The NFL Scouting Combine is an elite proving ground where draft prospects’ outlooks can be every bit as volatile as the stock market. Now that every 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical leap has been recorded, Scout.com’s Aaron Wilson takes a look at who boosted their causes and who raised a few eyebrows with their performances or character problems.
WINNER: Robert Griffin III, Baylor, QB
The Heisman Trophy winner displayed the kind of rare athleticism that will make him one of the fastest quarterbacks in NFL history, clocking an official time of 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash. An All-American hurdler, the speedster offers a different dimension in his game. His athleticism and winning personality aren’t surprising traits, but they cement his status as another option for quarterback-needy teams such as the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns. Honorable-mention: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who had a relatively dynamic workout.
LOSER: Peter Konz, Wisconsin, C
Konz still is graded as the top center, but he might have to wait a while to hear his name called in the first round. The 6-5, 316-pounder only bench-pressed 225 pounds 18 times and didn’t work out because of an ankle injury. He’ll have some ground to make up at his campus pro-day workout, but teams still are enamored of a blocker who draws favorable comparisons to six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens.
WINNER: Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, WR
Floyd answered questions about his ability to separate from defenders by running in the 4.4-second range in the 40 and gave himself a chance to be the second wide receiver drafted after Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon. Floyd has prototypical size at 6-3, 220 pounds and seems legitimately contrite about his string of drinking-related incidents.
WINNER: Matt Kalil, USC, OT
The younger brother of Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil, Kalil exceeded expectations with a respectable 4.99-second time in the 40 at a lean 6-7, 306 pounds. Regarded as the consensus top tackle, he excelled in the three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times. Kalil fits the bill for a cornerstone left tackle.
LOSER: Kendall Wright, Baylor, WR
Wright likely scuttled his first-round chances, running much slower than anticipated at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Although the smallish 5-10, 196-pounder caught 108 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, his leaping ability (38 1/2-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-1 broad jump) doesn’t make up for his lack of ideal speed. He'll need to improve his stock in private workouts and at the Baylor pro day, where every NFL team will assemble to watch Robert Griffin III put on a show.
WINNER: Dontari Poe, Memphis, DT
Shockingly mobile for a massive 6-5, 346-pounder, Poe drew favorable comparisons from draft experts to Baltimore Ravens All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. His production hasn’t coincided yet with these staggering measurables: 4.87 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 9-feet-9 broad jump, 29 1/2-inch vertical leap and 44 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
LOSER: Michael Brockers, LSU, DT
Brockers had an extremely poor showing that didn’t live up to the buzz that surrounded this hulking defensive lineman prior to the combine. Big and long-armed at 6-5 and 322 pounds, Brockers finished tied for last among all defensive linemen in the bench press with 19 reps. He also ran an alarmingly slow 5.36 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a 26 1/2-inch vertical leap and a 4.81-second short shuttle, raising red flags for a one-year starter. Brockers is still a first-round target.
WINNER: Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech, WR
The lanky 6-4, 215-pounder was the hit of the combine, registering eye-popping numbers as the latest imposing downfield target his school has produced as he follows Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas to the NFL. Scouts were drooling about his 4.36-second time in the 40-yard dash, 11-foot-1 broad jump and 39 1/2-inch vertical leap. This guy is an instant matchup problem, but his routes will need polish.
LOSER: Mike Adams, Ohio State, OT
Other than Vontaze Burfict, Adams may have inflicted the most damage on himself at the combine. He lived down to his reputation as not being a very hard worker, bench-pressing 225 pounds 19 times and running 5.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He already was facing serious scrutiny because of his suspensions for receiving extra benefits and violating team rules. It's time for Adams to show he's serious about football.
WINNER: Mychal Kendricks, Cal, LB
While Kendricks lacks ideal stature at 5-11, 239 pounds, he packs in plenty of power and speed. Kendricks managed to run 4.41 seconds in the 40, faster than many running backs, and also registered a 39 1/2-inch vertical leap. He’s also known as a high-character, productive individual with strong leadership qualities.
LOSER: Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, CB
Jenkins’ workout numbers and talent aren’t in question. Though he drew praise for his candor at the combine, some NFL teams still are going to downgrade him for his three arrests for possession of marijuana and a bar fight. They also may wonder if he’ll be distracted by having to support his four children. Someone will pick him in the first round, though.
WINNER: Cordy Glenn, Georgia, OT
Glenn is a road-grader of a blocker at 6-6, 345 pounds. He entrenched himself in the first round by proving he’s swift enough to play either right tackle or guard. His unofficial 4.96-second time in the 40-yard dash was totally unexpected. The Senior Bowl standout also turned in a 1.76-second 10-yard split and bench-pressed 225 pounds 31 times.
LOSER: Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State, LB
It was a disastrous, self-destructive combine for him as he ran a sluggish 5.09 seconds in the 40 — slower than many offensive linemen. His time was topped by 36 of 48 defensive linemen, including 346-pound Memphis tackle Dontari Poe. Burfict’s lack of discipline is well-documented as far as personal fouls, blaming coaches and an infamous locker-room fight. Once regarded as a first-round prospect, he’s now slipping down to the third or fourth round at best.
WINNER: Nick Perry, USC, OLB-DE
A hybrid edge pass-rusher, Perry looks like a sound fit for either the 3-4 or 4-3 defense with his speed (times of 4.50 and 4.56 seconds), explosiveness (38 1/2-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-4 broad jump), strength (35 bench press reps) and obvious pass-rushing skills. He’s going to make some NFL defensive coordinator very happy.
LOSER: Sean Spence, Miami, LB
Spence is a smaller defender who has strong-safety size at 5 feet 11 and 231 pounds. However, he definitely needs to hit the weight room. He bench-pressed 225 pounds only 12 times and ran slower than expected at 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash. The second round seems like a stretch for him now.
LOSER: Rueben Randle, LSU, WR
Randle ran far slower than expected with a 4.55-second showing in the 40 and only registered a 31-inch vertical leap. It’s questionable whether he’s worthy of late first-round consideration. His saving grace at the combine: sound hands and smooth routes. He aced the gauntlet drill.
WINNER: Zach Brown, North Carolina, LB
A former track star who set a UNC record in the 60 meters, Brown possesses a quality that can’t be taught: pure speed. He ran in the 4.4 range unofficially, clocking an official 4.50. NFL scouts are intrigued about his potential as a weak-side linebacker capable of shutting down fast running backs in the open field.
LOSER: Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, WR
Yes, the rumors about his ballooning weight were untrue. He was actually down to 216 pounds from 229 pounds, not up to 240 pounds. That’s a positive, but NFL teams were disappointed that he didn’t run the 40-yard dash and wondered if he lost weight the right way. Now, his pro-day workout becomes a pivotal moment for his draft status.
WINNER: Luke Kuechly, Boston College, LB
A tackling machine with 532 career stops, Kuechly proved he has qualities beyond being tough, instinctive and smart. He’s also a good athlete, running the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds and recording a 38-inch vertical leap. He looks like an immediate starter and impact player who shapes up as a future team captain.