Combine stars hoping to increase stock

Several mid- to late-round prospects could be sending scouts back to review more film after some impressive performances from the offensive players at the NFL Scouting Combine.

For those who know they're blue-chip first-round players, the NFL Scouting Combine is more about the medical probing and 15-minute interviews than it is about how they work out. Barring an incredibly poor performance, draft stock usually isn't adversely impacted (Vontaze Burfict being one of the rare exceptions).

The benefit to the rookie Class of 2013 is the opportunity for some relatively unknown or lowly rated prospects to vault themselves into the conversation.

Perhaps nobody benefitted more than Texas wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Viewed as a mid-round pick at best, Goodwin came within .03 seconds of the Combine record (4.24) in the 40-yard dash set by Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson in 2008. Not only did Goodwin finish atop the 40-yard times among offensive players at 4.27 seconds but was also a top performer in the broad jump, which could skyrocket his stock in the weeks leading up to the draft.

West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin solidified his spot as one of the highest-rated wide receivers by finishing tied for second in the 40 (4.34 seconds) and tied for third in the 20-yard shuttle.

By and large, the Combine is a chance for players viewed as being outside the first round, and in many cases outside the first two days of the draft, to make an impression. Such was the case for versatile Missouri wide receiver T.J. Moe, who finished first among offensive players in the 3-cone drill, the 20-yard shuttle run and the 60-yard shuttle run.

The top offensive performers in various drills were as follows:

40-yard dash – 1. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas 4.27 seconds; 2t. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia 4.34; 2t. Onterio McCalebb, RB, Auburn 4.34; 2t. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M 4.34; 5. Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas 4.37.

Bench Press – 1. Eric Herman, G, Ohio 36 reps; 2t. Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina 35; 2t. Lamar Mady, G, Youngstown State 35; 4. Reid Fragel, G, Ohio State, 33; 5. Zach Allen, G, N.C. State 32.

Vertical Jump – 1. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M 43 inches; 2t. Marcus Davis, WR, Virginia Tech 39½; 2t. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee 39½; 2t. Da'Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech 39½; 5. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska 39.

Broad Jump – 1. Hunter 11 feet, 4 inches; 2t. Goodwin 11-0; 2t. Rogers 11-0; 4. Josh Boyce, WR, TCU 10-11; 5. Michael Ford, RB, LSU, 10-10.

3-Cone Drill – 1. T.J. Moe, WR, Missouri 6.53 seconds; 2. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State 6.65; 3. Boyce 6.68; 4-T. Michael 6.69; 4-T. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona 6.69.

20-Yard Shuttle – 1. Moe 3.96 seconds; 2. Scott 3.99; 3t. Austin 4.01; 3t. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech 4.01; 5. Michael 4.02.

60-Yard Shuttle – Moe 10.87 seconds; 2. Markus Wheaton, WR Oregon State, 11.16; 3. Boyce 11.26; 4. Ace Sanders, WR, South Carolina 11.29; 5. Rogers 11.31.

For a lot of the players that finished at the top of the offensive drill categories at the combine, it didn't push them into the first round of April's draft. However, what it accomplished was to get teams to take a much longer look and potentially push them from being Day 3 prospects into the Day 2 realm. They are the players that benefitted the most from the Combine. Game film never lies, but these guys earned a lot of money over the weekend.

Next up is the defense Monday and Tuesday with more combine stars looking to be born.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.


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