It is no secret that this NFL Draft is heavily slanted to the “big uglies” down in the trenches. Well, after Day 1 of the Combine, there were a lot of guys who helped and very few that hurt themselves. Ultimately the Combine is only a measuring stick of athleticism and giving you the confirmation of what you saw in person or on game film. If the numbers don’t match up with on-field performance, you have to go back and reevaluate your notes on the player. One thing fans have to remember: The evaluation process is an imperfect science and not everything is measured during a workout or one or two games. It’s a whole body of work that contributes to the whole equation.
With that being said here are some of the Ballers who tore it up today and also a couple busts who really let me down or did exactly what I thought and just didn’t do well.
Terron Armstead runs a 4.71 40 Yard Dash
Many draft experts were shocked, to say the least, following Armstead’s incredible dash. Yours truly was, admittedly, among those who didn’t have him graded out as one of the top lineman at the combine or even a top lineman in terms of being drafted at all. However, after talking to a source that has studied him, I was told that he would be a test freak. In that setting provided in Indianapolis, Armstead would dominate. My thoughts are still reserved on him as an every down offensive lineman. Coming from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, I’m not sure if level of competition will hurt him when compared to the guys who competed at the higher levels of the college game. Further, he is a bit thinner than most of the lineman he is going up against. Guys like Lane Johnson and Kyle Long are all thick and light on their feet. Armstead will rise up draft boards, but not as much as many expect.
Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
Johnson ran impressively and really is solidifying his draft stock. Putting up big numbers and showing the athleticism that many scouts, GMs and fans have been raving about. Johnson did everything I expected him to do. In addition to measuring in at 6-foot-6, 303 pounds, with a 35-7/8” arm length, Johnson ran a 4.75 40-yard dash with 1.61-second 10-yard splits, which is up there with some of the best performances in combine history. Adding to his performance was 28 reps of 225-pounds in the bench press. Overall, Johnson may not move up boards but a solid position of 13-19 is more than feasible.
Brian Schwenke, Cal
Not a big name or a name that many fans will know right now. Schwenke is a guard that looks like a bad body and someone that will win in a phone booth. However, a good 40 time at 4.99 really helped his cause. A zone-blocking team will love Schwenke’s athletic ability, and he has really helped himself at the Senior Bowl and in the Combine.
San Jose State’s David Quessenberry continued his upward trend. He looked very good in the fieldwork portion of the Combine. Quessenberry (6-foot-5, 302) moved well and ran fast in the 40-yard dash with a time of 5.06, unofficially. He has helped himself and could play guard, center or tackle in the NFL.
Travis Fredrick, Wisconsin
It isn’t surprising that Wisconsin center Travis Frederick didn’t run well. At Madison, Frederick was a power player who didn’t beat defenders with speed or agility. In the 40-yard dash he ran an unofficial time of 5.50 seconds with 1.85 seconds in the 10-yard split. Those are slower times, but Frederick also tallied a disappointing total of 21 reps on the bench press. Frederick (6-foot-4, 312) is in the running to be the first center selected, but he didn’t help his cause in the Indianapolis.
Braxston Cave, Notre Dame
Notre Dame center Braxston Cave (6-foot-3, 303) ran slowly in the 40-yard dash with a time of 5.31 seconds. His 10-yard split of 1.87 was one of the slowest recorded on the day. Caves also looked stiff and slow in the fieldwork. His knee bend needs a lot of work and he wasn’t sinking his hips. Cave is going to need developmental time in the NFL.