Just as we noted the winners of the NFL Scouting Combine yesterday, there were numerous draft prospects that likely hurt their stock by poor showings in Indianapolis. Some ran slow, some didn’t lift as much as they should and others looked too stiff.
Some may argue that the so-called Underwear Olympics shouldn’t be taken too seriously in evaluating draft prospects, but history has shown it has an impact on their stock. Here are the ones that likely hurt their draft status:
QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State. The combine was going to be critical for him to raise his stock, but he pulled his hamstring running the 40-yard dash and was a scratch for the rest of the workouts, including the throwing drills – which would have showed off his cannon of an arm. With his pro day right around the corner (March 13), he doesn’t have a lot of time to heal to put on the show he needs to keep him in Day 2 consideration.
QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State. No QB struggled with an erratic throwing session as much as he did, prompting an unintended hot mic on the NFL Network coverage to pick up the diss, “There’s your next Cleveland Browns quarterback” and analyst Mike Mayock saying he “scares me” as a prospect. He also didn’t come off great in team and media interviews, which could further drop his stock.
QB Connor Cook, Michigan State. He had a chance to separate himself from the glut of developmental QB prospects, but was nothing short of awful in throwing drills, consistently sailing passes high and giving rise to explanations why he had such a low completion percentage in college. Things couldn’t have gone much worse for him.
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas. Viewed as one of the top five running backs in the draft class, he stunk out the joint in Indy, posting brutal vertical jumps (28½ inches), running a slow 40 time (4.59 seconds) and struggling badly in receiving drills. Given the increased importance for running backs to be multi-faceted, he lost himself a lot of money at the combine.
RB Kelvin Taylor, Florida. The son of Fred Taylor, he came out early despite having very limited playing experience. He was viewed as a Day 3 pick with upside, but after running a dismal 4.6 40 in Indianapolis, he may be regretting his decision already and most likely surely will regret it when his name isn’t called until late on draft weekend, if at all.
WR Demarcus Robinson, Florida. Robinson needed to come off well during interviews to explain away his four suspensions in three seasons. From the sounds of things, he did nothing to help his case by trying to explain himself and he wasn’t dominant enough in the workouts to have war-room types overlook his off-field red flags.
WR De'Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State. Whoever advised him to come out early made a big mistake. At 6-foot-5, Wilson is an imposing presence down the field, but ran a pair of horrible 40 times (4.85 and 4.9). That alone may get some teams to take him off their board completely.
G/OT Vadal Alexander, LSU. A player who looks good on tape, his lack of foot quickness and agility stuck out like a sore thumb. He came into Indy with expectations to prove he could be a solid guard in the NFL, but he took a hit with a slow 40 time (5.57) and looking like he was wearing work boots during position drills.
DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky. A player who needed to overcome some off-field concerns, he was expected to cement his spot in the first round by putting up off-the-chart numbers at the combine. Instead, he ran a disappointing 4.80 40-yard dash and didn’t look explosive when compared to some of the other prospects. Once thought to be a lock in the first round, he’ll need a big pro day to win back a lot of scouts.
DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss. He did everything he needed to during the workouts, but his media interview was among the worst of any player who spoke, throwing teammate Laremy Tunsil – the projected No. 1 overall pick – under the bus about the bizarre hotel/weed incident last year. In a lot of cases, pulling the trigger on a draft pick has to do with dependability. He came off as someone whose word can’t be trusted and he already had the tag of being a player who wasn’t a dedicated worker at Ole Miss – not a good combo for a first-round talent.
OLB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame. Viewed by almost all scouts as the best linebacker in the draft, he tore up his knee at the Fiesta Bowl and the medical reports weren’t good. Not only has it been deemed he won’t play in 2016, there are some teams that believe nerve damage discovered during some exams put his long-term career in jeopardy. He went from a top-10 pick to a player who may still be on the board heading into the third day of the draft.
OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia. He didn’t have big sack numbers in college, so he needed to do well in the position drills to show he has the explosiveness to be an edge rusher. Instead, he pulled up lame during the 40-yard dash and wasn’t able to compete in position drills, dropping him down on some assessments. He will need a strong pro day to make up for it.
S Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah. He was viewed as one of the top strong safeties in the draft, but killed himself with a 4.65 40 and looked heavy-legged in position drills. He was exposed for his agility limitations and it could cause his draft stock to plummet.
CB Harlan Miller, Southeastern Louisiana. Small-school players need the combine to put themselves on the radar for NFL teams. Miller did, but for all the wrong reasons. He ran a heinous 4.65 40 and didn’t look natural or fluid in position drills.
S Jayron Kearse, Clemson. A slow 40 time (4.62) and struggles in agility drills may have wiped out a year of good game tape in the matter of a few hours.