This past week the top NFL prospects gathered in Indianapolis for a unique event that only occurs once a year. That event keeps no score, there are no teams and running a 40-yard dash .1 seconds faster or slower can make or lose you millions. This event is the NFL combine, and it is the highlight of the offseason scouting circuit. This year the combine saw many risers and fallers when it comes to draft stock.
Robert Griffin III, Baylor QB:The Heisman trophy winner silenced all doubters by the time he left Indianapolis.
Griffin III had the second fastest 40 time for a QB at the 2012 combine. The projected second pick in the draft surprised many by weighing in at 223 pounds, and having a height of 6 feet 2 inches. This makes Griffin an average quarterback in terms of his measurements. Griffin then ran the 40 in a blazing 4.41 seconds. This time makes him the second fastest quarterback in combine history since Michael Vick ran a 4.3 40-yard dash in 2000. Griffin chose not to throw at the combine, but will do so at his personal pro day
Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech WR: The speedy receiver from Georgia Tech showed many why he led the nation in yards per catch last season for the Yellow Jackets. Hill weighed in at 215 pounds, and was measured at 6 feet 4 inches; Hills height creates a mismatch for many defensive backs. Hill kept the momentum going by running a 4.37 40-yard dash that was tied with Miami’s (FL) Travis Benjamin and Stanford’s Chris Owusu. Hill then showed great ball skills in the wide receiver drills with fluid movement, and solid hands. Hill had few chances to show off his skills last year due to the run-oriented offense of Georgia Tech.
Dontari Poe, Memphis DT:The mammoth defensive lineman was the star of the combine. He left many scouts
wondering if the things he did were humanly possible. First Poe weighed in at a massive 346 pounds, and had a solid height of 6 feet 3 inches. Poe then showed his incredible strength by repping 225 pounds 44 times on the bench press. No one else at the combine even came close to this with only one other person getting 40 reps (David Polk, Michigan). The 40 is not usually where defensive lineman shine, especially defensive tackles. Poe turned this stereotype around by running a 4.98 40-yard-dash which is amazing for a human being Poe’s size. Poe’s time was the talk of the combine, and he went from being viewed as a late first round pick to a mid first round or even a top 10 pick.
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State QB: The towering quarterback actually helped himself by measuring in at 6 feet 6 inches. However, after the measurement portion, his combine went downhill. After an inconsistent season many believed that Osweiler was at best a late first round pick. So to not participate in any of the drills was a shocking decision to many of the scouts. With top prospects Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin not throwing Osweiler could have seized the opportunity and cemented his status as a first rounder. Instead he opened the door for many to criticize his play and mechanics. Osweiler will need a spectacular pro day to even be considered for the first round again.
Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina WR: There were many questions surrounding big receiver before the combine started. At times this year it looked as if he was not fast enough to be a top NFL prospect. Jeffery showed that he lost some weight coming in at 216 pounds, around 15 pounds less than what scouts thought. Jeffery ruined all of his momentum by not participating in the 40-yard dash or receiver drills. Scouts were baffled by this decision and many questioned his character. If Jeffery is to regain the first round status that he had for most of the season then he will have to address the character concerns, and have a terrific pro day.
Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State LB: The intimidating linebacker had many scouts drooling before the season. They saw a player who had elite speed, and a man who could take a player out of a game with one hit. Burfict could not come through on those promises this season as he looked out of place at times, fought with teammates, and showed poor linebacker instincts. The combine came and his stock sloped downhill in a hurry. During interviews Burfict blamed his teammates and coaches for his poor play, these comments raised many red flags. Then Burfict ran a perplexing 5.09 40-yard dash. Burfict who was once seen as a first rounder will be lucky to be drafted by the third round.