Saturday's best performances from the NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS -- The glamour positions of quarterback, running back and wide receiver got to run the glamour event of the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday, the 40-yard dash, to make for the most exciting day of the combine week at Lucas Oil Stadium. There was no shortage of spectacular athleticism on display from all three positions. A recap of the day's events:

Saturday's top performances

  1. Florida State's Jameis Winston didn't exactly light up the 40-yard dash, but he did impress in the throwing portion of the drills for quarterbacks. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah took note of the former Heisman Trophy winner's ability to change velocity with his throws, and NFL Network's Mike Mayock said Winston understands how to throw easily catchable footballs on a variety of pass routes.
  1. Whether Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is the draft's best quarterback prospect is a matter for debate, but he confirmed with a 4.52 clocking in the 40-yard dash that he is the fastest.
  1. West Virginia's Kevin White turned in a 4.35 clocking that turned plenty of heads in Lucas Oil Stadium, given his size (6-2, 215 pounds) and reputation for being more physical than speedy as a receiver. With the time, White beat the threshhold that NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock established for the former Mountaineers star to be a top-10 pick in the draft.
  1. Georgia WR Chris Conley set the combine standard among wide receivers in the vertical jump with a 45-inch effort. That was three inches better than the next best wide receiver, Arizona State's Jaelen Strong. Conley also managed to lead the way in the broad jump as well (139 inches).
  1. The closest anyone came to threatening Chris Johnson's combine record 40-yard dash time of 4.24 was UAB WR J.J. Nelson, who clocked a 4.29 as this year's king of the combine's glamour event.

What they're saying

"I went up there a couple weeks ago and had a real good conversation with coach Petersen. We sat down and talked about everything that happened. I sincerely apologized again for what I put him and the team through last year. It was a good conversation and he welcomed me to the pro day. I had to go up to Seattle to take care of a traffic violation, and while I was up there I stopped by the school to say hello to the coaches and my teammates." -- Washington CB Marcus Peters on his reconciliation with coach Chris Petersen, who dismissed him from the Huskies program last year.

"He single-handedly defeated us." -- Auburn DB Jermaine Whitehead on Alabama WR Amari Cooper, who caught 13 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns against the rival Tigers in the Iron Bowl last November.

Biggest workout winner

Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham turned in a 4.49 40-yard dash. And while that was a far cry from J.J. Nelson's combine-best time of 4.29, it was a blazing-fast time for a player who measured **at 6-5 and 237 pounds. He might not have excelled across the board in all events the way Georgia's Chris Conley did, but there is no doubt Green-Beckham's physical testing at the combine added to his intrigue as a first-round prospect.

Biggest workout loser

Minnesota RB David Cobb didn't help his cause much in turning in a 4.81 40-yard dash, although it should be noted that he came up hobbled on the attempt. It was the fourth-worst clocking at the position, better than only LSU's Kenny Hilliard and a couple of fullbacks. Cobb is a workhorse of a rusher who attacks the line of scrimmage fearlessly, but his pro day 40-yard dash will be important if he wants NFL coaches and scouts to have any regard for his ability to break away and win a foot race at the pro level.

» Bucky Brooks highlights four buzzworthy prospects, and a couple of buzzkills, from an eventful Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Media darling

Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State: The big defensive lineman might have been the most entertaining player to take the podium on Saturday after a session that saw him explain everything from his Twitter strategy (keeping it clean, if you were wondering, his mom follows him) to what position he's most comfortable at in the NFL. Buckeyes fans have always enjoyed Bennett's play on the field and in social media and it looks like he'll do the same in the league.

Media flop

Paul Dawson, LB, TCU: Dawson addressed the off-the-field concerns some teams have about him but muddled through by saying it was only a result of him being tardy and that he had time-management issues. That won't help the fact that teams are questioning his commitment to the game of football.

» The draft's top defensive names took questions from reporters Saturday at the combine. See which prospects shined and who flopped at the podium.

What NFL Network analysts are saying

"The most astute X's and O's guy that (I've) ever put on the board" - former NFL coach Steve Mariucci on FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, as relayed by NFL Network's **Rich Eisen**.

"He's long, he's athletic, he's got a long way to go as a corner, but he's the kind of guy you want to take and develop in the later rounds if possible, and I think that's going to happen." - NFL Network's Mike Mayock on Nick Marshall's attempt to switch from quarterback to cornerback.

» NFL Network analysts took in all the action Saturday from Lucas Oil Field. Find out what else they were saying about the combine's top prospects.

Six other things we learned Saturday

  1. Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu indicated that it could be September before he is able to take the field again following a torn ACL that brought an early end to his senior season with the Ducks. That means his rookie preseason could be spent more in the film room, which could make for a more difficult transition to playing if his new team's season is already underway.

"The biggest thing there is I'm going to have to get in the film room and learn the playbook, and all those reps that all the guys are getting on the field, I have to make sure I'm getting double the amount (of mental reps), because I'm not going to be able to actually be on the field."

If Ekpre-Olomu's rookie contribution comes at all, don't bet on it to come early.

  1. Georgia WR Chris Conley didn't exactly put up big numbers in college, but the number he put up at the combine -- 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- won't hurt his draft hopes at all. Considered a mid-round pick, Conley might have his future after football -- a movie-making career -- already figured out.
  1. Southern Cal's Nelson Agholor reportedly dislocated a finger and finished his day early, NFL Network's Kimberly Jones reported. But impressions of the Trojans wide receiver were very favorable before the mishap. All you really need to see on Agholor's athleticism comes courtesy of a high school basketball dunk that NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah alerted us to via Twitter.
  1. There wasn't a lighter moment all day than when Florida State DL Mario Edwards Jr., was asked if he could beat Jameis Winston's 40-yard dash time of 4.97 seconds. He paused, and basically answered the question by laughing out loud. Then, he took mercy on his former teammate: "I'm just ready to go. I'm going to surprise myself and probably a lot of people," he said.**
  1. Shane Ray, a potential top-five pick in the draft, won't be running or competing in other events at the combine because of an injury. That pretty much ensures that Missouri's pro day, where Ray will make up those drills, will draw a whole lot more NFL personnel than it otherwise might have.
  1. Clemson's Vic Beasley, at only 246 pounds, tied for the best mark on the bench press with 35 reps. That's a prolific number, considering the top bench-pressing offensive lineman, Miami's Ereck Flowers, managed 37.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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