5 Things We Learned at the Combine (2/27)

Posted Feb 27, 2016's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from Saturday at the Combine

After head coaches and general managers gave their state of the team addresses over the first two days in Indianapolis, it was time to get down to business on Saturday the NFL Scouting Combine.

That’s when the bulk of on-field workouts began and the top brass from all 32 clubs moved from the podiums to their seats in Lucas Oil Stadium.


Here are five things we learned from Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine:


Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine included on-field workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends, while it was the defensive backs’ day to speak to the media.

Notre Dame’s Will Fuller led the way in the receivers group by posting a 4.32 40-yard dash. TCU’s Kolby Listenbee (4.39) took the silver while California’s Trevor Davis (4.42) came in third. Georgia running back Keith Marshall still holds a slight lead with the top overall 40-yard dash time at 4.31 seconds. Josh Doctson, another TCU product, tied Oklahoma’s Sterling Shapard for the lead in the vertical jump at 41 inches even. Auburn’s Richard Louis led the way in the broad jump at 11 feet even.

Quarterbacks also showed some speed in addition to their arms. Louisiana Tech’s Jeff Driskel ran a 4.56 40, the fastest at his position. Trevone Boykin of TCU and Carson Wentz of North Dakota State tied for second at 4.77. The fastest tight end was South Carolina’s Jerell Adams (4.64), and the strongest was David Morgan of Texas-San Antonio (29 reps.)


Running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds would put you among the top five wide receivers at this year’s combine. In 2015, it wouldn’t have put you in the top 15. In 2014 -- Odell Beckham Jr.’s star-studded class -- it would have been good for an 11th-place tie.

“This is the slowest class that I can remember,” NFL Media’s Mike Mayock said. “I said that with the first group. We had a couple 4.7’s; we’ve seen a bunch of high 4.6’s, a lot of mid-to-high 4.5’s. A lot of them better be really good route runners.”


A common question during interviews at the combine is about who players compare themselves to, and NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks, who both played and served as a scout in the NFL, asked Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook that very one.

"I think I'd have to say Tom Brady,” Cook said of the Patriots’ three-time Super Bowl MVP. “Obviously he has great stats, and he throws for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns, but I think my game (compares) to his because he's a winner. I go out there and try to put my team in the best situation to win each and every week, just like him. There (have) been times where ... he's made a mistake and put it behind him, goes out there, throws a touchdown and leads his team to victory. In that way, I'd say my game kind of reflects Tom Brady's, the competiveness, love for the game and his will and drive to win."


Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, the biggest quarterbacks at the combine at 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds, pulled up gingerly toward the end of his second 40-yard dash attempt, thus ending his on-field drills. On his first attempt, he ran it in 4.81 seconds (10thamong quarterbacks) while also posting a vertical jump of 36 inches, which tied Paxton Lynch of Memphis for best at the position. Speaking on Thursday, Jones said he was looking forward to showcasing his speed. The Buckeyes’ pro day is scheduled for March 10.

“I’m really looking forward to the running part of it, the 40 and the vertical,” Jones said. “I mean, dropping back and throwing the ball to guys in shorts and shirts, I don’t think that’s going to ‘wow’ many people when I don’t have any pressure, I don’t have to avoid anything. Maybe a couple of drills, but I think the combine’s going to be a good time to show what I can do but I don’t think too many people are going to say he had a great combine, he’s going to be the best quarterback to ever play the game.”


The biggest compliment for cornerbacks is quarterbacks not throwing their way. Just look at perennial All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and his island. So when Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander is asked about having zero interceptions in his college career, he has an answer.

“How do I answer that? I mean, I had some opportunities to come up with some picks in my career,” he said. “I didn’t come up with them at the end of the day. I’m taking it like a man, you know. But in a lot of situations…I wasn’t challenged very much. A lot of quarterbacks and teams stayed away from me. That was their game plan. That’s it, really. That’s how I answer that.”

Alexander was also asked where he stacks up in this year’s cornerbacks class.

“I’m a competitor, and they’re all competitors, but at the end of the day I’m going to say it – and a lot of you guys will say it – I’m the best corner in this draft class,” he said. You know what I mean? If you look at stats, my numbers, who I am as a person, who I’m competing against – I went against the best receivers in the country. I went against more of the top receivers than anybody in this draft class, and I’m going step for step. I’m not just moving outside, I’m going inside. I’m playing zone, I’m able to blitz, I’m able to show my versatility, everything.”

On-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers on Sunday, on-field workouts for defensive backs on Monday.