After a week of workouts, the 2012 NFL Combine is over. NFL draft prospects will be leaving Indianapolis to continue their training elsewhere while NFL scouts, coaches and GMs will head back home to evaluate what they just saw in the last week.
So what did happen in the last week? Robert Griffin III confirmed he's one of the best athletes in the draft, Dontari Poe looked nimble at 346 pounds and Vontaze Burfict might as well have stayed home. Check out all the results here.
Here's a recap, starting with the main attraction...
Robert Griffin III's Combine makes the top of the draft a lot more interesting. Andrew Luck is considered by many to be the better prospect but I can't lead off with anyone but RG3. The former Baylor quarterback was confident yet charismatic during his media press conference leaving many people very, very impressed with the way he handled himself. And then he showed his talents on the field are just as strong as he ran an impressive 4.41 40-yard dash and had a 39-inch vertical leap. He didn't throw while at the Combine -- neither did Luck -- but he did enough to make the race for the No. 1 pick at least a little interesting. We still expect Luck to go No. 1 but all of a sudden the No. 2 pick seems a lot more valuable. Whoever gets the second pick, gets Griffin III.
Just how much faster is RG3 than other top quarterbacks? Here's a spliced GIF that shows RG3 zipping past Andrew Luck and last year's top pick, Cam Newton:
The Rams should be very content with the way the Combine went. RG3 as one of the top stories at the Combine is great news for the St. Louis Rams because they hold the No. 2 overall pick, which is where teams will have to be to secure RG3. The Rams, by the way, made it very clear at the Combine that the No. 2 pick was for sale. The more hype surrounding Griffin III, the more picks the Rams can expect to get in return. By the time the Combine was over, we saw reports out of Washington D.C. that the Redskins were prepared to do what it takes to move up to the second pick to select Robert Griffin III. Expect more of those types of reports to come. Griffin III's stock is rising, even if his draft position likely won't.
Andrew Luck didn't do too bad, either. The former Stanford quarterback ran the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds and showed that he's more than just a statue behind the offensive line, that he actually has some athleticism. That was a little bit of a surprise to me considering we only think of Luck as this drop-back passer. He is obviously more athletic than that. He didn't throw at the Combine but he also didn't do anything at the Combine that makes me think he won't go No. 1.
Riley Reiff has short arms. The NFL Combine is really weird. We talk about arm length, hand size and how a prospect's big butt can benefit him. There was some concern floating around regarding Riley Reiff's short arms -- just 33 1/4 inches, which is considered short for a left tackle. You also have scouts wondering if a player's butt is big enough. Some questioned the size of Ryan Tannehill's hands. This is all part of the strangeness that is the lead up to the NFL draft -- looking at the physical attributes of 22-year olds before handing them millions of dollars. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to it.
Dontari Poe is this year's athletic freak. The Memphis defensive tackle put up a whopping 44 reps on the 225 pound bench press test, making him the Combine's strongest man. But that's not all. He also ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.98 seconds. Yeah, that's a 6'4, 346-pound man that's faster most of us. Poe is one of the few true nose tackles in this draft, and those are hard to come by. I think his stock jumped big time at the Combine, high enough that folks are wondering if he can rise as high as the top 10. He was considered by many to be a late first round guy before the Combine.
Combine's weakest man is Chase Minnifield. The Virginia cornerback repped 225 pounds only seven times. One of the knocks on him coming in was that he wasn't a punishing tackler. This won't help that reputation. But he's still a round two type of player and you don't need cornerbacks to look like LaRon Landry.
The worst 40-yard dash award goes to Vick Ballard. Is it still a 40-yard dash if you never really get going in the first place?
Luke Kuechly had one of the best Combines. He was already a first round pick, thanks to his productive career as a linebacker at Boston College. He has a sterling reputation on and off the field so it didn't hurt that he showed teams over the weekend that he was actually really athletic. To put it simply: Kuechly was among the best individual performers of the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds, jumped 38 inches on the vertical leap and had a 10'3 on the broad jump. He's smart and now he's shown that he's athletic, too. The Eagles were hoping Kuechly drops to them in the first round. I'm not sure that he does now.
Mychal Kendricks rises up draft boards, too. Like Kuechly, Kendricks is an inside linebacker and, like Kuechly, Kendricks had a terrific Combine. He ranked first in a number of drills for his position including the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds), vertical leap (39.5 inches) and broad jump (127 inches). Kendricks was also productive throughout college so that combined with his Combine performance and his stock should be on the rise.
Stephen Hill makes a big jump. The Georgia Tech wide receiver came in ranked No. 17 on Mocking The Draft's receiver rankings. But then he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds over the weekend, which was almost the fastest 40-yard dash at the Combine. He looked impressive throughout the week and some are saying his stock rose more than any other this week. SB Nation's latest mock draft has him being picked at the end of the first round, thanks to his impressive Combine. Being fast is one thing. Catching the ball while being fast is another. Check out HIll run through the gauntlet at the Combine and see how he never breaks stride:
Josh Robinson is the Combine's fastest man. A collective, "Who?" Robinson is a defensive back out of Central Florida and is officially the Combine's fastest man. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds, just quicker than Hill, who finished at 4.36 seconds. If you're wondering, Robinson was considered roughly a fifth round pick entering the Combine. I bet his 40-yard dash bumps his draft stock up. It's too bad for Robinson's sake that Al Davis is gone and the Raiders may not be targeting the fastest player in the draft as they often do.
Vontaze Burfict bombs the Combine. Like another linebacker, Brandon Spikes, two years ago, Burfict didn't run very well at the NFL Combine. Because they're both linebackers we'll probably see some people compare Burfict and Spikes, pointing out that Spikes has had a productive NFL career. Just go ahead and stop comparing them right now. Spikes was an All-American at Florida and just wasn't very fast in the 40-yard dash. Burfict was nowhere near Spikes' level last year and some are wondering now whether Burfict will get drafted at all. At one point we thought he could be a top 10 pick (seriously). No one hurt themselves more than Burfict this weekend.
Lots of 'Is your team interested in Peyton Manning?' questions. The NFL Combine isn't just for 2012 NFL draft prospects. It's also a time when every GM and coach in the game comes to Indianapolis and part of that is meeting with the media. For some, this is the only time they'll speak publicly before free agency starts on March 13. So the common question was: Is your team interested in Peyton Manning? The number of Manning-related questions was less (annoying) than Super Bowl week but more than a usual week with the Combine taking place in Indy and all.