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Combine Risers & Sliders: O-line

Michigan's Long dominates; Auburn's Dunlap sags

Posted: Saturday February 23, 2008 9:40PM; Updated: Monday February 25, 2008 7:05PM
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Jake Long allowed just two sacks in his four years starting on Michigan's offensive line.
Jake Long allowed just two sacks in his four years starting on Michigan's offensive line.
AP
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By Tony Pauline, Special to SI.com, TFYDraft.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The offensive linemen were the first to take to the field at the RCA Dome on Saturday morning and most of the top prospects chose to workout. There were a number of outstanding performances turned in from early first round selections as well as middle round choices.

Risers

Jake Long, OT, Michigan: Long looked every bit the part of a top-five pick. He led all offensive linemen completing 37 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, then ran his 40's in the 5.15 second range. Long went on to display outstanding footwork during the position drills and was head and shoulders above everyone else.

Carl Nicks, OT, Nebraska: Nicks displayed his athletic side, running his 40's in the low 5.10 second range after completing 31 reps on the bench. He also looked very solid during the drill session showing solid footwork and movement skills.

Breno Giacomini, OT, Louisville: Giacomini, a former tight end, ran his 40's in the 5.10 second range then put in a terrific workout during position drills. He displayed quickness all morning and looked solid during pass protections exercises.

Duane Brown, G, Virginia Tech: Brown was one of the most athletic linemen on the field. He turned in 40 times right around the five second mark and looked sensational in the drills. Brown was fast and fluid in all the position specific drills and turned a number of heads.

Jeremy Zuttah, G, Rutgers: Zuttah will undoubtedly come away from the combine as one of the biggest winners on the offensive line. After weighing in at 303 pounds, he completed 35 repetitions on the bench then ran both his 40's under five seconds. He carried that momentum to the drill session where he performed well.

Mike Pollak, C, Arizona State: Pollack was another big winner as he too clocked in under five seconds. The center also completed 29 reps on the bench, much better than expected. Late in the morning he looked terrific in position drills.

Heath Benedict, OL, Newberry: Benedict was swift running the 40, cracking the five second mark with a best time of 4.93 seconds. He later showed well during pass protections drills when simulating a left tackle.

John Sullivan, C, Notre Dame: Sullivan is trying to make up for a poor senior campaign and did well in Indianapolis. He displayed terrific quickness and explosion through the midday workout and had some of the best footwork of any linemen in attendance.

Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt: Williams ran surprisingly fast, clocking under five seconds on a number of stop watches. He then looked terrific during the practice session and has likely solidified himself as a first-round choice.

Sliders

Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh: Otah was lead-footed most of the morning and had an ineffective day. He ran both his 40's slower than 5.5 seconds then lumbered around the field during the position drills. Otah has been suffering from an ankle injury, which was part of the problem.

King Dunlap, OT, Auburn: Dunlop measured 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds, yet put up a paltry 21 repetitions on the bench press. He ran one 40 in a time of 5.35 seconds before sitting out the rest of the day with an injury.

Chad Rinehart, G, Northern Iowa: Rinehart ran his 40's in the 5.4 second area then looked just as slow during the practice session. He displayed limited quickness and explosion in blocking drills.

Corey Clark, OT, Texas A&M: Clark was another who struggled to get below the 5.4 second mark then looked sluggish during drills. He displayed limited footwork and showed marginal punch with his hands.

Notes

Ryan Clady of Boise State was the only sure fire first-round lineman not to workout. He cited the cause as an injury he suffered during training which had not healed. ... Bowling Green center Kory Lichtensteiger took part in the running workout and practice sessions but that will be all the working out he'll be doing for a while. Unbeknownst to him, Lichtensteiger played part of last season with a torn labrum, an injury discovered immediately after the Senior Bowl. He chose to participate at the combine on a limited bases then will have surgery next week. The rehabilitation could shelve him for up to four months. ... Tony Hills, the highly rated offensive tackle from Texas, fractured his leg in October, which kept him on the sidelines the rest of the year. His recovery is going well and Hills will workout for scouts during the Texas pro day in late March.

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