While the combine has officially been going on since Wednesday, today was the first day that players finally got onto the field and were tested. While many consider the annual combine even to be nothing more than the Underwear Olympics it still remains a vital piece to the puzzle to NFL teams. This will be the only time teams get to see all these top players lined up against each other in any kind of drills.
The first day of testing always involves the Offensive Lineman. These are not going to be the fastest or best times you’ll see over the next four days but they may be among the most impressive. There are very few 300+ pound men in the world who can run 40 yards in under six seconds, not to mention the six who ran it in under five seconds today.
Here are the early results for the Offensive Tackles;
40 Yard Dash
Obviously the big winners in the straight line speed test were small school OT Terron Armstead and fast rising Big 12 prospect Lane Johnson. Both finished with the top 40 and 10 yard split times and both looked to be among the smoothest athletes while running this drill. Both Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel looked good running here and as expected Kyle Long also performed well. One name to keep an eye on as a possible late round or undrafted prospect is Virginia Tech’s OT Vince Painter. At one time he was considered a top tier football prospect (#14 OT nationally, and a 4 star per Rivals.com) but his career never seemed to take off with the Hokies. He looked extremely athletic running the 40 and was in the same class running as Armstead and Johnson.
20 Yard Short Shuttle and 3 Cone Drill
Both of the agility tests are ideal for offensive lineman as they measure their ability to quickly change direction while moving with agility, and staying fluid. In these drills I thought Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, David Quessenberry, Tanner Hawkinson and Luke Joeckel more than held their own. Along with Painter from above Tanner Hawkinson really had himself a good day, he looked good in almost every drill finishing Top 10 among OT’s in the 40, and in the agility drills.
Verticle Jump and Broad Jump
There isn’t a whole lot to glean from 300+ pound men doing jumping drills. Terron Armstead, Lane Johnson, and Vince Painter were among the four OT’s to reach over 30 inches in the vertical and Armstead was also one of only seven OT’s to jump over nine feet in the broad jump.
Weigh-In and Bench Press
These results are actually a little old as they happened a few days ago but we wanted to make sure to put them in here as well. The big measurement to look at here is arm length for the tackles. You want the arms to be over 33 inches ideally for a Left Tackle prospect. Players like DJ Fluker, Lane Johnson, Rogers Gaines, and Nick Becton all came in with over 35 inch arms. Meanwhile top prospects Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel each easily passed the arm test with 34 ¼ and 34 ½ inch arms respectively. Two tackles who some have expressed concern about were Justin Pugh and Reid Fragel. Pugh’s arms are only 32 inches but as he proved in Mobile his footwork helps him make up for it. Meanwhile Fragel has 33 inch arms but came in at over 6’7. His arms have to stretch further due to his added size and it could be something to be concerned about.
Fragel may have done some redeeming of himself though when he loaded up and threw up 33 reps on the bench beating all other OT’s. A few other familiar names also appear among the leaders with guys like Vince Painter, Terron Armstead, and Lane Johnson all in the Top 10.
Overall I think it was a solid combine for a number of guys, both Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel did what they needed to do to stay ahead of this class and Lane Johnson did a good job to try and close the gap on the top two. Terron Armstead, Vince Painter, and Tanner Hawkinson probably had the best combine overall from this group, while Menelik Watson had among the worst. He looked slow in almost every drill and for a guy who was getting some big hype he failed to capitalize on it.