Typically, the day of the running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks is the most intriguing day of the NFL Scouting Combine. Many of the high profile offensive stars are running 40’s, throwing and catching passes, and showing their quick feet. For up to the second analysis and coverage, check us out on Twitter @NFLMocks.
Follow me after the jump for some day four coverage of the 2o11 NFL Scouting Combine.
- Athletically, there’s probably not a better quarterback in this entire draft than Auburn’s Cam Newton. He ran a sub 4.6 40 yard dash, had a 10’6″ broad jump, 35 inch vertical, and his 6’5″ 248 pound frame is absolutely impressive. Where Newton really lacked was on the field. He showed poor accuracy and timing, but again, we’ll read more into that if it continues at his pro day. I love what he brings to the table as a leader, and we all saw Vince Young make a couple of early Pro Bowls with the Titans. I think Newton is much further along than Vince Young at this point.
- Christian Ponder had the best day of all the quarterbacks. Good timing, good accuracy–solid measurables. If he’s not a 2nd round pick or higher I will be shocked.
- Jake Locker continues to improve. I like what he brings to the table in terms of work ethic and intangibles. I am not going to bet against him. He also ran an impressive 4.53 second 40 yard dash, close to being the best among QB’s. He is a great athlete, and will be a first round pick in my opinion. If he’s not, he will be a steal for a team like Buffalo in round two.
- Ricky Stanzi is a smooth player. Great mechanics, great footwork, and solid accuracy. He struggled a bit on the deep throws, but he is fully capable of running an NFL offense.
- Mark Ingram will continue to draw comparisons to former great Emmitt Smith after he ran a 4.61 second 40 yard dash, but his short distance quickness was a whole tenth of a second faster than the average at last year’s combine, which is where Ingram will make his money. This guy cemented his status as a first round draft choice today. He plays low, and he has great burst and quickness.
- Mikel LeShoure is in the same boat as Ingram, and with his impressive size/speed ratio, I could easily see him being the first back taken. He has every skill you look for in a runner.
- DeMarco Murray’s stock improved a lot today. He showed his ankles are totally fine in the cone drills, and ran a 4.38 second 40 yard dash. With his size and quickness, I expect him to be in the top five or six running backs selected come April.
- Alex Green of Hawaii and Johnny White of North Carolina are going to be two big sleepers at the RB position. Both guys have good size, and solid speed, and both are excellent receivers out of the backfield. Would not be surprised to see their names called early on day three.
- I really like Jacquizz Rodgers. I think his center of gravity and quickness along with exceptional durability are going to make him a very good NFL tailback. He keeps getting compared to Darren Sproles, which is a mistake. Sproles is about 180 pounds dripping wet. Rodgers is about 200 pounds, and he’s never been a kick returner. He will make an impact in the NFL.
- I absolutely love Allen Bradford, the USC tailback. He is big (242 pounds), strong (28 pounds), fast (4.56 40), and quick. He displayed excellent athleticism today, and he also had a much improved senior season. I think he has the potential to be a great power back in the NFL.
- Roy Helu Jr. will be a steal on draft day. He’s a playmaker with game-breaking speed. He will be an asset in a one-cut-and-go scheme.
- Julio Jones and A.J. Green will rely on game tape for the NFL evaluators. They ran and did the gauntlet, and both ran decent times at 4.39 and 4.48 seconds respectively. Julio Jones also had an 11’3″ broad jump, which is absolutely incredible.
- This was a pretty unimpressive group as a whole, but Leonard Hankerson really made himself some money today. He ran a 4.43 second 40 yard dash. I am consistently impressed by him from what he did at the University of Miami. He seems to play around the red zone like a tight end, and could be a first round pick. One team looking for a big, fast receiver to stretch the field has got to be the New England Patriots. They have three picks between 17-33.
- A couple of small school receivers broke the 4.4 second mark in the 40, Abeline Christian WR Edmund Gates and Fort Valley State’s Ricardo Lockette both ran 4.35 second 40 yard dashes.
- Like I said, the receivers as a whole were unimpressive. They ran sloppy routes, nobody really finished the gauntlet well that I remember watching, and they were a slow group of guys.
Former North Carolina star defensive tackle Marvin Austin put up 38 bench press reps, which is extremely impressive, but not to be out-done was your new NFL Scouting Combine record holder Stephen Paea, who lifted 225 pounds 49 times. He was on his 50th rep before he hit a wall.
Da’Quan Bowers and Robert Quinn each lifted 22 reps of 225. Bowers and Quinn could be vying for the 2nd overall pick to Denver right now.
J.J. Watt, widely regarded as the top 3-4 defensive end prospect put up 34 reps of 225. He could be a top ten pick.