a steal, teams will find it hard to look past his Combine tape.