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Draft Risers And Sliders: RB, WR And TE

Posted Feb 23, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a fast, near record-setting day in Indianapolis as the receivers, running backs and quarterbacks took the field for their Combine workout.  There was a reshuffling of boards at the positions as a few lesser-known prospects were outstanding while a pair of highly rated players turned in disappointing performances.

STOCK ARROW POINTING UP

1. RB Dri Archer, Kent State: The little man from the small school was the big winner on Sunday. Archer, who measured 5-foot-8 and 173 pounds, clocked 4.26 seconds in the 40-yard dash, the second-fastest recorded time in Combine history. Archer was flawless during drills, displaying exceptional quickness and footwork in ball carrying drills as well as terrific eye-hand coordination catching the ball. Not only was Archer's speed exceptional, but his ability to immediately change direction without loss of momentum was impressive.

2. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State: If there was a big winner from the receiver workout it would be Cooks. He started the day timing as fast as 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He practiced to that speed, showing tremendous quickness and explosion in every drill. Cooks caught every pass thrown in his direction, displaying hands which were soft and strong. Don't be surprised if the junior makes a play for the late part of round one come May.

3. WR Paul Richardson, Colorado: Richardson had a wow performance and excelled in every drill. He timed under 4.4-seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a vertical jump of 38 inches and broad jump of 10-foot-4. Richardson practiced fast, looking fluid and natural during all the drills. His routes were crisp and his hands consistent.  Richardson projects as a mid-second round choice.

4. WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M: As much as anything the Combine is about expectations. Surpass them and your draft stock rises. Fall short of expectations and they move in the other direction. Evans ran faster than expected in the 40-yard dash (4.5 seconds), ran sharper-than-expected pass routes and caught the ball very well. The big-bodied, game-controlling pass catcher has established himself as the No. 2 receiver on most boards around the league. 

5. QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida: Bortles was the only top-rated quarterback to throw at the Combine and made the most of the opportunity. The junior passer displayed great timing and anticipation all practice long and the uncanny ability to be on the same page with receivers he just met. His downfield accuracy was superb as Bortles constantly gave pass catchers an opportunity to make the reception. It wasn't the knockout blow Bortles needed to solidify himself as the draft's top quarterback, but the bar has been raised for those yet to throw for NFL decision makers.

6. WR Jon Brown, Pittsburgh State: Brown did exactly what a small-school player needs to do at the Combine - he made scouts notice his next-level skills. Brown started the day by posting one of the fastest 40-yard dash times of any receiver, clocking 4.32 seconds. He stood out in pass catching drills, running great routes and displaying consistent hands. Brown was applauded by Combine coaches a number of times throughout his workout.

7. WR Albert Wilson, Georgia State: Wilson is another small-school prospect who displayed big game skill at the Combine. His 40-yard dash time, which clocked in the low 4.4s, ranked as one of the better marks from the receiver group. During drills Wilson displayed terrific quickness, route-running ability and caught the ball exceptionally well.

8. QB Jimmy Garappolo, Eastern Illinois: Since the start of the postseason Garappolo has impressed NFL scouts and he continued the momentum at the Combine. The small-school passer showed terrific accuracy and timing throwing the football. He answered a lot of questions and concerns about his downfield passing arm by hitting the deep outs at the end of practice.

9. RB Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern: One could make the case McKinnon was the star of practice. His workout was nothing less than phenomenal. McKinnon timed under 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, completed 32 reps on the bench press, touched 40.5-inches in the vertical jump and posted a broad jump of 11-feet. All those marks were top five at the position. During drills McKinnon, who played quarterback in college, was flawless. He showed great movement skills, quickness and did not miss a beat catching the ball.

DRAFT STOCK SLIDING

1. RB Tre Mason, Auburn: Mason hoped to state his case as the draft's top running back, but he'll have to wait another day. He timed a disappointing 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, looked slow footed in ball-carrying drills and did too much body catching during passing drills.

2. WR Allen Robinson, Penn State: Robinson was stamped as a potential first-round pick but that's unlikely to happen after Sunday's workouts. He timed a pedestrian 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, ran poor routes and showed limited quickness in his game.

3. QB David Fales, San Jose State: Fales just did not display an NFL arm during Combine workouts. His deep passes floated through the air as receivers were constantly slowing in their routes and waiting for the ball to arrive.

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