This section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2013 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2013 NFL Draft Stock Up
Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina
Cooper’s great Combine performance has helped bolster the claims that there are teams which rate Cooper ahead of Alabama guard Chance Warmack. Cooper is known as a great athlete with speed, so it wasn’t a surprise that he excelled at the Combine. Cooper had a good good 40 time of 5.07 seconds officially and 1.73 seconds in the 10-yard split. He was superb in the field work, too. Cooper was fast, fluid and explosive. He showed great technique in the mirror drill to drop his hips and glide with perfect knee bend. The coaches also had Cooper (6-2, 311) do some snapping at center. He surprised many with a lot of power in the bench press with 35 reps and weighing in heavier than expected.
Aside from speed and athleticism, one thing that Cooper has over Warmack is the capacity to move to center. That is a more premium position than guard, so some teams that could use help at guard and center could be more inclined to go with Cooper. Given his Combine performance, it wouldn’t be surprising if he is a top-20 pick.
Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Hunt used the Combine to put his track background on display. The 6-foot-8, 277-pounder had an official 40 time of 4.60 with a 10-yard split of 1.62. That was tied for the third fastest time. In the bag drills, Hunt showed that he is a natural bender and moved extremely well. Hunt has very quick feet and was smooth moving between the pads. A day earlier, Hunt tied for the lead with all the defensive linemen with 38 reps on the bench press. He truly is a rare specimen for size, speed and strength. Hunt’s big Combine performance isn’t a surprise, but he definitely helped his cause to be a first-round pick.
Sio Moore, ILB/OLB, Connecticut
Connecticut’s Sio Moore is a linebacker who has enjoyed a rise up the draft boards since the end of the season. He played well at the East-West Shrine and at the Senior Bowl, and followed all that up with an excellent Combine. Moore has packed on weight and is now up to 6-foot-1, 245-pounds. He ran a fast 40-yard dash at 4.65 seconds and stood out with 29 reps on the bench press.
The other tests went well with Moore looking good in the field work. The senior totaled 72 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and 11 passes broken up. He is a versatile player who should really interest 3-4 teams on the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Trevardo Williams, OLB, Connecticut
Moore wasn’t the only Huskies outside linebacker to impress at the Combine. Trevardo Williams is definitely a workout warrior, but he also had a lot production in his collegiate career. The 6-foot-1, 241-pounder blazed an official 40 time of 4.57 seconds with a mark of 1.61 seconds in the 10-yard split. Williams was the fastest of all players in the defensive line group. He also was very impressive in the bench press with 30 reps. That is a huge total for a sub-250-pound defender.
Williams was extremely consistent and productive for Connecticut. The senior had 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks and a forced fumble this year. He racked up 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, 43 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2011. Williams helped differentiate himself at the Combine and confirm a grade in the top half of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Cornelius Washington, OLB/DE, Georgia
Cornelius Washington turned out to be one of the most impressive linebackers at the Combine, outshining teammate Alec Ogletree. Washington (6-4, 265) ran a surprising 40-yard dash of 4.78 seconds officially with 1.66 seconds in the first 10 yards. He also did pretty well in the field drills, but he needs to improve his ability to keep his eyes up and rather than watching his feet. Washington led all of the linebackers the day before with 36 reps on the bench press.
The senior totaled 22 tackles with three tackles for a loss and .5 sacks this season. Washington never had good tackle totals, but he did have five sacks in 2011 and four sacks in 2009. Washington looks like he would be best in the NFL as a 4-3 end and situational pass-rusher. Washington’s tremendous Combine performance could cause some teams to do more digging on him and reevaluate where he belongs on the draft board.
Jonathan Bostic, ILB, Florida
Another linebacker who really helped himself at the Combine was Bostic. He had an impressive 40-yard time of 4.61 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.58 seconds. Bostic also did well on the bench press (22 reps) and looked good in the field drills. It was a nice day for him to help himself stand out among the linebackers and help earn a draftable grade.
E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
The NFL always wants physical specimens at quarterback; Florida State’s E.J. Manuel fits that bill with big size and a strong arm. Unlike many quarterbacks with those attributes, he has some mobility and can make plays with his feet.
Manuel ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, which was the second fastest time for the quarterbacks. The 6-foot-5, 237-pounder made some good throws in the field work with plenty of arm strength to push the ball down the field. There was also talk that Manuel interviewed well with teams. His stock is rising, and his quality Combine performance will help that climb.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Barkley didn’t work out at the Combine as his injured shoulder wasn’t deemed quite ready. He is expected to be 100 percent for USC’s pro day. However, Barkley was said to impress a lot of teams during the interviews. He displayed the confidence and accountability of a leader. Some in the NFL believe that Barkley could pass Geno Smith as the first quarterback selected.
Barkley will need a strong pro-day performance as Smith put on a nice display of his athleticism and arm strength at the Combine. Even if Barkley doesn’t wow scouts at his pro day, he has turned the momentum around following a rough senior season.
2013 NFL Draft Stock Down
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
Honestly, Jefferson hasn’t looked the same since midway through this season. He didn’t play as well down the stretch with some ugly games against West Virginia and Texas A&M. It is a crowded safety class, and Jefferson should have returned to school. There have been rumors about him being a poor practice player and trainer in the weight room.
Those rumors weren’t eased at the Combine. He turned in a slow 40 time of 4.75 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.61 seconds. It was the second-slowest 40 and third-slowest 10-yard split. Jefferson plays faster than that. He did not participate in the broad jump or vertical leap. Furthermore, his bench press total of 16 reps was in the bottom five for safeties. The Combine didn’t help Jefferson and could have hurt him. He could be in store for a draft-day fall into the middle of the third day on the strength of this safety class.
Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
Starting at the Senior Bowl, Aboushi’s draft stock has been trending downward. He was well-known in college as an athletic blocker who had quickness. That wasn’t seen in any of the postseason workouts. Aboushi struggled in Mobile with both power-rushers and speed players. At the Combine, he had a bad 40 time of 5.45 seconds and did not impress with athleticism in the field work.
Many questioning if Aboushi can remain at tackle in the NFL. He has measured in with short arms (33.78) and is smaller (6-5, 308) than most teams prefer their tackles to be. Aboushi looks like he will have to move to guard and currently looks like he is falling deep into the third-day of the 2013 NFL Draft.
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