The NFL combine finished on Tuesday and the big-name players did not disappoint. The hidden gems showed up too, like they always do every year at Indianapolis.
A prospect can potentially rocket himself into the first round or crash and burn at the combine. Every year there are standouts, busts, surprises and disappointments. This year’s crop of participants was no different. The list is based on the player’s combine numbers and the impact his performance had on his draft stock.
Jadeveon Clowney- Clowney solidified what everyone already knew. Physically gifted does not begin to describe the junior defensive end from University of South Carolina. Before Clowney ran his blazing 4.53 forty-yard dash, he vertically jumped 37.5 inches and pushed out 21 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press. He also recorded a broad jump of 10 feet 4 inches, which was best at his position. Clowney’s forty-yard dash and vertical jump were also positional bests. He did not participate in the on-field drills, but that will not hurt his stock. Most believe Clowney will be a top 10 pick in the draft. He was arguably the best athlete at the combine given his size.
Greg Robinson- The redshirt sophomore offensive tackle from Auburn showed his athletic ability when ran a 4.92 in the forty-yard dash at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds. Robinson did 32 reps on the bench press and had a position-best broad jump at 9 feet 5 inches. Scouts were impressed with Robinson’s long arms as well, a positive trait when evaluating offensive tackles. He is still a raw prospect and will polish his technique at the next level, but still projects to be a top 10 draft pick.
Aaron Donald- The senior defensive tackle from the University of Pittsburg wowed scouts at the combine with his explosiveness and speed. The 6-foot-1 Donald ran a 4.68 in the forty and did 35 reps at the bench press. Both results were positional bests and his 3-cone drill time of 7.11 seconds was also tops for defensive tackles. Donald does not have the frame or bulk to be considered prototypical at defensive tackle, but his athleticism and disruptiveness make him an intriguing prospect for scouts. Scouts project Donald as a late first-round to early second-round pick.
Mike Evans- How fast is Evans? Is he explosive enough to use his combination of size and speed to get separation from defenders? Evans’ combine workout answered many questions that scouts have been asking since the end of the college football season. The redshirt sophomore from Texas A&M confirmed his first-round draft grade after running a 4.53 in the forty. Not blazing fast, but more than good enough for a 6-foot-5, 231-pound wide receiver who needs just enough speed to compliment his basketball-like frame. Recent mock drafts have Evans going in the middle of the first round of the draft.
Dri Archer- Not too many
prospects could have taken the spotlight away from Jadeveon Clowney’s forty time like Dri Archer did. The senior running back from Kent State University ran a scorching 4.26 in the forty-yard dash making his performance the best at this year’s combine. Archer is not all about speed, the 5-foot-8 back is surprisingly strong for his 173-pound frame, doing 20 reps on the bench press, one fewer than Jadeveon Clowney. Archer also showed he can catch and make plays with his athleticism in the open field. The only knock on Archer is his size, but there are a number of smaller players in the league.
The NFL combine to a college prospect is the one of the most important days in their young careers. It starts the long process into becoming a professional football player. This has to be a stressful time for these prospects, but these five prospects passed this test with excellence.