NFL Combine: Ten Prospects Who Stock Was Impacted by the Combine

Stephen HillWhen the NFL Combine fires into action in late February, your casual and die-hard fans, and even more so draftniks and scouts are anxiously awaiting the times, numbers, and workouts posted by the NFL’s next group of superstars. The venue on field of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, is one of palpable tension and nervousness on the part of the players, as well as pent up energy, focus, and drive boiling out of those same players.

Now here at Optimum Scouting, you won’t see our board move drastically; with the overriding emphasis being placed on film work, not simply combine numbers. As ESPNDallas.com’s Dallas Cowboys writer, regular on-air scout for 103.3 ESPN Dallas, and former NFL scout, Bryan Broaddus says, “Your best [draft] board, is the one you put together before the combine.”

So with no further delay, here are 10 players who will move the most on our board.

1. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
-Unquestionably the most impressive physical specimen and overall winner of the 2012 combine, Stephen Hill had a Julio Jones-like workout, posting incredible hand timed 40’s of 4.30 and 4.31 (4.36 officially) with a 1.2 10 yard split, and a combine leading 11’1” broad jump. Hill, a 6’4, 215 lbs, long and lean cut wide receiver, declared early for the 2012 NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore, and while he is very raw, there is simply too much upside and potential for him not to be taken within the first 2 rounds of the draft.  Stock Rising

2. Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State
-Burfict, who had red flags about personal foul penalties and a lack of production as a senior, did nothing to answer questions at the combine, but rather raised more questions about his overall athleticism, his mental toughness, and professionalism (or lack thereof). After an abysmal first 40-yard dash time that registered in the 5.0’s, Burfict feigned an injury during his second run, and proceeded to pout at the medical staff’s table for the rest of the linebacker workout. During interviews, Burfict also blamed his coaching staff for his poor play and simply did not take ownership of his lack of effort, as well as his propensity to commit untimely personal fouls at pivotal moments of games.  Stock Falling

3. Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
-Disinterested, lethargic, undisciplined, and unprepared are a few of the words that come to mind when describing Dwight Jones workout last Sunday at the NFL Combine. Jones, who has as much talent as any receiver in this draft, was extremely frustrating to watch throughout positional drills, as he lazed his way in and out of routes, not making proper cuts, drifting to the ball, and not giving complete and total effort. Overall, Dwight Jones looked stiff, lacked burst off the line, ran upright through his routes, and was slow getting out of his breaks. Stock Falling

4. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian
-A small school defensive back from Presbyterian, Justin Bethel measured in above 6’0, weighing exactly 200 lbs, and really showed out with great workout numbers, posting a solid 4.53 40 time, 6.79 3-cone time, repping 225 lbs 19 times, all while jumping a vertical of 39.5” and the combine’s second best broad jump at 10’11”. Was smooth and fluid in positional drills and looks like a safety projection at the next level. Stock Rising

5. Kashif Moore, WR, UConn
-Dealing with horrific quarterback play throughout his career at UConn, “Kash” Moore came to the combine and proved himself to be one of the faster, more explosive wide receivers in this draft class. Winning the vertical with an astonishing 43.5” jump, as well as running a sub 4.4 40 yard dash unofficially, Moore proceeded to look crisp and sharp throughout positional drills, not allowing the ball to touch the turf. Displayed soft hands at the catch, ran through the gauntlet confidently, and was precise in his cuts throughout the workout. The lower body explosion is there with Moore (10’6” broad jump), as well as the quick, change of direction skills (4.05 short shuttle). Moore now presents excellent upside and value towards the middle portion of the draft. Stock rising

6. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
-Started off his workout on an extremely positive note, running a sub 4.5 40-yard times of 4.43. Fleming competed in every possible event, finishing among the top performers in the bench press (23 reps), vertical (34”), and broad jump (10’5”); more impressively, Jamell Fleming showed excellent change of direction in the 3 cone (6.71), short shuttle (3.97), and set an NFL combine record in the long shuttle with a 10.75 timing. There’s no questioning this corner’s level of talent, athleticism, or work ethic, and, although we see Fleming as more of a 2nd round value, he now could crack into the bottom half of the first round. Stock Rising

7. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon
-Harris tested well only in the vertical, posting a 36” vertical, and performed slightly above average in every other event. His 4.59 40 time aside, Cliff Harris looked sloppy in positional drills, wasn’t sharp with his pedal or flipping his hips down the hashes, and looked out of control at times. For a fringe draftable prospect due to character concerns, Harris needed a sharp workout to sell teams on his athleticism and preparation. At this point, I can’t say I would draft Cliff Harris. Stock Falling

8. Adam Gettis, OG, Iowa
-Easily the most athletic guard at the combine, Gettis pulled fluidly and smoothly, looked comfortable in taking a bucket step and landing a block on the second level, and ran the fastest 40 of any of the offensive linemen present. Gettis, who wasn’t even ranked on our offensive guard board, will certainly have us going back to the tape. Stock Rising

9. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
-Although Dontari Poe stole the show at the NFL Combine, as I will get to in a minute, Fletcher Cox was the defensive lineman I was most impressed with. This 6’4 298 lbs tackle, who I see as an NFL 5-technique who can kick in to a 3 tech or out to a 7 if need be, ran a 4.79 40 with an even more impressive 1.63 10 yard split to showcase elite burst and first step out of the blocks. Cox has the frame to add healthy weight, needs to work on consistency with pad level and learn how to read and react to opposing offenses, but put on display extraordinary explosiveness and athleticism in positional drills and testing, to prove he is worth a top 15- top 20 pick. Stock Rising

10. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
-You may be wondering, how can arguably, the top performer at the combine be placed at number 10 in terms of stock movers? Well, we expected a very good performance for the athletic big man, but truthfully could not have even wished for a more impressive workout and testing. In case you haven’t seen the 6’4, 346 lbs nose tackles numbers here they are; 44 reps of 225 lbs, a 4.87 40 yard dash, 1.7 10 yard split, a 6.83 timing in the 3 cone, and a ridiculous 34.5” vertical. Currently ranked 11th on our big board, Poe will likely creep into the back end of the top 10, but not much further; Dontari Poe still never could dominate at the C-USA level, has a great deal of work to do in terms of on field technique, and simply was on the ground far too often on film. With nose tackles being hard to come by and impact nose tackles even tougher to find, Dontari Poe is sure to be a top 10 overall selection in the draft, similar to when B.J. Raji was selected by the Packers at #9 overall in the 2009 draft. Poe has comparable athleticism, however the film, production, and level of competition favored Raji much more. At any rate, Poe had a superb weekend and made himself some major dough. Stock Rising

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