Defensive winners and losers at the Combine
Note: When I say a player finished "first" or "top-five" in a particular drill, I mean first amongst his position group.
Margus Hunt: Growing up in Estonia and playing college football at SMU, not many people know about Hunt, but he made his name known at the combine. He ran a great 4.60 forty-yard dash, and paired it with 38 bench reps - third and first among defensive linemen, respectively. Combine his top-end speed and strength with his size (6'8'', 277) and he could be a borderline first-round pick.
Barkevious Mingo: Some scouts have been knocking Mingo lately, saying that he hasn't shown enough football skills to be a high draft pick. At the combine, Mingo reminded everyone why he's worth the risk - his raw, jaw-dropping athleticism. Mingo's 4.58 forty was second among defensive linemen, and he also finished in the top-two in vertical jump, broad jump, and three-cone drill.
Dion Jordan: Another player who's athleticism outweighs his football skill, Jordan gave scouts what they wanted to see at the combine. His 4.60 forty was tied with Hunt for third best, while he also finished top-five in the broad jump and twenty-yard shuttle.
Damontre Moore: Moore's stock has been dropping as of late, and his performance at the combine forced ESPN's Mel Kiper to drop him out of his top-25 players. Moore's 4.95 forty was worse than 300 pounder Sharrif Floyd's time, and his 12 bench reps were the worst in his position group.
Zaviar Gooden: Simply phenomenal. Everything this kid did at the combine from a physical standpoint was outstanding. He finished top-five in every drill except vertical jump, in which he finished sixth. He had the fastest times in the forty, three-cone drill, and both shuttle runs.
Cornelius Washington: Only participated in four drills, but finished top-five in all of them. His 4.55 forty was second best in his position group, and his 36 bench reps were seven more than any other linebacker. He's sort of "the other linebacker from Georgia," with fellow Bulldogs Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree hogging most of the spotlight, but Washington drew the most attention at the combine.
Jamie Collins: A player who is considered to have not yet tapped into his potential, Collins displayed why teams should roll the dice on him becoming a stud at the next level. He finished top-five in the forty-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, and sixty-yard shuttle.
Sio Moore: Scouts consider Moore to be a bit undersized, but Moore's performance at the combine suggested that his athleticism could make up for his "small" stature. His 4.65 forty paired with 29 bench reps (second most) suggest a nice speed/strength combination, while he also displayed explosiveness by putting up top-four numbers in both the vertical jump and broad jump.
Manti Te'o: While Te'o impressed with his composure at his combine press conference, he wasn't quite as delightful on the field. His 4.82 forty time was slower than scouts were hoping to see, and he didn't stand out in any other drills either. What bodes well for him, however, is that scouts like him for his on-field instincts and tackling ability, not for how athletic he looks in gym shorts.
Kevin Minter: Barely edged out Te'o in the forty with a 4.81, and like Te'o, didn't stand out in any other drills. Scouts have concerns with his ability to track down ball carriers on outside running plays, and he didn't help his case by showing a lack of speed and explosiveness at the combine.
Xavier Rhodes: What Rhodes did at the combine could land him in the top-12 picks of the draft. His size (6'1'', 210) was always his strength on the scouting report, but he showed at the combine that he has exceptional athleticism to go with it. A 4.43 forty-yard dash is a plus for a big, physical press-man corner like Rhodes, and he also finished first among cornerbacks in both the vertical and broad jump.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson: A bit of a polarizing prospect, some people are high on Wreh-Wilson as a late first-round pick, while some have him much lower in their mock drafts. To win over uncertain scouts, Wreh-Wilson needed to stand out at the combine, and he failed to crack the top-11 in four different drills while not cracking the top-five in any. There was concern that Wreh-Wilson would only fit in a zone-based scheme, and he didn't help his cause with a poor combine showing.
Johnthan Banks: His 4.61 forty-yard dash was one of the worst among cornerbacks. Showed mediocre explosiveness (relative to his position) in the vertical and broad jumps, and was very poor in the three-cone drill and shuttle run, which may cause scouts to question his potential in man coverage.
Eric Reid: His forty time of 4.53 was impressive for a player at his position, and he showed great explosiveness in both the vertical and broad jump by finishing first in both drills.
Shamarko Thomas: You may not have heard of him, but he dominated just about everything he took part in at the combine (despite falling on his face after running an impressive 4.42 forty). He finished first in the forty-yard dash, first in bench press, tied for first in vertical jump, and third in broad jump. He showed the speed, strength, and explosiveness to get plenty of NFL teams interested.
For offensive prospects who stood out at the combine, click here.