INDIANAPOLIS -- The final day of workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine provided scouts with an opportunity to see several of the top prospects display their immense talent and potential. Here are a few of the notable standouts in my mind ...
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Claiborne certainly doesn't display the explosiveness and athleticism of his LSU predecessor Patrick Peterson, but he is a more polished technician at this point. He was smooth and fluid in his movements and glided through an assortment of change-of-direction drills with ease. Claiborne also showcased ball skills and awareness during the position drills, particularly on deep throws to the sidelines. His combination of hand-eye coordination and fluid movement skills should help him remain atop the board as the top corner in this year's draft.
Kirkpatrick sufficiently addressed concerns about his speed and quickness by blazing times in the high 4.4-range in the 40-yard dash on stopwatches in the stands. He also exhibited smooth turns and transitions in position drills, allowing coaches to assess his ability to fit into schemes built primarily around zone concepts. In addition, Kirkpatrick caught the ball well in drills and quieted some of the criticism regarding his hands after he finished his career with only three interceptions. If he performed as well in the interview room as he demonstrated on the field, Kirkpatrick should re-enter the discussion as a likely top-15 pick.
Most of the discussion surrounding Jenkins is related to his questionable background profile. He spent the weekend addressing those issues in interviews, and his ability to convince evaluators of his newfound maturity is critical to his first-round hopes. On the field, Jenkins dazzled with his display of speed, explosiveness and athleticism. His 4.46 time in the 40-yard dash is certainly fast enough for the position, and his flawless footwork could be included in instructional coaching tape. With Jenkins also displaying outstanding hands and ball skills, the former North Alabama/Florida star has made a compelling case to be included in the first round.
Robinson caught the eyes of scouts in attendance by posting the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2012 combine at 4.33. His extraordinary display of acceleration and burst certainly took some evaluators by surprise, and it has created a buzz regarding his potential at the next level. Robinson followed his athletic dominance with a solid performance in position drills, indicating he is more than a straight-line athlete. Although Robinson's final spot on the draft board ultimately will come down to his play on tape, his value has skyrocketed in war rooms across the league following a spectacular showing in Indianapolis.
Hosley didn't enjoy a great final season at Virginia Tech due to an assortment of injuries, but he certainly will enjoy a ride up the charts after his stellar performance at the combine. Hosley recorded a 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash on stopwatches in the stands and displayed smooth movement in position drills. His turns and transitions were better than anticipated (based on previous film evaluation), and he showed he could transition well into a scheme that instructs defensive backs to backpedal. If Hosley can continue to build on the momentum created by his impressive display in Indianapolis, he has legitimate chance to come off the board by the end of Round 2.
Bentley has been on the rise in scouting circles since performing at the Senior Bowl, and his stock will continue to ascend following his solid showing in Indy. Bentley recorded a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash and displayed excellent quickness in position drills. His combination of short-area quickness, lateral movement skills and burst makes him an ideal slot-corner candidate. That opinion was confirmed after watching him backpedal, turn-and-run and flip his hips in an assortment of defensive back drills designed to reveal his overall agility. Given Bentley's ability to pass the test with flying colors, he has certainly emerged as a viable option in the third-round range.
Smith has quietly emerged as the second-best safety (behind Alabama's Mark Barron) in the minds of many evaluators, and his solid showing at the combine will only enhance that opinion. Smith was smooth, fluid and polished in position drills. He was extremely efficient with his turns and transitions and displayed excellent range floating from the deep middle to the sideline. He showed adequate ball skills, hands and awareness in drills, and looks the part as a potential center fielder in the back end of the defense. With several teams looking for safeties capable of matching up with the freakish tight ends that are starting to dominate the league, Smith's exhibition of athleticism and quickness should cement his chances of coming off the board in Round 2.
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