Frank Geib `15
As the draft inches closer, the incoming draft class had their first chance to show teams why they should or should not be worthy of a top pick. To follow is a list of the well known performers and how their Combine went.
One of the top performers at the combine was the well known Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina. Clowney is a freak athlete and the combine was the perfect time to solidify his spot in the top 5 of this draft. With an official 40 time of 4.53, he will be able to run down any quarterback in the NFL, even Johnny Manziel.
Speaking of Manziel,he had a good combine himself. His 40 time came in at 4.68, which is good for a quarterback. Overall, he showed his athleticism, but denied throwing until his Pro Day. The area in which Manziel excelled is in the meeting room, as he showed his maturity and desire to be a star to many front offices. Manziel could make a run at the top spot, and will almost surely be off the board after the Cleveland Browns 4th pick.
The other two stud QB’s include Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Blake Bortles of UCF. Bortles was the only high profile QB to participate in the throwing portion, and his arm was impressive. Measuring in at over 6’5” and showing sparks of athleticism, he looks like the prototypical QB for the NFL. Bridgewater kept a quiet combine, and is saving his speed and arm for his Pro Day, as he did not run the 40 or participate in the throwing portion. All three of these guys, Manziel, Bortles, and Bridgewater, are all vying for the top spot, and it looks like they all may be off the board after 3 of the first 4 picks.
There were a few local college players who excelled at the combine as well. Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, OLB, looked like he was the most athletic guy there. His 42” vertical surpassed all other combine participants. He is looking like he can be one of the first LB’s off the board in the May draft.
A real stud in the combine came in Dri Archer, another Ohio athlete, the Kent State RB/WR. Archer ran the fastest 40 time clocking in at 4.26 seconds and also surprisingly put up 225 lbs on the bench for 20 reps. His draft stock has risen a lot thanks to the combine, and he could find himself going in the first three rounds.
Other stars that performed well include Sammy Watkins, Clemson WR, who looks like he will be a top 5 candidate and surprise star Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern RB, who can end up being the first running back off the board, and Greg Robinson, Auburn OT who ran a sub 5 second 40. All three of these guys could see their names called in the top 10, especially Watkins and Robinson.
With the draft nearing, there are no clear picks anywhere on the board. The Texans will almost surely take a QB but passing on Jadeveon Clowney is preposterous. The Browns can be looking in a number of directions as well. If Clowney or Watkins are still on the board, I could see either one of these guys coming to Cleveland, but I could also see Johnny Manziel in the Brown and Orange. It will be interesting to see how the draft turns out this May.