With the NFL Combine officially in the books, 2014 draft prospects are going to get broken down and broken down some more between now and draft day on May 8.
Related: SEC’s pro day schedule
Players went through the gauntlet of tests, drills and physical activity sinceSaturday. Players like Johnny Manziel, Jake Matthews and HaHa Clinton-Dix, among others, had positive showings that will keep their stock high until draft day.
Some players helped their stock with their showing, while three other prospects hurt their stock.
First up, five who helped themselves the most:
Related: A new CFB poll in 2014, Super 16
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU: Beckham was largely ranked lower than his counterpart Jarvis Landry, but Beckham had a fabulous combine, guaranteed to increase his draft stock. Beckham ran a 4.43 40 and caught the ball well. Scouts raved how he exploded in and out of his breaks and cuts. Beckham could be another Percy Harvin-type NFL player who can return kicks, catch passes and take end arounds for big gains.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Clowney had the most to lose of any draft prospect at the combine, and he showed out. I really think Clowney cemented himself as the draft’s best overall player. Now, will Houston decide to take him? If they don’t, and they don’t see a franchise quarterback in the draft, they could trade the pick. However, to pass on the one player everyone has been talking about for three years when you have a chance to build an incredible defense would be foolish. Clowney’s 4.53 40 wowed scouts, and his 37.5” vertical and 10-4 broad jump are ridiculous for a 6-5, 266-pound defensive end. Of course there are effort questions, and he has to impress in the interviews. But it’s altogether impossible to ignore his physical gifts.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: Everyone knows Mike Evans oozes pro potential. He has the perfect size, hands and physical presence that could make him elite. However, scouts were tuned in to see Evans run the 40. Evans impressed with a 4.53 40 and should be a top 15 pick. The worst Evans could do would be to drop to the bottom half of the first round; however, his stock is rising. Watch out for Evans on draft day.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: Moncrief wasn’t talked about much entering the combine, but that had more to do with the loaded draft of receivers. Moncrief needed a great combine, and he got one. He ran a 4.4 40, the third fastest 40 of the 45 receivers present. He also caught the ball well in drills, and I believe he made some legitimate money at the combine.
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Quite possibly the player with the highest stock exiting the NFL Combine is Greg Robinson. He blew the combine up. Robinson’s outstanding movement and skills floored scouts, and there’s been a buzz ever since he showed up. He ran a mean 4.92 40 at 332 pounds. His stock is soaring so much so that there have been discussions about Robinson as the top overall prospect in the NFL Draft.
While the five above certainly will be big winners on draft day, there were three others who disappointed during the combine. Don’t worry, though, there’s still time on their pro days to impress and increase their stock before draft day.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: In a very opposite scenario than Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry ran the slowest 40 of any of the 45 receivers at 4.77. He’s not doomed, yet, but Landry will need an outstanding pro day to regain momentum. Landry was one of the biggest downers of the combine.
Michael Sam, LB, Missouri: Sam turned heads during the press conference earlier in the week, handling all questions with ease, but he struggled mightily with a very pedestrian 4.91 40 time. He’s a ‘tweener’ prospect, possibly too slow for outside linebacker and too small for an every-down defensive end.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: It wasn’t so much that scouts and GMs would be buzzing about Kouandjio, but there are now some concerns about his overall athleticism after watching him compete with the elite prospects. He was near the bottom in the 40, three-cone drill and broad jump. He wasn’t as athletically fluent as Robinson, raising questions about blocking elite pass rushers off the edge.
Photo Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports