With the NFL Scouting Combine coming to a close, there are a slew of players who have either helped or hurt their stock with their performances in Indianapolis. Which players stood out at each position over the past week? Our team of national draft insiders provides the buzz from every position at the Combine.
Quarterback (Scott Wright – Draft Countdown):
The quarterback workout at the Combine was somewhat anticlimactic since most of the top prospects at the position opted to wait for their Pro Day to showcase their talents. However, of the guys who took part the star of the show was Kirk Cousins of Michigan State. Cousins doesn't necessarily possess any standout physical tools but is adequate across the board while earning extremely high marks for his intangibles such as maturity, work ethic and leadership ability. Cousins displayed impressive touch, timing and accuracy in Indy and seemed to have a bit more zip on his passes than most expected.
Our Take: Cousins was one of the big winners to come out of Senior Bowl week in Mobile, Ala. as well. When you pair that with his performance as a senior in East Lansing, it's easy to see why he is one of the top quarterback prospects in this draft. A high-character player with the moxie that will make him a fan favorite wherever he goes, look for Cousins to come off the board maybe even as early as the second round in April.
Running Back (Matt Miller – Bleacher Report):
With top back Trent Richardson of Alabama sidelined due to knee surgery, the stage was set for a second back to impress scouts on hand in Indianapolis. Miami's Lamar Miller didn't disappoint. Miller has been my No. 2 back throughout the season. His burst, speed (4.38), patience and vision have him ready to be a starter in the NFL from day one. My No. 3 back, Chris Polk out of Washington, did very well coming in at 216 pounds (down nine from the Senior Bowl while also having dropped 5% of his body fat) and then running a very good 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. These three backs all carry a first-round grade on my board.
Our Take: It was very impressive to see Polk slim down and he looked to have an extra spring in his step at the Combine as opposed to the Senior Bowl. Polk moved much more fluidly on Sunday and looked the part as one of the better backs in the draft class. Miller is also highly regarded by this writer, and the fact that he played through the majority of the 2011 season with a bum shoulder only further proves his toughness in my eyes.
Wide Receiver (Tony Pauline – SI.com):
Following the Combine, the scouting world is abuzz about Georgia Tech junior Stephen Hill, and with good reason. The 215-pound receiver looked incredibly athletic during his workout, moving his frame to speeds of 4.30 seconds in the 40 then leaping a position-best 11-feet, 1-inch in the broad jump. More to the point, Hill looked like a polished receiver in drills. He ran crisp routes for a big wide out, showed solid receiver fundamentals and caught the ball extremely well. That's important as the offense Hill played in at Georgia Tech was primarily an option attack that occasionally threw the ball or implemented strict receiver routes in the system. The ability to do the little things well, besides turning in a dynamic workout, could push Hill into the early portion of the second round.
Our Take: There's no doubt that Hill was the standout performer from Sunday's workouts, and he has vaulted his name into the forefront when it comes to the top receivers in this draft class. Not only is he big and athletic, but his effort as a blocker on the outside and downfield in Georgia Tech's option offense makes him an attractive prospect off the ball as well.
Tight End (Lance Zierlein – Sideline View):
After a so-so Senior Bowl week, Missouri tight end Michael Egnew reminded everyone just how athletically gifted he is at the Combine. Egnew showed outstanding explosiveness and great speed for a man his size (252 lbs). While Egnew has never been asked to be a blocker, there are teams who are hoping that he can learn and become a more complete tight end on the next level. Evan Rodriguez from Temple is another player who showed explosiveness, speed and quickness. Even more impressive was his ability to effortlessly catch everything that was thrown at him in the drills. While he's more of an H-back than tight end, he definitely opened some eyes.
Our Take: Heading into Mobile, the questions surrounding Egnew concerned his ability to put on weight and show technique as a blocker, and after passing those tests it was only right that he, as Lance pointed out, reminded us all that he is a great athlete for the tight end position at the Combine. A prospect with good size and reliable hands, he will be a big "get" for a team in the middle rounds. Rodriguez also displayed solid athleticism on Saturday, and the local Temple product from North Bergen, N.J. all but secured a spot as one of the top "move" tight ends in this class.
Offensive Line (Dan Shonka – Ourlads):
Offensive lineman Cordy Glenn from Georgia had a dominant week of practice at the Senior Bowl in January, showing his versatility by playing left guard and both tackle positions. A big man who can pull and be productive in space, Glenn takes good angles and has the feet to seal linebackers on the second level. Powerful and mobile with good balance, the former Bulldog was impressive at the Combine, running a 5.15 at 346 pounds with a 10-yard split of 1.76. Glenn also put up 225 pounds 31 times in the bench press. Mike Adams of Ohio State also was a standout in Mobile as one of the most dominant linemen on either side of the ball. Adams is patient in pass protection while playing with good knee bend, base and balance. Adams was also impressive during positional workouts at the Combine, displaying light feet and finish ability. The one downside is that he only lifted a disappointing 19 reps in the bench press. That is a number he will look to improve at his Pro Day.
Our Take: These two linemen caught my eye in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and they didn't disappoint in Indianapolis either (though Adams' effort on the bench was unimpressive). Players with Glenn's length and athletic ability don't go on trees, and the fact that he has the ability to play multiple positions along the line at a high level only increases his value. I don't see any way he falls out of the first round. Adams is such a physically imposing prospect, and despite that he clearly needs more work in the weight room I still expect him to get drafted at some point in the middle of the first round.
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