Here's a position by position look at who shined and faded at the Combine. These aren’t necessarily the top performers at their position, but they are the players who most likely had their draft stock impacted by their showings.
QB – Jevan Snead (Mississippi)
Had a disappointing season but was impressive in the passing drills. Snead has a ton of talent, and this showing might keep him in the top half of the draft.
RB – Ben Tate (Auburn)
(4.43 forty – 3rd best at his position, 26 reps – tied for 1st with Lonyae Miller, 40.5 inch vertical – 2nd behind Montario Hardesty, 10’4 broad jump – 2nd behind Joe McKnight)
I think Tate helped himself by at least a full round. I figured the highest he would go was R4, but he (and Hardesty as well) may have vaulted himself into the McKnight, Gerhart, Dixon discussion.
WR – Golden Tate (Notre Dame)
(4.42 forty – 4th best at his position, 17 reps – 7th best at his position)
Back to back Tates. The forty time alone kept him in the discussion as more than a slot receiver which keeps him in R1 discussions. Jacoby Ford could go here too since speed pays, and he ran a 4.28.
TE – Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)
(4.40 forty – easily the best at his position, 24 reps – 4th best at his position, 43.5 inch vertical – easily the best at his position, 10’5 broad jump – the best at his position)
I think Dickerson might have had the most beneficial Combine of all the players there. All that and an impressive showing in his drills probably put him in R3 talk. I wish he was a little bit bigger (6’1, 226), but I think teams will find a way to get his athleticism on the field.
OL – Bruce Campbell (Maryland)
(4.85 forty – best at his position, 34 reps – 2nd best at his position)
Campbell might have made himself a top 10 pick with his display of athleticism at the Combine. Yes, his game has deficiencies, but he appears to have everything needed to be a stud tackle.
DL – Jason Pierre-Paul (USF)
(4.64 forty – tied for 1st with Dexter Davis)
I had a hard time picking someone from this group, but I went with JPP because his performance did nothing to slow down his postseason ascension up draft boards.
CB – AJ Jefferson (Fresno State)
(4.49 forty – only 6 faster times at CB, 44 inch vertical – easily the best at CB)
I mention him because he has gone from a virtual unknown to a possible mid round pick with his performance. He measured in at 6’0, 193, so he has the size too. Also worth mentioning is Brandon Ghee’s display of speed and Kyle Wilson’s position-leading 25 reps on the bench.
S – Earl Thomas (Texas)
(4.44 forty – 2nd fastest behind Taylor Mays, 21 reps – better than anyone his size)
I could have mentioned Mays because of his insane forty run, but he was stiff as expected in his drills. Yes he was fast, but I don’t think he answered any questions with his Combine performance. Eric Berry had a good Combine too and solidified himself as a top pick. I went with Thomas not only for his speed and the athleticism/agility he showed in his drills but also for measuring in at 5’10, 208; better than I believe most scouts expected.
QB – Tony Pike (Cincinnati)
Why didn’t you throw? He had a chance to really help separate himself from Colt McCoy but failed to capitalize.
RB – Anthony Dixon (Mississippi State)
His 4.65 forty isn’t going to squelch any talk of him lacking tailback speed (especially with Toby Gerhart running a 4.53), and I was also unimpressed with his 15 reps on the bench.
WR – Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas) & Mike Williams (Syracuse)
Briscoe and Williams both get bird chest awards for putting up a combined 17 reps on the bench (9 for Briscoe), and they disappointed in other areas as well. Briscoe isn’t a speed guy, but his 4.61 forty was a lot slower than I expected. Williams also reportedly was a mess in his interviews, failing to take credit for his past mistakes. Briscoe’s still on my radar, but if the reports about his interviews are true, Williams cost himself even more money at the Combine.
TE – Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
No one really disappointed with their Combine performances, but I don’t think Hernandez did himself any favors sitting out with a back injury while guys like Dickerson, Pitta, McCoy, Graham, Moeaki, and Quarless put their skills on display.
OL – Anthony Davis (Rutgers)
Each of the other top tackles (Okung, Campbell, and Bulaga) had fine showings at the Combine, but Davis looked weak on the bench (21 reps) and sloppy in his drills. He’s still probably an early pick due to his potential/ceiling, but I think he caught some eyes for the wrong reason.
DL – Corey Wootton (U Conn)
No one had a bad Combine, but I think Wootton missed a chance to vault himself up draft boards a bit. He had one of the weaker bench performances which wasn’t terribly unexpected, but he didn’t do anything to stand out.
CB – Joe Haden (Florida)
Hands down the most unbeneficial combine of all the performances in my book. Haden went from a possible top 5 guy to a possible top 15 guy. His 4.57 forty was good for 23rd fastest at his position, and he showed a little stiffness in his drills. Like it or not, it’s not inconceivable that he could fall to Tennessee at #16.
S – Myron Rolle (FSU)
Yes he showed up in fine shape, but he’s still slow and stiff. His 4.68 forty was third slowest at safety, and he didn’t win anyone over in his on-field drills. Any climbing up the draft boards he was doing has ceased.