NFL Combine Risers and Sliders
Fast 40 times help draft prospects improve their stock
Posted: Sunday February 25, 2007 6:59PM; Updated: Wednesday February 28, 2007 10:31AM
With the 2007 edition of the NFL Combine now half over, it's time to take stock in the winners and losers so far. Many of the earliest draft picks from the offensive side of the ball have finished their workouts for scouts, while a few chose not to participate. Here are the early results.
Calvin Johnson/WR/Georgia Tech: Johnson opted to run the 40-yard dash but not participate in the pass-catching workout. Not a big deal since he is already acknowledged as the best receiver in the draft. Yet his speed on Sunday amazed many as Johnson initially ran a swift 4.45, then clocked an even faster time of 4.38. He has secured his spot as the top prospect in this draft and made the Oakland Raiders decision a little more difficult.
Greg Olson/TE/Miami-Fla: Last week we mentioned how Olson had a lot to lose if he didn't perform well. There is no doubting he has silenced the critics. Far and away the best performer in the RCA Dome on Saturday, Olson ran his 40s in just over 4.5 seconds then looked great during the pass-catching session. He has established himself as the premier tight end in this draft and secured a spot in round one.
Chris Henry/RB/Arizona: The junior weighed in at 230 pounds then preceded to run a 4.37 and 4.38 in the 40. Henry practiced as fast as he timed, looking very good in drills. Fluid catching the ball, he also showed the ability to quickly cut back yet lose little momentum. As several scouts said, Henry made a lot of money for himself Sunday.
Anthony Gonzalez/WR/Ohio State: Gonzalez ran well, twice breaking the 4.4-second barrier, then looked spectacular catching the ball. Running crisp routes he displayed soft, natural hands, diving around the field to catch everything in sight. As a result Gonzalez has jumped into the initial 60 picks.
Allen Barbre/OL/Missouri Southern: The small school lineman turned in a very fast pair of 40s, clocking in the 4.8 range, after weighing in at just over 300 pounds. Barbre then displayed that athleticism during the practice session and may have earned himself a spot in day one of the draft.
Zach Miller/TE/Arizona: On the heels of Greg Olson's great workout, things could not have gone worse for Miller. After two terribly slow 40s, which timed in 4.78 and 4.86 seconds, Miller was equally as bad during drills. The usually sure-handed tight end dropped a bunch of passes and ran terrible routes.
Tyrone Moss/RB/Miami-Fla: At one time considered a potential first-round pick, Moss has not yet fully recovered from the knee injury which shelved him in '05. Moss was clocked as slow as 4.8 seconds in the 40 by some and showed no quickness or explosion in drills.
Stephon Heyer/T/Maryland: After running terribly slow, Heyer looked sluggish during the session. Heyer struggled in pass protection drills, did not show much quickness and was constantly slipping on the field.
Jarrett Hicks/WR/Texas Tech: Hicks ran poorly in the 40 and was unable to break the 4.65 barrier. He then proceeded to drop several catchable passes during the practice session.
Chase Johnson/T/Wyoming: Johnson turned in a very disappointing performance. The huge lineman looked terrible in pass protection drills and did not attack the practice session. Johnson's laid-back attitude has always concerned scouts.
Notes: Bad weather across the nation has wreaked havoc on the travel plans for many of the players. Three defensive backs missed Sunday morning's weigh-in as a result of not being able to get to Indianapolis. ... After Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Joe Thomas took part in the workouts, scouts were astonished Brady Quinn decided the leave the combine without throwing in the RCA Dome. This comes on the heals of the phantom injury that forced Quinn to withdraw from the Senior Bowl three days before the event began. Quinn's draft stock has taken a major hit at the combine. There are questions about his decision making on and off the field as well as his leadership skills.