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Speed Week: SEC combine breakdown

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Beast. Freak. Monster.

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MORE: 5 players who helped themselves the most, 3 that didn’t

South Carolina’s man-child of a pass rusher wasn’t the only SEC player that wowed us with his speed during the NFL scouting combine. His 40 may have been the most anticipated, but several others galloped their way to early-round dollars and improved their draft stock with each quick step. More than 300 college prospects were evaluated over the four-day event but here’s how the SEC’s notables stacked up in the 40-yard dash:

Offense

Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss, WR: 4.40
Odell Beckham, LSU, WR: 4.43
Henry Josey, Mizzou, RB: 4.43
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina, WR: 4.45
LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State, RB: 4.46
L’Damian Washington, Mizzou, WR: 4.46
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt, WR: 4.46
Kevin Norwood, Alabama, WR: 4.48
Tre Mason, Auburn, RB: 4.50
Mike Evans, Texas A&M, WR: 4.53
Jeremy Hill, LSU, RB: 4.66
Connor Shaw, South Carolina, QB: 4.66
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, QB: 4.68
Jarvis Landry, LSU, WR: 4.77

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Defense

Jaylen Watkins, Florida, DB: 4.41
Andre Hal, Vanderbilt, DB: 4.50
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, DL: 4.53
Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, DB: 4.61
Lamin Barrow, LSU, LB: 4.64
Craig Loston, LSU, DB: 4.65
Victor Hampton, South Carolina, DB: 4.69
Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt, DB: 4.70
Michael Sam, Mizzou, DL: 4.91
Kony Ealy, Mizzou, DL: 4.92

Individual analysis

Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss — The Rebels’ speedster who was a sure-handed weapon in Hugh Freeze’s uptempo spread turned in the league’s fastest time with a blazing 4.40 — good enough for eighth overall behind several cornerbacks and the lightning quick Dri Archer from Kent St. (4.26). Moncrief came in ahead of notables Sammy Watkins and De’Anthony Thomas and made his way into the Top 10 wideouts available according to NFL.com.

Andre Hal, DB, Vanderbilt — Hal showcased some unexpected wheels with a 4.50, three one-hundredths of a second faster than Clowney and second overall among SEC defenders. Strength is an issue and films shows he takes a ton of chances from his post in the secondary. A likely mid-round pick, a franchise obsessed with speed could be a fit for arguably Vandy’s second-best prospect behind Jordan Matthews — the SEC’s all-time leader in receiving yards (3,759) and receptions (262).

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina — For the second consecutive year, a pint-sized Gamecocks wideout declared for the draft after a memorable bowl performance and Ellington delivered. In fact, he might wind up being better than Ace Sanders as a more crisp route-runner with better hands. He impressed during individual workouts, notably the 3-cone and 60-yard shuttle. It was no surprise the former point guard had a 39.5-inch vertical, tied for third-highest among receivers.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M — Surprisingly, the third-year sophomore and former Heisman winner wasn’t the SEC’s fastest quarterback on Sunday during the 40-yard dash portion, but his excellent performances in the shuttle and 3-cone drills made things easy on the eyes for franchises in need of a game-changing passer. Coming in at under 6-feet’s an issue, but hand size and his competitive spirit won the event for SEC quarterbacks. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw is another signal caller that elevated his stock. He brings the winner mentality similar to AJ McCarron’s strongpoint.

Jaylen Watkins, DB, Florida — Jaylen, not younger brother Sammy, was the fastest Watkins in Indy with a warp-speed time of 4.41 — the SEC’s best for a defensive player. Watkins started nine games for the Gators last season and split time at corner and safety, although corner’s his best fit at the next level. The former prep track star has huge hands at 9 5/8″ and packs a punch for his size at just under 6-foot, 200 pounds. Cornerback, like receiver, is a deep position in this year’s draft but Watkins won’t fall past the second day.

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports





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Comments 8

  1. I also saw where Donte ran an “unofficial” time of 4.35. At 220lbs? C’mon, get some of that!

  2. Moncrief also had longest broad jump of the WR’s & 2nd highest vertical of the WR’s. He positioned to go from a 4th – 5th rounder to maybe as high as the 2nd. Still wish he’d stayed one more year. Next year, he might have come out as the top WR in the draft.

  3. Had no idea that Jaylen was Sammy’s brother…

  4. You forgot LaDarius Perkins, Mississippi State, RB: – 4.46

    • Well, in fairness, he was only trying to list players that impressed at the combine & that will actually make an impact on the next level.

  5. Bing
    Commented : 2 months ago

    Ealy was the #1 DL in the three cone drill, which actually tests skills that DL use in the NFL. He did not hurt himself at all with his 40 time and to say he did is completely naive when it comes to what NFL teams consider when drafting a DE. He will go in the first round, so right, he really hurt himself.

    • Am I missing something? Who said anything about Ealy hurting himself with his 40 time? Or better yet, who said anything about Ealy at all, except for listing his time?