Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Offensive lineman get instructions on drills during their workout during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The first day of drills is in the books at the NFL Scouting Combine, and it did not disappoint. Offensive linemen and tight ends might not be the sexiest positions in this year’s draft, or any draft for that matter, but there was plenty of talent on display today as they took the field. All the 40 times I’ll be giving are the unofficial numbers because I didn’t feel like waiting for the official times to come out, and the official times aren’t really that important since most teams rely on their own hand-held times for purposes of analysis anyway.
Groups 1 & 2: Offensive Linemen
I was really impressed by what I saw out of this group today. While they may have lacked some of the eye-popping top end numbers from last year (Lane Johnson, 4.72 40 time), it did seem at times that every other player was running a 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds. The positional drills were impressive too and I don’t think I’ve seen a class as deep as this one in a very long time, if ever. Here’s some highlights:
Taylor Lewan OT, Michigan: Lewan performed better than I expected him to today. From the film I’ve watched on him he seemed a bit tight and I expected him to get lost in the shuffle, but he had other ideas. His 4.85 second 40 time was among the best for the offensive linemen and his 1.64 second 10 yard split was the top of the group. He was also solid in the positional drills, though he did seem to be running a tad upright much of the time and he might not be a natural bender.
Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M: While his 4.91 second 40 with a 1.70 10 yard split might not be as good as Taylor Lewan’s, they are still very good numbers. Matthews put on a clinic in the drills today. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen footwork as polished as his at the combine, and that includes Joe Thomas. A lot has been said about Greg Robinson possibly overtaking Matthews for the top tackle spot in the draft this year, but my money’s still on the big man from TAMU.
Greg Robinson OT, Auburn: Speaking of Robinson, he turned in a great performance himself. His 4.84 second 40 time was tied for the best on the day and his 1.68 10 yard split was second only to Lewan’s. While he was extremely athletic, he seemed to be somewhat out of control at times and stumbled in a couple of the drills. He might still be getting used to maneuvering his gigantic frame.
Xavier Su’a-Filo OG, UCLA: If you follow the draft process, and if you’re reading this article you almost certainly do, you’ve probably heard Su’a-Filo’s name recently as a fast riser. He showed today that his rise is not without reason. His 4.90 in the 40 yard dash would have been really good for a tackle, and he’s a guard. He also showed to be very nimble in the positional drills.
Seantrell Henderson OT, Miami: Henderson’s immense athleticism was on display today, and he showed why he was the top recruit in the country when he came out of high school. At first glance his 5.03 40 time with a 1.71 10 yard split might not seem as impressive as the people I have earlier on this list, but then I would remind you that he weighs 330 lbs. The problem for Henderson, however, has never been his size or athleticism, it’s been his play on the field.
Cyrus Kouandjio OT, Alabama: Had a disappointing day overall. His 5.56 40 time was underwhelming, though his 1.79 10 yard split was solid. Kouandjio did not look exceptionally good in the drills either. He just seemed a bit slow-footed, but I thought he looked better than D.J Fluker did last year and he still went 11th in the draft.
David Yankey OT, Stanford: Another disappointment. 5.50 in the 40 is nothing to write home about, but he did look solid in the positional drills. He seems to move better laterally than in a straight line.
Other notable times- Joel Bitonio OG, Nevada: 4.91 40 time, 1.68 10 yard split. Looked good in the drills as well. Matt Patchan OT, Boston College: 4.84 40 time, 1.59 10 yard split. Bad lateral movement was exposed in drills.
Hit the page break to see the tight ends…