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Sunday, February 24, 2008

NFL Combine: Winners and Losers

As the NFL Combine comes to the midway point the draft picture becomes clearer. Team needs clear as players are signed and released. Available talent is clearing up as well. The widely reported physical results have been matched in importance, in recent years, by the Wonderlic test. Saturday, the most important players; Offensive Lineman and Tight Ends, along side Specialists show their stuff. Those results will be met by Sunday's perfprmers; quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. With the following two days covering the four defensive slots; defensive linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties .

The big three stats; 40-yard time, reps bench pressing 225 lbs, and Wonderlic scores are the benchmark for measuring players. (Wonderlic results are not reported but rumors do get out there) Soem embraced the test as a chance to really raise their stock, while others left hoping their in-game performance outways their poor results at the combine.

Heading into the draft talented Junior, Darren McFadden(RB-Ark), was the subject of some behind the scenes doubt. While few days of drills and testing can't wipe away questions of charachter or durability, his event leading 4.33 40-time, 33" vertical leap, and 10'8" broad jump certainly make the risk of drafting him a lot easier to swallow.

Day one's biggest surprise was Dustin Keller. Keller outperformed expectations across the drills; 4.54 in the 40, 38" vertical, 26 reps @ 225 lbs. Keller's reps were some of the most important for him. Adding to his reputation as an athletic, pass-catching tight end, he showed that he has the strength to block in the NFL.

I had Jeff Otah as an early to mid-first rounder, based on his potential more than his performance. The potential, based primarily on his size, remains at 6'6" 332 lbs; performance didn't get much help though. His 5.56 time, 27 reps, and average-at-best agility drill performance moved him down to late first at best, more likely early to mid second round. Early looks could come from a team with some mentors on the O-line that could surround Otah.

Ryan Torain When you're a larger tailback you need to show your strength if you cant impress with your speed. With a 4.69 time, and only 21 reps Torain did neither.

I'll be back with a day 3 and a day 4 update over the next few days. has a complete list of top 5 and bottom 5 combine performers.

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