Day 2 is the weigh-in for quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers and bench press for tight ends and offensive lineman. Here is a breakdown of Day 2 winners & losers:
Winners & Losers:
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (5’11, 207) - It was a mixed bag for Manziel today. He measured just under 6 feet (5’11 3/4) which might hurt his draft stock a little. In the last 30 years there have only been 2 QBs taken in the first round that were under 6 feet tall, Michael Vick (1) and Rex Grossman (22). Both players had their moments in the NFL; Vick made 4 Pro Bowls and probably would have made a few more if not for the dog fighting travesty, while Grossman was the starting quarterback in a Super Bowl (granted he was carried there on the backs of the Bears defense). So at least there is a track record of success from the only two under 6 foot QBs taken in the first round. Drew Brees is under 6 foot and was taken with the 1st pick in the 2nd round so he is practically a first rounder and also a Hall of Famer. It’s probably the best possible year for Manziel to come out considering that a 5’11 QB, Russell Wilson, just won the Super Bowl, so there is a good chance teams won’t be as concerned about the under 6 foot label as they have been in the past.
Besides the height thing it was a pretty good day for Manziel. His hands were measured at 9 3/4″ which is well over the 9″ mark that NFL teams consider a minimum for QBs and bigger than 6’5 QB Blake Bortles (9 3/8). Manziel also weighed in at a muscular 207 which should ease concerns of teams who are worried about his durability. Perhaps the biggest positive of the day was Manziel’s press conference, it looked almost scripted and perhaps a little fake, but he was mature, smooth, and said all the things you want your franchise QB to say. Manziel claimed that he didn’t want the Johnny Football nickname anymore (even though it’s awesome) and he’s now just Johnny Manziel. As much as he tried to hide it, the Johnny Football attitude was still there; When asked about why he wasn’t throwing he basically blamed his agent and said “it’s really hard for me not to… i’m a very competitive person” and when asked about being measured under 6 feet he responded with “I play like I’m 10-feet tall.”
QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (6’2, 218) – Bridgewater put on almost 15 pounds of muscle since the end of his season. That’s a good sign that he can get a little thicker and ease team’s concerns about his durability which is really the only knock I’ve heard on Bridgewater. I’m not sure why he isn’t getting more attention. When I watch film of the three top guys, Bridgewater is clearly the best pure passer in this draft.
QB Derek Carr, Fresno St (6’2, 215) - Was very impressive in his press conference. Carr was smooth and has natural charisma.
TE Joe Don Duncan, Dixie St (6’3, 267) – 35 bench reps of 225 pounds with a broken foot! Duncan is an interesting prospect who bounced around to 3 different colleges in the last 5 years. He dominated at Dixie St shattering all of their receiving records and had a monster senior season (71, 1045, 13). Duncan has a checkered medical history but he’s an interesting prospect at the “move” tight end position.
G/C Russell Bodine, North Carolina (6’3, 210) – 42 bench press reps at 225 pounds. The next closest was 36 (3 players). Bodine’s great strength should boost his value to the 3rd-4th round range. Interesting prospect who can play either center or guard at the next level.
T Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (6’6, 327) – 36 bench reps with 35″ inch arm length. That is pretty darn impressive.
C Tyler Larson, Utah St (6’4, 317) – 36 bench reps. Tied for the 2nd highest number of reps among o-lineman. There is still some uncertainty over who the top 5 centers are and this puts Larson in the conversation at least.
WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida ST (6’5, 240) – Was the heaviest receiver measured at 240 pounds, but only had 4% body fat! Wow. Benjamin also tied for the 2nd largest hands of all receivers at the combine at 10 1/4″. Impressive physical specimen.
The benchmark hand size for WRs in the NFL is 9 1/2″. Big hands are an important trait for receivers as it makes it easier to catch the ball. The following guys were measured at 10+ inch hand size which is considered well above average: Kelvin Benjamin (FSU), Kain Colter (NWU), Mike Davis (TEX), Austin Franklin (NMST), TJ Jones (ND), Jarvis Landry (LSU), Jordan Matthews (VND), Willie Snead (BSU), & Kevin Norwood (ALA).
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU (6’1, 235) - Hill has had a few off-field issues (battery, carnal knowledge of a juvenille) but word leaked today about Hill sending letters to all 32 NFL teams with an explanation of those issues and pages of character references. Hill isn’t attempting to hide from his past mistakes and coming out and giving NFL teams his side of the story. Strong move.
9 1/2″ hands are considered average for an NFL wideout. The following players weren’t even close at 9″ or under: Tevin Reese (BAY), John Brown (PIT), Paul Richardson (COL), Jeff Janis (SVS) & Jalen Saunders (OU).
The top two receivers on most draft boards both came in shorter than expected. Sammy Watkins (CLEM) is under 6’1 (6’0 3/4) & Marquis Lee (USC) is under 6’0 (5’11 3/4). This isn’t a huge deal but it might keep Watkins out of top 5 and Lee might drop behind Mike Evans (TAMU) (6’5, 231).
TE Colt Lyerla, Oregon (6’5, 250) – After a strong start to the combine on day 1, Lyerla only did 15 reps in the bench drill. Teams expect their TE to block every once in a while and Lyerla showed an alarming lack of strength today.
TE Jordan Najvar, Baylor (6’6, 262) – For a guy who is known as a blocking tight end, 18 bench reps is pretty bad. If a team is going to draft Najvar they are going to expect him to block and he didn’t look strong enough to do that on the NFL level.
Banana Hands award (by position):
QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (10 7/8″)
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (10 3/8″)
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU (10 3/8″)
Dave Krieg award (by position):
QB Jordan Lynch Northern Illinois (8 7/8″)
WR Isaiah Burse, Fresno St (8 3/8″)
RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon (8 1/8″)