Top-Five Winners of NFL Draft Combine
Posted by RichieZ23 on March 4, 2010
Every March comes the NFL Combine which allows the media and scouts to ooh and aw over players measurables such as height, weight, or 40-yard dash times, and foolishly file actual game scouting of them on the back shelf for awhile. Regardless it is an extremely important step in the draft process for collegiate athletes wishing to extend their football career in the professional ranks.
Here are the a few of the players who saw their stock rise due to their performance, and while several players will have to impress again at their respective school’s pro-day, below are the five that may have gained the most out of the combine.
1.) Dorin Dickerson — Every year, we see a player climb up the charts with a good 40 time. How could anyone forget two years ago as Chris Johnson got everyone’s attention by running a 4.23 40-yard sprint, and as a result his draft stock moved from a third-rounder up to the first-round. Well, this year we saw Pitt H-back Dorin Dickerson post an incredible 4.40 40-time that saw his stock shoot up the draft board. He was originally projected anywhere from the third to fifth round before his gaudy combine numbers. His 40-time which was fourth best of ALL participants combined with Dickerson throwing up 24-reps for bench press catapulted him into the second-round most likely. While he is undersized at six-feet one, and only 221 pounds (several receivers are bigger than Dickerson) a tight end with the ability to get vertical down the seam is always going to be a sought after threat for an offense. In San Francisco, a motivated Vernon Davis turned Alex Smith from scrub to respectable due to Davis’ speed.
2.) Taylor Mays — Few saw their draft stock slide during the 2009 college season like Taylor Mays. Had he decided to enter the draft in 2008 and forego his senior season, he most likely would have been the top safety selected, and probably top-ten pick. Mays ended up staying at USC for a final year, and besides Sam Bradford may have had his stock drop during the season more than any other player. Mays potentially could have made up for his senior year with an outstanding combine. He registered a 4.43 40-time, which was best among all safeties, and a second-best 24-reps on bench press. While Mays still will take poor angles and has fairly tight hips in coverage, teams often times overlook that when a six-foot three, 230 pound safety puts up the numbers like Mays put up. While it is doubtful that he’s the top safety selected (Eric Berry or Earl Thomas will likely be first), he may very well see himself selected mid first-round, which considering where he came into the combine, is a pretty good result.
3.) Golden Tate — Tate was on the the main receiving target on one of the best passing offenses in college last year, however before the combine, Tate was slated as a third to fourth round pick by many. He lacks ideal height for a receiver, as he stands just five-feet eleven, and was thought to lack top-end speed for the receiver position. However, Tate put up very solid numbers, as he posted a 4.42 40-time, and also threw up a respectable 17 reps on the bench press. Tate quite possibly has the strongest hands of any receiver in the draft, and is also a superb route runner with the ability to get separation, which is more important that straight line speed. However with his good 40 time, Tate pushed his value most likely into the bottom of the second-round. While teams certainly are still not thrilled with his height, better than expected speed, combined with great strength for his size has helped Tate considerably.
4.) Jacoby Ford — Ford was often overshadowed at Clemson by C.J. Spiller (and rightfully so), but this blazer posted a combine-best 4.28 40-time, and that’s the type of speed that brings scouts and the media to the combine. While speed isn’t the only thing that matters, running that fast is going to shoot you up draft boards in a hurry. Ford will most likely be looked at as a returner and slot receiver. Teams are always looking for gamebreakers, and Ford along with former teammate Spiller fill that bill perfectly. Ford is a track star, however that does not take away from his ability as a football player. He’s not going to seek out contact by any means, but Ford is still a football player as he hauled in 779 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air, and also a touchdown returning a punt.
5.) Emmanuel Sanders — Receivers coming in from spread offenses are always a question due to the offensive scheme from college, but former SMU receiver Emmanuel Sanders opened a few eyes at the combine. Playing in June Jones’ seemingly pass-only offense, some were not sure on Sanders. While he posted an NFL-like 98 catches for 1,339 yards, was he simply a product of the system? Sanders posted a 4.41 40-time times which was second best among all receivers. He also placed first, second, and third of all receivers in the broad jump, 3-cone drill, and the 20-yard shuttle respectively to help dismiss the notion of him being a product of the system. Sanders will by no means be an early pick, but he could have pushed his stock into the fourth or possibly third round with a strong combine performance.