2014 NFL Draft Stock – Combine

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2014 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
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2014 NFL Draft Stock Up

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins (6-0, 211) was one of the stars of the Combine’s the wide receivers. He looked faster and more explosive than his 4.43-second 40-yard dash time. Watkins was so smooth and fast in the wide receiving drills, and he clearly has first step quickness that is unmatched. Watkins made the argument to go at the top of the first round, and off his Combine performance, he is a legitimate contender to go second overall.

Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
One of the freakish Combine performances came from Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The 6-foot-1, 285-pounder blazed a fast 40 with an unofficial time of 4.65 seconds and a 10-yard split of 1.59 seconds. His official time was 4.68, so Donald was tremendous. In the field work and bag drills, he continued to excel with his burst, athleticism and strength. Donald was also second among the defensive linemen in the bench press. After a great Senior Bowl, he had a superb Combine and has continued his phenomenal draft season.

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson (6-5, 332) was the star of the offensive linemen on Saturday. He ran an amazing time in the 40 of 4.92 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.69. His 10-yard split was in the range of a tight end. On Robinson’s second try, his numbers were improved as his 10-yard split was 1.68. In the field drills, he showed his ability to bend with fluid hips. Robinson also excelled in the bench press. With his size, speed and length, there is no doubt that Robinson is a rare athlete. He had a great Combine to further force his name into the discussion to be the first offensive tackle selected and go as high as the second-overall pick.

Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles had a good Combine and helped himself. His 40 time wasn’t anything spectacular at 4.93 seconds, but he showed mobility and athleticism in college. More importantly, Bortles displayed some above average arm strength in the field drills. He threw some beautiful passes with some catchable balls. Even though Bortles was working with unfamiliar receivers, he showed nice anticipation. Bortles was the only one of the top quarterbacks who was willing to do everything, and that reflects well of him. Bortles did what he needed to at the Combine to make the argument that he’s the top quarterback.

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Gilbert dominated the Combine and secured his spot as the top-ranked corner. He led all of the defensive backs with a 4.37-second official time in the 40-yard dash. Considering Gilbert (6-0, 202) is a big corner, that is a tremendous time. To top it off, he was excellent in the field drills. Gilbert was fluid in his backpedal and at veering across the field. He also had loose hips to flip and turn. Gilbert made a great leaping hands catch, too. The Combine performance showed that he is worthy of a top-10 pick and can be viewed as a potential No. 1 corner in the NFL.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks (5-9, 189) is an undersized receiver, but he makes up for it with his quickness and route-running. Cooks blazed a fast 40 with an official time of 4.33 and a 10-yard split of 1.51. Cooks had a drop in the gauntlet, but also displayed some nice hands. In the field work, his route-running was impressive as he showed feet and agility. Cooks helped himself at the Combine.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan (6-7, 309) was one of the most impressive players in the Combine on Saturday. Officially, he had the fastest 40 among the offensive lineman – 4.87 seconds – and that was unexpected. His 10-yard splits were tremendous at 1.70 and 1.64 seconds. In the field work, Lewan looked natural with his athleticism and feet. He wasn’t expected to be faster than Robinson or Matthews, so this was a great day for Lewan that will only serve to confirm his status in the top 16.

Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
Archer burned the track in the 40-yard dash with an official time of 4.26 seconds, which was faster than any player at the Combine in 2013. That was only .02 away from tying Chris Johnson for the fastest time ever at the Combine. Archer (5-8, 173) is undersized to be a full-time running back, but he can also work as a slot receiver. In the field drills, Archer showed nice, fluid, athletic ability with change-of-direction abilities. He had loose hips to change direction on a dime. Archer gave NFL evaluators something to think about as a situational offensive weapon.

2014 NFL Draft Stock Down

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
This is a strong class of offensive tackles, so Kouandjio did a lot to hurt his cause at the Combine. He didn’t look as athletic as the top tackles and didn’t look like he was as prepared for the Combine as he should have been. Kouandjio had an ugly official time of 5.59 seconds with an average 10-yard split time of 1.79. He also showed some hip tightness coming out of his stance. Kouandjio’s second 40 time was even worse. This was surprising because he displayed a nice athletic skill set in college. Kouandjio also showed tight hips in the field drills with some decent feet. This Combine performance could cause some teams to reevaluate Kouandjio as a first-round pick and send him down into Day 2.

David Yankey, G, Stanford
In the last stock report before the Combine, Yankey was in the Stock-Up section. However, he had a disappointing performance in Indianapolis. Yankey put up poor times in the 40-yard dash with 5.5 and 5.53 seconds. His 10-yard splits were also on the low side at 1.81 and 1.87. Yankey didn’t make up for it in the field drills and didn’t look as nearly athletic as Xavier Su’a-Filo. Yankey will need to perform better at his pro day.

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