Combine risers no one is talking about

It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla of the NFL Combine as 40-yard dashes and bench press numbers always take center stage. Today, however, the National Football Post takes a look at some guys who might not have been the talk of Indianapolis but had very successful trips anyway.

Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, DB, Indiana (Pa.)

At 6-feet, 207 pounds, Owusu-Ansah has the size to play either corner or safety at the next level. However, it was his 4.47 time in the 40 that really opened some eyes on Tuesday. He’s a gifted athlete who needs time to develop as a potential starting defensive back in the NFL, but what makes a guy like this so intriguing is his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands and help out on special teams. In my opinion, he’s one of the draft’s top return men and should also make one heck of a gunner. He has the upside to mature into a Rashean Mathis-type player. Don’t be surprised to see him come off the board in the late second/early third-round range.

Daryl Washington, OLB, TCU

We knew coming in that Washington had the straight-line speed to track the football laterally and run sideline to sideline, so his 4.66 time wasn’t a real shocker. However, watching him fluidly change directions during position drills while keeping his base down and feet under him was impressive. He isn’t a guy who can consistently take on NFL-caliber linemen inside the box, but if you need a weak-side guy to come in and play from day one in a 4-3, Washington might the best that this year’s draft has to offer.

Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee

If you get a chance to check out the official combine numbers, take a look at the running back position. Hardesty was one of the top performers in every event, registering the sixth fastest 40 and third fastest short shuttle and recording the best marks in the vertical jump and broad jump. I know some of you might be thinking the guy is simply a workout warrior, but on tape he’s one of the nastiest running backs in the draft and has the ability to run with power between the tackles and consistently create after contact. This was one heck of a performance for a guy I didn’t think was quite this caliber an athlete.

Marshall Newhouse, OL, TCU

Newhouse is a bit of a tweener who doesn’t quite have the size or length to play as an offensive tackle in the NFL. However, if you need a guy who can get out to the second level and reach defenders in space, this is your man. Newhouse possesses impressive range and body control and posted the top time in the three-cone drill as well as the third best time in the short shuttle. He was also the third fastest offensive lineman to run the 40 (5.0) and looks capable of developing into a very good zone-blocking scheme-type guard because of his combination of overall coordination and athleticism.

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