Posted: Sunday February 26, 2012 5:35PM ; Updated: Sunday February 26, 2012 5:35PM
Tony Pauline
Tony Pauline>INSIDE THE NFL

Oregon's James, MSU's Cousins stand out in QB-RB combine drills

Story Highlights

Oregon's LaMichael James showed speed, quickness and balance in his drills

Houston's Case Keenum struggled making throws and showed little arm strength

Oregon's Darron Thomas was erratic and could not drive his deep throws

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Kirk Cousins
Michigan State's Kirk Cousins stood out in all the passing drills and was the best quarterback on the field Sunday.
Brian Spurlock/US PRESSWIRE

If your favorite NFL team needs a situational runner or third-down back, there were plenty on display Sunday at the combine. Impressive skill players with the versatility to carry the ball or catch it anywhere on the field were found all over Lucas Oil Stadium. The top three quarterback prospects chose not to throw the ball, which led to much disappointment. Here's a look at the top running backs and quarterbacks from the combine.

Risers

Chris Rainey/RB/Florida: Rainey continues to impress NFL decision-makers with his athleticism and the ability to handle several duties on the field. He was the fastest running back in attendance, posting a 40 time in the low 4.4-second area. Rainey later looked fluid, fast and very natural in all areas. He proceeded through the running drills with great balance and was exceptional catching the ball. Rainey displayed terrific quickness in all areas of the game. He is getting long looks as a skill player who can line up in the backfield, the slot or as a special teams player used to return punts and kicks.

David Wilson/RB/Virginia Tech: Wilson was another who had a fast start to the day, posting 40 times in the mid-4.4 second area. His speed was apparent in all the drills as Wilson showed a tremendous burst and the ability to turn it on in a single step. His pass-catching skills were the surprise of the afternoon. Wilson ran terrific routes, showed soft hands and did a great job catching the deep ball.

LaMichael James/RB/Oregon: Several stopwatches had James running 40 times as quick as 4.42 seconds. He looked faster in drills, displaying a great combination of speed, quickness and balance in all his drills. James easily cut back against the grain in bag drills and lost no momentum. He was complimented by coaches for his pass-catching skills later in the day.

Kirk Cousins/QB/Michigan State: Cousins stood out in all the passing drills and was the best quarterback on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. His passes were crisp, accurate and Cousins was on the money all day. He hit receivers in stride on underneath routes as well as down the field. Cousins nicely placed the ball into receivers' hands and displayed the ability to put touch on throws when necessary.

Ronnie Hillman/RB/San Diego State: Hillman was another running back who displayed a wide variety of skills during his combine workout. He was fast in the 40 (4.45s), very quick in running back drills and looked natural catching the ball.

Isaiah Pead/RB/Cincinnati: Pead's running back skills were possibly the best of any ball carrier who took the field Sunday. He effortlessly cut against the grain during drills and never slowed down changing direction. Pead showed great balance and body control all afternoon then effectively caught the ball as the session ended.

Robert Turbin/RB/Utah State: Physically, Turbin was the most impressive- looking ball carrier from the running back group. His 222-pound frame is rock solid and Turbin swiftly moved it across the carpet of Lucas Oil Stadium, running 40 times under 4.5 seconds. Turbin showed the skills of a smaller runner, displaying a great deal of quickness and cutting skills throughout the entire workout.

Doug Martin/RB/Boise State: Martin continues to impress scouts and move North on draft boards. His 28 reps on the bench tied Robert Turbin for the most by any running back. Martin's 40 time of 4.53 seconds was faster than expected. Later in the day he looked polish in all the drills

Sliders

Daniel Herron/RB/Ohio State: Herron started the day slowly, barely getting under 4.7 seconds in the 40. He looked slow in drills, was not smooth and had to gather himself before changing direction.

Case Keenum/QB/Houston: The record setting quarterback struggled making the NFL throws for most of his combine workout. Keenum showed little in the way of arm strength or the ability to drive passes. Many of his throws fell short of the mark or forced receivers to reach backwards and grab errant passes.

Darron Thomas/QB/Oregon: Thomas struggled throwing the ball most of the day. His was high of the mark over the middle, had several wayward passes out to the sidelines and could not drive deep throws.

Marc Tyler/RB/USC: Tyler was the slowest of all the running backs, running 40 times in the mid 4.7-second area. At times it seemed he came to a complete stop before changing direction and Tyler struggled in pass catching drills.

 
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