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Draft Risers And Sliders: OL And TE

Posted Feb 22, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- Its a common phrase. Players in the NFL are getting "bigger, faster and stronger" and it was proven by the offensive linemen during the first day of combine workouts. A total of five blockers, who all tipped the scales over 300 pounds, timed below 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash, an impressive mark. 

STOCK ARROW POINTING UP

1. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan: Lewan surprised scouts with his athleticism and tested much better than expected. He was the fastest lineman of the day, timing the 40-yard dash under 4.9 seconds and posting a 10-yard split near 1.7 seconds.  Lewan's other marks included 29 reps on the bench, 9-foot-9 in the broad jump and a vertical jump of 29 inches. Entering the Combine scouts knew Lewan was a terrific football player, but after today he's added outstanding athlete to his resume.

2. OT Greg Robinson, Auburn: Robinson was not far behind Lewan on the testing sheets and performed as expected. After totaling 32 reps on the bench, he moved his 332-pound frame across the 40 yards of Lucas Oil Stadium in a time of 4.92 seconds. Robinson looked incredibly athletic and smooth in all the drills.

3. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M: Matthews was not as fast as Lewan in the 40-yard dash nor as strong as Robinson on the bench press, but performed better than both players during position drills. Matthews displayed terrific footwork in pass protection drills, showed great explosion in run blocking drills and practiced with great fundamentals from start to finish.

4. TE A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State: Leonard, who began his college career at Florida, was the top tight end of the day. Leonard was faster than any other tight end in the 40-yard dash timing under 4.5-seconds on a number of watches.  During pass catching drills, the 252-pound athlete looked more like a large possession receiver on the field.

5. OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada: Bitonio kept the momentum from his fine Senior Bowl performance going by displaying surprising athleticism during his Combine workout. The senior tackle ran sub 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard with a 10-yard split of 1.70-seconds. Just as he did in Mobile, Bitonio looked natural and fluid during position drills.

6. G Ryan Groy, Wisconsin: Entering the Combine, Groy was branded as a small-area blocker with suspect athleticism. That opinion will be rethought after his workout today. His 40 time of 5.10 seconds including a 10-yard split of 1.75 seconds was not the fastest time of the day, but a result much better than expected from Groy. During drills Groy was smooth and showed little in the way of stiffness. All in all, it was a big win for the Badger guard.

7. OT Matt Patchan, Boston College: Patchan was a highly rated high school prospect who started his college career at Florida. He eventually transferred to Boston College after struggling in Gainesville and has recently watched his draft stock take off. Last month, Patchan competently filled in as a last-minute Senior Bowl replacement and on Saturday he looked like a next-level prospect during his Combine workout. Patchan timed under 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash then posted a vertical leap of 32 inches. He held his own during position drills and established himself as a third-day pick NFL teams will look to as a developmental prospect.

8. TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina: Ebron had a quick start to his Combine workout, initially completing 24 reps on the bench then timing 4.6 seconds in the 40. He later pulled himself from the pass catching dills and sat on the sidelines with ice on his leg to mend an injury. That's not a problem as the game film proves Ebron is a terrific pass catcher. On Saturday, he proved to have the speed necessary to be a vertical threat.

DRAFT STOCK SLIDING

1. OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama: Kouandjio was graded by most as a potential first-round pick, but he looked sluggish, overweight and unprepared for the Combine. His marks were lackluster - 21 reps on the bench press, a pair of times in the 40-yard dash that barely broke 5.6 seconds and a slow 10-yard split.  Kouandjio was gassed early in the workout and looker poorly conditioned. The end result could be Kouandjio dropping out of round one.

2. G David Yankey, Stanford: Yankey was another prospect who fell well short of expectations and as a result will watch his draft stock drop. Graded by many as the top guard in the draft, Yankey poorly in the forty (5.53 seconds) and showed marginal strength on the bench press (22 reps).

3. C Jonotthan Harrison, Florida: Harrison looked unathletic throughout his Combine workout. During position drills he was stiff, showed limited mobility and poor feet in pass protection.

4. TE Jordan Najvar, Baylor: After surprising scouts during Shrine Game practices, Najvar came back to earth today. He was slow in the 40-yard dash (4.91 seconds) and at times struggled in pass catching drills.

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