NFL combine shifts Big Board
Brandin Cooks and Mike Evans are among big risers after the Indy festivities
This year's NFL combine did more to confirm what I already believed about players than it did to reshuffle the rankings. Again, the combine is a check, it's a measure to confirm what you see on tape. Jadeveon Clowney ran remarkably fast for a 266-pound defensive end, but the guy runs remarkably fast for a 266-pound defensive end when he plays football. For the most part, what guys do in pads correlates reasonably well to what they do in Under Armour.
But there are some changes. Mike Evans was a little faster than I thought. So was Brandin Cooks. Both moved up here. Eric Ebron was a little bigger than he had been previously, but it didn't slow him down. He also moves up. As well, we had some medical information that changed the view of some players. So while you see some clear shifts, there are also a lot of players who stayed put, because they lived up to the already-good tape.
Remember: Scouting reports remain similar week to week, though you'll see tweaks over the next couple of months as pro days take place and I continue to gather information.
Asterisks denote players who were juniors at the time of their entry into the draft, and two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores. All players are now either officially in or out of the 2014 NFL draft.
After a 4.53 40 and a ridiculous 1.56 10-yard split time at the NFL combine, Clowney put to rest any questions of whether he'd perform in workouts like the athlete you see on tape. But he's not just a speed rusher looking to beat a tackle upfield and quickly turn the corner; he doesn't even bend that well. The power is there, too, and as a speed-to-power rusher who can drive a tackle back, Clowney can be great. He'll go through you. He can win with quickness or power and succeed in any scheme. Need will still factor into where he lands in the draft.
He shined as an athlete in Indy and is now a challenge to go No. 1 overall. The remarkable thing with Robinson is his growth curve. Brought in as a guard, Robinson started at left tackle in the SEC as a redshirt freshman and held his own. In 2013, he was dominant, with increased strength making him closer to that complete package at tackle. He moves well, can get out in the run game and block in space, and pass protects well with a wide base and quick feet. He also has long arms and delivers a solid punch. A future star.
A great showing in Indy keeps Mack here. It's about versatility as much as his pass rush. You see Mack lining up both at the line and on the perimeter. He is capable of rushing the passer with quickness and power, or dropping into coverage with a great ability to shed tackles and make plays in the open field. He uses good leverage to take on blocks and drive people back, and uses quickness and strong hands to shed. He plays with a great motor and tackles with form.
To see the rest of Mel Kiper's Big Board, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Source: Redskins to start McCoy over RG III
- Jets give Smith nod at QB against Dolphins
- Sherman, Baldwin rip Lynch fine with parody
- Sources: Captain Slater, Pats reach extension