Blake Bortles, Jadeveon Clowney big winners at NFL combine

There remains a lot to digest from the four-day NFL Scouting Combine, but some performances were so good (or not-so-good) that they deserve immediate attention. Here are some winners and losers from the combine, based on our observations and what others are saying:


He was the only one of the top four quarterbacks to throw, and that engendered much goodwill. He also measured in at 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds and showed well in the vertical jump (32.5 inches) and broad jump (9 feet, 7 inches). In addition, Bortles looked fine in the throwing drills. All in all, a nice weekend for a guy in play to be the No. 1 overall pick.

South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

Speaking of guys in play to be the No. 1 overall pick: No one ever has questioned Clowney's athleticism, but come on -- a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at 6-5 and 266 pounds? He also busted out a 37.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 4 inches at 6-5 and 266 pounds. Still, all was not peaches and cream because in addition to being a freakishly gifted athlete, he also is a tease. (More on that in a minute.)

Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks

Cooks, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top college wide receiver, made himself some money by showing he belongs in the top tier among a tremendously deep group of wide receivers. He tested well -- 4.33 seconds in the 40, 3.82 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, 40-inch vertical jump -- and showed great fluidity in position drills.

Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald

If someone says, "Aaron Donald isn't even 6-1 and is too short," go ahead and smack that person. His career-long production at Pitt was phenomenal, as was his combine performance. He ranked among the top defensive line prospects in the 40-yard dash (4.68 -- at 285 pounds!), three-cone drill (7.11 seconds) and bench press (35 reps) and also had a vertical jump of 32 inches and a broad jump of 9 feet, 8 inches. To top it all off, he looked good in the position drills, too.

Texas A&M WR Mike Evans

Remember we talked about the top tier of wide receivers? Well, this guy is near the top of that tier, and not just because he is almost 6-5 (and 231 pounds). His speed was considered the biggest question, but he turned in a 4.53 clocking in the 40 -- which is tremendous, considering his size. He also had a 37-inch vertical jump (a 6-5 guy jumping that high?) and looked smooth in drills.

Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert

There had been no consensus about the top corner before the combine, but Gilbert might have cemented that spot with his combine performance. He blazed through the 40 in 4.37 seconds and added a 35.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 6 inches. He also measured in at 6-0 1/2 and 200 pounds, and that size/speed combo is going to excite teams looking for bigger corners.

Michigan OT Taylor Lewan

He sort of had been the forgotten man among the top-tier offensive tackles, but he reminded scouts of his potential at the combine. He measured 6-7 and 309 pounds, then went out and ran a 4.87 40-yard dash, fastest of all offensive linemen. He also had a vertical jump of 30.5 inches and a broad jump of 9 feet, 9 inches. Lewan -- who might have the meanest mean streak of all the O-linemen in this draft -- looked athletic in position drills, too.

Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack

Speaking of looking athletic, meet Mr. Mack. At almost 6-3 and 251 pounds, he ran a 4.65 40. Not bad, right? Well, what about a 40-inch vertical jump, a broad jump of 10 feet, 8 inches and a 20-yard shuttle timing of 4.18 seconds? NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock said he would take Mack with his No. 1 pick -- and that was before Mack's combine performance. The Falcons reportedly have Mack rated higher than another potential No. 1 pick, Anthony Barr.

Auburn OT Greg Robinson

The dude weighs 332 pounds, but to say he carries it well would be an understatement. He is a good athlete, and proved it with a clocking of 4.92 in the 40 and a broad jump of 9 feet, 5 inches. He also looked excellent in the position drills. In a draft filled with at least three potentially elite tackles, he might be the best.

Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas

Thomas probably remains at least midway down on most teams' list of top quarterbacks, but his combine performance had to remind scouts why they liked the guy in the first place. Thomas measured 6-6 and 248 pounds and he led all quarterbacks in the 40 (4.61), broad jump (9 feet, 10 inches) and vertical jump (35.5 inches). All that athleticism and a big arm, too? NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci might have summed it up for every offensive coach in attendance: "He would be a fun project to coach."


Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

He impressed with his bench press, but his 40 time was poor (4.74) and he dropped some passes in drills. Mayock liked Amaro coming in but said Amaro's combine performance was so mediocre that "I have to go back and look at my tape."

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

He is in play to be the No. 1 pick, but he bypassed most of the combine events and the workouts, leaving a lot of observers scratching their heads. Heck, another quarterback in attendance, Clemson's Tajh Boyd, took a shot at Bridgewater, saying, "I thought we were here to compete."

Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey

He looked downright slow in the 40, clocking 4.70. His detractors say he doesn't have home-run speed, and the combine didn't do much to disprove that notion. His vertical jump (32.5 inches) and broad jump (9 feet, 7 inches) weren't that good, either. As productive as he was at Arizona, there are those who question whether he will be one of the first five backs taken.

South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney

Remember we talked about him being a tease earlier? His bench press performance (21 reps) wasn't all that impressive, and he antagonized some by skipping most of the drills after his blistering 40-yard dash. In short, while he lived up to the "Freakish Athlete" moniker, he lived up to the "Not Exactly the Hardest Worker" moniker, as well.

Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio

In a group filled with athletically gifted offensive tackles, Kouandjio looked like one of the least-athletic of all the offensive linemen. He ran poorly and struggled mightily in some of the drills. News also broke that he failed some physicals at the combine. He was seen as a potential first-rounder, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Landry managed one 40-yard dash -- running a painfully slow 4.77 -- before skipping the rest of the day's events with a hamstring injury. His unofficial 10-yard split in the 40 was 1.65 seconds, the slowest of any wide receiver who ran. He also had a vertical jump of just 28.5 inches and a broad jump of only 9 feet, 2 inches. On a weekend in which many receivers stood out, Landry lost ground because of a seeming lack of athleticism.

Louisville FS Calvin Pryor

Bear with us a minute, as Pryor still will be one of the first two safeties off the board. But if he wanted to make a "Look at me! Look at me!" statement and end any doubt as to the top safety, he failed. He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, which is fine, but his vertical jump (34.5 inches) was nothing special and his broad jump (9 feet, 8 inches) was one of the five worst by a defensive back. In short, he didn't show that he was an explosive athlete. And speaking of short, he measured in at a shade above 5-11; he was listed at 6-2 at Louisville.

Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy

Purifoy went into the 2013 season as a guy who possibly could play his way into the first round. But after a mediocre season and a mediocre combine, you wonder now if he will go before the fourth round. He ran a 4.61 40, startlingly slow. He also managed just six reps on the bench press, the second-lowest of anybody who did the event at the combine (Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis managed just four reps), and he didn't look smooth in the drills.

Missouri DE Michael Sam

He handled the almost-overbearing media glare with ease, but he didn't get it done on the field. He ran a poor time in the 40 (4.91 seconds) and didn't show much athleticism in the other events (for instance, a vertical jump of 25.5 inches and a timing in the three-cone drill of 7.80 seconds) or in the position drills.

Florida State RB James Wilder Jr.

While he has good bloodlines, he wasn't all that productive in college (1,358 career rushing yards, in three seasons). Plus, he showed no speed at the combine, running a way-slower-than-expected 4.86 in the 40. That's fullback speed -- or that of a slow linebacker, a position a lot of college coaches felt would've been his best. Speaking of those bloodlines, his slow time makes you wonder if his dad could take him in the 40.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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