Five Winners, Five Losers from NFL CombineFollow @NFLDraftShow
Indianapolis once again was the site of the NFL Combine
The NFL Combine is an event where all the top prospects that are about to enter the NFL Draft have an opportunity to prove the scouts right or wrong in front of every team and their representatives. Whether it is through their 40-yard dash time, or even just the manner in which they carry themselves through interviews, the week of events will help determine if a prospect is a first or second round pick, or a sixth or seventh.
In this year’s Combine, as with every year, there were many players who both helped their draft stock and hurt it. Here are five big winners and five big losers from the 2012 NFL Combine.
Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech
Standing at 6-foot-4, Hill shocked many scouts at the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash at 4.36 seconds, the fastest time of all receivers, and had the fourth highest vertical jump at 39.5 inches. Analysts had Hill ranked as low as a fifth round pick going into the Combine, with some having him ranked as low as 14th in wide receivers. But like Demaryius Thomas two years ago, this Georgia Tech product is using an incredible performance to climb up the draft board and become a potential second round pick. IN addition to showcasing explosiveness, Hill has also shown an abilty to run routes and catch balls, as he did not drop one ball during his receiver drills. A good performance at Georgia Tech’s March 6 Pro Day could solidify Hill’s place in the second round as a top five wide receiver pick in this class.
Dontari Poe – Defensive Tackle, Memphis
Poe came into the Combine at 346 pounds, listed as a late first round pick due to this questionable production at Memphis (30 starts, 98 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks). At the Combine, Poe seemed to erase all doubt about his abilities, posting an astounding 4.98 40-yard dash time in addition to posting 44 reps of 225 pounds, the highest number of the Combine. His combination of size and speed now makes him one of the biggest winners of the Combine, and potentially a middle or top first round pick. He also has broken out of the 3-4 nose tackle mold with his mobility, giving him the valuable asset of possessing the speed to play 4-3 defense.
Lamar Miller – Running Back, Miami (FL)
In a class where everyone is looking for the best running back after Trent Richardson, teams may have found the answer in Miller. He posted the fastest 40 time of all running backs, at 4.40 seconds. He has shown the ability to be a dynamic back who can make a move to the end zone on any given play. Teams will value has ability to change direction in concert with his speed and agility. The only knock on Miller is that he only has one year of tape, but if he continues to amaze at his March 8 Pro Day, he may indeed be the second back taken in 2012.
Josh Robinson – Cornerback, Central Florida
He has at times been listed as low as 14th in cornerbacks and a fifth round pick, but Robinson proved himself valuable in Indianapolis. He led all players at the Combine with a stellar 4.33 second 40-yard dash time, and finished first in defensive backs in the three-cone drill, running it in 6.55 seconds. He also finished first in the broad jump and second in the vertical jump among defensive backs. He still has to answer questions about playing man-to-man coverage against NFL wide receivers, but his flashy numbers have shown that he is an explosive playmaker and could move up to the third round.
Robert Griffin III – Quarterback, Baylor
Even though he didn’t throw at the combine, RGIII impressed many
It may seem odd for someone so highly valued already to emerge as a winner at the Combine, but RG3 had a fantastic day. He impressed all that he encountered during his interviews, and displayed his speed with a 4.40 second 40-yard dash time. But more importantly, Griffin proved taller than many experts had speculated, standing in at 6-foot-2 and 3/8 inches. Griffin continues to impress scouts on and off the field, and has proven himself worthy of one of the top picks in this draft. It is no surprise to hear that St. Louis will most likely trade the second pick, and the recipient will be the winner of the RG3 sweepstakes.
Kendall Wright – Wide Receiver, Baylor
Wright will need to try again at his pro day in order to impress with his speed
Wright arrived at Indianapolis as one of the top three receivers on the draft board. With Michael Floyd’s character coming into question, he appeared solidly in the two spot behind Justin Blackmon. But then he ran a 4.61 second 40-yard dash time, considered middling for someone expected to run a sub-4.40 time. On tape, Wright appears explosive, which is why his time was disappointing. Wright is still a great route runner and displayed impressive jumping ability with a 38.5-inch vertical jump. But he has put himself in the position of needing an impressive Pro Day on March 21 to maintain his high draft stock. For now, he is back in the pack of late first round receivers.
Vontaze Burfict – Linebacker, Arizona State
Burfict was thought of as a potential top 10 pick going into the 2011 season, but a subpar season littered with disputes with his coaches allowed his stock to slide. After the Combine, Burfict’s stock Is now at an all-time low. He ran the slowest 40-yard dash time of all linebackers at 5.09 seconds, slower than the 346-pond defensive tackle Poe. He also looked slow during other drills, which only further damaged his draft stock. Unless he turns things around with a great Pro Day in March 24, Burfict’s poor Combine and character questions could lead him into the third or fourth round.
Michael Brockers – Defensive Tackle, Louisiana State
Wright will need to try again at his pro day in order to impress with his speed
The LSU defensive tackle entered the Combine at the top of his position, potentially a top ten pick. But he showed up weighing 322 pounds, 16 pounds more than he weighed at the end of the season. Then he ran a 5.36 40-time, fifth lowest among defensive linemen at Indianapolis, while he looked unimpressive during his individual drills. On a day where Dontari Poe stole the show, Brockers did nothing to help himself. Brockers’ draft stock will take a hit unless he can impress at March 14 Pro Day.
Mike Adams – Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
Adams came into the Combine with questions surrounding him after his suspension for illegal benefits and misdemeanor charge for drug possession. He arrived the Combine also trying to prove critics wrong who had accused him of being lazy. Unfortunately, his numbers did nothing to turn perceptions around. His 19 reps on the bench press were lackluster, and 5.4 40-yard dash time was lowest of all offensive linemen. Adams has the size, at 6-foot-7 and 324 pounds, to be a great NFL offensive tackle, but he needs to show the ability to pull it all together. With his Pro Day set for March 9, Adams will need a great showing to earn back his first round status.
Alshon Jeffery – Wide Receiver, South Carolina
Alshon Jeffery has been dealing with a lot of questions about his character and conditioning. Scouts have expressed concerns about his weight gain and its effect on his play after his statistics dropped in 2011. Jeffery did show up thinner than he was during the season, which scouts approved of. However, he declined to run the 40-yard dash, which received criticism. He also reportedly did not interview well during the weekend, raising more red flags about his potential. For this once definite first rounder, the draft stock is very shaky. He will need to run a good 40 time at his March 28 Pro Day, or risk falling to the second round.
Joe Garofalo is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
I am a Sports Director at ComRadio. During my time at ComRadio I have done numerous play-by-plays, interviews and talk shows. I host my own talk show Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 1 to 2 pm. I also have served as both an executive producer and producer for the station, in addition to writing numerous articles for the website.
Aside from being a member of ComRadio, I am also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism here at Penn State and a broadcaster for Big Ten Network Student U.
My goal is to become a sports talk show radio host in New York City in addition to pursuing other opportunities.