Top Five Rising and Falling Prospects After NFL Combine

Beasley

 

The 2015 NFL Combine is finished. If done correctly, scouts will take what they saw over the weekend, compare it to game tape on the players, and used in tandem to help set up a final draft board. Some players had great weekends, which could cause their draft stock to soar. Others had not-so-great weekends which could have the opposite effect. Here are the guys who saw movement in one way or the other after their workouts in Indianapolis.

 

Rising

 

Honorable Mention: David Johnson, Northern Iowa: Johnson was one of the fastest running backs in Indianapolis on Saturday, and had big numbers in strength and explosion drills as well. He gained attention.

5. Kwon Alexander, LSU: A mid-round prospect, scouts had a sense that Alexander was a pretty good linebacker, but after lighting up the 40-yard dash at 4.55 seconds, and putting up a 36-inch vertical and 24 repetitions in the bench-press, he might have moved up. Some of the other 4-3 linebackers struggled, and the LSU product certainly did what he could get scouts to go back to the tape. He almost certainly locked himself in as a day two selection.

4. Ali Marpet, Hobart: Division III players don’t always get a lot of attention, but Marpet put the NFL on notice with a terrific Combine showing, coupled with a strong Senior Bowl performance last month. This weekend saw him show good quickness, with the best OL time, and he also performed well in the on-field drills. He might not be a first round selection, but he showed that he has the makings of a very good NFL lineman.

3. Brett Hundley, UCLA: The quarterback class of 2015 is widely considered to be pretty weak overall, with only Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota as possible first rounders. After a strong showing this weekend, Hundley at least will make teams take another look. Pocket presence and lack of pro-style experience are huge concerns, but he proved himself to be a rare athlete with a great performance in Indianapolis.

2. Byron Jones, Connecticut: Most casual fans probably didn’t know who Jones was prior to the Combine. They do now. His explosiveness proved to be off the charts after shattering the Combine record for broad jump at 12 feet 3 inches, and putting up a 44.5 inch vertical leap. He also posted a great 60-yard shuttle time. The unheralded cornerback might have launched himself, both literally and figuratively, into an early round pick.

1. Vic Beasley, Clemson: There were some terrific workouts in Indy, but nobody had a weekend like Beasley. He put on a show for NFL personnel. After bulking up to 246 lbs, he showed it didn’t impact him by posting a 4.53 second 40-time, a 41-inch vertical, jumped nearly 11 feet in the broad jump, and 35 reps in the bench-press, then coasted through the drills. He will strongly be considered by the teams picking inside the top 10.

 

Falling

 

Honorable Mention: Shane Ray, Missouri: Ray did nothing to hurt himself, as he was injured and didn’t participate, but other players at his position had great weekends, and he may have slid down some boards.

5. Shaq Thompson, Washington: The big question going into the weekend with Thompson concerned his position. Most considered him an easy first round pick, though there were disagreements over whether he was a linebacker or safety (or running back). After a slower than expected 40-yard dash, many wondered if he was too small for linebacker and too slow for the secondary. There’s a chance he falls out of the first round now.

4. Devin Funchess, Michigan: Funchess is a big receiver, and uses his size to make plays, but a 40 time of 4.7 might have hurt him when teams are looking for the position in the late first round. This class has a lot of talented receivers, and the former Wolverine will want to have improved numbers at his individual workout or guys like Jaelen Strong and Breshad Perriman could move ahead of him. Some teams may consider him a tight end.

3. Sammy Coates, Auburn: Speed is the name of the game for Coates, and while he certainly wasn’t slow, he didn’t light up the track either. Worse were the on-field drills where he put on full display the biggest knock on him, his hands. He had issues with drops in 2014, and had several drops on Saturday as well. He has the size and playing speed to get to the next level, but if he’s not more consistent at hauling in passes, playing time will be hard to come by.

2. Randy Gregory, Nebraska: By no means did Gregory have a terrible Combine, though he struggled in the agility drills. However, a couple of positional competitors blew it up and combined with questions about his weight, which was as low as 218 lbs, and fit in the NFL, may have dropped him out of the top 10. His ceiling remains high, but 4-3 teams may have removed him completely from their boards, and the others will want to be assured he can add some weight and still maintain his athleticism.

1. Paul Dawson, TCU: Coming into the Combine, Dawson was a darling in the scouting community, but a horrible 40-time, less-than-impressive workout numbers, and questions about his attitude may have changed that. His tape still shows him to be an impressive player, and he could still put up a monster Pro Day, but his weekend couldn’t have gone much worse, short of adding a serious injury. He has some work to do.

 

Follow Vance Meek on Twitter @vancemeek

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