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Tag:Dontarie Poe
Posted on: February 28, 2012 7:21 pm
 

2012 NFL Combine: Full combine winners and losers

RG3 stole the show en route to helping St. Louis. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We knocked out a slew of Winners and Losers posts while we were at the combine, and now that the combine's all wrapped-up, it only made sense to do a final one.

It also makes sense to point out that being a "winner" here doesn't mean that someone will be "a great NFL player" or that someone is "worthy of a top pick." It simply means that they separated themselves from the crowd and have boosted their momentum in the eyes of people who follow the draft.
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Winners

Stephen Hill: A bunch of folks were kind enough to have me on the radio while I was in Indy and Hill was the name I kept giving them: he played in Paul Johnson's offense at Georgia Tech, so there's limited exposure for him as a pass-catcher. But he's 6'4" and runs a 4.36 40, looked athletic in the catching drills at the combine and is already an unselfish player who's a proficient blocker. He's not in the first-round group with some other wideouts like Michael Floyd, Reuben Randle and Justin Blackmon, but he's got a shot at making that happen. At the very worst, he's probably pushed himself up into becoming a second-round pick if he performs well at GT's pro day.

Dontarie Poe: Poe was the big winner during Monday's defensive linemen and linebacker workouts, and he's one of the top gainers in terms of draft stock from the combine. There are definitely questions about his production at Memphis (30 starts, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and 98 total tackles in three seasons) and whether or not he can produce against elite competition. But he dominated the combine, running the 40 in a blazing (for a 346-pound guy) 4.98 seconds, benching 225 pounds 44 times and looking surprisingly athletic for a man of his size. It's entirely possible he could end up being taken in the top half of the first round now.

St. Louis Rams: Robert Griffin III would be a worthy candidate for this spot, because he wowed everyone with his performance on the field and electric personality at the podium. He's going to be the second player taken in the draft. (The only way he's not is if he goes first.) And that's where the Rams benefit -- there's already a report that the Redskins would give St. Louis two first-round picks (2012 and 2013) and a third- and fourth-round pick in 2012 to land Griffin. Which means the Rams, who have needs at many different areas, are in a position to get one of the biggest draft-day hauls in NFL history.

Josh Robinson: Robinson, the 139th-ranked prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, really cranked up his stock during Tuesday's workouts. He led all players at the 2012 combine with a 4.33 40 time, he finished first in the three-cone drill among defensive backs with 6.55 seconds, he finished first in the broad jump among defensive backs, and he finished second among defensive backs with the vertical jump. Rob Rang's actually expected Robinson to work out well, and the underclassman was motivated by the draft advisory board saying he wouldn't be picked in the first three rounds. He's doing good work to prove them wrong.

Morris Claiborne: Claiborne is the consensus top cornerback on almost everyone's draft board. And after Tuesday's workouts, that's even more the case. Janoris Jenkins beat Claiborne in the 40 and Dre Kirkpatrick beat Claiborne in the vertical jump, but Claiborne's the better overall prospect based on Tuesday's performance. Oh yeah: and he has no significant red flags. Jenkins has a pile of them (though he talked about them honestly, which is a plus) and Kirkpatrick's answers to his recent marijuana arrest should prompt further questions from teams.

Losers

Kendall Wright: Wright came into the combine as a top-three wideout on almost every board. With Justin Blackmon not working out, Wright had a shot to potentially even leap to the top of the wideout lists, particularly if he blazed his 40. But he didn't, running a 4.61, and possibly costing himself a shot in the first round. The good news is that Wright's still gets to perform at Baylor's pro day, where he'll have a pile of scouts on hand to view RG3. But in a year with a weak wideout class, Wright really didn't take advantage of an opportunity given to him at the combine.

Vontaze Burflict: We mentioned it on Monday afternoon, but it Bears repeating, because Burflict is almost certainly the biggest loser of the entire combine. There was plenty of discussion, based on Burflict's play on the field, that he could be a first-round pick. That's laughable at this point, and it's possible that Burflict could even go undrafted. He ripped his old coaches, he ran the slowest linebacker 40 time and he didn't look like the elite talent people claim to have seen on tape.

Michael Brockers: The hype surrounding Brockers hit a fever pitch after the LSU defensive lineman weighed in at 322 pounds, 16 LBs higher than when he left college. That's also 80 pounds higher than when he enrolled at FSU. But then on Monday, Brockers looked shockingly unathletic during the various workouts, and certainly has "plenty of red flags" for teams to examine between now and the draft. If he can push his stock back up, he's still a candidate to land as high as the Panthers at No. 9 overall, but it's possible that without a strong pro day, his JPP-like boom-or-bust status could end up scaring away a lot of teams.

NFL Trends: That's a shorter way of saying "teams want big, athletic, pass-catching tight ends and also want safeties who can cover them." Because that's a major trend we saw in 2011, with the development of Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. There are two problems that became clear at the combine. One, there are not a lot of really talented tight ends. (Pete Prisco blames college football.) If someone reaches for one of the top three tight ends -- Orson Charles, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen -- it could be a big-time reach. The same goes for the safety class which, as Rang wrote on Tuesday, is particularly weak. Mark Barron out of Alabama is a real talent but couldn't work out, and Notre Dame out of Harrison Smith didn't blow anyone away either.

Jonathan Martin: As previously mentioned, Martin declared himself the best tackle in the draft ... and then promptly came out flat in his workouts. In fact, it's unlikely that anyone actually considers him the second-best tackle in the draft, with both Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff. 40 times aren't really important for tackles (relative to other positions), but Martin didn't look strong and he didn't look like the upside-riddled offensive lineman who spent his career protecting Andrew Luck.

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