Risers & Sliders: Athletic tackles, tight ends rule Day 3 of Combine
Bruce Campbell and Dorin Dickerson were Saturday's biggest workout wonders
Mike Iupati and Bryan Bulaga dominated the O-line skills drills
Anthony Davis, a possible top-15 pick, had a rough combine experience
Full combine workouts got under way in Indianapolis on Saturday, as the offensive linemen and tight ends took the field. There were several outstanding performances, with a number of prospects moving up draft boards and improving their stocks. Several other players, including a few top names, moved in the other direction. Here's a look at the initial workouts at this years NFL Combine:
Bruce Campbell/T/Maryland: As we alluded to in last week's Top 50 list, Campbell was expected to turn in a great workout -- and he didn't disappoint. The 314-pound Campbell posted two solid 40 times around 4.7 seconds; he also looked terrific during offensive line drills. On Friday, he completed 34 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Though not a staggering number, it's impressive when factoring in his arm length of 36¼ inches -- the longest of any offensive lineman. Campbell has solidified himself in the top half of Round 1.
Russell Okung/T/Oklahoma State: Okung showed why he is widely considered the top offensive lineman in this draft. He put up a solid 38 reps on the bench with arms that measured just a quarter inch shy of Campbell's. Okung then ran a pair of solid forty's in times which averaged around 5.12 seconds. He started strong in drills before a minor leg injury sidelined him.
Jimmy Graham/TE/Miami (Fla.): Graham continues to impress scouts every time he takes the field. Graham broke 4.6 in both 40 times. His receiving workout was stellar, too, as Graham flowed about the field making all the catches. Graham was not even on the scouting radar entering the season but has now moved into the draft's top 60 picks.
Dorin Dickerson/TE/Pittsburgh: Dickerson continues the upward momentum he built during Senior Bowl week. He was the fastest tight end on the field, at one point timing 4.47 seconds in the 40. Dickerson later displayed reliable hands during his workout. He measures just 6-1½ and 226 pounds and is not a player for everyone. Yet Dickerson has established himself as a receiving threat that's too fast for linebackers to cover yet big enough to outmatch defensive backs.
Mike Iupati/OL/Idaho: Iupati's physical tests were not overly impressive, running the 40 in the 5.3 range and completing only 27 reps on the bench. Yet once the offensive line drills started, Iupati looked terrific. He was athletic and explosive, displaying good movement skills -- besides footwork -- in pass protection drills. Iupati continues to move up draft boards.
Bryan Bulaga/T/Iowa: Bulaga did not put up impressive numbers during the bench press or 40, but like Iupati, he was terrific when asked to showcase his football skills. The Hawkeye junior moved effortlessly about the field, displaying outstanding footwork, hand quickness and overall explosion. Bulaga looked more polished than people thought and is likely to move into the middle of Round 1.
Dennis Pitta/TE/BYU: The combine is about expectations more than anything else, and Pitta exceeded them. He's a known commodity catching the football, but his 27 reps on the bench and 40 times (below 4.7) were a pleasant surprise.
Jared Veldheer/T/Hillsdale: The small-school tackle has looked like a big-time player at the combine. His physical tests were solid, running the 40 under 5.1 after tipping the scales at 312. He also looked effective in drills, but Veldheer really impressed people during the interview process. Scouts said Veldheer was not at all intimidated by the combine atmosphere -- unusual for a player from such a small school. He's being compared to Sebastian Volmer, the Patriots' second-round pick in 2009, though many feel Veldheer has greater upside.
Trent Williams/OL/Oklahoma: Williams is giving scouts reason for pause after his poor senior season. The 315-pound lineman ran 40s in the 4.85 range, second-fastest of any blocker. He then looked very athletic during line drills. Hence, scouts must either upgrade Williams based on the physical skills he's displayed at the combine or downgrade him on the poor play last season.
Anthony Davis/T/Rutgers: Davis looked sluggish, poorly conditioned and worst of all, very ordinary at the combine. He completed just 21 reps on the bench press and could not break 5.4 in the 40. Davis looked very stale on the field, almost as if he hasn't been working out recently. In our Top 50 list, we mentioned scouts would grill Davis about his passion for football. He did nothing to quell the criticism or answer questions in Indianapolis.
Cole Pemberton/T/Colorado State: Pemberton looks the part but did not test to it the past two days. The 6-7/315-pound tackle was only able to complete 18 reps on the bench press, a number equaled or bettered by all but two tight ends. His 40 times were slow, and Pemberton displayed little in the way of athleticism during drills.
Dace Richardson/G/Iowa: The 320-pound lineman was sluggish, slow and did not counter with a strong showing on the bench. Richardson could not break 5.7 in the 40 and completed just 19 reps on the bench press.
Notes: Jermaine Gresham of Oklahoma had an adequate showing at the combine. Sitting out the '09 season with a knee injury, Gresham ran the 40 in the mid-4.7 area and lacked quickness and explosion throughout his workout. He was not able to run to the deep throw and displayed a marginal burst of speed, two traits he showed as a junior and sophomore with the Sooners.
Arkansas offensive lineman Mitch Petrus tied a combine record by completing 45 reps on the bench press Friday. The former fullback was unable to capitalize with a good workout on Saturday, as many had expected. Petrus injured his left hamstring during his first running of the 40 (5.25) and was sidelined the rest of the day.
With all the quarterbacks that have announced they will not take part in their combine workout Sunday, who will throw the ball? Dan LeFevour, for one. It was erroneously reported LeFevour would join the likes of Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen as non-participants here in Indianapolis. LeFevour set the record straight and said he intends on completing all the physical tests, then take part in at least 50 percent of the throwing workout.
Terrence Cody tipped the scales at 354 pounds during combine weigh-ins, 20 less than his Senior Bowl weight. While Cody will not win any upcoming Mr. Universe contests, he is headed in the right direction. Cody must now convince NFL teams his recent weight loss is a change in lifestyle moving forward, rather than a short-term fix to reverse his tumbling draft grade.
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