Top Big Ten performers at the NFL combine

February, 23, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

For those of you who didn't spend the last few days glued to a TV or a computer for up-to-the-minute NFL combine updates, here's a snapshot of how Big Ten players fared at the premier pre-draft event.

The NFL lists the top performers in seven different categories. Keep in mind that not every Big Ten player and position group participates in every event.

40-yard dash

  • Purdue's Curtis Painter, tied for sixth among quarterbacks, 4.87 seconds
  • Purdue's Kory Sheets, third among running backs, 4.47 seconds
  • Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells, tied for 10th among running backs, 4.59 seconds
  • Penn State's Deon Butler, fourth among wide receivers, 4.38 seconds
  • Illinois' Xavier Fulton, third among offensive linemen, 5.04 seconds
  • Penn State's Gerald Cadogan, tied for fourth among offensive linemen, 5.12 seconds

Bench press

  • Ohio State's Wells, tied for sixth among running backs, 25 repetitions
  • Purdue's Greg Orton, third among wide receivers, 22 reps
  • Penn State's Derrick Williams, 10th among wide receivers, 15 reps
  • Wisconsin's Travis Beckum, tied for first among tight ends, 28 reps
  • Ohio State's Alex Boone and Penn State's A.Q. Shipley, tied for fourth among offensive linemen, 33 reps
  • Iowa's Rob Bruggeman, tied for 10th among offensive linemen, 30 reps
  • Michigan's Terrance Taylor, first among defensive linemen, 37 reps
  • Purdue's Alex Magee, tied for eighth among defensive linemen, 30 reps
  • Ohio State's Marcus Freeman, tied for second among linebackers, 30 reps
  • Wisconsin's Jonathan Casillas, tied for 10th among linebackers, 24 reps

Vertical jump

  • Michigan State's Brian Hoyer, sixth among quarterbacks, 32 inches
  • Iowa's Shonn Greene and Purdue's Kory Sheets, tied for fifth among running backs, 37 inches
  • Penn State's Jordan Norwood and Purdue's Orton, tied for sixth among wide receivers, 38 inches
  • Ohio State's Brian Robiskie, seventh among wide receivers, 37.5 inches
  • Illinois' Fulton and Penn State's Shipley, tied for sixth among offensive linemen, 31 inches
  • Penn State's Aaron Maybin, third among defensive linemen, 38 inches
  • Illinois' Derek Walker, fourth among defensive linemen, 37.5 inches
Broad jump
  • Michigan State's Hoyer, tied for sixth among quarterbacks, 9'1"
  • Ohio State's Wells, first among running backs, 10'8"
  • Iowa's Greene and Purdue's Sheets, tied for fifth among running backs, 10'1"
  • Purdue's Orton, seventh among wide receivers, 10'5"
  • Illinois' Fulton, tied for first, 9'3"

3-cone drill

  • Purdue's Painter, tied for fourth among quarterbacks, 7 seconds
  • Michigan State's Javon Ringer, tied for fifth among running backs, 6.87 seconds
  • Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton, 10th among running backs, 6.94 seconds
  • Ohio State's Brian Hartline, tied for second among wide receivers, 6.65 seconds
  • Ohio State's Robiskie, fifth among wide receivers, 6.72 seconds
  • Penn State's Norwood, tied for eighth among wide receivers, 6.8 seconds
  • Illinois' Fulton, second among offensive linemen, 7.35 seconds
  • Penn State's Shipley, tied for fourth among offensive linemen, 7.46 seconds
  • Iowa's Seth Olsen, ninth among offensive linemen, 7.59 seconds

20-yard shuttle

  • Michigan State's Hoyer, tied for sixth among quarterbacks, 4.42 seconds
  • Michigan State's Ringer, third among running backs, 4.11 seconds
  • Ohio State's Hartline, fourth among wide receivers, 4.12 seconds
  • Ohio State's Robiskie, eighth among wide receivers, 4.19 seconds
  • Penn State's Norwood, ninth among wide receivers, 4.2 seconds
  • Indiana's Andrew Means, 10th among wide receivers, 4.21 seconds
  • Penn State's Shipley, second among offensive linemen, 4.4 seconds
  • Illinois' Fulton, sixth among offensive linemen, 4.56 seconds

60-yard shuttle

  • Purdue's Sheets, sixth among running backs, 11.7 seconds
  • Ohio State's Hartline, first among wide receivers, 10.92 seconds
  • Penn State's Butler, third among wide receivers, 11.32 seconds
My take

The combine is only one component of the draft evaluation process, yet a very important one. Here are my thoughts on these results:

  • Why did Purdue struggle so much on offense last year? Painter clearly had more athleticism that he showed, and Sheets proved to be a valuable player as well. Orton likely helped his draft stock as well at the combine.
  • For a guy that took a ton of criticism last year, it was interesting to see Hoyer perform well at the combine. He clearly has some good athleticism, and if he can get a bit more consistent in the passing game, he could find a spot at the next level. His win-loss record at Michigan State should not be overlooked.
  • Arguably no Big Ten player helped his draft stock more than Fulton, who placed among the top offensive linemen in five different categories. The second-team All-Big Ten selection might not have had the dominant senior season he expected, but his combine performance makes up for it.
  • Beanie Wells can jump. Anyone who watched him hurdle Illinois safety Donsay Hardeman on Nov. 15 already knew that.
  • Ringer underwent knee surgery last month but still performed well, finishing second in the 20-yard shuttle run.
  • Some wondered why Hartline turned pro a year early. His combine performance should silence the critics. Ohio State clearly didn't maximize what it had at the wide receiver position last year with Hartline and Robiskie.
  • Despite an injury-plagued senior season, Beckum should still go pretty high in the draft. His benchpress victory can't hurt his cause.
  • Penn State's Shipley also had a good combine, showing good speed and agility.



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