2015 NFL Combine: The Workout Analysis

What matters and what the tight ends need to prove at the 2015 NFL Combine

For those invited and participating in the 2015 NFL Combine, what matters? What did they need to do? How was the workout? What to take away from …

1. Devin Funchess, Michigan (WR) 6-5, 230
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: He has to be a true wide receiver to avoid the Jimmy Graham contract issues down the line. However, he’s not an NFL wide receiver, he’s an NFL hybrid tight end type who’s going to dominate in a different way than he and his agent might believe. If he wants to be a wideout, he needs to blast away on the speed drills.
Key To The Workout: WORKING OUT WITH THE WIDE RECEIVERS

2. Maxx Williams, Minnesota 6-4, 249
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Does he have an NFL body and the strength to become more than just a big receiver? He’ll be athletic, and he’s got the buzz about him, but if he can come up with a big bench, he could be seen in a different, and even better light. A fringe first-rounder, now’s his chance to secure a spot in the top 32.
Key To The Workout: Smooth in the gauntlet drills, he looked the part. However, he was slow with a 4.78 40. Compared to the others, though, he stood out and remains the best pure tight end in the draft.

3. Tyler Kroft, Rutgers 6-5, 246
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he be a receiver? He’s not big enough to be a top blocker, and he’s a good athlete, but he wasn’t used enough at Rutgers and he always tries hard, but if he sucks everything in during the passing drills, all of a sudden he could be a must-have second round pick.
Key To The Workout: He wasn’t quite as strong as expected. He didn’t run, and he was just okay on the bench with 17 reps. It would’ve been nice if he had hit at least 20 – he needs to add more bulk to his frame, and this shows he needs to hit the weights a bit.

4. Jesse James, Penn State 6-7, 263
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he stretch the field? He’s a great midrange and goal line target, and he can be a nice No. 2 tight end option, but to get into the mix for a top 50 pick, he has to come up with a little bit of quickness and a decent 40 time. No one thinks he’s an elite athlete, but he just can’t be painfully lumbering.
Key To The Workout: Pegged as a big, strong tight end, he showed he was a big, strong tight end with 26 reps on the bench. He didn’t move all that well with a slow 4.83 40, but he exploded in the jumps cranking up a 37.5” vertical. He helped himself in a huge way.

5. Clive Walford, Miami 6-4, 251
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Does he have the hands? No one’s going to question his toughness, strength or blocking ability, but he’s not a true receiver. He’s not miserable, but he can up his stock if he looks in shorts like a big wide receiver.
Key To The Workout: It was okay, but he was supposed to be far, far more athletic. However, in this class, he was okay after coming up with a 4.79 40 and with a 35” vertical – it just wasn’t what everyone was hoping for. The numbers were better than the workout.

6. Nick O'Leary, Florida State 6-3, 252
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Does he have the athleticism to go along with the route-running ability? He’s not a big blocker, and he’s not an elite athlete, but he can’t be on the back half of the numbers. He needs a decent 40 time and he has to at least look quick in some of the drills. The word limited can’t be associated with him after his time in Indy.
Key To The Workout: It was an odd day. He was brutally slow with a 4.93 40, but the 21 reps on the bench were good. The biggest key, though was his gauntlet drill. Smooth as silk, he caught EVERYTHING. He might not be a great prospect athletically, but he stood out as a true receiver.

7. Ben Koyack, Notre Dame 6-5, 255
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he a top receiver? He has the look, the size, and upside, and he could blow up as a pro after not catching enough passes for the Irish, but now he has to become the type target teams can envision becoming something special. He’ll hit, but now he has to look like a big wideout.
Key To The Workout: He looked and measured big. He didn’t run the 40 – claiming he didn’t have time to train for it because he wanted to work on his schoolwork – but he went through most of the other drills and was fine. In terms of physical traits, he looked the part, but now it’s about his pro day.

8. Jean Sifrin, Massachusetts 6-5, 245
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he ready right now? Already 27, he’s too old and he’s still a bit of a work in progress. The athleticism is there, and he has the size to make scouts drool, but he’ll drop fast if he doesn’t look smooth and polished. He has to be a precise route runner, but that comes in the pro day workouts.
Key To The Workout: It wasn’t good enough. He struggled and fought the ball in the gauntlet drill, and he wasn’t athletic enough considering he was supposed to be athletic to make up for his concerns – the 4.84 40 was poor. He was also a big smaller than expected.

9. Blake Bell, Oklahoma 6-6, 252
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he really a tight end? He’s still learning on the fly, and as insane as it might sound, in this painfully light draft for the position, he might actually be a better quarterback prospect. He has to show scouts one thing he can do well as a tight end.
Key To The Workout: Compared to most of the other tight ends, Bell was terrific with one of the better workouts when he was on the move. The 4.8 40 was great, the 4.32 in the shuttle was outstanding, but now he has to get stronger after coming up with just 14 reps.

10. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State 6-5, 254
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: What does he do well? He looks the part, he can run a bit, and he should bench press the house, but is he an NFL tight end? Can he be a consistent receiver? Can he be a blaster of a blocker? He’s a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none prospect.
Key To The Workout: He still needs to come up with a big pro day after not doing everything in Indy, but he was strong – he’s an Ohio State prospect, after all – coming up with 26 reps on the bench.

11. Wes Saxton, South Alabama 6-3, 248
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: He’s a big wide receiver, but can he block? He doesn’t have the bulk, and he doesn’t have the size, but if he can come up with a big bench, and if he can look strong and tough in shorts, he has to do it. How does he do that? No clue. If he’s going to be a receiver, he has to blow up the times and the numbers.
Key To The Workout: Outstanding. He fought the ball a little bit, but he was one of the faster prospects with a 4.65 40, and he was among the most explosive in the leaps with a 36” vertical and 119” broad jump. He helped himself in a big way.

12. Nick Boyle, Delaware 6-4, 268
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he quick at all? He’s an interesting prospect with great size and good hands, but he can’t be lumbering and he has to be fluid. He’s not an elite blocker for his size, so he can’t run like a smallish offensive tackle.
Key To The Workout: He was smaller than expected, and he wasn’t strong enough for his size with 20 reps, but answered the question about his quickness. Unfortunately, he ran like a smallish offensive lineman, and he wasn’t explosive, but his 4.23 in the 20-yard shuttle made him some money.

13. E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State 6-2, 258
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: He has to show a special trait. He’s not a great blocker, and he’s not an elite receiver, and he’s not all that fast, but in the drills he has to be at the high end of some of the times to get on the map. He doesn’t look the part, but coming out of Indy, he has to.
Key To The Workout: Unfortunately, he measured like an H-back or a fullback checking in smaller than expected. His 20 reps on the bench were fine, and he was good in the pass catching drills, but he hardly stood out.

14. C.J. Uzomah, Auburn (Not Invited) 6-5, 262
Eventually, he’ll have to come across as a receiver. He’ll make a roster on his blocking ability, but if he’s going to be draft before the late rounds, he has to look the part of a pass catcher on his pro day.

15. MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois 6-2, 251
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Even though he looks more like a fullback and an H-back, he has to somehow come across as a potentially good blocker. That’s hard to do at the Combine, but he needs to look physical when he hits the pads and has to appear strong. He’s a receiver, and now he has to be more.
Key To The Workout: Yup. He did what he needed to do athletically, coming up with a 4.59 in the 40 and with great times in the short drills. However, considering he has fullback size, checking in smaller than expected was a problem, and the 17 reps on the bench weren’t great.

16. Randall Telfer, USC 6-4, 250
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he going to be able to last? The physical will be vital after getting banged up throughout his USC career. On the field, he needs to blaze away a decent 40 time and he has to look quick or else he’ll be seen as an undrafted free agent who can do a slew of things well, but nothing at a special level.
Key To The Workout: Still a question mark after not running, he came up with an okay 20 reps – par for the course this year.

17. Eric Tomlinson, UTEP 6-6, 263
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he going to be a receiver? He has the body, and he has the upside, but he only caught 19 passes for 134 yards and a score last season. He has to come up with a good 40 and has to appear at have a little potential to stretch the field – he didn’t do it at UTEP.
Key To The Workout: The beard was terrific. He was bigger than originally expected, but he wasn’t all that smooth and he didn’t stand out in any way outside of his facial hair. He ran like an O lineman with a 4.98 40, and he didn’t show off much athleticism.

18. A.J. Derby, Arkansas 6-4, 255
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: How much time does he need? He’s a good receiver and he’s a willing blocker, but he’s still just learning the position after starting out his career at quarterback. There’s upside, but he has to show that there’s a reason to draft him, otherwise, he screams practice squad.
Key To The Workout: He’ll need to rock his pro day. He didn’t do everything and only came up with 15 reps on the bench. Considering his lack of pass catching and route running abilities, the 15 reps on the bench weren’t enough.

19. Gerald Christian, Louisville 6-3, 244
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Is he smooth? He’s a good runner and should look nice through the shorter agility drills, but he’s not a blocker and he’s not an elite athlete. If he can look silky, he’ll be viewed as a possible nice No. 2 receiving tight end. He has to show a draftable trait.
Key To The Workout: The 28 reps on the bench were a really, really big deal in a class of tight ends that couldn’t seem to lift. He wasn’t fast – running a 4.87 40 – and he wasn’t particularly quick, but he did enough to show that he could be a tough blocker for his size.

20. Cameron Clear, Texas A&M 6-5, 277
What He Needed To Prove In Indy: Can he catch? Purely a blocking tight end, he was an afterthought in the Texas A&M passing attack. There’s upside, and he can move for his size, but he’ll be seen as just a pounder if he’s not able to suck in every pass that comes his way in drills.
Key To The Workout: It was okay considering his size. He’s still not a top-shelf pass catcher, but he was really, really quick in the short drills with a 4.48 20-yard and a 12.07 60-yard shuttle. He’s not going to be a go-to receiver, but he showed he could move a bit for a smallish O lineman-looking tight end.


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