The NFL Scouting Combine kicked off the on-the-field portion of the four-day showcase on Friday with the top offensive line and tight end prospects under the scrutiny of all the NFL’s 32 teams.
With eight selections in the seven-round NFL Draft, and numerous holes to fill, the Buccaneers were well equipped with everyone from head coach Lovie Smith down to scouts in attendance watching the former college players doing their best to impress under the warmth of the climate-controlled Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.
Below are some notes and impressions from Day 1.
OFFENSIVE LINE T.J. Clemmings (6-4, 309)
Clemmings is viewed by many as the top tackle prospect in this year’s draft, and while the intangibles from a physical standpoint are there, Clemmings combine workout was much like his Senior Bowl week – an inconsistent mixed bag. The former Pitt standout struggles at times with his knee bend and gets sloppy with technique at times. He does show good lateral movement but tends to get off balance and too high when he doesn’t sink his hips. NFL personnel were hoping to see Clemmings jump off the charts, but unfortunately saw what they witnessed in Mobile.
Cam Erving (6-5, 313)
Erving showed a ton of athleticism and strength running the 40-yard dash in 5.16 and pushing up 30 reps on the bench press. Erving, who shifted from tackle to center for the Noles midseason, adds the versatility that teams love, and had a solid on the field day as well. Erving has seen his stock rise and could end up as a late first rounder.
Ali Marpet (6-4, 307)
The Hobart standout really introduced himself to the scouting world with a great Senior Bowl week last month in Mobile. PewterReport.com noted him during our coverage last month and on Friday Marpet had the fastest 40 time among linemen running an unofficial 5.00. Marpet continued to improve his stock with solid workout on Friday.
La’el Collins (6-4, 305)
Collins looked as good as any linemen at the combine. Collins ran very well in the 40 coming in with a 5.13. Where will Collins excel at in the NFL? Collins can play multiple positions but some scouts see a future Pro Bowl guard and at the least, a solid tackle at the next level.
TIGHT ENDS Maxx Williams (6-4, 249)
Williams did little to change the fact he top rated tight end on many NFL team’s board during his workout in Indianapolis. Williams ran a 4.78 seconds on his second run in the 40-yard dash after a disappointing first attempt. NFL front office personnel were happy to see the bounce back second try. Williams is the best of what is not viewed as a stellar tight end class, but most likely will be the first one off the board.
Clive Walford (6-4, 251)
Walford impressed once again in Indianapolis as he did in Mobile, showing great hands and a natural pass catching ability. Walford’s 4.79 second 40 time was good for a player of his size and is pretty fluid in his route running. Walford could push Williams to be the first tighr end drafted in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Nick O’Leary (6-3, 252)
O’Leary is a throwback tight end who doesn’t wear gloves and says little on the field. While his 4.93 40 time was disappointing, the productive and solid game tape is there for scouts to see. While no one expects O’Leary to be a future Hall of Famer, the grandson of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus could be a grinder and fill the role of an H-back/fullback/tight end in the league for a number of years. O’Leary has as consistent hands of any of the tight ends in this year’s draft.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.