With the 2014 NFL Combine coming and going we as fans and the media must now speculate and wait until the pro-day workouts. As most Saint Louis Rams fans know, there are a lot of needs to address this off-season including: Tackle, Wide Receiver, Corner Back, Safety and Quarterback. Here is the list of winners and losers at positions the Rams need help in.
Greg Robinson – If anyone had a doubt about his skill set. This combine set him ahead of the rest. His 32 reps on the bench and he also ran a 4.92 40-yard dash. Every drill he performed in was outstanding. Nearly every mock draft has Robinson going to the Rams. It would be hard to pass up a tackle with his skill set. Though we still have to see what he can do in the passing game.
Taylor Lewan – The Michigan product also showed great lateral movement and good mechanics in his drills. He was open about an off the field issue that earlier hurt his stock. He put himself ahead of Jack Matthews in many rankings, which is a good sign for him. He now should be a top 15 pick at the least.
Cyrus Kouandjio – Failing multiple team physicals? Weight issues? Coming out of shape to the combine is one of the biggest red flags one could have. He was a border line first round pick maybe second. Now he will be floating in the middle rounds. Maybe that helps the Rams get a steal, or maybe he ends up being the next Rocktavious Watkins for the Rams if they draft him.
Wide Receiver: Winners
Mike Evans – the 6’5 230lbs Wide Receiver put on a clinic which included a very respectable 4.52 40-yard time. For his size that is outstanding. He also caught the ball outside of his body which means he doesn’t make the mistake of catching the ball in his chest, and had solid hands. This is the deepest core of receivers in recent draft history. And Mike Evans pushed his name even further from the pack. His only competition for best receiver in the draft is Sammy Watkins
Donte Moncrief – No one really mentioned him coming into the combine as a top flight prospect. Quietly he raked up 20-touchdowns in three seasons at Ole Miss, he is 6’2 221 lbs and he ran a 4.40 40-yard time. He also had a 40 inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump, those ranked in the tops of all receivers. He is now expected to be an early round pick.
Sammy Watkins – It wasn’t exactly a win for Watkins, but it wasn’t a loss. He did what the top receiver was expected to do, and that was to be the best. So it is hard to rise up when you are already the top dog. He basically just proved everyone’s theory. He is a stud and will be soon a top five pick without a doubt.
Wide Receivers: Losers
Jarvis Landry – He was already caught in the pack, and now he is fading fast. Mainly because his 40-yard time was so bad that it resembled more of a 300-pound lineman, not a talented receiver. He didn’t do much better in the other measurable either. His hamstring gives him a scapegoat, but if he doesn’t prove himself at his pro-day. He might not get drafted.
Corner Back: Winners
Justin Gilbert - His 4.37 40-yard time was the best in the Corner Back group. And with each and every drill it just was evident he was ready to prove he is the best Corner Back in this draft.
Keith McGill – McGill didn’t dominate one spot of the combine specifically, however at 6’3 211lbs he ran a 4.47 40 time and had solid numbers in the other measurable drills as well (broad jump and vertical test). With taller corners being the trend, he has set himself up to be pick in the early rounds.
Corner Back: Losers – Shockingly no corner imploded. Most showed what was expected of them. If anything you could say the mid to late round corners that didn’t raise their stock were the losers.
Deone Bucannon – Deone Bucannon of Washington State was the model of consistency. He finished third in nearly every single drill (40-yard, bench press, vertical jump, 3-cone) and second in the broad jump. He now sits as a top three strong safety in most rankings…what are the odds.
Calvin Pryor – He ranked poorly in everything except the bench press. It has been established that Pryor is a run stopping safety, but for the case of the Rams they don’t need just a run stopping safety in the early rounds. They need a safety that is well rounded and can cover. Hard hits are great, but interceptions are better.
Blake Bortles – I don’t like when healthy quarterbacks don’t throw at the combine. However when Blake Bortles said he is a competitor and he wants to prove himself. That was him calling out Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, and I loved seeing that kind of fire from a player. In addition, every throw he made in the drills was smooth and quick and more importantly, spot on. Because he came out and showed his skills, he showed Jonny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater up and potentially moved ahead of both of them.
A.J. McCarron – McCarron isn’t the type of guy to make errors. He is just so consistent. And if you haven’t been keeping track of trends for this article, that is what is most important. Him and Bortles were the best two throwers in every drill. A good sign was McCarron rarely missed his target. As someone slated just outside of the top tier talents. He might be the most ready to play in the NFL.
Teddy Bridgewater – He is healthy and didn’t participate. Blake Bortles showed him up in a big way. Teddy now isn’t the sure fire best Quarterback in the draft and if he doesn’t have a stellar pro-day, he will work his way out of the top spot.
Jonny Manziel – He did everything but throw, and none of those were impressive. His drills were all average at best and for an athletic Quarterback like him. He needs to show that he can create separation from defenders as well as have an excellent pro-day.
Who do you think won? Who do you think lost? Who do you think the Rams should get a hold of in the draft?
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and also @scottcriscione