Combine’s workout warriors don’t add up
Every year there is a group of prospects who make major headlines at the NFL Combine with their stellar workouts and automatically move up draft boards due to their pure physical measurables. However, as we have learned in the past, workout warrior is one thing, football player is another. Therefore, the National Football Post takes a look at this year’s top workout warriors whose on-field play doesn’t quite match up with the hype they are receiving from their combine performances.
Bruce Campbell: OT, Maryland
There is no denying Campbell’s pure athletic skill set as he ran one of the fastest forties of any offensive lineman in NFL Combine history. He possesses great length and has impressive strength for his size. However, as physically gifted as he is, he still has a long way to go from a technique standpoint and is not a prospect who can come in and contribute on the left side from day one. Campbell has a tendency to stop moving his feet on contact and isn’t nearly as fluid as his athletic ability would indicate. Now, he’s still a talented prospect with a ton of upside, but he’s the perfect case of a guy whose “so-so” on-the-field play will get overlooked because of his pure measurables.
Dorin Dickerson: TE, Pittsburgh
Now, please don’t take this the wrong way, as I really do like Dickerson as a prospect and think he has the ability to create mismatches for an offense at the next level. However, he’s more of a straight-line athlete at this stage that needs to use his 4.4 speed to run away from defenders in order to get open. He’s a very sloppy, impatient route runner who has a tendency to glide in and out of his routes and lacks an overall polish in all areas of his game. Now, I obviously think Dickerson has the ability to be moved around an NFL offense and make some plays down the field in the passing game, but he isn’t nearly clean enough as a route runner to consistently separate vs. man coverage underneath at the next level.
Kevin Thomas: CB, Southern Cal
Even though he struggles when asked to play in space in off-converge, Thomas is a guy who I really liked on film because of his ability to play press-man. Therefore, when he opened up some eyes with his 4.48 forty time, some were beginning to make him out as a better overall athlete than he actually is. However, watching him try to change directions and flip his hips was really discouraging during position drills, and he just lacks the flexibility and body control needed to generate any kind of burst out of his breaks. Now, I still think he’s a guy who can play at the next level because of his ability to re-route receivers off the line, but he isn’t anything more than a poor man’s Terrell Thomas in my book, despite his impressive 40-time.
Mitch Petrus: OG, Arkansas
I like Petrus as an NFL prospect, more so than most. However, I see the former fullback as a nasty zone-blocking scheme type guard who can use his athleticism at the second level and chop down defenders in space. Yet, after recording 45 reps on the bench — tying the combine’s all-time record — there is a perception about him now in media circles that he can be a physical, road-grader type at the next level. But, to set the record straight, Petrus doesn’t play anywhere near as strong as that number would indicate and simply isn’t a guy who can explode through his hips and consistently create movement as an in-line blocker in the run game. Again, he’s a prospect that is effective on the move and is at his best in space, but those 45 reps are simply a mirage in terms of his overall strength on the field.
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