NFL Combine: Risers, Fallers and Rankings

With the Scouting Combine behind us, it's time to evaluate how the players performed.'s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber identifies his top three risers and fallers by position on the offensive side of the ball and adjusts's NFL Draft Rankings.


Offense | Defense



Stephen McGee, Texas A&M

Stephen McGee continues to have a strong offseason. He received great reviews from his week of practice at the East-West Shrine game and continued that momentum at the Scouting Combine. McGee measured in at a solid 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, ran an elite 4.66 in the 40 and looked smooth throwing the ball. He had nice footwork, displayed good accuracy and touch, as well as surprising mechanics. McGee is one of the pleasant surprises to emerge this offseason and could work his way to being the first senior quarterback selected in the draft.

Change In Rank: McGee is now the 6th rated QB (previously 8th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Sanchez did well for himself at the Combine on and off the field.
AP/Michael Conroy

Mark Sanchez, USC

Personality personified, Mark Sanchez worked the media room with his contagious charisma and showed his competiveness by performing in every drill the Combine had to offer. Sanchez displayed his athleticism and ran a respectable 4.87 in the 40. He was the smoothest quarterback in his drop back. He set up quickly and high, displayed good mechanics, delivered the ball with touch, and hit receivers in stride on intermediate routes and deep patterns. With Sanchez stepping up and working out at the Combine, Georgia’s Matthew Stafford, who elected not to throw in Indianapolis, will have a lot of pressure to perform well at his Pro Day.

Change In Rank: Sanchez is still the top rated QB in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Pat White, West Virginia

The ascension of Pat White as a quarterback prospect continues to unfold. At the Senior Bowl, the doubt that surrounded White was deafening. But when times get tough and the dynamic playmaker has to perform, he always finds a way to impress the worst critics with his ability to lead and the unique skill set he possesses. White had a positional best 4.55 in the 40, and despite his obvious need to work on his mechanics, he displayed a strong arm and surprising accuracy. White declined to workout at wide receiver in Indianapolis, but said that he will at his Pro Day on March 12th. Now with the Wildcat formation being used in the NFL, White’s value and versatility will be attractive to teams and could place him at the end of the second round.

Change In Rank: White is now the 4th rated QB (previously 5th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


Josh Freeman, Kansas State

At 6-foot-6, 248 pounds, Josh Freeman has the physical attributes that scouts salivate over. But as the drool slowly creeps out of the mouth, it’s quickly wiped away with disappointment and a sigh. Blessed with a strong arm and raw ability, Freeman failed to impress in the 40 with a 4.97 and has a lot of work to do on his mechanics and footwork. His release point is all over the place, and he has to become a more accurate quarterback. Freeman could sneak into the first round with his upside, especially if the Detroit Lions decide to take a tackle with the first pick in the draft.

Change In Rank: Freeman is still the 3rd rated QB in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Jason Boltus, Hartwick

Boltus is a small school player who has good size (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), but lacks the skills necessary to be drafted. He ran a good 40 (4.83) and showed some athleticism, but appeared hesitant throwing the ball on a national level surrounded by a multitude of scouts who will determine his football future – a future that doesn’t look very promising.

Change In Rank: N/R

Drew Willy, Buffalo

Drew Willy is an intriguing prospect who has good size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and an understanding of the game. But, he’s a developmental player that needs more coaching. He ran an average 40 (4.90) at the Combine and failed to impress during throwing drills. He has a long, robotic release that’s prone to turning the ball over. He has to work on his drops and accuracy. Willy is a late round prospect who could go undrafted.

Change In Rank: Willy is still the 23rd rated QB in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Running Backs


Donald Brown, Connecticut

Donald Brown was the most impressive running back at the Scouting Combine. He measured in at 5-foot-10, 210 pounds and was the most consistent performer in drills. He ran a solid 4.51 in the 40, finished with a 41.5-inch vertical, and finished second among the running backs in the broad jump (10-foot-5-inches) and 20-yard shuttle (4.10). Brown’s performance at the Combine will definitely improve his draft status and could elevate him from a mid-second round pick to a late first, early second rounder.

Change In Rank: Brown is now the 4th rated RB (previously 5th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Brown's workout at the Combine, along with his showing at the Senior Bowl makes him a fast riser.
Scott Boehm/Getty

Andre Brown, NC State

At the Senior Bowl, Andre Brown enjoyed great success; he displayed the all-around game scouts want to see out of a running back. He’s one of the best blockers at the position and showcased surprising explosiveness and the ability to break free in the open field. During his workout at the Scouting Combine, it was more of the same for Brown, as he was timed at a 4.49 in the 40. He did well in the bench press with 24 reps at 225 pounds and showcased his athleticism with a 37-inch vertical. The biggest question about Brown is his injury history, a history that limited him to just 523 carries over a four-year career. But when he’s healthy, and that’s what he’s been this offseason, Brown has the talent to exceed expectations at the next level and could be ticketed as a third round pick.

Change In Rank: Brown is still the 8th rated RB in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Cedric Peerman, Virginia

Another player who continues to impress this offseason is the versatile Virginia runner Cedric Peerman. Peerman enjoyed a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl and was even more impressive while meeting with teams in interviews. A player recognized for his leadership qualities and scat back ability, Peerman finished with the best 40-time (4.45) among the RBs at the Combine and placed second in the vertical jump with a 40-inch vertical and bench press with 27 reps. At 5-foot-9, 216 pounds, Peerman has the strength to run between the tackles, but durability is a concern. Those concerns could limit Peerman’s chances of making a meteoric rise in the draft.

Change In Rank: Peerman is now the 11th rated RB (previously 15th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


Shonn Greene, Iowa

A one-year wonder at Iowa, some questioned Shonn Greene’s decision to enter the draft. But after seeing the rise Rashard Mendenhall experienced in the draft last season, after just one year as a starter in college, Greene decided to strike the iron while it’s hot. In Indianapolis, the temperature outside of Lucas Oil Field was below freezing, and for Greene, the wind chill inside was also below zero. The 5-foot-10, 227-pound bulldozer ran a disappointing 4.65 in the 40 and didn’t impress scouts with his 19 reps in the bench press. But, the more important aspect of his game that needs the most work is his receiving skills; an aspect of his game that wasn’t utilized much at Iowa. Despite his effort at the Combine, Greene is still a quality back who will receive second round consideration.

Change In Rank: Greene is now the 5th rated RB (previously 4th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon

Jeremiah Johnson was very impressive at the Senior Bowl and received a lot of attention from the scouts and media. It was at the Senior Bowl where Johnson displayed his ability as a receiver out of the backfield, since he didn’t have many opportunities to showcase those skills at Oregon. Johnson failed to show the explosiveness he had in Mobile at the Combine and finished with a disastrous 4.67 in the 40. In addition to that workout, Johnson managed just 20 reps in the bench press. Johnson’s still considered to be a third – fourth round pick, but the Combine solidified him as a complimentary back at the next level.

Change In Rank: Johnson is still the 10th rated RB in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern

Another scat back that’s known for his deceptive strength, quickness and receiving ability out of the backfield, Tyrell Sutton had one of the most disappointing workouts at the Combine. Sutton measured in at 5-foot-8, 211 pounds, but failed to show the quickness he’s known for and turned in an eyebrow raising 4.65 in the 40. He’s a standup individual and presents himself well to the media, but just like his straight-line speed, his durability is worrisome. Sutton still has mid-round potential, but could fall to the sixth round after his lackluster showing.

Change In Rank: Sutton is now the 16th rated RB (previously 14th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Wide Receivers


Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland

The Combine is the NFL’s version of a track and field meet and it caters to players like Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey is a tremendously gifted athlete who’s blessed with undeniable speed and explosiveness. It wasn’t a surprise to see Heyward-Bey run a 4.3 in the 40, showcase a 38.5-inch vertical, or display his strength by lifting 225 pounds 16 times. As an athlete and a 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver, Heyward-Bey looks the part of a top-notch receiver who will achieve ultimate success at the next level. But it’s his consistency on the field that’s always been the question. After his performance in Indianapolis, Heyward-Bey most likely elevated his status into the first round and could be selected anywhere from No. 17 – 28. 

Change In Rank: Heyward-Bey is still the 5th rated WR in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

A true speedster, Wallace continues to impress this offseason.
AP/Michael Conroy

Mike Wallace, Mississippi

Another receiver who enjoyed the track and field environment was Ole Miss’ Mike Wallace. Wallace had a good week of practice and an even better game at the Senior Bowl and continued to prove to scouts that he is worthy of being drafted in April with his strong performance at the Combine. At 6-foot, 199 pounds, Wallace has great athleticism and flashed a 4.33 in the 40 and a 40-inch vertical. He also tied for the best broad jump amongst the receivers with a 10-foot-9-inch effort. Wallace will be an intriguing pick in the mid-rounds and offers teams versatility at the next level with his ability as a return specialist.

Change In Rank: Wallace is now the 20th rated WR (previously 34th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Jarett Dillard, Rice

After a prolific career at Rice, the 5-foot-10, 191-pound Jarett Dillard has put together a great offseason with his performance at the East-West Shrine game and his convincing Combine showing. Dillard ran a respectable 40 (4.53) for a projected slot receiver at the next level. But it was in the vertical and broad jumps where Dillard displayed his explosiveness. Dillard delivered the best vertical of the receivers with a 42.5-inch effort and tied two other receivers with a 10-foot-9-inch broad jump. Dillard ran solid routes and caught the ball effortlessly in drills. He continues to show scouts that his production in school wasn’t a product of the system and that he’s a legitimate receiver at the next level. Look for Dillard to get late third, early fourth round consideration.

Change In Rank: Dillard is now the 11th rated WR (previously 14th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


Derrick Williams, Penn State

The biggest surprise of the receivers was the lack of speed Derrick Williams showed in his 40. Williams, who had a very good week of practice at the Senior Bowl, got a slow start on both of his 40 attempts and finished with a 4.62. The 5-foot-11, 194-pound Williams has dynamic ability, but with the times he recorded, it appears he’s destined to be a slot receiver in the NFL.

Change In Rank: Williams is now the 11th rated WR (previously 7th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Jeremy Childs, Boise State

A surprise early entry into the NFL Draft, Jeremy Childs didn’t flash the 40 speed you expect from a 6-foot, 200-pound receiver. He ran a 4.62 and didn’t stand out in any of the drills. Childs, who posted solid numbers over the last two seasons at Boise State, was considered to be a mid-round pick. But after his performance, expect Childs to receive late round consideration and possibly go undrafted.

Change In Rank: Childs is now the 29th rated WR (previously 20th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia

Mohamed Massaquoi is known more for his physical approach and not his game breaking speed. But over his career, Massaquoi has shown the ability to get deep and make plays downfield. So, after being timed at a 4.67 in the 40, Massaquoi is no longer viewed as a potential playmaker that can stretch the field. He’s a possession receiver who will have to rely on his hands and physical play to be successful, and is now viewed as a mid-round selection.

Change In Rank: Massaquoi is now the 18th rated WR (previously 10th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Tight Ends


Jared Cook, South Carolina

Maybe the most dominant performance by any prospect at the Scouting Combine, Jared Cook had an incredible workout that has the NFL Universe buzzing. The 6-foot-4, 246-pound physical enigma finished with the best 40, vertical jump and broad jump of any tight end at the Combine. He ran a sparkling 4.50 in the 40, a 10-foot-3-inch broad jump and a 40-inch vertical and that looked computer generated. Not only did Cook show his athleticism, but he showed his strength by benching 225 pounds 23 times. That’s impressive, considering he had the longest arms (35 ¾) of any tight end. With his performance, Cook improved his status from a third round pick to a mid-second round pick in April.

Change In Rank: Cook is now the 2nd rated TE (previously 4th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

One of the most intriguing tight end prospects, Nelson is rapidly becoming a target in the draft.
Scott Boehm/Getty

Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss

Shawn Nelson continued to have a solid offseason with his strong performance at the Combine. Nelson, who was riding a positive wave from the Senior Bowl, cruised into Indianapolis for an event that suits his ability. A natural athlete, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Nelson had an outstanding 4.56 in the 40, a solid 33-inch vertical and a respectable 9-foot-7-inch broad jump. But the most impressive workout for Nelson was the strength he showed in the bench press. With his 34 ½ inch arms, Nelson was able to do 19 reps; not bad for a player known for his receiving ability. At the Senior Bowl, Nelson got better and better as a blocker each day at practice and showed a lot of promise in that area. Many teams are interested in Nelson, and he will likely find his way into the third round.

Change In Rank: Nelson is still the 3rd rated TE in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

James Casey, Rice

When a player comes off of a 111-catch, 1,329-yard, 13 touchdown season as a sophomore and is a 6-foot-3, 246-pound tight end, you can’t help but be interested. At 24 years old, James Casey got a late start to his football career as he spent four years in the Chicago White Sox minor league system. But, after two solid years at Rice, he decided to enter the NFL. Casey was well spoken during his press conference and did very well in drills at the Combine. He ran an above average 4.71 in the 40 and showed great athleticism with a 36-inch vertical. He also has an NFL ready body and impressed scouts with his strength in the bench press, posting 28 reps. Casey’s still developing as a player and has a lot of natural ability; ability that will be enticing in the third round.

Change In Rank: Casey is still the 6th rated TE in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State

Brandon Pettigrew is the most complete tight end in the draft, but his 40-time at the Combine was less than spectacular. NFL teams understand that Pettigrew isn’t a player who will stretch the field; he’s an intermediate route runner and a solid blocker. But running a 4.85 in the 40 didn’t do much to impress scouts. Even though his speed is less than ordinary, Pettigrew is still the top tight end in the class and should be a first round pick.

Change In Rank: Pettigrew is still the top rated TE in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Bear Pascoe, Fresno State

With a name like Bear Pascoe, it’s hard to believe you’re about to witness a track star. But when Pascoe started his 40, it was painful to watch. The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Pascoe appeared to be running in quick sand during his 40 attempt and finished with a 4.95, a time that would only be celebrated by an offensive lineman. Pascoe passed on the bench press and hurt his mid-round status to the point where he’ll probably drop to the sixth round.

Change In Rank: Pascoe is still the 10th rated TE in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Davon Drew, East Carolina

An unknown at the start of the season, Davon Drew finished the season with a strong senior campaign and developed into a legitimate NFL prospect. But, his performance at the Combine wasn’t that strong. Drew is considered to be an intermediate route pass catcher and not much of a threat to stretch the field. He solidified that notion with a 4.82 in the 40 and didn’t impress in the bench press with his 17 reps. Drew was considered to be a late round prospect entering the Combine and leaves with his football future up in the air.

Change In Rank: Drew is now the 15th rated TE (previously 13th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Offensive Line


Smith said that he's the draft's top OT and he proved it at the Combine.
AP/Darron Cummings

Jason Smith, Baylor

When Jason Smith stepped to the podium during his press conference on the first day players spoke to the media, he said, “I’m the best OT in the draft, and I don’t think I have any flaws.” Those were big words for a man to live up to, but in the end he was proven correct and has emerged as the top OT in the draft. The word is that Smith was so impressive in his interviews with teams that the No. 1 pick overall has more value than it did before the start of the Combine, and some teams are interested in trading up for the right to select him. Smith’s athleticism is what initially jumps out at you and being a former tight end helps him tremendously. The 6-foot-5, 309-pound Smith showed his strength by posting 33 reps; displayed his athleticism by running an above average 5.22 in the 40 and did well in positional drills. Don’t be surprised if Smith ends up being the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Change In Rank: Smith is now the top rated OT (previously 4th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

William Beatty, Connecticut

There’s no denying William Beatty’s athletic talent; he has the quickest feet of all the OTs in the draft. But it’s his overall strength that’s been questioned. At the Senior Bowl, Beatty struggled against speed rushers who initiate contact and bull-rush the opposition. In Mobile, Beatty weighed in at 291 pounds, and a month later in Indianapolis, Beatty measured in at 6-foot-6 and 307 pounds. The extra bulk suited him well and helped him with his 27-rep performance in the bench press, and it didn’t have an effect on his quickness as he registered a 5.12 in the 40. Beatty also flashed a 33.5-inch vertical. With offensive tackles being at a premium in the NFL, it’s possible that Beatty sneaks into the first round, similar to the way Duane Brown did in the ’08 draft.

Change In Rank: Beatty is now the 5th rated OT (previously 7th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Lydon Murtha, Nebraska

“Who is Lydon Murtha?” one reporter asked me at the Combine. “Did you see what he just did?” It wasn’t surprising to see Murtha’s success at the Combine, because he’s a workout warrior and a tremendous athlete. This was the kind of venue that would put Murtha on the map after an inconsistent collegiate career. Murtha had a better 40-time (4.89) than a few of the tight ends and looked natural running on the Lucas Oil Field turf. He also recorded a 35-inch vertical and dominated the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle drills. Murtha was viewed as a borderline draft pick prior to this workout and could now work his way into the fifth or sixth round.

Change In Rank: Murtha is now the 18th rated OT (previously N/R) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


Andre Smith, Alabama

The fact that Andre Smith showed up at the Combine out of shape, not ready to perform, acting immature in team interviews and abruptly leaving Indianapolis without telling anyone is a major red flag on a player whose commitment level has always been questioned. Smith is a premier talent and was at one point considered to be a top-three pick in the draft. But, with the NFL high on character guys, don’t be surprised if Smith drops out of the top-ten.

Change In Rank: Smith is now the 4th rated OT (previously 3rd) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma

Being 6-foot-8 and 332 pounds - 11 pounds down from what he weighed at the Senior Bowl - you don’t expect to see a lot of athleticism, but Phil Loadholt didn’t impress anyone with his 5.45 in the 40. He had good and bad moments during positional drills and still has some footwork issues to correct, but showed good strength in the bench press with 24 reps. Loadholt is trying to get in shape and shake the stigma that he’s uncoordinated and not mobile. He’s heading in that direction, but he’s not there yet. He’s likely a mid-to-late second round pick.

Change In Rank: Loadholt is now the 7th rated OT (previously 5th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.

Greg Isdaner, West Virginia

Even though Isdaner graduated before the end of his junior season, he still had to develop more as a player. At 6-foot-3, 325 pounds, Isdaner has great size for an interior lineman, but he lacks athleticism. He looked horrible running the 40, which he was timed at a 5.44 (the second worst among the guards). He had the shortest arms of all the guards and only managed 24 reps in the bench press. He also lacked mobility in positional drills. Isdaner is a late round prospect who could end up being undrafted.

Change In Rank: Isdaner is now the 11th rated OG (previously 7th) in’s NFL Draft Rankings.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the network and on If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at:

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