As Niners Nation's Indiana-based writer, I was able to attend the NFL Combine! It was a lot of fun soaking it all in, but more importantly I was able to scout with my own two eyes. I attended the quarterback and wide receiver portion of Sunday's events. Here are some thoughts:
The quarterbacks did not impress me all that much. I'm glad Coach Harbaugh decided to trade up for that Colin Kaepernick kid a couple drafts ago. Most quarterbacks had a hard time on quick outs in which they had to throw across their body (almost every pass was behind the WR). Others missed badly on posts and deep balls. The problem for most quarterbacks was accuracy, not arm strength.
Geno Smith, West Virginia: Had a good, but not great day at the combine. Smith showed off some NFL caliber arm strength and some top tier QB speed (4.59 40), but he otherwise didn't do anything to boost his stock a whole lot. I expected this performance out of Smith. It was good, but it wasn't one worthy of a number one pick.
E.J. Manuel, Florida State: Manuel showed promise, as he showed off his rocket arm and blazing speed. A team can develop Manuel to become a potential starter, but I'm not sure if he (or any QB in the draft) is ready to start right out of the gate.
Tyler Bray, Tennessee: I don't find Bray to be a very accurate quarterback, but he was quite accurate on Sunday and he has a really strong arm to go along with it. While Bray did well, he wasn't facing pressure or wearing pads, which is where he normally can throw arrant passes and interceptions. Bray may have boosted his stock the most on Sunday.
Mike Glennon, NC State: Appeared to be quite erratic at times and threw some real bad balls receivers had no chance of catching. Even when the quarterbacks would make a good play, they would follow it by a few bad ones. I kept shaking my head in disapproval throw after throw. Glennon does possess a solid arm, but red flags popped up today. Glennon's stock went down a hair today.
Collin Klein, Kansas State: Going into today, Klein had a chance to improve his stock, but he didn't do anything to suggest he is NFL ready. Whether he can run the read option or not, he isn't going to become a passing threat. He would have remained a late round selection regardless of his day, but teams may not even view him as a quarterback whatsoever now. I was pulling for him.
I'm going to be mentioning the gauntlet drill for a few prospects. cbssports.com has a good definition of the drill:
"A receiver runs across the field from one sideline to the other trying to continue in a straight line across the painted yard line while passes are fired every five to seven yards, alternating from the player's left to right, and repeated until he reaches the opposite sideline."
Tavon Austin, West Virginia: The best gauntlet attempt of the day came from Austin. He never broke stride in his first attempt, catching every ball while running a straight line. The word I would use for Austin's performance today is fluid. Not to mention he's lightning fast (4.34 forty). I left Indy very impressed with Austin.
Robert Woods, USC: I've been looking for Woods to show flashes of the player he was in college prior to this season. He showed those flashes today. Woods excelled in the gauntlet and it appeared he had good hands all day. Woods ran good curl routes and deep routes. It was a good day for the USC Trojan all around.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee: Good performances in every category. He received check marks from me in all facets. He's going to be a freak in the NFL with his 6-3 205 frame that can run a 4.42 forty yard dash. Patterson should be the first receiver selected.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee: Looked like a player who may have some trouble with catches in traffic during the gauntlet drill, but showed he is a legitimate deep threat like his teammate Patterson. He also showed good speed running a 4.44 forty.
Marquise Goodwin, Texas: Was quite raw during the gauntlet, as he dropped some balls and did not run a straight line. Goodwin may have ran a 4.27 40, but I believe his stock remains the same (a 3rd round pick). He looks like a guy with speed who doesn't know what to do with it. I'm putting him in stock up because of his good forty time. After all, teams love speed.
There will be more analysis to come in the coming days for all positions. But for now, who stood out to you at quarterback and receiver? Who helped and hurt their stock?