INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Offensive lineman Jack Conklin of Michigan State participates in a drill during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
The NFL Scouting Combine on-the-field drills got underway on Friday with the top offensive linemen and running backs performing under the scrutiny of all the NFL’s 32 teams.
With a number of holes to fill, general manager Jason Licht, head coach Dirk Koetter and the rest of the Buccaneers scouts and front office staff were in attendance to evaluate and watch all of the players that were invited to Indianapolis for the Combine.
Below are some notes and impressions from Friday’s drills.
• Seldom used Georgia running back Keith Marshall drew literal gasps on Friday during his 40-yard dash run, posting an incredible official 4.31 while weighing in at 219 pounds. The former Bulldog was primarily a backup to Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb during his time in Athens, but certainly caught the attention of the NFL scouts and general managers in attendance in Indianapolis. While it still early to even project where Marshall may end up going, his speed, combined with an impressive showing on the bench press (25 reps at 225 pounds) will most certainly help propel him up the draft board. Marshall totaled just 225 yards in nine games for the Bulldogs in 2015, and many thought his decision to leave early was a mistake. After Friday’s performance, Marshall may have proven he made the right choice.
• Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry weighed in at 247 pounds and ran a 4.54, 40 time in Indianapolis in front of the NFL teams perched high above at Lucas Oil Stadium, and they had to be impressed with that time for a player his size. While his change of direction isn’t ideal, there won’t be many defensive backs eager to take him on with a full head of steam late in games at the next level. Henry also showed good strength, putting up 22 reps on the bench press while also displaying a 37-inch vertical.
• Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley, who is on the Bucs radar, had a very good day on Friday. Stanley who weighed in at 312 pounds on his 6-5 frame, ran an official 5.13 40 time. While Stanley is clearly second behind tackle behind Laremy Tunsil, he did nothing to fall, and may have solidified his stock as a Top 10 pick in April’s NFL Draft.
• Indiana tackle Jason Spriggs had one of the better showings on Friday, turning in a 40-yard dash time of 4.85 seconds, quickest of the offensive linemen who ran. Spriggs also performed well during the field drills, showing very good athleticism. After a solid week at the Senior Bowl, and now a very good NFL Combine performance, Spriggs, who still needs improvement working on bull rushes and inside moves according to analyst Mike Mayock, most likely solidified his draft stock as a second rounder.
• N.C. State’s offensive lineman Joe Thuney opened some eyes with the second-fastest 40 time at 4.86 seconds. Thuney also showed some impressive strength turning in 28 reps on the bench press on Thursday. His on the field work was solid, but he is clearly behind some of the top offensive lineman prospects. Some view him as a pete round developmental type player moving forward.
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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 email@example.com
O-Line is not the issue with the Bucs we still have an adequate starter in Dotson for another yr, please no more Staley possibilities, if anyone I mean even the casual Bucs Fan even knows we need defense and there plenty of high grades on players at corner and DE to draft, just no more “let Martin go and draft a rb, draft a O-line tackle” stuff its irratating
Jon, where are you hearing all this “let Martin go and draft a RB”? The only way Martin will go is because he opted to go to a team for a salary higher than the Bucs were willing to match. If there is one of the two top OL sitting at spot 9 and 3 of the top DL are gone and 2 of the top CB’s are gone, why not consider an OL which would set us solid for years to come?
Because JonnyG’s philosophy is to draft players to fit missing pieces/positions on an imaginary game board rather than picking top talent. Those who think need is paramount over actual ability convince themselves that whichever DE or CB we would draft is better than what is on our game board and that selecting a position, such as an OT to replace an adequate, but not great, game piece isn’t how they want to play the game. Sooner or later, that Draft approach leaves one with a board full of lesser pieces. Of course having a targeted need at a position is a factor when the GM is on the clock, but needs change. This year a few teams at the top need QB’s. None appear to be in the Winston, Mariota, Luck or Newton class but that won’t stop a team from taking one with his fingers crossed while passing on a franchise OT or CB. Fun huh?
Scu- there are about 3 DEs and corners rated high in this draft so we need to grab one of them that fit our top priorities, OT isnt one of them
Scu- we are drafting at #9 esearh where DE’s and corners are pojected to go and you will see we are in line to grab one, tell me how drafting a RT to upgrade from a C to a “possible “A” benefits us when we had the last ranked defense in the league I’m ready to hear you out and learn, ha
SCU is right, we need to draft best player available not need. Drafted need over talent never works out. I know I have used this example before but back in 06 we drafted need over BPA, we took Gaines Adams over A Peterson because we had Cadilac Williams and his ROY season prior. We all know how that turned out. We just need to draft BPA whether its a Tackle, DE, CB, or even RB.
That’s what I said at all JonnyG. Yes, in this Draft it’s entirely possible that at the 9 slot there’s a DE or CB worthy of that choice. But if there isn’t one worthy, you simply don’t force picking the position(s) and pass on a player who does warrant being top 10. You have your philosophy, and I understand it. Heck, every mock draft is need driven. Some, like Mel Kiper, throw geography into the equation.
Horae in prior articles fans have said let him go we can draft Elliot at #9
Jon, I agree with you picking a RB at spot 9 would be strange even if Martin isn’t resigned.
Top tackles never fall. How often are u at the top of draft?? Like Horse said, If Stanley is there and 3 DE’s are gone then you grab the second best tackle in the draft.
Me thinks Martin will be resigned.
“Top tackles never fail.”
Man, sure could have fooled me. Here is every tackle taken in the top 10 picks over the last five drafts. I’ll ignore last year, since it’s far too early to judge any players who were just drafted.
Greg Robinson (huge bust)
Jake Matthews (solid, but nothing special so far)
Eric Fisher (good player, but really rough his first two years)
Luke Joeckel (has struggled badly so far)
Lane Johnson (very good)
Matt Kalil (huge bust)
Tyron Smith (great player)
Trent Williams (great player)
Russell Okung (great player)
So out of 9 guys drafted, we have 4 that are very good to great, 3 that are clear busts, and two that are somewhere in the middle and could ultimately fall either way. Oh, and exactly none of the great ones have come in the last three drafts.
The idea that OTs are “safe” picks is, I think, pretty clearly more myth than reality. There is ample risk with amateur players of all positions.
I agree Toofamiliar17.
Keith Marshall has plenty of highlights for 220 total yards.
Man, that’s an insane combo of size and speed for Marshall. I honestly don’t know a thing about him other than what I just read. That’s pretty crazy, though. For those familiar with speed score, his is 125, which is elite. There’s a lot of debate that’s worth having over how useful speed score actually is in predicting NFL success, but it’s still impressive nonetheless.
It’s my friend toofamiliar from Bucsnation. Glad to see you at PR. The more opinion, the better the dialogue. If you’ve been here before and I missed your comments, sorry , but good to hear from you now!
Hey bud. I’ve been here before. I was actually here before I was at BN. It’s just been a long time.
It seems that their was some late bloomers.
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