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8 takeaways from the 2015 NFL Combine

As expected, Florida State's Jameis Winston stole the show. But there were plenty of other notable happenings in Indianapolis this year.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There is a razor-thin line between confidence and cockiness, and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is already a pro in walking on it. As expected, Winston was the biggest story of the NFL Scouting Combine. He made waves for proclaiming he’ll be in the next Super Bowl.

"I’m in it to win games and be the face of someone’s franchise," Winston said. "This is no competition between just me and Mariota, because one thing about me, I plan on winning the Super Bowl next year so it’s going to be me vs. Peyton Manning and Jameis vs. Tom Brady. I want to be viewed like that. After all this Combine stuff, you’re not going to hear no more about Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota."

Winston’s week started with something of a scare when reports surfaced that he had a weak throwing shoulder. He put that concern to rest during his throwing drills at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Whether they were questions about his shoulder or his character, he answered them and did it with a grin. No question seemed to faze the former Heisman Trophy winner. He left Indianapolis with a much firmer grasp on being the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Obviously it's a little premature to lock Winston into the top pick, but it's getting close.

SB Nation presents: The post-combine mock draft

Here’s more about what we learned in Indianapolis:

We still don’t know the No. 3 quarterback

Much like the offseason all-star games, no quarterback at the Combine managed to separate himself. It could be Brett Hundley of UCLA. Well, except he has erratic pocket presence. Maybe it’s Garrett Grayson of Colorado State. No, his accuracy drops too dramatically whenever he has to move his feet. Hey, how about Bryce Petty of Baylor? No, teams seem wary of quarterbacks who come out of schools that use play card signs. And he never called a play at Baylor.

The common refrain all week was how poor of a quarterback class it is this year. Maybe there will be some quarterback who develops – Connor Halliday of Washington State, perhaps – but it’s still hard to peg the third one off the board after Winston and Mariota.

Pass rushers as good as expected

The strength of this year’s draft is at pass rusher, those highly coveted edge players. Entering the week, there were concerns about the size of Clemson’s Vic Beasley. When he measured at 6'3 and 246, people were pleasantly surprised. Then he ran a 4.53 40-yard dash, pushed 225 pounds in the bench press 35 times and finished highly in other drills. Beasley may have locked up a top-10 spot.

If Beasley locked up a spot in the top 10, Florida’s Dante Fowler may have done so in the top five. The 261-pound versatile end ran a 4.6 40-yard dash to go along with good numbers across the board in the Combine drills.

Owamagbe Odighizuwa of UCLA kept his first-round status alive by putting together a good 40 (4.62 seconds) and vertical jump (39 inches). Those should demonstrate Odighizuwa’s athletic explosiveness. He also looked good in motion drills.

SB Nation presents: Top pass-rushers impress in the 40 at the NFL Combine

Unanswered questions

Is Michigan’s Devin Funchess a wide receiver or a tight end? He left plenty in the NFL even more confused after he ran a 4.7 40-yard dash. Is that fast enough to be a wide receiver? Does he have the ability as a blocker to be a tight end?

Is West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White a one-year wonder? Probably not, but that’s what teams are asking because he had just one good season for the Mountaineers after transferring from a junior college. White told reporters he had bad film his junior season and "put everything on the line" as a senior. But what does that even mean? And why not participate in the Senior Bowl? "I won't disclose that information. I tell teams why. Talk to my agent if you want," White said. That’s kind of a bizarre way to treat an innocuous question.

How much should we believe the bad character guys? Washington cornerback Marcus Peters seemed remorseful in discussing his dismissal from the Huskies. Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was equally contrite.

"I understand what the NFL is looking for (from) me as a person," Green-Beckham said. "I just want them to know I’m going to go out there and give it my all and showing everybody what I’m capable of doing and focusing on being the best player I can be."

But how much can we really believe players who get heavily coached up how to answer difficult questions? Both players can be the best at their positions in the draft. They’re also the greatest risks at those positions.

Best quotes

Dante Fowler on his thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: "Yeah, I like the Bucs, but you know, the Bucs are the Bucs." Ouch.

Fowler as a life coach: "You don’t want to be all kinds of grumpy and rude. You get wrinkles from all that stuff."

Winston on that photo of him looking fat: "I look good and I know it."

Seattle general manager John Schneider on 6'5 Seahawks wideout Chris Matthews: "Obviously everybody loves big receivers. You’d rather have a guy that looks like that rather than a guy that looks like myself – short, pasty white guys."

Duke guard Laken Tomlinson on being asked if he’s too smart: "I don’t see how that could be a problem."

Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett’s Twitter game: "I haven’t put out any risky tweets. My mom follows me so I’m not going to do anything stupid. I still don’t want to be perceived as a weirdo."

Rex Ryan’s thoughts on the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl: "Terrible. Next question." (He was joking. Maybe.)

Weird stats

Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes made headlines for running the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds. It was so fast, he was one of three players adidas handed $100,000 to (wide receivers Phillip Dorsett and Kevin White were the others). Waynes has a regrettable timing number, however. His 20-yard short shuttle time was 4.39 seconds. He’s the only defensive back at the Combine this year to run faster in the 40 than the short shuttle. That’s an indication Waynes may have trouble changing direction, which shows some in games.

The tallest player at the Combine was Florida offensive lineman Trenton Brown at 6'8 1/2. He was also the heaviest at 355 pounds. The lightest player was UAB wide receiver J.J. Nelson at 156 pounds. The shortest was TCU running back B.J. Catalon.

There’s a well-worn phrase about going back to the tape if a player’s numbers stick out. For TCU linebacker Paul Dawson, they stick out in a bad way. He ran a 4.93 40, and didn’t do particularly well in other drills.

Dawson is correct in the defense of himself. But he may find out that linebackers who test like he did don’t get picked in the first round. Dawson may be the type of linebacker we see drop a little bit in the draft but who has a highly productive career. A lot of people have been comparing him to Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals. That feels a little lazy because like Dawson, Burfict didn’t have an exactly clean character background and they both timed poorly. Want a better comp? How about Mason Foster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Special thanks to Mike Loyko for tracking testing numbers all week. What a saint. Find him on Twitter @NEPD_Loyko. Make sure to check his numbers here.

What needs to change

It’s hard to say exactly what should change with the medial process at the Combine, but something seems off. Doctors checking Rutgers’ Tyler Kroft turned and twisted his previously sprained ankle during checkups and it forced the tight end to pull out of the Combine. A day later, Georgia running back Todd Gurley pulled out of medical checkups. To my knowledge, that hasn’t happened in the five years I’ve attended.

While we’re at it, how about a shifting of drills for some of the players? There is zero point for an offensive lineman to run a 40-yard dash. Yes, the 10-yard split is important because it shows initial burst. How about, in addition to the bench press, a power clean for an offensive lineman? Geoff Schwartz of the New York Giants explains:

On to pro days

Now with the Combine out of the way, we’re on to myriad pro days. The first one of consequence is Minnesota on March 2. The pro days usually go through the second week of April and offer a last chance for players to show off for teams.

Arguably the most important pro day is Missouri’s on March 19. Pass rusher Shane Ray couldn’t work out in Indianapolis because of a foot injury. There are plenty of questions about Ray – how well does he change direction or start and stop? – and teams want answers.

Pro days will be critical for the big Combine snubs. Players like Houston wide receiver Deontay Greenberry, Michigan wide receiver Devin Gardner, Georgia Tech guard Shaq Mason, LSU end Jermauria Rasco, Cincinnati linebacker Jeff Luc and countless others will have one chance to stand out.