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There was not an astonishing amount of movement on the draft boards this past week, but there was definitely enough to warrant some discussion. The Combine started last week on Thursday and ended yesterday in case you missed it. NFL Network had roughly 10 hours of new coverage each day adding up to near 50 hours of total coverage. Over 300 players took part and were invited that could be playing on Sunday's in the NFL this upcoming season. Most will make it and some will have to settle for being practice squad players initially.
Players such as Tim Tebow and Taylor Mays, who have been talked about to the point of exhaustion, did quite well in the events that they decided to take part in. Many other players that took part in the events went one way or the other in their performances. And some players did well in some events and not so well in others. Bottom line is that a lot of these coaches, and a lot of the scouts that were present during the week of events, will go back and look at the tape again and come to the same conclusions they had pre-combine. Mike Mayock said about 95% of the decision making that will go down in regards to the draft, will be done based off of game tape.
The first day of real action started on Saturday with the Offensive Linemen, Kickers/ Punters, and Tight Ends. Trindon Holliday was the lonesome "special teamer" and did all his drills alone. the 5'5" Running Back from LSU higlighted his day with an official 4.34 40-yard dash time which was very impressive. This specific 40-time created some debate by the end of the events because they ran a simulcast with Holliday and Mays' official 40-time and Mays actually beat him, but had a lower time with a 4.43. So a lot of folks speculated that something was definitely off with the way the 40-times were being timed. There were official times and unofficial times conflicting with one and other by .10 and more, so it leaves the question of just how seriously can we take these times?
Sunday featured the Quarterbacks, Running Backs, and Wide Receivers. Four of the top quarterbacks entering the draft this coming season did not throw, and one of them decided just to throw to stationary targets. Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy did not throw all due to injury while Tim Tebow didn't throw because he is working on his throwing motion to "wow" scouts at his pro day, and Dan LeFevour decided only to throw to still targets because that is what his agent advised him to do. Later on in the day, Clemson track star, slash-wide receiver, Jacoby Ford set the track on fire with his official 4.28 40-yard dash which was the closest of this draft class to Chris Johnson's record setting 4.24 official 40-yard dash time in 2008. Out of the Running Back's, Jahvid Best validated his last name with his official 40-time of 4.35.
Monday was the big showdown of Ndamukong Suh versus Gerald McCoy as the defensive linemen and linebackers took the field of action. While Suh slightly out performed McCoy in almost every category, McCoy had the better 40-time of the two and showed scouts that he is worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Suh. There weren't any major milestone's by the linebacking class and the highly sought after Rolando McClain did not participate in the events.
The final day of action showcased the defensive backs. While players like Taylor Mays did what everyone knew he was capable of athletically, other players that had mounds of hype surrounding them all year long like Joe Haden fell flat on his face. Other players like Eric Berry and Earl Thomas held steady with their above average performances. The cap to all of the action was a hilarious 40-yard dash by commentator Rich Eisen. This has become sort of a tradition every year since he did it for the first time when Terrell Davis dared him to do it in 2005... maybe next year, he'll be smart enough to do it in something a little lighter than a $5,000 Prada suit. At least he's getting smarter, he wore track shoes this year. The simulcast with Terrence Cody and Eisen was as comical as it gets.
The purpose and concept of what I wanted to do here with this recap post, is to take a look at the top three players that really may have influenced (for the better) when and where they are drafted come April 22nd. After the jump, at each position, I will list the positions, player names, and their respective combine results.
1. Tim Tebow -- While he didn't throw, he displayed that he is one of the better athletes in the nation and that he is going to work extremely hard to be a success at the next level. He will have a lot to prove on his pro day as far as throwing is concerned, but being that he pretty much dominated at all other events, he may have opened the eyes of those that were shut in regards to considering Tim Tebow on their rosters. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.72, Vertical Jump: 38.5 (2 inches higher than Michael Vick's jump), Broad Jump: 9'7", 3-cone-drill: 6.66, 20-yard shuttle: 4.17, 60-yard shuttle: 11.27.
2. John Skelton -- Skelton is coming out of a smaller school and thus did not receive a lot of national attention. But for those that were unfamiliar with the 6'5" 243 Pound Fordham Quarterback, became very familiar this past weekend. Skelton before the combine was considered by some to possibly go undrafted. While he may not be a high-round pick, he definitely did enough to get drafted. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.85, Vertical Jump: 33.5, Broad Jump: 9'0", 20-yard shuttle: 4.33.
3. Jarrett Brown -- The West Virginia prodigy had to sit behind Pat White for a couple years but once he got his chance, he shined in his own spotlight. Brown did enough in the Senior Bowl and enough in the events this past week to catapult his stock by a round or so. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.54, Vertical Jump: 34.5, Broad Jump: 9'6", 60-yard shuttle: 11.91.
1. Ryan Mathews -- Mathews before the combine was considered to be a solid 2nd Rounder but after his results in this years combine may have secured a 1st round selection. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.45, Bench Press: 19 reps, Vertical Jump: 36.0, 20-yard shuttle: 4.33.
2. Ben Tate -- Because of Tate's low production in years previous to his final year at Auburn, he didn't receive a lot of buzz. That all changed for him on Sunday. His stock sky-rocketed in my opinion, or should have. Tate may have been the most competitive combine participant out of any of the other backs. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.43, Bench Press: 26 reps, Vertical Jump: 40.5, Broad Jump: 10'4", 3-cone drill: 6.91, 20-yard shuttle: 4.12.
3. Montario Hardesty -- Another player that had to wait in line for a starting position at the University of Tennessee, Hardesty absolutely nailed every event in this years combine. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.49, Bench Press: 21 reps, Vertical Jump: 41.0, Broad Jump: 10'4", 3-cone drill: 6.87, 20-yard shuttle: 4.14, 60-yard shuttle: 11.47.
1. Emmanuel Sanders -- SMU hasn't produced a ton of NFL players, but Sanders could end up putting SMU on the map. He had a solid combine and launched his stock by at least a good round, maybe even two from where it had been. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.41, Vertical Jump: 39.5, Broad Jump: 10'6", 3-cone drill: 6.60, 20-yard shuttle: 4.10.
2. Scott Long -- I have to be honest, I didn't even know a Scott Long existed before the combine... it's tough to keep up with 1000+ players. However, the Louisville wideout came out of no where to make a name for himself. He will now be drafted instead of having to try out for a team as an undrafted free agent. None the less, he's going to have to earn his spot on a roster at the next level. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.46, Bench Press: 20 reps, Vertical Jump: 41.5, Broad Jump: 10'3", 3-cone drill: 6.45, 20-yard shuttle: 4.09, 60-yard shuttle: 11.06.
3. Golden Tate -- The golden domer (as they called him all week long) probably made a case to be selected in the 1st round. Whether or not that will happen is another story. He drew comparison's this past weekend to the likes of players such as Hines Ward and Anquan Boldin. He ran a speedy 40-time and that could have drawn attention by some who were not looking there before. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.42, Bench Press: 17 reps, Broad Jump: 10'0".
1. Dorin Dickerson -- His 40-time really seperated him from the rest of the pack. He was a primary weapon at Pittsburgh and he could make an impact day one for an NFL Team. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.40, Bench Press: 24 reps, Vertical Jump: 43.5, Broad Jump: 10'5", 3-cone drill: 6.96, 20-yard shuttle: 4.30.
2. Clay Harbor -- Here is another name that people may not be familiar with because of going to a school like Missouri State. Harbor put himself on the map and could really make an impact from first jump in the NFL. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.69, Bench Press: 30 reps, Vertical Jump: 40.0, Broad Jump: 10'0", 20-yard shuttle: 4.37.
3. Jimmy Graham -- The two-sport athlete at Miami probably made the right choice in going with football over basketball. He had a very well-rounded combine and I am positive it didn't go unoticed. Here are his top-performance reults -- 40-time: 4.56, Vertical Jump: 38.5, Broad Jump: 10', 3-cone drill: 6.90, 60-yard shuttle: 11.76.
1. Bruce Campbell -- People have pointed out flaws in Campbell's game film but his combine reults fanned the competition. If he ends up some place where fundamentals are taught first and foremost, he will have a chance to continue to fan the competition in games at the next level. Here are his top-performance results: 40-time: 4.85, Bench Press: 34 reps, Vertical Jump: 32.0, Broad Jump: 3-cone drill: 7.58, 20-yard shuttle: 4.69.
2. Marshall Newhouse -- Here is a guy who flew a bit below the radar all season long. He came in to the combine and proved that he is athletically worthy enough to be bumped up from his previous stock status. Here are his top-performance results: 40-time: 5.00, 3-cone drill: 7.40, 20-yard shuttle: 4.60.
3. Jared Valdheer -- At 6'8" and 312 LBS, Valdheer blew up every event just about and created a lot of buzz among scouts and coaches. His technique is finely tuned like Slash's guitar and he is ready to rock at the next level. His stock only got better and he made a very good decision to participate. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 5.09, Bench Press: 32 reps, Vertical Jump: 33.5, Broad Jump: 9'1", 3-cone drill: 7.40, 20-yard shuttle: 4.51.
1. Jason Worilds -- Virginia Tech has produced alot of talent at the pro-level and they did a great job in recruiting Worlids. Worlids hadan excellent combine and potentially boosted his stock by a round maybe even two depending on where you had him before. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.72, Vertical Jump: 38.0, 3-cone drill: 6.95, 20-yard shuttle: 4.29.
2. Jerry Hughes -- Hughes needed a good performance to secure his positioning on where his stock was pre-combine. The defensive lineman class wasn't as impressive as years past. Here is his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.69, 3-cone drill: 6.99, 20-yard shuttle: 4.15.
3. Dexter Davis -- Out of Arizona State, Davis came in to the combine hoping to get a few more dollars tacked on to his first NFL contract and that he did. He performed well in all events and was a top performer in 3 events. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.64, 3-cone drill: 7.08, 20-yard shuttle: 4.30.
1. Jamar Chaney -- Out of Mississippi State, Chaney did not qualify for only one event out of them all to be a top-performer. He climbed his way up the boards and I am sure some of the scouts and coaches took note of it. Here are some of his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.54, Bench Press: 26 reps, Vertical Jump: 39.0, 3-cone drill: 6.90, 20-yard shuttle: 4.29, 60-yard shuttle: 11.46.
2. Dekota Watson -- Watson has been a disruptive player throughout his career at Florida State and he made just as much of a splash at the 2010 NFL Combine. Watson had the second best 40-time and did exceptional in all the other athletic related drills. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.56, Vertical Jump: 40.0, 20-yard dash: 4.11, 60-yard shuttle: 11.35.
3. Keenan Clayton -- Oklahoma Linebacker Keenan Clayton was thought to have been a late late round pick pre-combine but his results in the 40, the bench press, and vertical jump may have been enough to boost him in to the later portion of the mid rounds. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.66, Bench Press: 27 reps, Vertical Jump: 41.5.
1. Devin McCourty -- Some of the high praise surrounding McCourty pre-combine was confirmed as he left his mark on the competition. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.48, Broad Jump: 10'6", 3-cone drill: 6.70, 20-yard shuttle: 4.07.
2. A.J. Jefferson -- Here is another one of those guys that came out of now where and flew on to the radars. Jefferson came out of Fresno State and maybe didn't get the recognition he deserved but this definitely put him on a national stage. Here are his top-performance results -- Vertical Jump: 44.0, Broad Jump: 10'6", 3-cone drill: 6.72, 20-yard shuttle: 4.00, 60-yard shuttle: 11.04.
3. Brandon Ghee -- Ghee, out of all Corner's, may have the best opportunity for his potential to meet up with his God-given talent and have the two elements meet up to be one. I don't think Ghee had got the recognition he deserved until these events, but he has made his mark now on the proffesional football world. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.45, Broad Jump: 10'7", 3-cone drill: 6.75, 20-yard shuttle: 4.07, 60-yard shuttle: 11.21.
1. Taylor Mays -- Mays has recieved a lot of criticism for this and that and had he not done as well as he did would have jeopardized his 1st Round considerations. He instead may have sling-shotted himself all the way in to a top ten consideration. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.43, Bench Press: 24 reps, Vertical Jump: 41.0, Broad Jump: 10'5".
2. Eric Berry -- He may have secured a top ten selection in this years draft. He did pretty much what most expected him to do. But so much has been made of how well Berry is going to do, that some have forgetten just how special Berry could potentially end up being. I felt he was deserving of mention in the top performers. He may have had the most to lose with not that much to gain because of how highly he has been praised already. Here are his top-performance results -- 40-time: 4.47, Bench Press: 19 reps, Vertical Jump: 43.0, Broad Jump: 10'10".
3. Kyle McCarthy -- McCarthy will be a good underdog story to follow once he's in the NFL. He performed quite well in more than just a couple events. He reminds me a lot of Pat Tillman when he first entered the league and he is definitely a player that I think helped his stock out this past weekend. He isn't the guy who is going to run you a sub 4.4, 40-yard-dash, but he has the natural instinct and quickness that it takes to get far in the NFL. His hard work ethic could take him a long way as well. Here are his top-performance results -- Bench Press: 24 reps, 3-cone drill: 6.74, 20-yard shuttle: 4.13, 60-yard shuttle: 11.18.
Author's note: If you feel that someone should have been in the place of any of these top three's, please feel free to express that. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. Enjoy.