NFL Combine: 10 observations from Friday

The stars finally worked their way onto the field on Friday for some actual football a degree. Honestly, it just depends whether you determine broad jump and shuttle drills to be "football work".

But, I digress. The offensive linemen and tight ends ran, jumped, caught, danced, dove and gave every single ounce of effort to impress the NFL personnel in the Lucas Oil Stadium stands.

I managed to see 98% of the workout, only eschewing the shuttle drills for the TE, the times which I can get later on in the day. But, there were some standouts throughout the day.

  1. LSU OT La'el Collins was excellent in every phase of the day. He was light on his feet, was downright excellent in his mirror drill and was explosive in his jumps and shuttles. It was evident that he stood at the top of the class with every movement. He ran an official 5.12 40 yard dash but it was the ease of movement in all of his drills that stood out to me.
  1. Unfortunately, Iowa OT Brandon Scherff tweaked his hamstring during positional field drills but ran one of the best 40 yard dash times of the day with a 5.05. I wanted to see him do his movement drills to really show off the lateral quickness and power but he didn't get that opportunity with a balky right hamstring.
  1. Hobart College T Ali Marpet continues to gather attention and make more money. He was a standout at the Senior Bowl in January and more than held his own against FBS competition/the best in college football. Then, he thrived in the individual drills and movement position drills on Friday. He ran the only sub-5.0 forty amongst the linemen with an official 4.98. He'll definitely be in my Top 100 post-Combine and should've been before we got to Indianapolis.
  1. San Diego State OT Terry Poole, West Virginia OT Mark Glowinski and Virginia Tech OT Laurence Gibson all had the top broad jump mark with 9'5". Penn State TE Jesse James led the tight ends with a 10'1" jump. James also had a 37.5" vertical jump to lead the tight ends with Minnesota's Maxx Williams second with a 34.5" jump.
  1. Miami, FL OT Ereck Flowers put up 37 reps on the bench on Thursday, tops for offensive linemen, but he needs to show that the power in his technique in run blocking. Watching him move and strike, he doesn't deliver with the pop I expected, especially for a guy that strong on the bench.
  1. A guy that really put together a great workout was Missouri OL Mitch Morse. 36 reps on the bench. 9'4" in the broad jump. 5.14 40 yard dash, one of the top times in the 53 man group. He's going to be on a ton of radar screens in the near future, that's for sure.
  1. Florida State TE Nick O'Leary has glue sticks for hands, but his measurables will keep teams from calling his name until day three. He had less than 30 inch arms which was extremely unusual. He ran 4.93 in the 40. But, man, he caught everything so effortlessly. Teams will love his no nonsense demeanor but the measurables will make him a tough sell on day two.
  1. Talked to a few scouts/coaches while in Indy on Friday and each one of them had Miami, FL TE Clive Walford at the top of the tight end heap at this point (in front of Draft Twitter's guy Maxx Williams). He ran 4.79, had a 1.67 ten yard split (one of the top four times for TE) and did 20 reps on the bench. He caught the ball well in all of his passing drills.
  1. Most disappointing part of the day was the number of TE that didn't work out. At final count, I think only ten (of twenty) did a full workout.
  1. South Alabama TE Wes Saxton was a guy that I spied back in the spring of 2014 and kept an eye on since. He ran 4.65 (best 40 time on the day) and jumped nearly 10' in the broad jump at 248 pounds and could be an interesting move TE/big receiver for some teams. He's not a true tight end, a Y-inline guy, but he'll get a look with his athleticism.

Overall, it was eye-opening to watch athletes of this caliber up close and personal. I can only imagine what a 4.2 40 yard dash looks like though. C'mon, Phillip Dorsett, I'm cheering for you!

Friday at the Combine, NFL hopefuls worked out and met with the media at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos courtesy of Associated Press)

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