The NFL Combine should not be taken too seriously, but there are always players who either improve or hurt their draft stock. One player who improved his draft stock was Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill. Hill was pretty much an unknown heading into the Combine due to Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, which means that they don’t pass the ball very often and consequently leads to little opportunity for Hill to showcase his talents.
At the Combine Hill wowed scouts by running a 3.46-second 40-yard dash (second fastest at the combine) as a 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver. He also impressed in the receiver drills by making a great diving catch on a deep throw.
Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash time and proved why he should be drafted in the first round along with Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon.
As for quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III reminded people just how athletic he is. Griffin ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, the best since Reggie McNeal in 2006, and was among the best at his position in broad jump and vertical leap.
Andrew Luck surprised some people with his athleticism. He put up numbers similar to last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Cam Newton. Luck is known for his abilities inside the pocket, and his performance at the combine reminded us just how talented he is outside of the pocket as well.
West Virginia Defensive end Bruce Irvin measured in at 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, so when he posted a 4.50-second 40-yard dash time, people took notice. It’s not very often you see a player of that size run that quickly. It was by far the faster time among defensive linemen.
One player who surprised scouts in a bad way was Baylor’s Kendall Wright. Wright, the favorite target of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Griffin, was known for his speed. But at the Combine, Wright ran a 4.61 in the 40-yard dash. The good thing for Wright, however, is that he displayed great speed on film. Most scouts won’t drop Wright’s draft grade significantly after one poor workout. He’s still an explosive receiver, possibly the most explosive receiver in the Draft, and he should be a playmaker at the next level.
South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery hurt his draft status this weekend as he decided to sit out of the drills at the Combine. Jeffery was considered to be one of the top receivers, but he wasn’t able to back that up on Sunday. Jeffery was completely healthy, so to sit out of the drills was surprising. If he would have had a good performance it could have solidified him as a first-round draft choice. He needs to have a good Pro Day in order to avoid slipping into the second round.
As I said at the beginning, nobody should put too much stock into the NFL Combine. Many players do well at the Combine and end up doing nothing in the pros. The Combine isn’t something to ignore either. You need to be able to combine film study with the combine workouts in order to get a full opinion on a player.