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February 22, 2014 @ 7:55 pm
Current rating: 3.67 Stars/3 Votes

NFL Combine Day 1 Impressions: Offensive Line, Tight Ends

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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The first on the field portion of the NFL Combine took place Saturday and the offensive linemen and tight ends were first up on display for all 32 NFL teams. Who saw their stock rise after Saturday? Which troubled tight end ran the best 40-time of the day?
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 May. 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
While most draft pundits have Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews listed as the top offensive line prospect in this year’s draft, Auburn’s Greg Robinson stole the show Saturday in Indianapolis, and will give a number of teams in the top 10 something to think about when they are on the clock in May.

Robinson’s 40 time (4.92), second best of all the linemen, showed off his athleticism and he proved to be one of the strongest also, pushing up the 225-pound bench press 32 times. Maybe even more impressive was Robinson’s agility and footwork in a number of on the field drills.

Matthews is still the most NFL-prepared of the linemen at the combine according to most of those in attendance, and displayed great technique in some of the drills asked by the coaches running things on the turf inside the stadium. His 10-yard split was an impressive 1.70 on his second attempt.

Zack Martin from Notre Dame had a solid week in Mobile, Ala. during the Senior Bowl last month and carried it over to the Combine. Martin drew raves from the NFL Network commentators including Mike Mayock who mentioned that Martin’s versatility to play either side at guard or tackle, and even center will be something that will make NFL front office’s drool. Martin doesn’t always overpower opponents, instead uses relentless work ethic, technique and his smarts to get the job done.

Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan, who came in at 6-7, 309-pounds, ran the fastest time of the day for offensive linemen, laying down a scorching 4.87 40-time, including 10-yard split times of 1.70 and 1.64 unofficially.

Other players who shined on Saturday were Boston College offensive tackle Matt Patchan (40 times of with 4.97, 10-yard split of 1.59), Nevada tackle Joe Bitonio (40 time of 4.97, 1.68 10-yard split) and UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo who ran a 5.04. All three had terrific workouts on the field showing the flexibility and fluid motion that the scouts love to see.

Stanford guard David Yankey had poor times in the 40-yard dash putting up a 5.5 on his first attempt then followed up with a 5.53.

TIGHT ENDS
Top rated tight end prospect tight end Eric Ebron (6-4, 250) of North Carolina wowed scouts in attendance on Saturday with a blazing official 40-time of 4.6, which was second among tight ends. Unfortunately Ebron pulled a hamstring on the second run and as a result and was unable to perform field drills following the 40-yard dash runs.

Tennessee State tight end A.C. Leonard who was measured in at 6-2, 252-pounds, ran the quickest 40-time at the Combine all day Saturday putting up a 4.5 flat. He was also impressive during the on the field drills, but his biggest obstacle will be how he interviews and if NFL teams feel some of his troubles off the field are behind him. There is no question he has the ability to play in the NFL and showcased that part of the process on Saturday.

C.J. Fiedorowicz had a solid day on Saturday and, although most likely will be mid-round selection in May, did nothing to hurt his stock. His 40-time of 4.76 was about what most expected.

Florida’s Trey Burton also turned in a solid 40-time, (officially a 4.62), but at just 6-2, 224-pounds, may find it difficult to take his game to the NFL due to his size. Burton was an all-around athlete for the Gators over the past four seasons, playing quarterback in the wildcat, running the football at times and also playing tight end. His athleticism will be intriguing to NFL scouts, finding a true position may be frustrating however.

Next up on Sunday: Running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers


Last modified on Monday, 24 February 2014 17:45
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    After this combine Greg Robinson probably goes 2nd to the Rams. If Bridgewater drops to 7 the Bucs have to take him. I would consider Bortles too, because Glennon may not be the man. The player I think could be a steal is Logan Thomas from VaTech, but not as a QB as a TE. The guy has played the position before and he is a hell of an athlete. Thomas is a huge project at QB, he could be drafted probably in the 4th or 5th round. If he can be convinced to move to TE, he could be a star in the NFL.
  • avatar


    I think that Tampa bay could go several ways when the draft arises in May 8,9 &10. I think Tampa would selects @ #7 for best player available. Then trade down in Rd-2 and pickup also a no#3. Tampa would have stil their #1 a lower pick in #2 and pickup a no#3 plus #4  then Tampa could have 5 players that could start or solidified their backups. GO BUCS
  • avatar


    Guys we need a guard. Gabe from miss st reminds me of a healthy Aron Sears I love this guy. Yankee really impressed my too. From a value standpoint the Martin kid can play tackle and center but is rated an all pro guard so picking him in the first round hopefully after a trade down would be ideal
  • avatar


    All these players would be a fine player for the bucs
  • avatar


    If Watkins and the top 3 QBs are gone when we draft, and its looking that way right now, then we should draft one of the OTs and cut Penn. That would save us around 5 mil in cap space to use. We should sign Mack (C). Keep Zuttah as insurance incase Nicks doesnt make it back or Joseph does play up to potential. We should also sign a DE, QB, and CB in free agancy. Draft LT, WR, LB, DE, and TE not in that order.
  • avatar


    Love the O-Line talk boys. The way this draft is shaping up don't expect Watkins to be there at 7. That being said, either Robinson or Matthews would be great picks for the Bucs. Both of these guys will be day 1 starters and would be the best lineman on the Bucs the minute they walk in the door.
  • avatar


    There is so much talent in this draft it would be nice to have all our picks. When you start looking at our team it has a LOT of holes on this team. Dominik did a good job with the salary cap but left the team with no depth and quite a few holes. The method of doubling up on positions does not work. We have been drafting DL it seems forever and we still need DL help. I sure hope Licht and Lovie can find a few stars and turn this team around in the near future. Not expecting a good record this year as this team needs a major overhaul. Looking at 2015 as the year the Buc's could make the playoffs.
  • avatar


    We clearly need something new on the OL but let's not get too carried away with a savior pick ... Recall the efforts of Joeckel and Fischer this past season...a big learning curve and both of those guys would be ahead of any LT in this draft. Still happy for us to pick one but improvement to the WORST OFFENSE IN THE LEAGUE is going to take a lot more than a new LT....fortunately Tedford is a good start.
  • avatar


    I love the Combine. It was my first "treat" when getting the NFL Network many years ago. The intriguing thing about the Combine this year is that we-as Bucs' fans-have learned that we have needs at every spot; some more dire than others. Yes, those LT's were amazing. AMAZING. If we get any one of the 3 guys tearing it up in Indy, I would NOT be dissapointed. But, Penn still has something left in the tank. Guard is where we have Real issues This year. Nobody at LG. That's 2nd round for a great talent at Guard in the Draft. With the guaranteed $$ invested, Nicks couldn't go on IR, and then mentor the Rook? With a Guard in the 2nd, we still have our 1st pick. I think Real need is totally on the O. Tomorrow is the WO's/QB's. Does anybody else feel like the Bucs' could double dip WO's ala Dom style, and it not be a bad move? Jackson's over 30 & we're still waiting on Mike to show up. Beat Man Coverage. I watched Seattle too. I saw that D. It was great. But I ALSO saw the final score, and it was over 30.
  • avatar


    If I'm a Bucs O linemen I'm coming to that first mini camp in the best shape of my life. I think we'll see the most turn over to that unit. Joseph return to pro bowl form? Not likely, and correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he only make it to one pro bowl as an alternate? I hardly call that being a pro bowler. Owly, Meredith was horrible last year, but better then Larson, that's how bad we are up front. Penn at his age, and pay grade, moving him to another position just doesn't make sense. Left tackles never make it to free agency, and are the highest paid linemen. That's why we need a first round one to lock up for five years on a rookie salary. It's time we get a blue chip player on the left side.
  • avatar


    30 is usually when Offensive Linemen hit their prime. When you watch the film Penn was most often getting beat not by edge rushers running around him but by faking to go around then catching him off guard and running under him. So he is still athletic and has plenty of experience but should be asked to take a pay cut and then tried at RG and RT or LG. Joseph was coming off an injury and should be given a chance to show if he can return to All Pro form. Our best lineman should be switched to LT and be given a chance to show if he can't be better than the top rookie Tackles. If Joseph can't handle RG we know Meredith can. We need to let the new OL Coach show what he can accomplish. Bostad did good two years ago but wasted all his effort last year trying to retread his former player which turned out to be an impossible task. I think all we will need are some affordable younger free agent lineman, including a backup center/guard to replace our present inept backup.
  • avatar


    After reading the mindset pressers from Tedford, licht and Coach Smith I feel an O-line upgrade is a lock. Sounds like their strategy will be through free agency and draft combination. Should be interesting.
  • avatar


    I've said before that I'd be happy with either LT Robinson or Matthews in the first round, but so much will depend on FA acquisitions. We only get 5 picks in the 7 rounds of the draft (thanks to Dominick), so we better hit on at least 4 of them. Hopefully, the Bucs can persuade some of the present players, such as our overpaid CB (I'm taking to you Revis) and our non-productive OL players (I'm talking to you Penn, Nicks & Joseph) to take salary cuts so that we have even more salary cap space to sign FAs to fill some of our multitude of holes.
  • avatar


    Get a Mike LB from somewhere, skip over the RBs, I wouldn't care if this draft was dedicated to the offense.
  • avatar


    I could see us going OT in the 1st and G in the 2nd.
  • avatar


    I enjoy watching the Combine and listening to the commentary but being able to chase down the ice cream truck doesn't necessarily mean the guy can play. Being able to lift the ice cream truck doesn't mean the guy can play either. What a good showing can do is show that a player has the athletic ability to play or show his limitations that must be compensated for by other attributes. For OT's I think having long arms, big strong hands and being able to move their feet to mirror a pass rusher are more important than running a straight line. For OG's and Centers I think having a big butt to anchor and short area quickness to pull and get to the linebackers are important qualities. For Tight Ends it depends on what their role is in the offense. Jimmie Giles was able to block and ran a 4-6 which was remarkable in those days. We've never had a TE since who matched his all around skill set. If blocking is more important, I've never understood why teams don't just add another tackle and every once in a while toss him the ball. At 6-9 Dotson would make a great target. Look on the college basketball teams for guys not good enough for the NBA but possess the characteristics of a TE candidate. That's why we have a Practice Squad. Can't find one...make one.
  • avatar

    How do you give us 7 players to watch and then not follow up on an intriguing players performance in the next article you produce? You got my attention with Lyerla.. So, how did he do??
  • avatar

    Its time to draft a top LT, Penn is getting old fat and slow he has never been a good run blocker its time to move on to Jake Matthews or Lewan and that is ok in my book
  • avatar


    Penn, Nicks, Joseph; it might be time to take less money and keep the Bucs from drafting a OL in the early rounds. I watched the Combine today and the OL looked strong. This is a good year to draft OL early and often, then all of a sudden our WR's will look much better and so will the QB.
  • avatar


    we got to come out of this draft with one of the top tackles. These guys moving around today makes Penn look like a fat statue.
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