Shine Bright Like A Diamond
Arkansas’ Knile Davis was the running back who turned in the best Combine performance over the weekend. He was truly a workout warrior. The 5-foot-10, 227-pounder blazed a jaw-dropping 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash and then led all running backs with 31 reps on the bench press. Davis did a decent job of catching passes in the field drills, too. Davis was forced to deal with significant injuries in his playing career, but he had a season of big production back in 2010. Davis showed a great combination of size and speed at the Combine, which should really help him to get more consideration from teams going forward.
Texas A&M’s Christine Michael was another size and speed standout. His 40 time of 4.54 seconds left him tied for 10th-overall. Michael (5-10, 220) was fourth on the bench press (27 reps), second in the broad jump (125 inches) and led all of the backs on the vertical jump (43 inches). Michael had a great East-West Shrine week, too, and his Combine should build on that to help him get selected in the mid-rounds.
Oregon’s Kenjon Barner used the Combine to help his cause. The 5-foot-9, 196-pounder tied for sixth with a 40 time of 4.52 seconds. What really set him apart, however, was his work in the receiving drills. He was excellent at running routes and showed off good hands. Barner had a solid showing on the bench press (20 reps) a few days earlier. Barner had a strong Senior Bowl and has continued to show that he could be a sleeper mid-round pick.
Two SEC running backs put together productive days in Indianapolis. Vanerbilt’s Zac Stacy and Florida’s Mike Gillislee both ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds. Gillislee looked good in the receiving drills, while Stacy was impressive on the bench press (27 reps). Both runners are third-day sleepers who could surprise in the NFL.
Solid As A Rock
North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard is in the running to be the second running back selected. He left after his redshirt sophomore season at UNC and put together a solid day in Indianapolis. His 40 time of 4.53 seconds was in the top 10 at his position. Bernard (5-8, 202) also did well in the receiving drills and showed advanced route-running with good hands. He didn’t dominate the Combine, but had a solid showing.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball ran slowly with a 40-yard dash time of 4.66 seconds. However, the 5-foot-11, 214-pounder wasn’t expected to turn in a blistering time. Ball was never asked to pass protect so him not being able to and possibly falling down teams’ big boards is not really a concern. Former Miami Hurricanes star Lamar Miller had the same concern last year and had there not been a deep class, he would have been a top prospect. As far as his speed is concerned, Ball was again never expected to be fast and will be a solid back. My only concern is his wear and tear on his body. He has a lot of traction on those tires. He should have came out last year. He looks likely to go on the second day of the draft.
Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse hurt his draft stock with a slow 40 time. The 5-foot-5, 190-pounder had the slowest time of any running back at 4.8 seconds. Rouse is obviously extremely undersized; running slowly is a bad combination. In his defense, he is a quick player, rather than fast, and he also played faster than that in college. However, translating his physical skills to the NFL doesn’t bode well for Rouse.