INDIANAPOLIS -- As always, plenty of money is being made at the NFL Scouting Combine this week as so many NFL draft prospects parlay weeks of rigorous training into a refined peak that allows the good ones to look great, and the great ones to look even better. Some money was lost, however, and three of the draft's biggest names -- for very different reasons -- might have left Lucas Oil Stadium having slipped in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Through no fault of his own, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith could be facing a draft tumble thanks to the depth of concern NFL clubs have about his knee injury. Arguably the draft's most talented player at his position, Smith will continue to rehabilitate his knee and hope subsequent medical re-checks shine a more favorable light on knee injury that is clearly quite serious.
Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence didn't exactly thrill NFL scouts either with his performance in drills Sunday (4.80 40-yard dash) or, according to NFL Media's Kimberly Jones, in his interview sessions with multiple teams, either. As a result, one NFL source told Jones he hopes to have heard the end of talk that Spence is worthy of a first-round pick. Finally, Ole Miss defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche wasn't at all disappointing in drills Sunday, running a 4.87 40-yard dash at 294 pounds with an explosive vertical jump of 35 inches. But NFL clubs already knew Nkemdiche was an elite athlete before he landed in Indianapolis. Where Nkemdiche needed to help himself most was in image repair, but in that respect, his efforts were an abject failure.
"Robert Nkemdiche, an interesting one. Physically impressive, I was told," Jones said Sunday on NFL Network. "... One team told me 'not interested, though' because of the off-field situation."
- NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt and Joey Bosa had different reactions to Bosa's 4.86 40-yard dash at the combine on Sunday. Bosa himself was displeased and clearly expected a better time from himself. Brandt, on the other hand, believes the former Ohio State defensive end did nothing to damage his standing for the No. 1 overall pick.
- Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah likely made himself some draft-day money Sunday with his combine performance, particularly given that the draft isn't especially deep with pass rushers. He finished in the top three among all defensive linemen in several drills, including the 40-yard dash (4.63, 2nd), vertical jump (35.5, tied for 2nd) and broad jump (10-1, tied for 3rd).
- Few would have predicted Oklahoma's Charles Tapper to be the fastest defensive lineman at the combine, but Tapper led his position with the only sub-4.6 time in the group (4.59). Forget about Tapper running at OU's pro day -- at 271 pounds, he'd be crazy not to stand on his combine time.
- Ohio State's Darron Lee was the fastest linebacker in the house Sunday with a 4.47 40-yard dash, showing, along with his performance in other drills, why he's considered an ideal pick for a team seeking an outside linebacker with exceptional pass-coverage skills.
- Few players at the combine helped themselves more than Georgia LB Leonard Floyd. He ran a 4.60 40-yard dash on his first attempt, good enough that he passed on the chance to run again. That time ranked the former Bulldogs pass rusher fifth among linebackers. His vertical jump of 39.5 inches ranked second, and his 10-7 broad jump ranked third.