Pick 6: Standout performances at the 2014 NFL Combine - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pick 6: Standout performances at the 2014 NFL Combine

Posted: Updated:
South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NFL scouting combine will never turn a projected first-round pick into an undrafted free agent, or vice versa.

By this point in the careers of these prospects, their size has been established. So have their smarts. The film of their college performances is indelible, the basis of the evaluation for every team in the league. But over the four-day event at Lucas Oil Stadium, there are always players who help or hurt themselves, even if ever so slightly, when their speed, agility and strength is on display with the rest of their peers. Some even stand out by skipping certain drills.

Here are six notable performances from this year's combine in Indianapolis:

CONFOUNDING CLOWNEY: After a substandard 2013 season for South Carolina, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been dogged by questions about his work ethic and focus. But his blend of physical traits at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds is so promising that he could still be the first pick in the draft. For him to fall out of the top five would be almost unfathomable.

This, then, was fitting. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, the fastest at his position, but managed only 21 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press, fewer than several defensive backs and running backs and even one punter, Pat O'Donnell of Miami.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock summed up the enigma nicely.

"I already think I know what he is: he's the scariest, freakiest, physical specimen I've ever seen since I've been doing this," Mayock said. "However, that doesn't mean I'm saying he's the best defensive lineman in the draft or the best player in the draft because he worries me with some of the red flags."

GO JOHNNY GO: Johnny Manziel, like fellow top-tier quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater, opted not to throw for scouts over the weekend, preferring to wait until his pro day workout at Texas A&M. But while Bridgewater skipped the 40-yard dash, too, Manziel zipped right through it in 4.68 seconds. At 6 feet and less than 210 pounds, Manziel is smaller than the prototype for the position, but as he showed often in college he has the speed to make all kinds of excitement happen on the field.

SAM STRUGGLES: As the Southeastern Conference co-defensive player of the year for Missouri, Michael Sam has proven his pass-rushing prowess. He has made headlines for his quest to become the league's first openly gay player.

But ultimately, the biggest issue with Sam is he has the skills and the build that's caught between a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme and an outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. The "tweener" label could keep him as a mid-round pick at best.

Sam didn't boost his stock at the combine much, either. He ran the 40 in 4.91 seconds, hardly in Clowney's company. He also had the lowest vertical jump, 25½ inches, and the second-fewest bench press reps, 17, among those at his position who participated.

FAST IS FAST: Kent State running back Dri Archer is a fringe prospect in this draft, at a mere 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds coming off an injury-affected senior season. He's considered a late-round pick, but Archer sure helped himself by running the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds, the best official time this year and a hair behind Chris Johnson's 2008 record of 4.24. Archer can also return kickoffs, which gives teams another value to consider.

NOT-SO-LITTLE BROTHER: Minnesota safety Brock Vereen is projected a late-round pick at best, but the younger brother of New England running back Shane Vereen ran a 4.47 in the 40, the 11th-fastest among all defensive players and second among safeties. Vereen also fared well in agility drills and led his position with 25 reps on the bench press.

Asked over the weekend about whether he wanted to be drafted higher than his brother — a long-shot goal because the Patriots took their Vereen in the second round in 2011 — Vereen brushed that off.

"I think the biggest part of me just wants to hit him," Vereen said. "I just can't wait until we meet on the field."

GILBERT GETS A BOOST: The depth of talent at so many positions this year might have left the cornerbacks a bit overlooked, but in this pass-driven league there is never a time when they've been more valuable. After Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, the other guy at this position with a consensus first-round grade is Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert. He ran the fastest 40 time among defensive players with a 4.37.

___

Online:

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:29:34 GMT
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.More >>
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.
    More >>
  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-08-31 05:10:40 GMT
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...More >>
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...
    More >>
  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:25 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:25:46 GMT
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>
  • Man surrenders after shooting in Tuscaloosa

    Man surrenders after shooting in Tuscaloosa

    Monday, September 1 2014 1:15 PM EDT2014-09-01 17:15:16 GMT
    Tuscaloosa police have charged 31-year-old Teira Sherman with assault. Investigators say early Monday morning, police were called to 3100 block of 20th Street on a shooting. When they arrived, they found a 28-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. He was taken to DCH where he is being treated. Investigators spoke with witnesses and they were able to identify the suspect as Sherman. Investigators say it appears Sherman was involved in a fight at a local club and drove to the ...More >>
    Tuscaloosa police have charged 31-year-old Teira Sherman with assault. Investigators say early Monday morning, police were called to 3100 block of 20th Street on a shooting. When they arrived, they found a 28-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound to the neck. He was taken to DCH where he is being treated. Investigators spoke with witnesses and they were able to identify the suspect as Sherman. Investigators say it appears Sherman was involved in a fight at a local club and drove to the ...More >>
  • Police: two people dead, two injured in motorcycle club shooting

    Police: two people dead, two injured in motorcycle club shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:50:11 GMT
    Two people are dead and two others have non-life threatening injuries from a shooting at a Birmingham motorcycle club Sunday. Police say a verbal fight between members of two motorcycle clubs lead to the fatal shooting.More >>
    Two people are dead and two others have non-life threatening injuries from a shooting at a Birmingham motorcycle club Sunday. Police say a verbal fight between members of two motorcycle clubs lead to the fatal shooting.More >>
  • Join us for WOOFstock this weekend (Sept. 6, 2014)

    Join us for WOOFstock this weekend (Sept. 6, 2014)

    Monday, September 1 2014 8:52 AM EDT2014-09-01 12:52:22 GMT
    Is your dog ready for WOOFstock this weekend? It's an annual event in Hoover that draws thousands to Veterans Park on Valleydale.More >>
    Is your dog ready for WOOFstock this weekend? It's an annual event in Hoover that draws thousands to Veterans Park on Valleydale.More >>
  • UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:04:24 GMT
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
  • Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:18:57 GMT
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
  • No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:29:44 GMT
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>