10 Things we learned at the Combine

Posted Feb 26, 2014 highlights the top stories from the NFL Scouting Combine

1. This is a deep draft class.  From Mike Mayock to Bill Polian, Peter King, and many others, experts agree this is the deepest pool of talent in years. Mayock went as far as to say it’s probably the best in a decade and that a top-20 pick this year is similar to a top-10 from last.


Top Photos from the Combine
2. The NFL Scouting Combine keeps getting bigger, but the actual evaluation has stayed relatively the same. While the general public continues to gain more access and place more attention on the event, the decision-makers’ task hasn’t changed: gather measurables and medical data, as well as pick prospects’ brains during interviews. The workouts just confirm or deny what they already saw from tape.

3. Pundits agree an offensive lineman makes sense for the Giants in the first round of the draft, but it’s not a lock.  With the 12th overall selection, experts say value and need could meet for the Giants on the offensive line, but they wouldn’t be surprised if they filled another hole by choosing a talented wide receiver or cornerback.

4. You can get a starting offensive lineman in the first three or four rounds, but only the top two are franchise players. Auburn’s Greg Robinson and Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews have emerged as those premier offensive tackles. Not far behind is Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.

5. Tom Coughlin and the Giants have agreed to a contract extension through 2015. Meeting with reporters at the combine on Friday, Coughlin said that he and the Giants have agreed to a one-year contract extension. The head coach was set to enter the final season of his contract in 2014. Now he is locked up through 2015. “Well, the Giants have always done that,” Coughlin said. “That was always indicated to me. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it, to be honest with you. We’ve had a lot of work going on in our business and our building, as you know. So I had great confidence that it would happen, and it did.”

6. Free agency means free agency. During his press conference in Indianapolis, general manager Jerry Reese discussed notable Giants who are set to hit free agency, including Justin Tuck and Jon Beason. When the new league year begins and free agency opens on March 11, Reese said he would love to have them all back but that they will test the market.  He is keeping his options open.

7. Jadeveon Clowney wowed. The NFL Scouting Combine is about showcasing draft prospects, and there was no one with more eyes on him than Clowney, the defensive end out of South Carolina. And in the most notable drill, the most notable participant ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds on the turf inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the fastest time by a defensive lineman. Kent State running back Dri Archer ran the fastest overall 40-yard dash at 4.26 seconds, the best since Chris Johnson’s 4.24 in 2008. Other top performers include: North Carolina center Russell Bodine (42 reps in bench press), Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier (42.0 vertical jump), Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk (11’2’’ broad jump), BYU safety Daniel Sorensen (6.47 3-cone drill), and Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks (3.81 20-yard shuttle; 10.72 60-yard shuttle).

8. The NFL will need to develop more underclassmen than ever. A record 98 underclassmen declared for this year’s draft, up from 73 in 2013. Many of them worked out at the combine and showed their physical ability. Now NFL teams will be sorting through which ones have the mental capacity to go with the physical.

9. Talks continue regarding centralizing the replay system and/or expanding the playoff field. The Competition Committee met last Wednesday in Indianapolis to discuss league issues, including the replay system and playoff expansion. An Associated Press report said the NFL is “unlikely” to make major changes to either issue this year but noted that no consensus was reached. “There’s still a lot of discussion to be done,” Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said in reference to using a single location for replay reviews. “I think it’s going to be difficult to get done on that this year.” 

10. There is still a long way to go. Even before the combine, the prognosticating was already in full force in regards to the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held later than in the past, this year from May 8-10. But the free agency period in between will play a major role in how teams draft.