Sunday is the on-field workout portion of the Combine for the quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers. Every year the Combine workouts produce players who breakout with sensational performances (studs), players who impress by being as good as advertised (steady) and players who quietly go about their business but don’t garner much acclaim (sleeper).
Here’s a look at one player from each of those categories in the quarterback, running back and receiver groups…
QB Blake Bortles (Central Florida): A consensus top three player at his position, Bortles will throw at the Combine and will thus impress evaluators right there. He’s big (6-5, 232), athletic, has great stature in the pocket and can throw on the run. All of that will help him look every bit the part on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
RB Jeremy Hill (LSU): Hill’s strengths (size-quickness combo) will show up big-time in the on-field workout portion of the Combine while his weaknesses (character concerns, vision, runs upright) will not. He rushed for 1,401 yards and 16 touchdowns this past season, and a solid on-field workout here in Indianapolis will help solidify the physical part of his evaluation.
WR Sammy Watkins (Clemson): One could argue Watkins is the best receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson. He has it all – size, speed, hands, run after catch ability. All of that will show up during the on-field workout as Watkins heads what is a very talented and deep class of receivers in 2014.
QB AJ McCarron (Alabama): Some would say there’s nothing sensational about his physical abilities, but there’s also no doubting his success at Alabama as a two-time national champion who has operated in a pro-style offense with pro-caliber teammates over the past four seasons.
RB Andre Williams (Boston College): Having led the nation in rushing yards last year (2,177) and with a bell cow-like stature and running style, one might wonder why Williams isn’t a higher-rated prospect nationally. Don’t be surprised if his rating increases, publicly at least, following Sunday’s on-field workout. He will time well in speed and agility drills, and that combined with his college production and size will make him an appealing prospect to teams with a need at running back.
WR Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt): The SEC’s all-time leader in receptions and yards, Matthews’ ability to produce is not in question. He was steady-if-not-spectacular for Vanderbilt, but here at the Combine he must be purely spectacular in the 40-yard dash if he wants to take a jump to one of the top tiers of receivers.
QB Connor Show (South Carolina): Size deficiency but a lot of wins in college will lead to comparisons to Russell Wilson. So too will an impressive performance during the on-field workout portion of the Combine.
RB Timothy Flanders (Sam Houston State): A two-time conference player of the year who was also the first player to lead the conference in rushing in four consecutive seasons, there is no denying Flanders’ production in college. But his critics point to a lack of top-end speed. Flanders can give his critics even less to point at with a good time in the 40-yard dash on Sunday.
WR Jeremy Gallon (Michigan): He doesn’t have prototypical size. Some say he looks more like a running back. And many question his top-end speed. A fast time in the 40-yard dash as well as a solid performance in the catching drills could do a lot to convince a team to take a shot on Gallon, a proven playmaker as an offensive player and a returner.
'Stud, Steady and Sleeper' Series
Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends