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NFL Combine: Day Three, Saturday, February 24th

By: Greg Davis

Day three yielded some interesting results, but the main players that were being highly touted coming into the Combine definitely showed up.

One of the most intriguing stories of the day may have been Brady Quinn抯 decision to lift against the advice of his agent. He completed 24 reps at 225 pounds, which is definitely a nice total. The real stars of the day were the linemen and tight ends, though, who went through all of their drills.

Of all the players participating in physical drills on Saturday, day three featured three gems:

Joe Thomas, the Wisconsin tackle whose stock is already high, had a good performance throughout. His 40-yard dash time of 4.96 was tied for the third fastest among the offensive linemen group, and for a player of his size of 6𘂻/8ths and 311 pounds, everyone in attendance had to take notice. Thomas all but locked up the chance to be the first lineman taken, which isn抰 anything new, but he left no doubt on Saturday. He looked quite strong during drills, and his size combined with his mobility are extremely appealing. His agility and footwork were on display throughout the day. He had little to lose by participating, and he simply solidified his high draft status.

Ryan Kalil, the top center prospect in the eyes of many analysts, cemented his position in a similar fashion to Thomas. He ran a 4.96 40-yard dash to tie for the third fastest time among the offensive linemen alongside Thomas. While a lineman抯 40 time isn抰 the best indication of potential success, Kalil continued to shine during other drills. He posted a broad jump of 88 and showed great agility for his size. He looked good during the three-cone drill and several other drills, and was even favorably compared to Todd McClure and Tom Nalen. His strengths appear to be a perfect fit for zone blocking, so teams who are implementing that scheme and need a center will do what it takes to acquire Kalil.

The third star on Saturday was tight end Greg Olsen. The Miami product was already being compared to New York Giants tight end Jeremy Shockey, and his athletic ability shined during the third day of the Combine. Olsen posted the top 40 time on the day at 4.47, and showed agility and strength over the course of the day. He also featured his hands by adjusting to balls and making solid catches during drills. His 40 time and physical attributes will ensure that he is the top tight end taken in the draft.

While the three aforementioned players stood out, there were certainly other items of note.

Offensive Line Notes:

Justin Blalock, out of Texas, didn抰 look smooth during an opening three-cone drill, but he did show agility during other drills, and had a good day overall. He posted a 5.23 40-yard time, but he did nothing to scare teams away. He抯 one of the best available linemen.

Guard Dan Santucci, from Notre Dame, ran a 5.06 in the 40, and was impressive overall. His work during drills was consistent and his movements were compact. There was talk of Santucci being moved from guard to center, and his workouts suggest that there is a place for him somewhere in the NFL.

Hawaii抯 Samson Satele posted a 40 time of 5.26, but the center looked strong during agility drills and may have a shot at being the second center taken after Kalil.

Other impressive centers were Leroy Harris from North Carolina State and Dan Mozes from West Virginia. Both were fluid in their completion of the drills, and demonstrated good technique. Each has a shot at being the second center off the board come April.

James Marten, a Boston College tackle, demonstrated his agility and athletic ability during drills, and his stock may have increased slightly.

Allen Barbre, an offensive tackle out of Missouri Southern State, ran the fastest 40 time among the linemen, with a time of 4.86. Although from a small school, Barbre showed agility for his position. His draft stock won抰 be too high, but he could garner a little extra attention based on his movement.

Arkansas Tony Ugoh ran a 4.99 but his Combine stay ended early when he suffered an injury and later commented: 揑 ended up pulling my quad.

Hawaii tackle Dane Uperesa pulled up with an injury during his 40-yard dash, which ended his day early.

Arron Sears, a highly regarded line prospect, didn抰 participate due to injury.

Other 40-yard dash times for offensive linemen:
Gabe Hall, Texas Tech, 4.89
Stephon Heyer, Maryland, 5.57
Corey Hilliard, Oklahoma State, 5.37
Mike Jones, Iowa, 5.48
Kendrick Shackleford, Georgia, 5.29
Scott Stephenson, Iowa State, 5.16

Tight End Notes:

As previously mentioned, Miami抯 Greg Olsen was easily the most impressive tight end on the field in Indianapolis, but there was others news from the group.

Arizona State抯 Zach Miller is considered the second best tight end available by many, but his 4.84 time in the 40 didn抰 help his stock. Miller also didn抰 look strong during the 揋auntlet drill, dropping a pass and weaving more than running a straight line. Miller will still be one of the first tight ends taken, but there is room for another candidate to move into the spot behind Olsen.

Ben Patrick, the Delaware standout, ran a 4.78 and appeared to be one of the more athletic tight ends during the day抯 drills. He made some good catches, and could be a sleeper pick.

Scott Chandler, the Iowa tight end, posted a 4.81 time, but didn抰 impress during other drills. He had an average day overall, with an occasional flash of potentially nice talent.

Whitworth抯 Michael Allan, the only Division-III player invited to the Combine, ran the second fastest 40 among tight ends, with a 4.67. He looked good overall, and undoubtedly helped his stock by excelling on day three.

Other 40-yard dash times for tight ends:
Kevin Boss, Western Oregon, 4.74
Joe Newton, Oregon State, 4.89
Anthony Pudewell, Nevada, 5.07
Gijon Robinson, Missouri Western St., 4.83
Dante Rosario, Oregon, 4.76
Derek Schouman, Boise State, 4.77

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