The NFL Combine gives fans a chance to see college athletes display some of the freakish athletic abilities that have allowed them to reach the doorstep of professional football. Held in Indianapolis, Ind., the scouting combine has shown NFL teams and executives aspects of a player’s game that may have not been as clear on game film.
Former Alabama receiver Julio Jones may be one of the best examples for this. Jones was a standout receiver while at the Capstone – we can all attest to that. But he was always shadowed by Georgia’s A.J. Green throughout his collegiate career. It was at the combine where Jones was able to wow coaches with his unfathomable talents, like his 4.39 second 40-yard dash and 11-3 broad jump, which led to him being chosen with the sixth overall pick in 2011.
This year, there were several storylines heading into the combine that surrounded the event with an aura of excitement. However, several of those headlines ended up being busts and left fans disappointed.
The Crimson Tide’s defensive tackle Jesse Williams was at the heart of fan disappointment. In the offseason, Williams bench pressed a whopping 600 pounds and proceeded to blow up Twitter with the impressive feat. He planned to take that accomplishment in stride and break the combine’s bench press repetition record, which was set by Eastern Kentucky’s Justin Ernest with 51 in 1999. But he only pressed the 225-pound barbell 30 times. Williams will have an opportunity to redeem himself at Alabama’s pro day.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o frustrated fans and scouts with his poor performance, especially with his 40-yard dash time. Te’o recorded a mediocre 4.82 second time, compared to Missouri’s Zaviar Goodwin, who led all linebackers with a time of 4.47. With his infamous catfish incident, Te’o could have benefited from a strong showing for NFL teams. But he failed to meet expectations, much as he did in the BCS National Championship Game.
One player who wasn’t absent from the championship game but was missing from the obstacles of the combine is Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, which is upsetting for Tide fans. Lacy exploded for 321 yards rushing and four total touchdowns in Alabama’s final two games, and it would have been interesting to see how he would make his case for being a first-round draft pick. But a hamstring injury will keep him out until his pro day.
Lacy isn’t known for his speed, and he wouldn’t have come close to surpassing Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record of 4.24 seconds from 2008. The one player that had a shot at topping Johnson’s record was Texas receiver and Olympic long jumper Marquise Goodwin. But Goodwin fell just shy with a time of 4.27. Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin ran a 4.34.
Maybe Alabama’s pro day will hail more promising results for the former Tide standouts, as Nick Saban will have a hand in the festivities. But the NFL Combine has been a letdown up to this point.
Leading in today’s Crimson White: