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2013 NFL Combine: Saturday Recap

By: Roshan Bhagat

Here are some the Manti Te'o-less highlights from Saturday-the offensive linemen and tight ends that stepped onto the field.

Offensive Linemen:

Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pinebluff - Terron Armstead turned in one of the finest performances in the history of the so-called "Underwear Olympics." His record-breaking 4.71 40 yard dash at 306 pounds may be irrelevant on Sundays, but it puts reminds us of the bigger, faster, and stronger athletes entering the league every year. In some ways, it begs teams to reconsider and put more emphasis on this week's timed events. While the trend of freak athletes over the past few years has generally been on the defensive line, Armstead's all-around performance this week-building upon an already impressive offseason-will inject an immediate boost to his draft stock as teams attempt to counter athletic pass rushers.

Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma - As if Armstead weren't impressive enough, the former quarterback and tight end convert covered 40 yards in 4.72 seconds with an unofficial 1.61 10 yard split that beat Armstead's 1.64. At 6'6, 303 pounds with 35 1/4-inch arms, Johnson will be a coveted prospect come April. His numbers were remarkable across the board (28 reps, 34" vertical, 9'10" broad jump, and a top position time in the 3-cone), but his positional workout on the field will draw even more positive notice. He's an immediate starter with unlimited upside.

Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina - It didn't take much to notice Cooper in the positional workouts. With excellent athleticism and natural movement skills, outshined nearly all of his peers today, surely piquing the interest of nearly every team. Like Fisher and Johnson at tackle, Cooper could look to unseat the long-seated top dog at his position. Teams that value athleticism and ask for a lot of movement from their interior linemen could see more upside in Cooper.

Brian Schwenke, C, California - After impressing at the Senior Bowl, Brian Schwenke continued to build on an impressive offseason with a terrific day at the Combine. A 1.68 10 yard split, 7.31 3-cone time, and 9'0" broad jump placed him atop his position this week as he effortlessly excelled in drills intended to test his comfort in space. Every team will like him; zone teams will love him.

Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M - If you tuned to the coverage Saturday, it was easy to come away less than impressed for a potential number one overall selection. He didn't run well (1.81 unofficial 10 yard split) or jump out of the roof, but the second group hit the field for their on-field drills, his strengths were on display. The blindside to Johnny Football looked calm and in control. Though this week didn't hurt his stock, the impressive offseasons and upside of Johnson and Eric Fisher could persuade the right team to go with the potential.

Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama - Warmack heard a lot of his name and positive momentum in the media going into this week, something that does come into play as the Draft approaches. Minus a spectacular workout and a slight gut, it'll be easy to hear his name fade over the coming weeks. As a prisoner of the moment, some may have the confidence to move Jonathan Cooper ahead of him just now. Cooper turned in a fine workout himself, but the Saturday resume on Warmack speaks for itself. To use a clichˇ, he's a gamer.

Tight Ends:

Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - In a potential first round battle with Zach Ertz, Tyler Eifert put some athletic distance between them. Running a 4.68 40, 35.5" vertical, 9'11" broad jump, and better times in the 3-Cone and Shuttle, Eifert simply showed more athleticism than his Stanford competition. With improved blocking a year ago as well, he seems to have solidified himself as the top tight end on the board in what was a neck and neck race, though it still remains close.

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford - Ertz finished a little behind Eifert in each of the day's timed/measured events. A team more favorable of Ertz on film may still not have seen enough to change their evaluation, but others with the pair in a virtual deadlock may give the Notre Dame standout an edge based on their Indy performances.

Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas - Each year we see several tight ends classified as such when they may be more accurately lumped in with the receivers. At just 244 pounds, Gragg seems to fit that mold. His position-best 4.50 and 1.53 split proves ample speed to run the seam while his 37.5" vertical could create favorable red zone match-ups, but it's the other duties expected out of even the most receiver-like tight end that will determine his fate.

Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State - Escobar failed to capitalize on a chance to go head-to-head on an even playing field with Tyler Eifert and Zach Ertz. His 4.84 40-yard dash will force teams to reconsider film, though his unofficial 10 yard split equal to that of Eifert at 1.66 will ask of talent evaluators what is more important at the position. In today's game shifting toward the importance of wide tight ends and pass-catchers that can split a linebacker and safety in the seam, Escobar's numbers disappoint and his drills not impressive enough to compensate.

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