2010 NFL Combine: A Look Back
In our pre-Combine analysis, we detailed the top ten things Cowboys’ fans should look for at the NFL Combine. In this article, we will evaluate the results of these ten items, describing how they might affect the Cowboys’ draft.
1. Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster’s Forty Time
McCluster hurt his draft stock in a big way at the Combine. At 165 pounds, McCluster was expected to run a sub-4.4 forty. Instead, he clocked in at an official 4.58. In comparison, five running backs weighing 218 pounds or greater registered better times (Ben Tate, Ryan Mathews, Montario Hardesty, James Starks, and Lonyae Miller).
McCluster’s performance could actually be a positive for the Cowboys, assuming they are targeting him. McCluster plays much faster than his time, and he is now basically a lock to drop to the Cowboys’ second round pick. We had McCluster as the Cowboys’ second round selection in our first mock draft. That is still a possibility, but McCluster performed so poorly that there is an outside chance he drops to the back of the third round, a spot where Dallas could attain tremendous value with his selection.
2. USC OT Charles Brown‘s Bench Press Reps
Brown is a supremely athletic tackle with great technique. His small size, though, makes him a non-typical offensive lineman selection for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, Brown’s bench press was weak. He registered just 21 reps, showing that the concerns about his strength are legitimate.
We had Brown as the Cowboys’ first round selection in our latest mock draft, and while it is still possible that Dallas wants to upgrade their pass protection enough to take a chance on Brown, it is more unlikely now than before.
3. Clemson WR Jacoby Ford‘s Position Drills
We all knew Jacoby Ford would light up the forty-yard dash and he did not disappoint. He clocked in with a Combine-best 4.28, seven-hundredths of a second faster than any other player. His positional drills, though, were what really impressed scouts, as he displayed excellent body control and hands. Ford appeared to be a football player, as opposed to just a track star playing football.
Ford may have actually risen his stock too much for Dallas. He could potentially be a second round selection, which we believe would be much too rich for Dallas’ blood. Ford is still only 5’9”, so although he would help out in the return game, his future success as an NFL wide receiver could be limited to the slot.
4. Penn State DT/DE Jared Odrick‘s Interviews
From everything we could gather, Odrick did an excellent job in his meetings with NFL teams at the Combine. He displayed good maturity and took responsibility for his actions. We don’t see Odrick as a character concern moving forward.
We had Odrick as Dallas’ selection in our first mock draft, and he remains a potential pick for Dallas at 27 if he lasts that long.
5. LSU RB/WR Trindon Holliday’s Forty Time
This event was listed as something fun to watch more than anything. We expected Holliday to be the Combine’s fastest player, but he ended up running “just” a 4.34. Holliday’s NFL prospects are about the same as they were pre-Combine: a very small, late-round player who can come in as a returner and, possibly, a specialty offensive weapon.
6. Hillsdale OT Jared Veldheer’s Position Drills
At 6’9”, 321 pounds, Veldheer is more of what the Cowboys look for in a lineman than Charles Brown. Playing at a DII school, though, there were questions about Veldheer’s technique. Those questions seem to have been answered, as Veldheer reportedly received “plenty of positive feedback” from NFL scouts, who said his stock is soaring.
Veldheer, who we saw as a potential third round selection for the ‘Boys, could now go as high as round two.
7. LSU OT Ciron Black’s Short Shuttle Time
Unfortunately, Black chose not to participate in the short shuttle. We are not sure why, as he is a guy whose stock has been steadily dropping since last season. He did run a sub-par 5.49 forty and recorded one of the worst broad jumps at the Combine at 7’7”. This shows a lack of explosion, meaning Black’s short shuttle time probably would have been poor as well. He also performed only 23 reps on the bench press.
Black may be an option for Dallas if he is still available late in the draft, but his inadequate quickness and poor work ethic make him unlikely to be a possibility before then.
8. Kentucky LB Micah Johnson‘s Physical
We were unsure if Johnson would even participate in the Combine, but his knee was obviously healthy enough for him to do so. We knew Johnson is an incredibly strong, physical linebacker, and he displayed that with 31 reps on the bench, third-most of any LB.
Unfortunately, Johnson disappointed scouts with his speed. He recorded an atrocious 4.99 forty-yard dash. We think he plays a lot faster than he timed, so Micah’s selection in the back of round four could provide great value.
9. Alabama CB Javier Arenas‘ Forty Time
Arenas clocked in at 4.52 in the forty-yard dash, which is about what we expected. He has above-average quickness which he utilizes on returns. We still love Arenas as a third or fourth round selection who would immediately upgrade both return positions and push Orlando Scandrick as the nickel cornerback.
10. Georgia Tech S Morgan Burnett‘s Forty Time
Burnett chose to not run at the Combine. Fortunately for him, his competition (Nate Allen, Reshad Jones, Chad Jones) also either chose not to run or recorded poor times. We think Burnett could have really helped himself my posting a respectable time at the Combine, as scouts generally trust the times there more so than at a player’s Pro Day.
Of these ten players, we believe all are legitimate options for the Cowboys. In order of the likelihood of Dallas drafting them, we rate the players as follows:
1. Jared Odrick
2. Jared Veldheer
3. Dexter McCluster
7. Ciron Black
8. Jacoby Ford
9. Trindon Holliday
10. Charles Brown