Andre Branch, DE/OLB, Clemson
Andre Branch had a quality Combine, excelling in the drills. His arm length (34) was good, while his 10-yard split in the 40 (1.56) really opened some eyes. Branch showed teams that he has great explosion, so he could be chosen at the very end of the first round this April.
Michael Brockers, DE/DT, LSU
Michael Brockers shocked everyone by weighing in at 6-5, 322 pounds. He showed good burst in the 40 when he ran a 1.77 10-yard split, which is pretty good for someone his size. His bench press (19 reps) wasn't very good, but it's not a big deal considering his impressive arm length (35 inches). Brockers has tremendous upside and could easily be chosen at No. 9 in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Fletcher Cox, DE/DT, Mississippi State
Warren Sapp called Fletcher Cox "his guy." Cox was highly impressive at the Combine, running a 4.79 40 with a 1.63 10-yard split despite measuring in at 6-4, 298. Cox also benched 30 reps despite having 34 1/2-inch arms. To top it off, he was terrific in the field drills. He could be chosen in the first half this April.
Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska
Jared Crick's 4.94 40 isn't a big deal because he had a 1.69 10-yard split, which is fine. What brings his stock down are his short arms (32 inches). He also didn't look very smooth in the drills. He may have dropped into third-round consideration.
Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall
Vinny Curry is another defensive lineman with short arms (32 3/4 inches). He also didn't really stand out in the drills, and his mediocre 40 (4.85) didn't help either. Curry had a shot to go in the first round prior to the Combine. That's not the case anymore.
Dom Hamilton, NT, Missouri
Dom Hamilton quit on a couple of the field drills. He'll have trouble getting drafted after that ugly display.
Jaye Howard, DT, Florida
Jaye Howard looked terrific in the Combine field drills. His 4.75 40 at 6-3, 301 pounds also really helps his cause.
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
Melvin Ingram dominated the Combine. No defensive end looked more impressive in the drills. Everything checked off, including his 40 time (4.66). His arm length is an issue (31 1/2), but he has so much explosion that he'll be chosen in the top 12.
Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, West Virginia
Bruce Irvin has a lot of bad tape, but predictably stood out at the Combine. He ran a 4.43 with a 1.63 10-yard split. He also notched a 33.5-inch vertical and looked fluid in the linebacker drills. He'll be a mid-round pick as a future situational pass-rusher in a 3-4 scheme.
Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
Mike Martin had a strong Senior Bowl, and he continued to impress NFL decision-makers at the Combine. He ran a good 40 (4.84; 1.69 split) despite being 6-1, 306. Martin was solid in the field drills and posted a quality vertical of 33.5 inches. He also notched 36 reps on the bench, but that was a bit offset by his short arms (32 1/4 inches).
Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois
Whitney Mercilus showed off his athleticism in Indianapolis. He ran a 4.63 with a 1.56 10-yard split and also notched a 32-inch vertical. He really impressed in the drills, solidifying his top-25 status.
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
Everyone expected Nick Perry to blow up at the Combine, and he did not disappoint. He weighed in heavier than expected at 6-3, 271, but he still managed to run a 4.50 40 with a 1.56 10-yard split. His 35 bench press reps (with 33-inch arms) and 38.5-inch vertical were also highly impressive. Perry strengthened his case to be chosen in the top 20.
Dontari Poe, NT, Memphis
Dontari Poe was the biggest winner out of every player at the Combine. Large men like him (346 pounds) aren't supposed to move around like linebackers. What he did Monday was extremely rare, much like what we saw out of Jason Pierre-Paul a couple of years ago.
Poe ran a 4.87 40 with a 1.68 10-yard split. At 346 pounds. He was just as impressive in the drills, and he has power too; he posted 44 reps on the bench Sunday. Poe will not get out of the top 16 this April. Check back Tuesday evening to see how high I'll have him in my 2012 NFL Mock Draft.
Kendall Reyes, DE/DT, Connecticut
I'm giving a ton of these defensive tackles an up arrow, but they were really amazing. Reyes was yet another guy who showcased his athleticism, running a 4.79 at 6-4, 299. He also posted a 34.5-inch vertical and 36 bench reps (33 1/4-inch arms). Reyes was great in the field drills, prompting the NFL Network analysts to speculate that he could be chosen in the first round.
Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
Brandon Thompson didn't run the 40, yet he was able to work out in the drills. Players often get penalized for not participating when healthy, so he'll be marked down for not competing.
Oliver Vernon, DE, Miami
Oliver Vernon opened some eyes with impressive drill work. Vernon's 40 time (4.68) and vertical (34.5) were solid, so he really helped himself in Indianapolis.
Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
With so many rising defensive linemen, some players had to fall. One such prospect was Jerel Worthy, who was pretty sloppy in the drills. His vertical (28.5) didn't really impress, though it's worth noting that he had a quality 10-yard split (1.64) in the 40.
Out of sheer boredom and the upcoming NBA draft has gotten me itching to make a new mock draft. Of course the NFL draft is a whole lot less predictable than the NBA draft, but also provides more success stories than the NBA draft. Again, I used schedules to determine each team's records and if you get upset with me just remember it's June and a whole lot can change by next April.