- Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
Much has been made of the disappointing showing Notre Dame ILB Manti Te'o had at the NFL combine.
After measuring 6-foot-1¼ and 241 pounds, Te'o posted a pedestrian time of 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash and didn't look smooth or comfortable during position drills. That created doubt for teams that might have considered him a three-down linebacker and backed up concerns teams might have brought to Indianapolis.
That means the pressure is on for Te'o to improve his 40 time and look better in position drills during Notre Dame's March 26 pro day and during any individual workouts for teams.
However, Te'o isn't the only prospect to keep any eye on as the pro day schedule gets going. The notable players below also need solid showings in order to solidify their stock as draft weekend approaches. Non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.
Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore*
Moore posted a 35.5-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-2 broad jump at the combine, and while 40 times aren't the only factor in an evaluation, Moore's time of 4.95 does raise a red flag.
He ran slower than 297-pound Florida DT Sharrif Floyd, and Moore's time is well below the five-year combine average (4.88) for defensive ends. In addition, there are character concerns.
We don't know how he handled the interview process in Indy -- he may well have eased concerns while talking with teams -- but it didn't look good that he wasn't ready to go when his name was called for the 40.
A pro-day 40 time that better reflects his speed on tape will help his case, and Moore (6-4, 250) needs to continue to ease character concerns ahead of and beyond his March 8 workout.
Georgia OLB Jarvis Jones*
Jones decided not to work out at the combine because his preparation for medical exams affected his training, and that's the right approach.
The problem is that he missed an opportunity to show teams what he can do on the field and increased the importance of his March 21 pro day workout. Jones (6-2, 245) doesn't have great size for an edge rusher, so the keys for him will be explosiveness and speed during testing and fluidity during position-specific drills.
If he can run in the low-4.60 range and performs well during drills and the medical check on his spinal stenosis condition is clear, he'll solidify first-round status. If not, his stock could drop.
Mississippi State CB Johnthan Banks
Banks is in damage-control mode after testing poorly in Indy and failing to impress during his on-field workout. His 4.61 in the 40 is not good for a corner, and his 20-yard shuttle was also below average.
That raises concerns about his top-end speed and change-of-direction skills. Banks (6-2, 185) also looked tight flipping his hips and didn't field the ball cleanly.
While he doesn't show great top-end speed on film and still projects as a fringe first-round pick, he needs to get that time down into the 4.5s and look more fluid during drills.
Banks doesn't have much time to prepare, because Mississippi State's pro day is March 6. On the other hand, he has an opportunity to quickly erase, or at least diminish, his disappointing showing at the combine.
Florida State DE Cornellius Carradine
Carradine tore the ACL in his right knee against Florida late in the season, and the injury prevented him from running in Indianapolis. He's not expected to work out at Florida State's pro day on March 19 either.
However, Carradine (6-4.5, 276) is expected to perform for teams in early April, and it will be interesting to see how well he runs, because he's one of the top defensive end prospects in the class on film. Teams should account for where he is in the recovery process when it comes to the 40, so he doesn't have to lay down an elite time.
USC QB Matt Barkley
Like Carradine, an injury prevented Barkley from working out at the combine. The good news is he says his shoulder is progressing and should be ready to throw at USC's pro day on March 27.
Forget about the testing. Barkley (6-2⅞, 227) doesn't need to run well or jump high to help his stock. The key is how well he throws the ball. Not much separates the top seven quarterbacks on our board, so Barkley still has a chance to move up even though he'll be throwing against air.
Don't forget about Lotulelei
One other name worth mentioning is Utah DT Star Lotulelei, who was advised by NFL combine doctors not to work out in Indianapolis following an abnormal test result that raised concerns about a heart condition. Lotulelei is expected to see a specialist and could work out at Utah's pro day on March 20 if everything checks out, but getting cleared medically is far more important than any testing. It's not known when or if he will work out, so we'll continue to monitor the situation.
Steve Muench looks at the heightened importance of pro day for Manti Te'o and other prospects.