Josh Norris

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Draft 2012: Combine Wrapup

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Running Backs

Robert Turbin (5-10/222), Utah State - Though a bit top heavy, Turbin displayed a 222-pound powerhouse frame and turned in a surprisingly fast 4.44 forty. I have Turbin as a fringe top-ten running back in this year's class, and a two-down player only because of his total inability to pass protect. Due to Turbin's almost overly muscular upper half, I worry about his flexibility and ability to keep his feet. Turbin initiated a lot of contact in the WAC, but NFL hits are an entirely different animal. I also think he lacks one-step planting ability to change directions, as Turbin's poor 3-cone time (7.16, 16th among RBs) and short shuttle (4.31, 14th among RBs) confirmed. Still, Turbin's straight-line speed is certainly enticing for such a well-built runner.

Ronnie Hillman (5-9/200), San Diego State - I have never seen a player utilize the lateral jump cut as frequently as Hillman. Even playing in the Mountain West Conference, the move was consistently unsuccessful and resulted in an alarmingly high number of negative runs. Hillman's burst from a standstill is also not where it should be, which is why I was surprised by his 4.41 forty. I never once saw that speed on Hillman's game tape. Another fringe top-10 running back on my list, Hillman is worth an extra look before the draft but must overhaul his running style.

Doug Martin (5-9/223), Boise State - Martin is a first-round talent and a true three-down back. He compares to Jonathan Stewart on the field, and his test results speak to that notion: 4.47 forty, 28 bench-press reps (tied for best among running backs), 30" vertical, 4.16 20-yard shuttle, and 11.29 60-yard shuttle (second among backs). Above all stands Martin's 3-cone drill (6.79, second at the position), which translates to his on-field ability to change directions quickly from a standstill. Martin's bowling-ball frame helps with balance to break tackles, but do not make the mistake of stereotyping him as a power runner. Martin can wiggle.

Chris Rainey (5-8/180), Florida - Rainey dominated short-area quickness tests, leading all offensive players in the 3-cone (6.50), 20-yard shuttle (3.93), and 60-yard shuttle (11.06). Those three times now lead all running backs since 2006. We know Rainey is an athlete with agility in every area of his game, but where does he play in the NFL? Rainey obviously isn't a featurable runner and will need time to get comfortable at receiver. But with those times and how he separates from the pack in games, Rainey can be an instant contributor on returns.

Wide Receivers

Stephen Hill (6-4/215), Georgia Tech - With a 4.30 forty, 39.5" vertical, 11'1" broad jump, and 49 career receptions, Hill scares me as a potential "workout wonder." NFL teams will get a far better sense of his route running ability and understanding of coverages via in-house workouts and interviews, but I don't have that luxury. Hill ran three routes at Georgia Tech, lacking fluidity and footwork on simple out patterns. While Hill impressed catching the football in the Combine's Gauntlet drill, he's far from a finished product. I will keep a safe third-round grade on him, but teams could get a better sense of his ability. The early second round is a definite possibility.

Kendall Wright (5-10/196), Baylor - I put NFL Network's live video feed of Wright's top forty-yard dash on my own stopwatch, and got times of 4.42, 4.42, and 4.45. His 4.61 "official" was shocking. The way Wright handled his poor starts was still impressive, and he really showed his ability to cut on either his inside or outside foot in one step during pass routes. That kind of crisp footwork is close to unmatched in this receiver class and shows why Wright separates at every level of the field. He will remain my top wide receiver and is the draft's top playmaker.

Michael Floyd (6-3/220), Notre Dame - I was a big fan of Floyd's before the Combine, grading him equally with Justin Blackmon and slightly favoring Floyd because of his versatility to win at any receiver position. With that said, I in no way expected Floyd to run a 4.42. He certainly does not play at that speed, but on a day where Blackmon declined to run and Wright's "official" time was off, Floyd shined. He does exhibit downfield ability on the field.

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen (6-3/255), Clemson - Allen's 4.84 forty may be disappointing to some, but he was never a vertical threat in the straight-line speed sense. Allen creates separation and wins with his footwork and crisp routes, changing directions quickly with a shifty motion. His 3-cone time of 7.12 seconds and 4.37 20-yard shuttle were both top-five tight end performances and demonstrate Allen's impressive short-area movement skills. What wasn't shown in Indianapolis is his quality blocking ability, where Allen is superior to Stanford's Coby Fleener. Sure, Allen's height is not typical of an in-line tight end, but he could fill either role for a team in the late first or second round with versatility to both block and play receiver in the slot.

Ladarius Green (6-6/238), Louisiana Lafayette - Green is closer to a receiver than a tight end, but has exhibited blocking effort and soft hands to warrant the defense's attention. A 4.48 forty is great, but Green lacks maturity in his movements. As an early third-day pick, Green will have time to grow but can certainly stretch the field and present mismatches with his height. He's my second-ranked "Joker" tight end behind Orson Charles, and will only improve as a route runner.

Offensive Linemen

Matt Kalil (6-7/306), USC - Kalil is the only player in this class that can sniff Andrew Luck's "rare" grade. I absolutely think Kalil is on the same level of Jake Long and Joe Thomas, and he answered questions about his strength (30 bench press reps) and ability to add weight in Indy. Kalil's veteran quality of using his length (34 1/2" arms) to maneuver pass rushers is tough to find in young prospects. Accompany that with balanced footwork and a growing frame and Kalil will be a top-ten left tackle in the NFL sooner than later. I have no doubts about his future.

Cordy Glenn (6-6/345), Georgia - A forty time of 4.96 for a 345-pound behemoth is quite a sight. It's amazing how well Glenn carries his weight, but even more impressive is his strength (31 reps) despite incredibly long arms (35 3/4"). I've mentioned that Glenn bends at the waist too often, but his athleticism makes up for it. Pre-combine, many considered Glenn just a guard prospect despite showing up as the best tackle at the Senior Bowl. This kind of versatility makes Glenn very reliable and valuable. He will go in the top-25 picks.

Mike Adams (6-7/323), Ohio State - My biggest issue all along with Adams has been his inconsistency, specifically his reaction timing and soft play style. His bench press number of a measly 19 reps backs up those concerns. Some may argue the low total was due to Adams' long arms (33 7/8"), but Cal WR Marvin Jones weighs 199 pounds with arms less than an inch shorter and put up 22 reps. I just don't know where Adams fits. His feet and reaction time are too slow for left tackle, and he lacks strength to match up with strong-side ends. I think Adams will be over-drafted as a tackle and have a career similar to Bears 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams.

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Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris

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