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. Jameis Winston, Florida State 6-4, 231
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:He has to find a way to shake the “phony” tag. Winston will say all the right things, and he’ll be coached up well – he’s terrific in one-on-one situations – but can he answer the hard questions to the satisfaction of the GMs? He has to prove he’s mature enough to handle what’s coming.
Key To The Workout: Apparently, he did what he needed to do in the interview process, and while he didn’t look athletic at all, that wasn’t an issue. The 4.97 40 was irrelevant, and he didn’t jump or move all that well, but no one cares. The big concern is a shoulder that showed some weakness, and in an interview Winston mentioned getting a shot, but he was lights out throwing the ball. Take away the off-field part of the equation and he looked like the best NFL quarterback at the combine by far.
2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon 6-4, 222
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Can he convert? How long will it take before he’s an NFL pocket passer, and can he handle all the reads he’ll have to make? Will he show off the arm strength needed to make all the pro throws? He also has to show the fire and the pop – does he have the makeup to step into an NFL locker room and own it?
Key To The Workout: What more do you need to see? He couldn’t have looked better considering the question marks. Want athleticism? The 4.52 40 looked effortless, the 36” vertical was outstanding, and if he was a wide receiver he would’ve had a fantastic workout for his size. But, of course, it was all about working as a pro-style quarterback, and he did just that in his footwork and skills. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but he made all the throws without a problem.
3. Brett Hundley, UCLA 6-3, 226
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Looks the part, acts the part, talks the part, but is he the type of quarterback who can lead a team to a championship? Decision-making ability is a disaster at times in pure passing situations – he has to rock in the interview/quiz process.
Key To The Workout: He did nothing to take away from the idea that he’s the No. 3 quarterback, but he also did nothing to throwing the ball to light it up to move into the first round. He spun it well and looked natural, and he was really, really athletic with a 4.63 40 while jumping out of the stadium, but that was expected. He didn’t falter – he kept the process going until his pro day.
4. Bryce Petty, Baylor 6-3, 230
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Is he a system guy or can he function in an NFL offense? The physical is going to be a really, really big deal since he never seemed 100% right throughout last season, especially after hurting his back against SMU.
Key To The Workout: It was a terrific workout. He looked like a natural passer when he had to drop back, and he looked like he could eventually be a steady and solid starter with a little bit of work and tweaking. He wasn’t fast, but he jumped well and he moved fine. The key was his arm – he looked the part of an NFL passer.
5. Sean Mannion, Oregon State 6-5, 229
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:The size and skill and potential are there, but can he actually translate the tools to the field? Turned the ball over way, way too much and doesn’t have anything truly special about his game.
Key To The Workout: Not an athlete in any way, he wasn’t expected to be Mariota. He threw like he was supposed to, and he went through the drills like an NFL passer, but he didn’t stand out. The one big issue is going to be his hand size. Considering his height and bulk, the 9” hands are going to be a problem for some.
6. Brandon Bridge, South Alabama 6-4, 229
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Can he become a downfield passer? Does he have enough experience – how long is he going to need before he has any prayer of being an NFL starter? It’s all there, but will he need a year or three before he’s ready for primetime?
Key To The Workout: Solid, he was a bit erratic with his throws, but was more than fine. He showed off good arm strength, and he was the right size with the right frame. The 4.72 40 was good enough, and he moved fine – there was enough there to give the scouts something more to work off of.
7. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State 6-2, 213
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Size is a problem and needs to look like an NFL quarterback. He’ll be thought of as a destined clipboard guy unless the ball explodes out of his arm and it has to come out quickly.
Key To The Workout: He’s just too small. He didn’t run and didn’t do everything, but that’s not a problem – he can throw just fine. However, he doesn’t look the part without the athleticism to make up for his lack of bulk.
8. Shane Carden, East Carolina 6-2, 218
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:The raw workout numbers have to be solid. He’s not going to blow anyone away with his look or his arm, but he has to come across as somewhat athletic considering he’s missing the NFL size and deep ball ability.
Key To The Workout: He threw just fine. It was his job just to look like an NFL quarterback in terms of arm strength and touch, and he did just that. He’s not an athletic- the 4.94 40 was painful - and he’s a bit too small, but the ball came out of his hands well.
9. Connor Halliday, Washington State 6-3, 196
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Can he play outside of the Mike Leach system? Can he play from under center? It’s all about the interview process and the physical as he tries to get past an ankle injury – he won’t be able to workout.
Key To The Workout: He wasn’t able to workout, but the concern could be the lack of beef on his frame. A bit shorter than expected, he was also skinnier. He needs to put on about 15 pounds of good weight. First he has to get healthy.
10. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State 6-2, 198 (Not Invited)
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:He doesn’t even remotely look the part of an NFL quarterback and is purely a baller, but at some point, he’ll have to show off a deep arm in the workouts.
11. Rakeem Cato, Marshall 5-11, 171 (Not Invited)
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Size, size, size, size, size. He’s way too small and will end up having to rock in a camp when he gets a chance at film analysis and as a practice squad guy who needs a chance. There’s no bulk, though.
12. Cody Fajardo, Nevada 6-1, 223
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:No, he’s not Colin Kaepernick, but he’s more of a runner than a pure passer. It’s going to take years to adjust his throwing style, and he has to become a more consistent passer.
Key To The Workout: The hope was that he’d show off enough athleticism to overcome the concerns, and he didn’t. The 4.63 in the 40 was better than most quarterbacks, but it was hardly blazing. He moved fine, but not well enough to wow anyone. The arm is good and he threw well in shorts, but he was also a bit smaller than expected checking in at 6-1.
13. Nick Marshall, Auburn 6-1, 207
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Is he really a quarterback? Nope. He’s going to try to make it as a corner, and he has to rock in the 40. A 4.5 gets him mid-round consideration as a guy who can be tried out at several spots. A 4.6+ makes him a free agent quarterback possibility.
Key To The Workout: While he’s working out as a defensive back and is willing to do whatever is needed, he also showed the potential to be a solid backup quarterback. He threw well and with touch, and he ran and worked out like an elite athletic quarterback. The 37 1/2” vertical was outstanding, and the 4.54 40 was excellent. The problem is that he’s a jack of all trades, but he still doesn’t have a true NFL position.
14. Anthony Boone, Duke 6-0, 231
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Wildly inconsistent, he’ll talk the part and he destroy the interviews and the written parts, but he needs to show off a deep arm.
Key To The Workout: Too short and with no athleticism, he has to get by on his smarts, his decision making ability, and his guile. He can’t run the 5.03 40 was brutal – and he didn’t rock the passing drills any more than anyone else. However, the ball came out of his hand just fine – he was okay.
15. Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana 6-2, 211
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:The drills have to be fantastic. He’s not big enough, he’s not going to be able to show off too much for the passing game, but he has to open some eyes by being relatively quick and athletic.
Key To The Workout: He looked like he belonged. He’s not big, and he didn’t run all that well, but he showed some athleticism in his jumps with a 37” vertical and cranking out over ten feet in the broad jump. He did enough to warrant a longer look.
16. Jerry Lovelocke, Prairie View A&M 6-4, 248
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Can he look the part of his size? Any athleticism, and any positives during the interview process will do wonders. The arm and the bulk are there, now everything else has to come into place.
Key To The Workout: Supposedly just a thrower a the combine, he was big, strong, and measured well. He also threw it effortlessly and came up with a 40 time under five seconds. He’s still a project, but he looks like you want an NFL quarterback to look.
17. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion 6-1, 211 (Not Invited)
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Lack of size will make him an undrafted free agent, but he could stick on a practice squad is he can show zip in his workouts.
18. Jake Waters, Kansas State 6-1, 204 (Not Invited)
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:A potentially ideal No. 3 option, he’ll have to show off his ability to digest and adapt to a pro playbook in a hurry. He could have a long, long career as a practice squad option who provides several looks.
19. Blake Sims, Alabama 5-11, 218
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:Lack of size is going to be a problem he can’t overcome with his great arm, but he needs time and seasoning. Can he show the scouts that he’s worth the investment of time and effort?
Key To The Workout: Is he a running back or is he a backup quarterback, or both? He’s going to try out as a running back in camps, and he showed the bulk and the speed to be in the mix running a 4.57 40. However, he wasn’t all that quick. Even though he checked in under six feet tall, he threw well and drove the ball when he had to. There’s enough there to make him a developmental project.
20. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss 6-4, 217 (Not Invited)
What He Needed To Prove In Indy:How’s his head? He has the size, he has the athleticism, and he has enough upside to be intriguing, but he’ll have to prove he can handle in-game adversity better and will somehow have to prove that he isn’t going to be an interception machine if he comes in as an emergency option.
2015 NFL Combine: QB Workout Analysis
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