Who stood out among the offensive linemen and tight ends on the first day of combine workouts? PewterReport.com's Mark Cook and Eric Dellaratta share what they saw as the annual event kicked off in Indianapolis.
The offensive linemen and tight ends were the first group of NFL prospects who went through the annual pre-draft NFL Combine in Indianapolis Saturday, hoping to improve their status for the NFL draft in late April.
Inside Lucas Oil Stadium NFL coaches, scouts and pro player personnel had their eyes glued to the two units in hopes of solidifying their opinions of the prospects or maybe even finding a draft-day steal.Offensive Linemen
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil, who was already the general consensus to become the first offensive linemen taken in April, did nothing to change his status. In fact with such an outstanding performance Saturday the USC Trojan tackle may be making even more NFL general managers stand up and take notice and muddying mock drafts across the country.
Running an impressive 4.99 in his 40-yard dash drill, Kalil surprised many with his time, even after having reportedly adding 15-20 pounds of muscle to his already impressive frame. Many around the league wondered if the extra bulk would be an issue but Kalil put any concerns to rest early with his 40-yard dash time.
Kalil didn’t just impress those in attendance with his speed but also his overall athleticism, showing off impressive upper body strength by bench pressing the 225 mark 30 times, landing him in the top 10 among his fellow linemen.
If there was any doubt if Kalil was a top five selection before Saturday those were laid to rest, and may very well end up in Minnesota with the No. 3 overall pick.
The No. 2 offensive tackle prospect Iowa left tackle Riley Reiff was also impressive Saturday turning in a 5.23 40-time and his 6-foot-5, 313 pound frame will almost certainly guarantee Reiff to be the second offensive linemen selected in the upcoming draft. The only concern some scouts and NFL personnel may have is his arm size which measured in at 33 ¼ but many feel they shorter arm length won’t be too much of a factor come draft day.
Stanford guard David DeCastro (6-4, 316) was easily the most impressive at his position on the day. Besides his dominating career playing at Stanford DeCastro is a smart football player who will pick up the offensive playbook easily for the team who selects him.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, in a pre-combine conference call, talked about DeCastro.
“I think DeCastro is pretty sure (the best guard prospect),” Mayock said. “You can plug him in and play him day one."
Other offensive linemen who had a good showing Saturday in Indianapolis were Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler, Iowa’s Adam Gettis and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn, who ran an astonishing 40-time of 5.15 despite weighing in at 345 pounds. Both Zeitler, Gettis and Glenn have some weaknesses, but all three most likely helped their draft stock with their Saturday performance.-Editor-in-chief Mark CookTight Ends
With the recent success of tight ends such as New England’s Rob Gronkowski, New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, and San Francisco’s Vernon Davis, NFL teams will be looking for the next great tight end. The 2012 draft class features some good receiving tight ends, but it only showcases a few complete tight ends that can catch passes and block at a high level. In Indianapolis on Saturday, the tight ends got their chance to make an impression on NFL teams at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine.
Georgia’s Orson Charles had a disappointing workout in Indianapolis on Saturday. Charles (6-foot-2, 255 pounds) decided not to participate in the 40-yard dash drill. This is interesting because was one of the most athletic tight ends in all of college football, and his game projected very well to this drill. Charles also ran the gauntlet drill incorrectly and also dropped a few passes that should have been caught. One of the few bright spots for Charles at the Combine was the bench press drill. He put up 225 pounds 35 times, which was the most of any tight end in Indianapolis. Charles projects to be a late second round pick.
Clemson’s Dwayne Allen had a mixed outing on Saturday. Allen ran an unimpressive 4.89 in the 40-yard dash, but he made up for it by excelling in all of the on-field receiving drills. The Clemson standout showed some nice footwork in the blocking drill and looked very natural as a receiver in the gauntlet drill. Allen showcased some nice burst out of his cuts and looked like the best route runner of the tight ends. Allen projects to be a second round pick
Coby Fleener from Stanford did not participate in the on-field drills due to an injury. However, he did participate in the bench press where he put up 27 reps of 225 pounds. Fleener weighed in at 6-foot-6, 247 pounds. He's projected to be a second round pick.
One of the most surprising performers in the tight end group was Oklahoma’s James Hanna. The Sooners tight end ran an astonishing 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, which held up as the fastest time in the tight end group. Hanna looked like a natural receiver and he also tied three others for the highest vertical with a measurement of 36. Hanna helped his draft stock in Indianapolis.
Missouri’s Michael Egnew ran a 4.62 in the 40-yard dash drill and had the fast 10-yard split of the tight end group with a time of 1.57. Egnew destroyed the competition in the broad jump, where he recorded a jump of 10’11, which was seven inches farther than second place finisher LaDarius Green. He also tied for first in the vertical jump with a 36. Egnew projects to be an early third day selection. -Beat writer Eric Dellaratta
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