Combine Snubs Who Showed ’Em, Part III (Best Of)

College football players must feel disappointed when they don’t receive an invitation to the NFL combine to show off their skills. One consolation is that they can perform drills on their respective pro days, which often occur weeks closer to the draft.

The other? They don’t have to go to Indianapolis. (Ba-da-BOOM!)

For those who want to catch up with our previous columns on non-combine invitees who excelled at their pro days, you can link to Part I from mid-March and Part II from last week.

Below, the top two numbers of each category at the NFL combine are shown in plain text. We display the best pro day performances in bold (with an asterisk for the best overall).

TOP 40-YARD DASH

*Reggie Dunn, Utah WR (4.25 seconds)

Marquise Goodwin, Texas WR (4.27)

George Baker, South Florida CB (4.31)

Terrell Sinkfield, Northern Iowa WR (4.33)

Kendial Lawrence, Missouri RB (4.33)

C. J. Wilson, North Carolina State CB (4.34)

Tavon Austin, West Virginia WR (4.34)

 

TOP BENCH PRESS

*Torlan Pittman, SMU DL (42 reps)

Margus Hunt, SMU DL (38)

Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern DL (38)

Adam Replogle, Indiana DL (38)

Jake McDonough, Iowa State DL (37)

Byron Jerideau, South Carolina DL (37)

Akeem Spence, Illinois DL (37)

 

TOP VERTICAL JUMP

Christine Michael, Texas A&M RB (43 inches)

Steven Miller, Appalachian State RB (43)

Don Jones, Arkansas State S (42)

Jehranie Boyd, North Carolina WR (42)

Cody Davis, Texas Tech S (41.5)

Jordan Dangerfield, Towson State S (41.5)

Jamie Collins, Southern Miss OLB (41.5)

 

TOP BROAD JUMP

Jamie Collins, Southern Miss OLB (11-feet, 7 inches)

Terrell Sinkfield, Northern Iowa WR (11-5)

Justin Hunter, Tennessee WR (11-4)

 

TOP 3-CONE DRILL

*Omarius Hines, Florida HB (6.45 seconds)

Will Davis, Utah St. RB (6.52)

T. J. Moe, Missouri WR (6.53)

 

TOP 20-YARD SHUTTLE

B. W. Webb, William and Mary CB 3.84

Desmond Trufant, Washington CB, 3.85

 

Some more eye-catching performances to wrap up our pro day notes of 2013…

Hey Mr. D. J.: Texas running back/receiver/returner D. J. Monroe (5-8, 175) completed a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and 9-foot, 11-inch broad jump. This past season, Monroe averaged 24.5 yards per kickoff return and took back three kicks for 70 yards or more, including a 100-yard TD vs. Oklahoma State.

Easy There, Tigers: What the hell is going on at Princeton? Defensive end and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Mike Catapano (6-4, 271) ran a 4.75-second 40, benched 225 pounds 33 times and dusted the three-cone drill in 7.03 seconds. Linebacker Andrew Starks (6-2, 240) had a 38-inch vertical and 6.93-second 3-cone drill, while running back Akil Sharp (5-9, 210) had a 37.5-inch vertical and 25 bench reps.

Seriously, Princeton guys. Next time, go to Rutgers.

SMU Ponies Up: It appears those Southern Methodist defensive linemen know what they’re doing when it comes to weightlifting. While Margus Hunt tied for the top combine bench press with 38 reps, non-combine invitee Torlan Pittman (6-1, 285) surpassed that with 42, the best number we could find this year. Also of note: Mustang defensive tackle Aaron Davis (6-2, 291) had 34 reps and ran the 40 in 4.75 seconds. Pittman and Davis had 34 and 35 tackles for SMU this past season, respectively.

This Boyd Has Flown: Wide receiver Jehranie Boyd (6-1, 187) of North Carolina ran his 40 in 4.45 seconds and had an 11-foot broad jump. To top it off (literally, one could say), he leapt 42 inches, which would have put him in second place at the combine. Boyd was hampered by a leg injury his senior year, but as a junior he averaged 21 yards per reception (14 for 292) and eight yards per carry (7 for 56 on end-around plays).

Quick From Head To Toma: Notre Dame receiver Robby Toma (5-9, 180) ran a 4.50-second 40 and put up a solid 15 reps on the bench. Most importantly (considering his projection as a slot guy), Toma completed the 3-cone drill in 6.76 seconds, which would have put him among the top ten combine pass-catchers.

A Compelling Reed: New Mexico’s Lucas Reed (6-6, 247) proved he would have fit right in among combine tight ends, running a 4.70-second 40, a 4.08-second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.97-second 3-cone drill. Reed also benched 225 pounds 25 times. Reed’s older brother is Houston linebacker Brooks Reed.

The Eye Of The Hurricane, The Lenz Of The Cyclones: Receiver Josh Lenz (6-0, 200) out of Iowa State ran a reported 4.35-second 40 and completed 21 bench presses. Lenz caught 31 passes for six TDs this past season, averaging 14.8 yards per reception.

Ames To Please: Another Iowa State standout, defensive lineman Jake McDonough, (6-4, 290) benched 37 reps, which would have tied him for the second-best number at the combine. McDonough made the All-Big 12 First Team in 2012 with 36 tackles, including 5.5 for loss (two sacks).

Liquid Plummer: Sometimes, you have to go with the flow. Such is the case for Fresno State’s Shawn Plummer (6-0, 202) who played linebacker last year but must make the transition to safety due to his size. To go along with a respectable 4.58-second 40, Plummer had a 40-inch vertical leap, completed his 3-cone drill in 6.85 seconds, and benched 225 pounds 25 times.

For comparison, combine invitee Matt Elam of Florida (5-10, 208) ran a 4.54-second 40, had a 35.5-inch vertical and 17 bench presses. (Elam avoided the 3-cone drill at the combine due to a groin injury.)

Who Ordered A Skinny Grandy? Central Arkansas receiver Jesse Grandy (5-11, 148) ran a so-so 4.50-second 40 but showed some explosiveness with a 10-8 broad jump, a 4.13-second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.87-second 3-cone drill. Grandy averaged 13.1 yards per reception for the Bears (61 for 797) and caught seven touchdown passes. He also shined as a returner this past season, averaging 12.5 yards per punt return (including one TD) and 26.1 yards per kickoff.

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Cheatham: Cornerback Camerron Cheatham (5-8, 187) of Cincinnati ran a 4.43 40 and a 6.76 3-cone drill. Cheatham had 57 tackles for the Bearcats in 2012, including one sack. He also intercepted three passes, returning one for a touchdown.

Searching High And Lobo: New Mexico’s Lamaar Thomas (5-11, 187) got some attention on his pro day. The receiver ran a 4.40 40, had a 38-inch vertical, a 10-foot-3 broad jump, and a 6.80-second 3-cone drill. He added 16 bench reps for good measure. Thomas had only 15 catches last year for the Lobos, but get this: that led the team. New Mexico gained over 3,900 yards on the ground in 2012, including 220 from Thomas himself at a 7.1-yard clip.

Ray’s The Bar: Louisiana Tech running back Ray Holley (5-8, 194) had a solid 3-cone time (6.85), a mediocre 40 (4.56) and a decent vertical (37.5 inches). He’s listed here because of his bench press, 27 lifts, which would have tied him for fourth among all running backs at the combine. Holley had 740 yards rushing and 34 receptions for the Bulldogs in 2012.

Note: Just for readers’ information, Patriots running back Shane Vereen had 31 bench press reps during the 2011 NFL combine. Sure, he seems polite, but don’t tick that kid off.

Good Lord, Byron: South Carolina nose tackle/basement freezer Byron Jerideau (6-0, 334) ran the 40 in a surprisingly swift 5.16 seconds. Most notably, he had 37 bench presses, another performance that would have tied for second place at the combine. Jerideau had 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a blocked kick for the Gamecocks this past year.

A Model U.N.: Wide receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu (5-11, 198) out of Texas A&M ran a 4.50-second 40 at his pro day, jumped 39.5 inches vertically and 10-feet, 10 inches horizontally. He also had a 6.78-second 3-cone drill. In 2012, Nwachukwu caught 26 passes for 485 yards (that’s an eyebrow-raising average of 18.7 ypr) and had seven touchdowns.

Wingo! We Have Wingo! Sizable Arkansas running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr. (6-1, 231) ran a 4.47-second 40 and had a 33-inch vertical to go along with 18 bench presses. Wingo saw limited action as a senior behind Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis, but he did average 4.9 yards per carry in 2012, often as a short-yardage option.

Leave Them Asking For Morris: Cornerback Stephon Morris (5-8, 188) of Penn State had a 4.35-second 40 and a 10-foot broad jump, as well as 18 bench reps. Morris had 60 tackles (five for loss) and five pass breakups last year.

Soo … whom did we miss? If you know of any notable pro day performances that slipped by us, please let us know in the comments section below.

You can email Chris Warner at [email protected] 

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