The pace quickened on Saturday as the offensive linemen and tight ends took to the field of Lucas Oil Stadium. There were several exceptional performances and even defensive tackle Terrence Cody of Alabama pleasantly surprised people.
Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell of Maryland owned the day. The 6-6.5, 314-pound tackle twice clocked in the 4.75 range when he ran the 40. Campbell then looked terrific during the drill segment of the workout. The junior, who played just nine games last season due to injury, has cemented himself as a top-15 selection.
Russell Okung, widely regarded as the top offensive lineman in this draft, did not disappoint scouts today. After putting up a solid 38 reps on the bench Friday, Okung ran a pair of 40's in right around the 5.1-second area. He looked solid in drills until a minor leg injury forced him to the sidelines. Okung has stamped himself as a top-five pick in April.
Iowa's Bryan Bulaga was another highly rated tackle who showed well today. Bulaga looked fluid, athletic and displayed terrific footwork in pass protection drills. Bulaga was a player scouts had questions about and he answered many of them today. The Iowa junior will nicely slot into the middle of round one.
Mitch Petrus was unable to capitalize on his record-tying performance on the bench press from Friday. Petrus timed 5.25 seconds during his first try of the 40 but injured his left hamstring and could not continue the rest of the day.
A fast group of tight ends looked very impressive this afternoon here in Indianapolis starting with Jimmy Graham.
A former basketball player for the Miami Hurricanes, Graham has improved his skills on the field almost weekly since moving to football this season. He capitalized on a solid Senior Bowl week by running both his 40's under 4.6-seconds then turning in a good pass catching workout. Graham measured 6-6 and 260 pounds yesterday and completed 35 repetitions on the bench. The sky is the limit for the tight end, whose best football is ahead of him. Graham, who was not on the radar of NFL scouts before the season began, has slid into the second round.
Dennis Pitta of BYU was a known pass catching commodity entering the Combine. Scouts though questioned his athleticism and maintained he was a product of the Cougars passing offense. Pitta quelled that criticism over the past two days.
On Friday, Pitta surprised people by completing 27 reps on the bench press then today ran a faster-than-expected 40, averaging times in the 4.65-area. Unlike Jimmy Graham, Pitta does not possess great upside potential yet is rather polished in his game. Any team which selects him in the middle rounds could be surprised with immediate returns on the field.
The saga of Terrence Cody this off-season has been well-documented. A picture of his saggy 374-pound body from the Senior Bowl was plastered all over the Internet, much to his embarrassment. Today, Cody tipped the scales 20 pounds lighter at 354 pounds. Though he did not look like Adonis on the measuring stage, it is a step in the right direction for Cody.
While the Combine and the upcoming NFL Draft are the main topics of conversation here in Indianapolis, there has been talk of pending free agency and where a number of veterans may land. One of the players being talked about is recently released running back Brian Westbrook. The general consensus is there's a good chance Westbrook could end up in Minnesota as a backup for Adrian Peterson.
-- Posted by Tony Pauline, 8:02 p.m., February 27