The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is behind us, and there is much to take away from the event's four days of workouts. Some players surprised, others disappointed, and it was what some didn't do that stood out.
Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback: Formerly known as the Honey Badger, Mathieu posted a strong effort in positional drills and reportedly was candid during his team interviews. He pushed the 225-pound bench press just four times, however, which suggests he may struggle on the outside in the NFL. Mathieu could come off the board as early as the third round in April.
Manti Te'o, inside linebacker, Notre Dame: A whirlwind past two months for Te'o didn't get much better with a pedestrian effort at the Scouting Combine. Furthermore, he blamed is problems on adversity ... not exactly what you're looking to hear. I scratch my head with this guy, because he has some really good tape but failed when it counted against the more physical Alabama offense and appears to be mentally fragile. He'll get a second-round grade for now.
Johnthan Banks, cornerback, Mississippi State: Banks (4.61 40 time) was hardly noticeable at the Combine and was overshadowed by teammate cornerback Darius Slay, whose 4.36 40 time led all defensive backs. Back to the tape to watch more of Slay and Banks for this guy....
Damontre Moore, defensive end, Texas A&M: Many pundits are concerned about Moore's poor workout, especially his 4.87-second 40-yard dash, but I saw someone who wasn't ready for the Combine. I'm waiting for his Pro Day before I formulate a stronger opinion, although I really do not care about a defensive end's 40 time. A 10-yard split is more important, and there is too much good tape of Moore to get alarmed. All I know is he is no longer a candidate for 3-4 rush linebacker in my eyes. He could still go as early as No. 5 to Detroit, but a 10-20 slotting seems more realistic.
Dee Milliner, cornerback, Alabama: Despite a looming shoulder surgery, Milliner reminded us why he is still the top cornerback in the draft class with a strong workout. He was a little out of sync with some of his footwork drills, and Milliner dropped a few balls, but the physical cornerback is at his best when he can jam at the line to make up for his backpedal issues. I still say he is a top-six pick.
Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah: Between the uncertainty regarding Lotulelei's recently discovered heart condition and Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd's standout performance, I do not see a why a team in the top five could take the Utah product over Floyd. That is a lot to invest in a player whose career could be over in short order, in worst-case scenario.
Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver, Texas: The fastest player at the Scouting Combine never caught more than 33 balls in a season, yet an NFL team will still be enamored with what he could be at the next level. I see a much better athlete than football player, but Goodwin deserves another look on film.
Christine Michael, running back, Texas A&M: A top performer in five events, Michael turns heads in Indy. On the downside, and while it could have been an honest mistake, he missed two team meetings after sleeping in. What is more disconcerting, though, is Michael missing two seasons due to injuries.
Desmond Trufant, cornerback, Washington: People wanted to see just how fast Trufant was, and his straight-line speed was impressive (4.38 40-yard dash). His physicality on the field remains a contested area of discussion, however.
Margus Hunt, defensive end, Southern Methodist: Beastly! The 6-foot-8, 277-pounder ran a 4.60-second 40, pushed 38 reps on the bench, notched a 34 1/2-inch vertical, and managed 121 inches in the broad jump. He can get too high firing out because of his size, but the raw Hunt has a chance to shine in a 3-4 defensive end role. I see late second- or early third-round placement pre-Combine turning into a solid second-round selection for the Estonia native.
Ezekiel Ansah, defensive end, Brigham Young: Another fresh face on the football scene, Ansah chose to run the 40-yard dash and shined at 4.63 seconds. There is so much to work with here in terms of upside that it would be amazing if he fell out of the first 20 picks. He is a poor man's Jason Pierre-Paul, although JPP was far more advanced in football experience at this stage of his journey. Ziggy, as the BYU product is known by, could be the "Ansah" for the Detroit Lions at No. 5 overall.
Bjoern Werner, defensive end, Florida State: The Combine solidified Werner's status as a football player first, athlete second. I have a hard time seeing him going as high as No. 2, as I once believed, but a top-10 placement is fair.
Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC: Barkley (shoulder) wasn't able to work out, but most accounts report that he wowed team officials in meetings. Additionally, some reports put Barkley in the sights of the Arizona Cardinals at No. 7 overall.
Knile Davis, running back, Arkansas: Amazingly fast (4.37-second 40), Davis has to get over a lengthy injury history that undoubtedly will precede him entering the NFL. Standing 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, the north-south runner is a home run threat and a bruiser at the same time. Still, consider Davis lucky to go before the sixth round.
Geno Smith, quarterback, West Virginia: Smith did nothing to harm his draft stock and has a reasonable chance of being the No. 1 pick in April. I still think Kansas City works out a deal for Alex Smith, which would point them toward Luke Joeckel to replace the possibly departing Branden Albert at left tackle.
Jarvis Jones, outside linebacker, Georgia: Jones has spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, but he said he didn't have any contusions on the spinal cord itself. Jones chose not to participate in workouts, which I see as a mistake, although Jones' reasoning was tough to argue with. He said having to spend so much time over the past few months dealing with medical evaluations meant he was unable to devote his full attention to preparing for workouts. I'll give him a hesitant pass until his Pro Day.
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors. Follow @Cory_Bonini