Notes from Indianapolis: Part II
The quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs took to the field Sunday to perform for general managers, coaches, and scouts. While it can be difficult to evaluate the quarterbacks because of their unfamiliarity with receivers, you can still look at their mechanics, arm strength, and footwork. If their throws show accuracy and ball placement, that’s a bonus.
In the first group, the quarterback who stood out the most was Alabama’s A.J. McCarron. McCarron has gotten more than his fair share of criticism from the media and draftnic community the last few months because of his refusal to play in the Senior Bowl. He got a chance to silence his critics Sunday morning when he easily was the best thrower among the quarterbacks. While he doesn’t possess the strongest arm of the group, he threw a tight ball, and his accuracy and ball placement was excellent.
Among the higher rated quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater did not throw or workout and Johnny Manziel only did the workout portion. Manziel ran about as expected, running the 40 in 4.68. Blake Bortles was slower than expected with an official time of 4.93. I thought Bortles arm strength was a little better than I originally gave him credit for and he threw a nice ball. His ball placement and accuracy was good but not great.
Brandin Cools won the gold medal for overall workout, with the fastest time among receivers with a 4.33. His vertical jump was 36” and his long jump was 10 feet. He also put up excellent numbers in the 20 yard shuttle (3.81) and 3-cone (6.76).
The consensus number one receiver, Sammy Watkins, had a good day but not quite as good as expected. He ran the 40 in 4.33, and his 20 yard shuttle was a bit of a disappointment at 4.34. He did much better in the 3-cone, timing 6.95. I felt his jumps were average with a 34” vertical and a 10 foot long jump. Don’t be surprised if Watkins tries to improve these numbers at his pro day.
Many people were anxious to see how two of the “jumbo receivers”, Kelvin Benjamin and Mike Evans, performed. Kelvin's official 40 time was 4.61 and his shuttle times were 4.39 and 7.33. He had a 32.5” vertical and a 9’11” long jump. Like Watkins, Benjamin may want to try all these events again at his pro day. Evans had a better day running the 40 in 4.53. His shuttles were 4.26 and 7.08 respectively. His vertical jump was 37”. I did not see the result of his long jump.
Some other receivers who showed excellent speed were Mississippi’s Donte Moncrief (4.40), Colorado’s Paul Richardson (4.40), Pittsburgh State’s John Brown (4.34), and LSU’s Odell Beckham (4.43).
In the running back group, one of the smallest participants was also the fastest. Kent State’s Dri Archer who came in at 5’8 – 173 but he easily had the fastest 40 of the day with a blistering 4.26. He also showed great leaping ability with a 38” vertical jump and a 10’2” long jump.
Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde, who many have ranked as the best running back, pulled a hamstring at the end of his first 40. He ran a 4.65 on that only try. He has to hope that he is healed by the Ohio State pro day.
Boston College’ Andre Williams ran very well (4.56) but struggled to catch the ball. Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey is not very big at 5097 – 207, so he has to have speed. He didn’t have any today, running a 4.70.
Another small back, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, ran better than expected (4.49) and caught the ball well.
Many thought Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk would be the fastest back, he wasn’t close, timing 4.51.
I thought Auburn’s Tre Mason had a strong day running a 4.50 40-yard dash and showed very good ability to adjust to the ball in the air. West Virginia’s Charles Sims also looked good, running the 40 in 4.48, jumping 10’4” and 37.5”, and catching the ball well. He has good body control to go along with his excellent speed.
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