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Posted: Saturday February 21, 2009 6:00PM; Updated: Sunday February 22, 2009 11:11PM

Fulton, Felix move up at combine

Story Highlights

Xavier Fulton of Illinois has put up good numbers despite a shoulder injury

South Carolina tight end Jared Cook ran his 40-time like a wide receiver

Alabama tackle Andre Smith has had some bizarre behavior at the combine

By Tony Pauline, Special to SI.com, TFYDraft.com

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Xavier Fulton improved his stock with a strong performance on Saturday.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The offensive linemen and tight ends took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium to be timed in the 40 and to go through a battery of position drills. There were a number of players who stood out and improved their draft stock.

Risers

Xavier Fulton/OL/Illinois: Fulton was impressive from the start of the combine as he completed 27 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press Friday, then ran his 40 in a time of 4.91 seconds on both tries. He later looked terrific in position drills. Fulton has been dealing with a shoulder injury since tearing a labrum in the middle of the season. He could have very easily bowed out of performing at the combine but decided to give it a go. Fulton will have surgery to repair the injury next week.

Robby Felix/C/UTEP: Cleared by doctors to train for the combine just two months ago after suffering a very mild stroke in November, Felix completed 33 reps on the bench then ran his 40 in 5.2 seconds. His footwork and movement skills really stood out during the practice session.

Jamon Meredith/OL/South Carolina: Meredith was bothered with injuries and position changes last season at USC. He has certainly looked healthy and focused since arriving in Indianapolis. On Friday, he completed 31 reps on the bench press, better than anyone expected. Meredith ran his 40s in a combined time of 4.89 seconds. Meredith later displayed good footwork, quickness and athleticism in the workout.

Jared Cook/TE/South Carolina: Meredith's college teammate was another who made Gamecock fans proud. Cook timed in the low 4.4-second area on both of his 40's, a time faster than many of the wide receivers will run. He did not participate in the pass catching workout because of a quadriceps injury suffered on his second run, but Cook's hands have never been questioned by scouts.

William Beatty/OT/Connecticut: One of the nation's better pass blockers proved he is one of the best athletes of all the offensive linemen in attendance. Beatty weighed a stout 307 pounds and completed 27 reps on the bench. He ran his 40s in just over five seconds, then looked very smooth during position drills.

Dan Gronkowski/TE/Maryland: Gronkowski completed 26 reps on the bench Friday, then ran his 40's in just over 4.7 seconds. Later in practice, he displayed solid hands and showed a lot of downfield speed scouts did not think he possessed.

Lydon Murtha/OL/Nebraska: Murtha flew across the stadium turf, posting times of 4.85 and 4.89 in the 40, some of the best ever for an offensive lineman at the combine. He later displayed a lot of quickness and athleticism in the position specific drills.

Phil Loadholt/OT/Oklahoma: Loadholt was less than inspiring at the Senior Bowl last month, but pulled it together in Indianapolis. He weighed in at 332 pounds, 11 less than the Senior Bowl. Loadholt's 40 times were not impressive, yet his workout stood out. He looked very athletic and moved exceptionally well on his feet.

Gerald Cadogan/OT/Penn State: Scouts always considered Cadogan a solid athlete and he proved them correct today. Cadogan posted times of 5.03 and 5.07 in the 40 and looked very athletic on the field. His bench press total of 26 repetitions was a positive sign for those critical of his strength.

Sliders

Bear Pascoe/TE/Fresno State: Pascoe is considered more of a pass catcher, yet he was the slowest tight end on the field. He never broke 4.9 seconds in the 40 and looked very sluggish in pass catching drills.

Herman Johnson/OL/LSU: Johnson's woes seem to be piling up. He performed poorly at the Senior Bowl and was no better here. Johnson weighed in at 364 pounds, almost twenty less than the Senior Bowl, but barely broke the 5.5- second barrier in the 40 and worse yet, completed just 21 reps on the bench.

Dan Gay/OL/Baylor: Gay measured 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds, but was only able to complete 18 reps on the bench and ran poorly, timing his 40's over 5.4-seconds.

Garrett Reyonlds/OT/North Carolina: Reynolds was another big offensive lineman who struggled on the bench press (19 reps) and in the 40 (5.41 seconds). He later looked sluggish and slow during the practice session.

Notes

It's been a bizarre few days for Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, considered by most to be a top five pick. Immediately before the second group of offensive linemen were about to start their workout, an official announcement was made stating Smith had left the combine headquarters unannounced. After a long search, Smith was found 30 minutes before the workout began. The announcement went on to say Smith and his agent were giving conflicting stories as to the reason of his disappearance. Sources later said Smith's interviews with teams have been going horribly. He's been inappropriately dressed and has been giving a number of conflicting statements as to why he was choosing not to workout at the combine. Several offensive line coaches have already suggested Smith be removed from their team's draft board and there's no doubt his draft stock is falling.

Considering the money being thrown around at the punters and kickers before free agency even begins, teams may look to the draft to fill these areas. They best look hard.

On Friday, the punters and kickers were the first athletes to workout at the combines new location, Lucas Oil Stadium, and there were mixed results.

Thomas Morstead of SMU displayed a strong leg as most of his punts were measured at 50 yards or more, the longest being a 60-yarder. The problem is Morstead looked terrible as a directional punter.

David Buehler of USC had the strongest kickoff leg as most of his kicks went 70+ yards deep into the opposite end zone. His problem came during the field goal portion of the session as Buehler missed on all three attempts from 50 yards.

Field goal accuracy was not a problem for Louie Sakoda of Utah. He connected on two of three from 50 yards and was perfect from 45 yards. Sakoda's kickoffs were another story as he struggled to even reach the opposing 10-yard line, or the equivalent of a 60-yard kickoff.

 
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