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The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books. A number of players went out and improved their draft stock, whilst others faltered, potentially moving down draft boards, and costing themselves a big money contract when the NFL Draft rolls around in May. Here are some of the risers and fallers on the offensive side of the ball.
Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan
The tackle came into the Combine as arguably the third best player at his position, sitting just behind Auburn’s Greg Robinson, and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews. Lewan posted a 40-yard dash of 4.87 and a broad jump of 9’9”, both of which were the best for offensive linemen, and he also impressed highly in the on-field drills. Ultimately, tape of Lewan’s performances at Michigan will be most influential in deciding where he is drafted, but like Lane Johnson last year, this performance should see him shoot up draft boards. Robinson, who also put in a very impressive showing in Indianapolis, will likely be the first tackle off the boards, but Lewan’s performance may have him leapfrogging Matthews on some team’s draft boards.
Blake Bortles, Quarterback, UCF
Bortles was one of the few highly-touted quarterbacks to actually throw at the Combine, with Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Derek Carr all choosing not to. The quarterback threw very well, and also looked deceptively mobile for a player of his size, causing inevitable comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger. He also reportedly handled himself very well in the interview portions of the Combine, despite being thrown a curveball or two in regards to questions about his girlfriend and personal life, and his eagerness to compete and maturity at least puts him into the equation for being the first or second quarterback taken in the draft.
Mike Evans, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
A number of receivers helped their draft stock in Indianapolis, but none in such noteworthy fashion as Evans. Standing 6”5, and weighing in at 231 pounds, Evans impressed with a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash, especially as the most common knock on Evans has been his lack of breakaway speed, and his performance in the on-field drills was almost immaculate. He won’t beat Clemson’s Sammy Watkins off the draft board come May, but he solidified himself as the number two receiver in the draft, separating himself from the physically similar Kelvin Benjamin.
Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle, Alabama
It was a weekend to forget for Kouandjio, as the Alabama man failed physicals with a number of teams due to concerns over arthritis in his knee following failed surgery. A 5.59 in the 40-yard dash was another low-point for Kouandjio, and a stiff performance in the on-field drills only compounded a bad day for the tackle. Talent alone should ensure he doesn’t fall any lower than the second round, but his chances of being a first round draft pick seem to be decreasing by the day.
Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
The tight end turned in a slow 40-yard dash of 4.70 seconds, and dropped a number of passes in the on-field drills. None of the other tight ends particularly excelled, but with the group being very congested at the top with the likes of North Carolina’s Eric Ebron and Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Amaro’s lacklustre performance may have significantly dented his hopes of being a first round draft pick.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had a very good weekend, showing himself to be the most athletic quarterback in the class, and coupled with a cannon for an arm, Thomas could be an intriguing developmental prospect for a team with an ageing quarterback. Miami’s Seantrel Henderson, although not really a ‘hidden gem’, had a decent showing at the Combine, and given his off-field concerns, could prove a bargain in the middle rounds for a team looking to bolster their roster at the right tackle position. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa out of Nebraska could be another bargain later in the draft, as the powerful receiver clocked in at 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, and although a tweaked hamstring prevented him from taking any further part in the Combine, that 40-yard dash time answered a lot of questions about Enunwa.