Post-Combine Reactions

3 03 2012

The NFL combine is wrapped-up and besides the college pro days, the NFL Draft is on the homestretch. The combine is a shorts-and-shirts event; where uber-athletes can show their elite athleticism and ability to run, jump and power through the workouts.

However, football isn’t played in shorts or shirts, so one has to be cautious with being over reactionary when evaluating the performances of particular prospects. Especially if an athlete doesn’t perform as well in the games as he does at the combine. This is where NFL evaluators have to cross reference the performances at the combine with the game tape.

Here are some ‘risers’ and ‘fallers’ from the combine:

Risers:

Cordy Glenn G/OT Georgia: The big man ran a sub 5.00 40 time, which is exceptional (and downright ungodly) for a man that stands at 6’5” and weighs 348 pounds. Glenn can play right tackle or guard in the NFL, and that versatility will be coveted by NFL teams.

Dontari Poe DT Memphis: Poe was perhaps the most impressive athlete at the combine. Out of 300 plus participants, Poe was an absolute freak-of-nature. Poe weighed-in at 346 pounds and ran faster than most prospects 100 pounds less at 4.87 second 40-yard-dash. Poe played at Memphis, which calls into question his level of competition, but his level of athleticism and size compares to NFL All-pro Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens. Yes, he can be that good.

Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech: Before the combine, Hill was predicted to have a good showing at the combine, but exceeded expectations by running a 4.36 and having a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. Playing in a run-oriented offense at Georgia Tech, Hill only had 28 receptions for 820 yards, but he had a 29.3 yards per reception average, which is just an astronomical number. Hill has very little experience running an NFL route tree, and lacks strength to beat man-press, but his size-speed ratio will be too tempting to pass for NFL teams in the draft.

Fallers:

Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona St: The prospect who had the most to prove after a down 2011 season and numerous on-the-field problems, flopped like a Paul McCartney solo album. Burfict ran slow, jumped short and reportedly performed poorly in the interviews with teams. Once touted as a 1st round prospect, Burfict has a legitimate chance at dropping to the 4th or 5th round. Burfict has one more opportunity to showcase his incredible athleticism that he displayed his freshmen and sophomore year at his pro day.

Kendall Wright WR Baylor: When you are less than 6’ and only weigh-in at 196 pounds, you need to be fast and explosive. Wright, considered at top-ten pick, disappointed by running a 4.61 second forty. Now there needs to be a disclaimer for Wright: He looked explosive in drills, events and has a chance to redeem himself at his pro day. However, he needs to run a 4.4 to be selected in the 1st round.

The NFL Draft is less than two months away and each day will be filled with rumors and smoke-screens from teams trying to be surreptitious about the player they covet. Pro days will dot the calendar as universities will host scouts, coaches and general mangers to showcase their players who weren’t invited to the combine or need a second chance to perform.

Enjoy the ride because we are rapidly approaching the peak!

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