NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
Today in Indianapolis we saw the offensive skill position players hit the field. The WRs, QBs, and RBs all took part in position and agility drills. In this wrap-up I break down all the happenings of Day Four and who impressed the scouts today.
* NOTE: All times that I am using and recorded are the hand times and “unofficial times”, these are the times that NFL teams use as they consider them a more accurate representation of a players speed.
-Let’s get this out of the way first. Robert Griffin III stole the show running a 4.38 forty. It’s a blazing fast time, but it’s not unexpected. Griffin is an Olympic quality hurdler and anything slower than low 4.4 would have been considered a disappointment. What is even more impressive is that Andrew Luck ended up running the same time, 4.59 as Cam Newton did last year. Luck’s athleticism is an overlooked aspect of this game and he put it out there today for all to see.
– If one player helped their stock most today it had to be Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill. Hill posted the fastest 40 yard dash time today at 4.30. Hill also vertical jumped 39.5″ and broad jumped 11’1″. He is someone who is big and obviously athletic. Coming into the combine he was a player I wasn’t really too high on because of his limited route running experience. He really was only asked to do one thing in the Georgia Tech offense and that was to run deep. He is someone I’m going to have to go back and re-evaluate.
– Michael Floyd really, really helped himself today as well. He is someone who was already a first round pick, but scouts had questions about his speed. Floyd posted a 4.42 which seemed to answer all questions about straight line speed and put the issue to rest for the remainder of this process. It now appears to be a three man race for the number one WR spot with Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright.
– I will say this about the combine, the forty yard dash and it’s importance as it relates to a prospects value. I’m not putting much stock on who ran a slower than expected time and who ran faster than expected time. Players like Kendall Wright, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright all ran slower times than I expected. However if you turn on the game tape each one of those players plays much much faster than players like Marvin McNutt who ran a faster 40 today.
– Mohamed Sanu did not run a fast time 4.65, but he looked really solid running routes and catching the ball all day. He also put up some of the best numbers in the other drills, such as a 6.88 3 Cone. His game isn’t built on speed so, his slow time means nothing to me today.
– Other wide receivers who stood out today were Michigan State WR Keshawn Martin, who showed that he can be an explosive deep threat. Cal’s Marvin Jones who continued his solid post season and looked solid in all the drills. App. State’s Brian Quick rebounded off a lackluster Senior Bowl and showed really good hands and route running ability. AJ Jenkins who is much faster than I anticipated him being and also displayed pretty good hands and Arkansas’ Greg Childs who showed he is fully recovered from the devastating leg injury, posting good times all around.
– A couple wide receivers who did not impress me at all were North Carolina’s Dwight Jones who ran a couple of wrong routes, and Mike Mayock singled him out for giving up on a deep ball. Marquis Maze also struggled more than anyone to catch the ball. Maze will is now a long shot to be drafted in my opinion, it was that bad.
– The running backs were the last group to take the field today and I was excited to see LaMichael James back up his game speed with a blazing 4.37 forty. James is someone I am higher on than most people and think he is an explosive player who teams will use to create mismatches. He helped his stock a lot today.
– Miami(FL) Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech’s David Wilson came into the combine essentially tied on my board. Both ran great forty times, right around 4.40. However, I thought Wilson looked more fluid and explosive in position drills and also displayed really solid hands. Wilson right now is the #2 rated RB on my board.
– Utah State’s Robert Turbin is ranked #8 on my running back board and I was happy to see him perform so well today. He’s a player who has had to overcome a lot of struggles in his life so I am rooting for him. Turbin out of all the running backs is the most “rocked up”, as his arms look like Popeye’s. Posting a time in the 4.4s at 228 lbs., made it a very good day for Turbin.
– Finally Doug Martin did nothing to detract from the perception that outside of Trent Richardson he is the next best everydown back in the draft. He ran a 4.47 forty, did 28 reps on the bench and displayed natural pass catching ability. Now that all the numbers are in it’s really remarkable to see how good of a day Martin had. He was in the top 3-5 of the bench press, 3 cone, vertical jump and broad jump. He is someone to really watch in the mid to early second round in April.
– Next up are the defensive linemen and the linebackers. Watching them run and go through position drills is my favorite part of the combine each year.