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Top Ten 2014 Combine Disappointments

Which Combine Performers Left Something to Be Desired in Indy?
Date & Time Monday March 3, 2014, 12:00 PM (EST)
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NFL | Which Combine Performers Left Something to Be Desired in Indy?
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL combine is designed to serve as a litmus test of prospects’ abilities to perform well on pro teams. Every year, there are surprises on both ends of the spectrum. Guys who have barely been mentioned go on to become superstars (Tom Brady, giving hope to seventh rounders everywhere) and guys who are media darlings self-destruct. Since it hasn’t even been a week since players, coaches, and front office personnel jetted out of Indy, today we’re going to look at ten of the biggest fallers at this year’s combine. Remember, though, that the combine isn’t foolproof. Everyone has an off-day; this is why pro-days and individual workouts are also hugely important parts of the scouting process. 


1. Michael Sam (DE-Missouri) - Sam, a media favorite in the weeks leading up to the combine, failed to put-up the numbers that scouts like to see. With a 4.91 40, just 17 reps on bench press, and a dismal 25.5 inch vertical jump, it remains to be seen if Sam truly has what it takes to make it in the pros.


2. Antonio Richardson (OT-Tennessee) - Richardson, who had knee surgery in 2012, did not receive a glowing medical report at the combine. This, in addition to the fact that Richardson’s numbers in 2013 were not as explosive as his pre-surgery stats, could lower his draft stock considerably. 


3. Cyrus Kouandjio (OT-Alabama) - Kouandjio’s problems began in 2011 when he tore both his ACL and his MCL in his left knee. During his medical examination at the combine, Kouandjio was found to have arthritis in this knee from a surgery gone awry. Despite his talent, this will cause many teams to reconsider drafting Kouandjio, at least as early as he was initially predicted to go.


4. Will Sutton (DT-Arizona State) - Sutton, who put on weight during the 2012 off-season, is currently sitting at 6’0, 303 pounds. This is quite a bit of padding on a relatively short frame and is sure to have some NFL scouts concerned. Sutton’s numbers dropped-off noticeably during the 2013 season and his 5.36 40 at the combine was far from impressive. 


5. Victor Hampton (CB-South Carolina) - Hampton is not a poor football player. He’s far from it, in fact, with an aggressive style of play that is well-suited for the NFL. However, Hampton simply lacks the natural athleticism that many others who play his position possess. Hampton’s 4.69 40 was somewhat sluggish and the fact that he’s only 5’9, 195 pounds means he’s undersized as well. Hampton will need to have a great (read: speedy) showing at South Carolina’s pro day to improve his draft stock. 


6. Cody Hoffman (WR-BYU) - Though nobody anticipated that Hoffman would be a standout prospect, his 27.5 inch vertical jump was unexpected, shall we say, given his 6’4 frame. Furthermore, Hoffman only had 13 bench press reps, which was average at best. Hoffman was already projected to be a late rounder and this performance could send him spiraling into undrafted free agent territory. 


7. Ka’Deem Carey (RB-Arizona) - Carey, who I still like overall, was far and away one of the best RBs in the NCAA throughout his college career. You wouldn’t know, however, that he racked-up 3,814 yards and 42 TDs from his 4.70 40. This is among the slowest times for running backs at the combine; Carey will need to supercharge his speed during Arizona’s pro day to help his draft stock recover. 


8. Richard Rodgers (TE-California) - While I still think Rodgers is a decent prospect, his combine performance wasn’t up to par. At 4.87, Rodgers ran the fourth slowest 40 among TEs and his 16 bench press reps were nothing to write home about either. Rodgers’s college career was impressive, so NFL front offices will have to decide if they want to look at his film or his combine numbers more closely. 


9. Louis Nix (NT-Notre Dame) - Nix, who fully participated in the combine, was expected to put-up excellent numbers. This, however, failed to transpire. His 5.42 40 time left much to be desired and he actually fell over at the conclusion of his broad jump attempt (to be fair, this could happen to anyone, but it isn’t what any prospect wants to occur). Look for him to make every effort to show improved speed during Notre Dame’s pro-day on March 20.


10. Dee Ford (DE-Auburn) - The most disappointing aspect of Ford’s combine performance was that it didn’t happen. Ford was medically scratched from appearing due to a problem related to a 2011 back procedure. The issue is not considered serious and Ford is on-track to participate in Auburn’s March 4 pro day. It is important to note that Ford performed well throughout his college career, even post-surgery.

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