The NFL combine has wrapped up in Indianapolis, and as expected, the former Big Ten standouts drew mixed reviews. Check out the combine's top performers, and you'll see plenty of Big Ten alums.
Here are some final notes and nuggets, first from the Scouts Inc. staff:
Steve Muench: "At 6-0 and 180 pounds, Purdue's David Pender is lean but has room on his frame to bulk up without losing too much speed. Pender officially ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, posted a 39-inch vertical and has 32-inch arms. Don't be surprised to see him move up some draft boards based on his potential."
Steve Muench: "Ohio State's Thaddeus Gibson looked smooth and comfortable dropping into coverage, which came as little surprise given how often he dropped into coverage in college. However, his footwork was a little sloppy during lateral bag work. Gibson is so explosive that his momentum often carried him past the bag and forced him to gather himself before redirecting. We've seen this on film as well, and Gibson needs to play more under control.
Steve Muench: "Lisfranc injuries can be difficult to overcome, and Minnesota WR Eric Decker is now scheduled for a second surgery on his left foot. The March 15 operation does not indicate a setback, however. Its purpose is to remove the plate and screws inserted after the initial injury to the foot, but it will leave him unable to run unrestricted until June. Decker is a big, athletic receiver who built a lot of momentum early in the college season and was one of our fastest-rising prospects before the first injury ended his season. He likely will slide down some draft boards because he has been unable to work out fully for months and other receivers turned in strong performances at the combine, but Decker remains a third-round prospect in our eyes.
Steve Muench: "Michigan's Brandon Graham is ranked ahead of Texas' Sergio Kindle and Ohio State's Thaddeus Gibson because he's the better player on film in our opinion. However, the combine is the perfect venue for Kindle and Gibson to showcase their talents because they are better athletes than Graham."
Todd McShay: "Penn State's Daryll Clark and Appalachian State's Armanti Edwards could also be headed for position changes. Clark notched 21 reps on the bench press, which is good if he's moving to running back. The problem is he's too bulked up and it affects his overall accuracy as a passer."
Todd McShay: "[Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn] turned in an unofficial 4.48 in the 40 and a 37-inch vertical, and he showed good strength with 20 reps on the bench press. Benn is a bit tightly wound but he has great quickness for his size and he eats up everything thrown his way. Benn should be high on the priority list for teams in search of wide receiver help in the bottom half of the first round, including the Bengals (No. 21), Ravens (No. 25) and Jets (No. 29)."
Bruce Feldman on Brandon Graham: "The former Michigan star isn't tall, but so what? Neither is Dwight Freeney or Elvis Dumervil. Graham has superb first-step quickness and burst. He's also a powerhouse in the weight room, having set the Michigan record in the bench press, hang clean and power clean."
And now for some linkage:
Indiana's Rodger Saffold improved his stock at the combine, while Iowa's Dace Richardson struggled, Russ Lande writes in The Sporting News. Odrick, Gibson and Iowa's Pat Angerer are among Lande's top defensive performers.
Bulaga draws some combine praise from SI.com's Don Banks.
Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka reflects on his combine experience in the Chicago Sun-Times.