INDIANAPOLIS -- The first day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided plenty of opportunities for offensive linemen and tight ends to boost their value in the eyes of evaluators.
The emphasis on the 40-yard dash appears to make the rest of the drills irrelevant, but the compilation of data gained from the battery of tests and position-specific drills helps evaluators stack their respective draft boards.
Although this workout is only a small fraction of the evaluation process, the measurables are often the deciding factor between similarly graded players.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some players who will move up draft boards based on their combine performance Saturday:
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Solder was rated as one of the top offensive tackles on most boards prior to the event, but his dazzling display of athleticism will force evaluators to reconsider his standing on their boards. At 6-foot-8 ¼ and 319 pounds, he posted a 5.05 time in the 40-yard dash, and recorded impressive numbers in the broad (9-2) and vertical jumps (32 inches). More impressively, his times in the short shuttle (4.34 seconds) and three-cone drill (7.44) would rank with some skill positions. He capped the workout by looking smooth and polished in individual drills. He effortlessly changes directions laterally and showed good body control while kick-sliding out of his stance.
Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Castonzo is vying for the top spot at the position, and his stellar workout only solidified his status among the elite. He posted the best short shuttle time (4.40) at the position and showed better-than-anticipated lateral quickness and agility in position drills. His balance and body control were outstanding in individual drills, and his technique was sound in all aspects. Although he is close to his ceiling as a player, his skill set is ready-made for the pro game.
Kris O'Dowd, C, Southern California
O'Dowd opened some eyes with his solid performance during the workout. His 5.16 time in the 40 ranked among the upper-echelon at the position. He recorded a 32 ½-inch vertical jump and a 4.59 short-shuttle time, which revealed his underrated explosiveness and athleticism. With a solid skill set to complement his athletic ability, O'Dowd has thrust himself into the conversation as a quality value pick.
Virgil Green, TE, Nevada
Green was one of the most impressive athletes at the workout. He posted impressive numbers (42 ½ inches in the vertical jump, 10-10 in the broad jump and 4.64 in the 40) in most of the drills, and his explosiveness was apparent in position drills. Although he isn't polished as a route runner, his speed and quickness are intriguing to offensive coaches looking for explosive weapons to add to their lineup. His workout will not move him dramatically up draft boards, but it will prompt several evaluators to take a closer look at his game tape.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Southern California
Cameron is one of the better athletes in the draft. The former basketball player posted the second- fastest 40 time (4.59) of all tight ends and led the group with a 4.03 short-shuttle time. He was outstanding running routes in individual drills. He showed outstanding body control getting in and out of his breaks, and he catches the ball well with his hands. He was one of the most natural pass catchers on the field, and scouts are beginning to salivate about his immense talent and potential.
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