With the NFL Combine wrapped up and the 2015 NFL Draft just two months away, let’s look at the biggest winners and losers from the NFL’s annual somewhat useful and highly controversial track and field event.
2015 NFL Combine Winners
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are unquestionably the top two quarterbacks in this year’s draft and could very well end up going 1 and 2 on April 30. Players who are already slotted at 1 and 2 by definition can’t shoot up any higher, but simply by holding serve, they deserve to be recognized. Winston showed off his arm, dismissed those stupid “shoulder weakness” concerns and displayed his trademark charisma. Winston’s main obstacle was always going to be the private interviews with teams, but in terms of on the field performance, he was dynamite. The “It factor” was certainly on display and he may have very well locked up the number 1 spot.
Mariota was impressive as well. His track numbers were outstanding — 4.52 40-yard dash and a 36” vertical — but that was to be expected. While clearly not in the same realm as Winston as an NFL-ready passer, Mariota did show improvement in his anticipation. Simply by showing improvement, Mariota has demonstrated that he has the ability to get better anticipating routes — an essential skill in the NFL. Every team in the NFL should feel safe drafting Mariota if they have concerns with Winston’s character and off the field issues.
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
In a draft where cornerbacks and safetys are said to be among the weakest groups, the former Trojan looks to have done enough with his blazing speed to lock himself into the top corner off the board. Waynes posted a 40 time of 4.31 seconds — that’s bonkers.
Bud Dupree, LB, Kentucky
2015 is shaping up to be a great draft for teams looking for pass rushing help and perhaps no pass rusher had a stronger workout than Dupree. The main question with him is whether he’s just a flash in the pan. He’s far from a finished product in term of actually playing football, but there’s no denying his freakish athleticism. The dude is 6-4, 269 pounds and ran a 4.56 40, posted a 42-inch vertical jump, and a 138-inch broad jump.
2015 NFL Combine Losers
Kevin White, CB, TCU
When you’re a 5-foot-9 cornerback, you have no choice but to be fast if you want to make it in the NFL. White did not do that at the Combine. A 4.63 40 is acceptable if you’re massive, have great hands and technique, and know how to stick to receivers; when you’re Kevin Hart sized, it’s disastrous.
Chris Hackett, S, TCU
Horn Frog alums did not do well at the Combine. Hackett’s day was equally as depressing as White’s, running a 4.81 40, the worst of any defensive back.
Running Backs… all of them
The class of running backs is deep, but not particularly fast. With Todd Gurley recovering from a knee injury, the rest of these guys had the chance to distinguish themselves, but no one did. Jeremy Langford, Karlos Williams, and Trey Williams posting acceptable 40 times, but Melvin Gordon, Duke Johnson, and Ameer Abdullah were all disappointments.