2006 NFL Scouting Combine Recap
By Scott Wright
Posted March 1st, 2006

After all the buildup, the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine is now in the books and as always there were successes, surprises, disappointments and everything in between. The following is a quick position-by-position look at some of the notable performances:

Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler continues his rise up draft boards and once again took advantage of the opportunity to be the top quarterback working out with Leinart and Young sitting the event out. In addition to looking good in the throwing drills Cutler also ran a respectable 4.77 and put up an astounding 23 reps in the bench press. There is now talk that he could go Top 5 overall and may have even passed up Vince Young. Omar Jacobs of Bowling Green was also impressive and probably helped himself while Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal blazed a 4.35 forty and his momentum is still upwards. Keep an eye out for sleeper Ingle Martin of Furman, who had the strongest arm of anyone in attendance and looked good in drills. On the downside Vince Young of Texas did poorly on the Wonderlic, scoring a 16, which further heightens doubts about his ability to master a complex offensive scheme and to read pro defenses. Marcus Vick of Virginia Tech also needed to come off great in interviews but by all accounts failed to do so and looks like a late round pick at best.

Running Backs
This could have been fun to watch if the top prospects had followed the lead of Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams from a year ago and worked out. Unfortunately that wasn't the case with Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams, LenDale White and Laurence Maroney all opting to wait for their Pro Day's, which left little to get excited about at the position. The standouts were Joseph Addai of L.S.U. (4.40), Maurice Drew of U.C.L.A. (4.39), Andre Hall of South Florida (4.42), Jerome Harrison of Washington St. (4.47), Wali Lundy of Virginia (4.45), Jerious Norwood of Mississippi St. (4.40), Leon Washington of Florida St. (4.42) and Wendell Mathis of Fresno St. (4.51). These times have led many to believe that this running back class may be a little deeper than originally thought. The biggest loser might have been Brian Calhoun of Wisconsin, who turned in a very disappointing 4.60 clocking and may now drop a bit.

Obviously this isn't a glamour position and there really weren't any standouts this year. However, Lawrence Vickers of Colorado probably maintained his spot at the top fullback in the draft despite a less than desirable forty time while Matt Bernstein of Wisconsin (4.90) and Gilbert Harris of Arizona (4.85) were as slow as molasses.

Wide Receivers
Without a doubt one of the stars of this year's Combine was Florida's Chad Jackson, who ran a blistering 4.32 at 6-0 and 213lbs. Last year Troy Williamson put up similar numbers and saw his stock soar, which might be the case this year with Jackson. He is now definitely a first rounder and could slide into the top half of round one. In other words he made himself millions of dollars and after not working out Santonio Holmes might need to start watching his back. Sinorice Moss of Miami (FL) was impressive as expected and clocked in the 4.3's while others who ran well include Devin Aromashodu and Ben Obomanu of Auburn, Willie Reid of Florida St., Jonathan Orr of Wisconsin, Adam Jennings of Fresno St. Meanwhile Derek Hagan of Arizona St. also clocked an impressive 4.42 forty but continued to drop balls while a couple of sleepers in Miles Austin of Monmouth and Marques Colston of Hofstra more than held their own. Among the losers were Greg Lee of Pittsburgh and Cory Rodgers of T.C.U., who both clocked poor times and should have gone back to school for their senior seasons.

Tight Ends
Perhaps no player in the history of the Combine has put on a show like Maryland's Vernon Davis did, running a phenomenal 4.38 and just looking brilliant in the drills. He was already a Top 15 pick but after that performance people are now putting him in the elite category and he has a shot at the Top 5-7 overall. Leonard Pope of Georgia also looked very good while Tony Scheffler of Western Michigan has scouts buzzing about his size, speed, and athleticism. As expected Marcedes Lewis of U.C.L.A. ran a poor time (mid-4.8's) and could see his stock slip a little.

Offensive Tackles
Even though D'Brickashaw Ferguson opted not to work out he did make some headlines by checking in at 312lbs., which is 15 more than he weighed a month ago at the Senior Bowl. The standout among the tackles was Eric Winston of Miami (FL) who ran an excellent 4.94 and was among the top players in each positional drill. Guy Whimper of East Carolina and Jeromey Clary of Kansas St. also clocked in at under 5.00 and put their names on the map while Marcus McNeill ran a 5.07 which is simply tremendous for a guy who is over 6-7 and 336lbs. Even though he didn't run Winston Justice of Southern Cal looked very athletic in the drills and his stock is also on the rise. Among those who disappointed was Jonathan Scott of Texas, who didn't run quite as well as most thought he would.

Offensive Guards
As it was at the Senior Bowl the story at this position was once again Charles Spencer of Pittsburgh, who looked very athletic despite checking in at 352 pounds. Chris Kuper of North Dakota also stood out a bit and might have helped himself while Max Jean-Gilles of Georgia ran one of the worst times of anyone in attendance.

Nick Mangold of Ohio St. performed very well and solidified himself as the top center in the draft and a possible first round pick. Also keep an eye on Oklahoma's Chris Chester, who can play a number of positions and really impressed with a 4.88 clocking.

Defensive Ends

Any conversation about the defensive ends has to start with Mario Williams of North Carolina St., who checked in at 6-7 and 295 pounds yet still managed to run an impressive 4.66 time in the forty. Let's not leave out his teammate Manny Lawson though because he too helped himself by running an amazing 4.43 time. Honestly there were so many who impressed it would be tough to list them all but a few who deserve mention were Kamerion Wimbley of Florida St., Stanley McClover of Auburn and Mark Anderson of Alabama. As for those who did not do so well Parys Haralson of Tennessee didn't show the speed needed to play linebacker while Victor Adeyanju of Indiana did not run quite as well as most expected him to. Of course you can't not mention Mike Kudla of Ohio St., who tied the all-time Combine bench press record with 45 reps of 225lbs.

Defensive Tackles
One of the most impressive players in Indy, regardless of position, was Brodrick Bunkley of Florida St. The guy is simply a beast with a cut frame and sub-5.00 speed which could help land him in the Top 20 overall. Two of the bigger names, Haloti Ngata of Oregon and Gabe Watson of Michigan, did not run quite as well as most thought they would but that won't be a big issue since they are nose tackles. Perhaps the biggest disappointed here was Tommy Jackson of Auburn who only ran in the high-5.2's which is not very good for a player his size.

Outside Linebackers

This might have been one of the fastest groups of linebackers in recent memory with Jon Alston of Stanford (4.40), Thomas Howard of U.T.E.P. (4.42), Brandon Johnson of Louisville (4.44), and Ernie Sims of Florida St. (4.50) leading the way. Terna Nande of Miami (OH) not only ran well by clocking a 4.51 but also impressed in the weight room by putting up 41 reps of 225lbs. Chad Greenway of Iowa did not run nearly as well (4.7's) as many thought he would while A.J. Nicholson of Florida St. and Stephen Tulloch of North Carolina St. both failed to impress with their times in the high-4.8 to low-4.9 range.

Inside Linebackers
This position was highlighted not so much by guys who did well but moreso by guys who did not do very good. Kai Parham of Virginia ran over 5.0 in his forties and looked awkward in the drills while Kevin Simon of Tennessee, whose game is supposed to be speed, only managed to run in the 4.9's. If there was a bright spot it might have been Leon Williams of Miami (FL) who looked athletic and ran a 4.54 time in the forty. This was an under whelming group overall.

There were some impressive times logged in the forty from this group but to be honest most of them were expected. Tye Hill of Clemson showcased his track speed and came through with the fastest time of any player in attendance at 4.30 while Jonathan Joseph of South Carolina was just behind him with a 4.31 time. Tim Jennings of Georgia, Kelly Jennings of Miami (FL), Dee Webb of Florida and Richard Marshall of Fresno St. also put on a show by clocking outstanding times. Among those who disappointed was Charles Gordon of Kansas and while Miami's Devin Hester ran a 4.45 it wasn't exactly the type of electrifying time he needed for a guy with so many question marks. That just might not be enough to entice a team to use a day one pick on him.


What a group this was and the speed some of these guys showed was eye-opening. The performance of Texas' Michael Huff really stood out and after running a 4.34 at 6-0 and 204lbs. he probably guaranteed himself a spot in the Top 10 overall. Daniel Bullocks carried over the momentum he started at the Senior Bowl and impressed with his 4.38 clocking, which leads some to believe he might be an even better prospect than his brother Josh was a year ago. You also have to be happy for Jason Allen of Tennessee, who is returning from a serious hip injury yet still clocked a 4.39 which should send his stock upwards. Donte Whitner of Ohio St. showed his strength (18 reps) and speed (4.40) and looks like a first rounder while Ko Simpson of South Carolina measured in at about what he was listed at in college and ran a solid 4.45 time in the forty. There were also some so-so performances but mentioning them would just take away from the outstanding effort put in by the others. This could be one of the better safety classes to come around in a very long time both in terms of quality at the top as well as depth throughout.

Kickers / Punters
There wasn't a whole lot happening here but Ryan Plackemeier of Wake Forest stood out the most while John Torp of Colorado and Steve Weatherford of Illinois struggled. Josh Huston of Ohio St. looked to be the top kicker in attendance.

Information reprinted with permission. For the best coverage of the NFL draft, visit the most popular NFL draft site on the web at NFLDraftCountdown.com

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