Five SEC players who helped themselves the most at the NFL Combine, three who disappointed

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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

Stock Up

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.

Related: Watch Clowney outrun Johnny Football in the 40

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.

Stock Down

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.

MORE: Challenges continue for Michael Sam

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

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COMMENTS

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  • Kind of the Homer in me but 2 players that should be mentioned even ahead of Clowney if terms of improving draft stock would have to be Connor Shaw and Bruce Ellington. Clowney just confirmed that he was a physical beast. Connor Shaw was in top 3 of every QB category and Bruce had a much better than expected day as well.

  • Sam thought coming out would overshadow his poor ability. it did not. I find it funny that he said at his press conference “I wish you guys could just ask me about football”. They, the reporters, were not the ones that brought up the gay thing, you did that to yourself Mr. Sam.

    • Yeah, why not wait until after you’re drafted (assuming he gets drafted) to come out? Have to wonder if he thought it may give him some advantage (e.g., NFL teams won’t want to appear reluctant to draft a homosexual or some NFL team will want the “title” of being the first team to ever draft an openly gay player).

    • I completely agree. I don’t understand why he felt the need to tell everyone he was gay in the first place. Did he feel the only way he could be happy was if everyone knew he was gay? I don’t see straight ppl telling the world about their personal life.

  • Michael Sam, LB, Missouri: Sam turned heads during the press conference earlier in the week…for all the wrong reasons…

  • Sam did not look quick, strong or athletic in the workouts. Surprising for a guy who had a lot of production this year. Was it taking advantage of some weaker ROTs and single coverage b/c of Ealy on the other side?

  • I’m not saying Greg Robinson will definitely be a bust, but the fact that he run-blocked on every play last year might mask the fact that they gave up 37 sacks the year prior when he started anchoring the line at the LT position. He’s apparently a tremendous athlete, though he might be a better fit at guard at the NFL level.

    • There is truth to the fact that more running plays will likely lead to less sacks. However, maybe the new coaching staff is just better, & took his talent & made him better? He sure seemed to impress everyone at the combine.

      • I think he’s big and physical enough to excel as a pass blocker as well. He also has enough quickness to get out in front of pretty much any DE. That said, someone is definitely going to have to get him accustomed to pass-blocking, whereas a guy like Matthews will be able to do that from the start. Like they say, Matthews has more immediate impact and Robinson has more potential.

  • I would have thought Josey’s name would be in there as having helped himself the most. Wasn’t he in the top 5 for bench and vertical and had the second fastest time of the 36 RBs?

    • He did relatively poorly in the technique-based drills. Dropped some balls, didn’t do a couple of things correctly. But he’s a beast, so I wouldn’t say that hurts him too bad.

      • Thanks TF23. Where are you getting that?

        • Haha I just watched the combine on NFL Network. They probably have videos specifically of Josey on nfl.com. I don’t mean that he was the worst person there, but he and my boy Tre Mason both botched a couple of things. Not a big deal considering his knee is perfect and he still has Pro Day to impress.

  • Clowney’s 40 was boss, but his bench press was absolutely terrible. Down linemen need to have strength. That shows me he’s a) Not as strong as a down lineman should be and b) He’s lazy as crap and needs to put a lot more effort forth in the weight room. His drills were ok, but I definitely saw people perform better technically. But he’s so fast, so I don’t really know.