It's time for our weekly chat with draftcountdown.com's Scott Wright.
This week, Scott breaks down the combine, identifying winners and losers from Indy.
Q: Which players most helped their causes at the combine?
A: I could literally name dozens of players who helped themselves but I’ll try to control myself…
In no particular order:
Lydon Murtha, OT, Nebraska – Led all offensive lineman in the forty (4.89), 3-Cone and 20-Yard Shuttle.
Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina – Just killed it, running a 4.50 forty and showing off a 41-inch vertical.
Lawrence Sidbury, Jr., DE, Richmond – Ran the fastest forty time for a defensive lineman with a 4.64.
Jason Smith, OT, Baylor / Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia – Both are now clearly ahead of Andre Smith.
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers / Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina – Answered questions about their speed.
Pat White, QB, West Virginia – Looked great throwing the ball and people are starting to view him as a QB.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland – 6-1 5/8 , 210 lbs. and ran this year’s fastest forty with a blazing 4.30.
Jarron Gilbert, DL, San Jose St. – 6-5 1/4 . 288 pounds. 36 3/4 inch arms. 28 Reps. Ran a 4.87. Freak.
(Note: Check out this YouTube clip of Gilbert)
Connor Barwin, DE-OLB, Cincinnati – Showcased his top-notch athleticism in drills and ran a 4.66 forty.
Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas – Was expected to be a “Workout Warrior” and he lived up to all of the hype.
Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest – Looked like a thoroughbred and showed why he is a Top 3 overall pick.
Q: What happened exactly with Andre Smith, and what was the buzz around the offensive tackle?
A: The buzz was all bad, and if there is a playbook for how to screw up the Scouting Combine, Smith followed it page-by-page. First he showed up and announced to everyone from the media to the scouts that he wasn’t going to work out in Indy because he hadn’t been training and wasn’t prepared / in shape. It’s only natural to ask “Why?” After all, he was suspended for the Crimson Tide’s Sugar Bowl loss to Utah so his season has been over for a long time. Then things really got weird. On the day of the offensive line workouts, Smith went AWOL. They even announced over the Lucas Oil Stadium speakers that he was missing and nobody could find him. As it turns out, Smith had taken it upon himself to change his flight and had flown to Atlanta. On top of all that, Smith reportedly tanked in his interviews with the teams as well. Heading into the Scouting Combine, there were already major questions about Smith’s conditioning, work ethic and maturity, and all he did was confirm, if not heighten, every last one of those concerns.
There is little or no doubt that Smith is one of the 5-10 most talented players in this class, but now there are many teams who won’t even consider drafting him. At the end of the day, Smith is simply too gifted to fall out of the top half of round one and a team like Cincinnati or Oakland, which needs help along the offensive line and has shown a willingness to ignore off-the-field red flags in the past, might still take him in the Top 10. With that said, these revelations are nothing new to me, and they are a big reason why I had Smith as my No. 3 rated offensive tackle from the very start.
Q: Other than Smith, which players might have hurt their causes in Indy?
James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio St. – Only managed to run a 4.8 and his stock continues to freefall.
Derrick Williams, WR, Penn St. – Opted to work out even though he had the flu and ran a 4.6 forty.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia – Wasn’t expected to be a blazer but a 4.6 forty was not good.
Aaron Maybin, DE-OLB, Penn St. – Put on 20 pounds but is still undersized and only ran a high-4.8.
Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio St. – Poor forty times could mean teams will view him as a safety prospect.
Q: How do the combine workouts compare to the Pro Day workouts?
A: They are very similar in terms of the drills prospects are put through, but the biggest difference is the environment. In many ways, Pro Days are a little more laid back and comfortable for the players because they take place on their home campuses with all of their former teammates. In some cases the tracks they run on at their schools are faster so we may see some better fortys than we saw in Indy, but keep in mind that scouts factor that in and will add or subtract from their marks based on the surface. The other big difference is there won’t be as many NFL personnel attending the Pro Day workouts. While everybody who is anybody attends the Scouting Combine, most teams send just a few representatives to see each Pro Day workout live.
Q: What went into Matthew Stafford’s decision to not throw in Indy?
A: Most of the top quarterback prospects don’t throw at the Scouting Combine. Matt Ryan didn’t, JaMarcus Russell didn’t, etc. The bottom line is they have a lot more to lose than they have to gain. For a potential No. 1 overall pick like Stafford, it makes much more sense to wait for your Pro Day / private workout where you are in a comfortable environment, throwing to receivers you have a rapport with and working off a script you’ve practiced over and over again to perfect.