The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine was this weekend, and six Oregon Ducks and three Oregon State Beavers participated in the festivities. Oregonians already know that their home teams have athletes capable of playing in the NFL, but the Beaver State’s best college football players showed their athletic prowess in Indianapolis this weekend for the NFL scouts to see.
The Oregon Ducks’ biggest name in the Combine was De’Anthony Thomas. Thomas made a living with the Ducks by simply outrunning defenders in space. Many thought that he had the speed to set a new NFL Combine record in the 40-yard dash, a record set by the Tennessee Titans’ Chris Johnson in 2008 when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds. Thomas ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, a time that was not very impressive for a guy who is 5’9” and 174 pounds. Kent State’s Dri Archer was the top performer this year with a time of 4.26 seconds. Thomas competed in the vertical jump, jumping 32.0 inches which was a good-but-not-great number, and his 124.0 inch broad jump was also underwhelming. Thomas’ 8 reps in the 225 pound bench press was a puzzling number to me. First of all: why did he compete in the bench? Second: is that a good number since 225 pounds is 50 pounds over Thomas’ body weight? Regardless, the outcome of Thomas’ bench press did not matter as he is known for his speed anyway.
Oregon receiver Josh Huff also competed at the NFL Combine, putting up solid numbers. His 4.51 second time in the 40-yard dash was an average time for receivers, but does not help him because he is undersized. Huff’s 35.5 inch vertical jump and his 116.0 inch broad jump were average numbers that will not help him stand out in a deep class of receivers.
Defensive end Taylor Hart only participated in the bench press, tallying 21 reps of the 225 pound weight.
Outside linebacker Boseko Lokombo competed in four events. His 40 time of 4.66 seconds is tied for sixth among linebackers and his broad jump distance of 122 inches was fifth among linebackers. His 3-cone drill time and his 20-yard shuttle time were not in the top ten.
Cornerback Terrance Mitchell competed in six events, with average grades in most of them. His 4.63 second time in the 40-yard dash was below average and his 34 inch vertical was 7.5 inches lower than the top performer this year, Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Mitchell had times of 4.00 seconds and 11.22 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle which are top level times in both events among cornerbacks. His 6.57 second time in the 3-cone drill was number one overall among cornerbacks.
Former Duck Colt Lyerla put on an absolute clinic in Indianapolis. His 4.61 second time in the 40-yard dash was third among tight ends. His 39.0 inch vertical jump was a full four inches higher than the second place tight end, Marcel Jensen of Fresno State. Lyerla’s broad jump of 128.0 inches was tied for first among tight ends. His only down side was that he only got the 225 pound bench press 15 times, which parallels how he was sometimes a poor blocker against top defensive linemen.
Oregon State Beavers
Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks had a good Combine showing as well. Cooks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds, top among receivers. He ran the 20-yard shuttle in 3.81 seconds, top among receivers. And he ran the 60-yard shuttle in 10.72 … again, top among receivers. His 36.0 inch vertical jump and his 120.0 inch broad jump were a little worrisome because Cooks is short. Cooks’ ran the 3-cone drill in 6.76 seconds, an average number, and his 16 reps of the 225 pound bench press was average. These numbers tell Beaver fans what they already knew: Brandin Cooks is a top level receiver with elite speed who oftentimes simply outruns defenders.
Defensive end Scott Crichton’s numbers did not jump off the page after the Combine. Crichton’s best numbers came in the 3-cone drill, where he ran the course in 7.19 seconds; tied for sixth among defensive linemen. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.84 seconds, tied for 14th among linemen. His 24 reps of the bench press, 31.5 inch vertical jump and 106.0 inch broad jump were not in the top 15 among defensive linemen.
Cornerback Rashaad Reynolds may have added to his draft stock a little with a solid performance this weekend. He tallied 20 reps of the 225 pound bench press, tied for third among cornerbacks. His time of 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash is tied for 13th among cornerbacks. His 37.5 inch vertical jump and 123.0 inch broad jump are 10th and 12th among his position, respectively. He completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.00 seconds, tied for first among cornerbacks. He also completed the 3-cone drill in 6.72 seconds, fourth among cornerbacks.
While the NFL Scouting Combine gives sportswriters and NFL execs nice numbers to ponder and look at, we must all acknowledge that there is no correlation between NFL Combine performance and on-field success. It is true that many of the best NFL players are able to perform well at the Combine, but there has never been a player who was drafted solely because they had a good outing at the NFL Combine. So far in the drafting process, NFL.com has listed all of the Oregon and Oregon State players who attended the Combine as players who can make an NFL team. I expect them to prove that during their pro days in the coming months.