The NFL Scouting Combine isn’t the end all, be all of player evaluation.
But it can sway a prospect’s momentum heading into the draft.
Here are five players that helped their stock and five that hurt it at the combine:
5 Stock Risers
DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, BYU
Ansah debated not running the 40-yard dash. Good thing he did, because he posted an impressive 4.63 for a 6-foot-5, 271-pound lineman. Ansah was already considered a first-round prospect, but he may launch into the top 15 based on his athletic potential. The Ghana native didn’t start playing football until 2010. He logged just 4.5 sacks and 60 tackles last year, but evaluators may put more stock in his upside.
DE Margus Hunt, Southern Methodist
This guy is huge. Hunt measured in at 6-foot-8, 227 pounds, which started the combine buzz. Then he bench pressed 38 reps of 225 pounds, tied for the most of any player at the combine. Another player from abroad (Estonia), Hunt is still raw, but his size and athletic potential could move him into the late second round.
WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Austin’s YouTube highlights already had people drooling. Then he blazed a 4.34 40-yard dash that registered as the second-best at the combine. The small-framed playmaker solidified his explosiveness and perhaps his first-round draft stock in the process. A local product from Dunbar High School, Austin was also one of the top performers in the 20-yard shuttle (4.01 seconds).
CB Darius Slay, Mississippi State
The 40-yard dash is a major event for cornerbacks since they have to match up against speedy wide receivers. Slay posted the best time of the bunch with a 4.36. He was once considered a mid-round selection, but will likely move up boards. Slay has the height at 6-foot-0, and he notched four interceptions last year.
OLB Cornelus Washington, Georgia
Washington performed well in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl, then blew the roof off the dome at the combine. The 6-foot-4, 265-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 second, posted a 39-inch vertical jump and a 10-8 broad jump. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 36 times. He may have moved into the second round despite pedestrian college stats.
5 Stock Fallers
ILB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
The combine started well for Te’o, as he reportedly impressed in his interviews and sounded mature during his podium session with the media. But his performance in the 40-yard dash left pundits wondering whether he’s a three-down linebacker. Te’o ran a 4.82, which was ranked 20th out of 26 linebackers. ESPN’s John Clayton said it could possibly drop him out of the first round.
ILB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Ogletree already entered the combine with some questions after he was arrested for driving under the influence earlier this month. Then he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.7 seconds, which is on the slow end considering he’s a converted safety that is known for his coverage skills. Ogletree has some work to do if he’s going to return to being a top-15 draft prospect.
DE/OLB Demontre Moore, Texas A&M
Considered a top-10 pick, Moore disappointed at the combine. He was highly productive in college (13.5 sacks last season) and the question was whether he was athletically gifted enough to do the same in the NFL. Moore posted just 12 reps on the bench press, the least of any defensive lineman at the combine. He didn’t run well either, posting a 4.95 in the 40-yard dash. He also tweaked his hamstring.
DT Star Lotulelei, Utah & LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Both Lotulelei and Jones had medical issues that could send them sliding towards the back of the first round. Lotulelei, who is considered by some as the draft’s top prospect, wasn’t permitted to work out after a heart condition (his left ventricle is not operating at maximum capacity). Jones has a neck injury (spinal stenosis) that reportedly led to some NFL teams not medically clearing him, and he didn’t participate in most drills.
OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
Warmack passed up on all the basic events at the combine except for the 40-yard dash and broad jump. He perhaps should have skipped the run. Warmack turned in a slow 5.49 time, even for a man of his size (6-2, 317). Considered a high first-round draft pick, it doesn’t help his standing. Guards are sometimes liable to slide, and that could cause some to pause on Warmack.