2011 NFL Combine Results: Sunday
At the combine on Sunday, the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers took to the practice field. This is the “Tiffany” day, as the clever guys at NFL Network coined it, inferring that the more glamorous or “big ticket” players would take the field.
But there are a few quick notes before we get into the top performers of the day. For those who may not understand, although the combine and subsequent “pro days” held at college and universities across the country are important, the bulk of what is truly important is a player’s game tape and interview. What goes on behind the scenes is scouts are of course, watching the combine like you and I but they go into the combine with a near fully-fleshed opinion of a player already established.
Say QB X hits the field, he makes some throws and a team is checking him out. They’ll have already watched his game tape and have a summary of what his skills are like. Using what they see at the combine, it can help further clarify or solidify a previous observation.
The NFL is of course a year-round business. A quality scouting department will be following and hearing about college prospects from the time they hit college, sometimes earlier if the player is one of the best in the nation. So while the combine isn’t everything, like anything else in sporting world, it’s important to do your best regardless of the situation.
WR Julio Jones, Alabama
(4.39 40, 11’3” broad jump, 11.07 60-yd shuttle)
Everyone already knew that Jones was a special talent ever since Rivals.com rated him the No. 4 high school prospect back in 2008. His consistently great performance at the Combine today really showed any lingering doubters that he has all the potential in the world. At the University of Alabama, the offense was run-heavy, typically limiting Jones’ role to that of a run blocker on the outside and a decoy. But in spite of that, this combine to go along with his tremendous statistics (78 receptions, 1,133 yards and 7 TDs in 2010) have solidified Jones as a top 15 pick in this year’s draft.
RB Jordan Todman, Connecticut
(4.40 40, 23 reps, 38.0” vertical, 10’6” broad jump, 11.25 60-yd shuttle)
After two highly productive seasons in which Todman accumulated 569 carries, 3162 total yards and 28 touchdowns, Todman still had a lot to prove coming into the combine. He didn’t disappoint. Of the running backs, he had the overall best performance. When a back shows great durability and production in college and add that to a combine performance like this, Todman should really move himself into the conversation as one of the top five prospects at his position.
QB Christian Ponder
(QB throwing drills)
Ponder wasn’t too impressive in the speed and jump drills, but quarterbacks don’t need to be good at those. In the passing drills, Ponder showed nice touch, good footwork and consistent accuracy. He still isn’t a first-rounder unless a team gets anxious waiting for him to fall to them, but Ponder did well in a largely disappointing QB practice.
WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami & WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
These two ACC receivers were considered third round picks at best heading into college football bowl season. But after the all-star games and their combine performances, they may hear their names called as in the second round. Both players had better-than-expected 40 times to go along with productive careers.
QB Tyrod Taylor
(4.51 40, 37.5” vertical, 10’6” broad jump, 6.78 3-cone, 4.09 20-yd shuttle)
It was a mixed day for Taylor. He finished first, tied for first or second in every QB drill. For those scouts who feel he is best suited to be an “athlete” type of prospect instead of a quarterback, it was important Taylor showed his athleticism, which he did. Unfortunately, when asked to drop back and make throws, he looked a little off. The commentators noted how he wasn’t dropping back quickly enough and his throws were off because of it. They went on to say he looked indecisive. Taylor is definitely still raw as a quarterback prospect and any team that wants him to play there; they will need to give him time to develop. But if drafted as an athlete, which is more likely, he proved he could get it done.
More 2011 NFL Draft Coverage