While the combine has its critics each and every year, there sure are a lot of people who pay close attention to every move these players make.
If the combine was a meaningless weekend, the NFL would have rid themselves of the event by now.
Sure, there are always the “workout warriors” who test well at the combine, but fail in the NFL. However, the combine is the only time before the draft where most of the prospects can all be tested at the same time under the same surroundings.
What should be taken from the combine is the players who make you go back and watch more film on them.
With that said, here are players from each position that I feel helped their cause during the combine:
Defensive End – Margus Hunt – SMU – I could have easily gone with Oregon’s Dion Jordan or BYU’s Ziggy Ansah, but I already figured both would have good workouts. Hunt put on a show with his blend of size, strength, and speed. At 6’8” and 277 lbs, Hunt ran a 4.60 40-yard dash and did 38 reps on the bench. Hunt is still a raw player who is learning the game of football, but his performance at the combine will have GMs willing to take an early shot at developing him.
Defensive Tackle – Sharrif Floyd – Florida – Floyd was already rising up the first round, but I think his performance at the combine might have put him into the top 5 discussion. Floyd had very good burst in his 10-yard split and vertical jump (30″) and posted some of the fastest in all other drills. The buzz on Floyd is that he has distinguished himself as an under-tackle that has potential to rush the passer.
Outside Linebacker – Cornelius Washington – Georgia – Georgia had many players on display over the weekend, but Washington might have put on the best show. He dominated in every drill and every test. At 6’4” and 265 lbs, it was amazing to see some of the numbers Washington put up. 4.55 40-yard dash, 39″ vertical, and 36 reps on the bench were just a few of the outstanding numbers he put up. Again, all this does is make you do more background on him. Washington could be a candidate for the label of “workout warrior.”
Inside Linebacker – Jonathon Bostic – Florida – Bostic came into the combine with the reputation as a thumper in the run game, but displayed excellent speed (4.61) and showed very good change-of-direction in drills. Teams will now need to reevaluate whether Bostic can be a 3-down linebacker, which is very valuable in the NFL.
Cornerback – Xavier Rhodes – FSU – Most of the spotlight has been on Dee Milliner and Desmond Trufant, but the blend of size and speed that Rhodes displayed ws impressive. Rhodes measured in at 6’2” and 210 lbs with over 33″ arms and the highest vertical leap at 40.5″. There were questions about Rhodes speed, which he answered by running an official 4.43 with the 2nd fastest 10-yard split at 1.47.
Safety – David Amerson – NC St. – While Amerson played cornerback at NC St. and could still play corner in the NFL, his ball-hawking skills on tape could make him most useful as a safety. At 6’1” and 205 lbs, Amerson has enough size to play safety, and displayed very good speed (4.44) to cover the deep middle of the field.
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