Tuesday, February 25, 2014
An Eagle-eyed look at combine results
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL scouting combine is wrapping up Tuesday in Indianapolis. Here’s how some of the players we identified as possible Philadelphia Eagles picks fared in the annual NFL job fair.
Brandin Cooks might be out of the Eagles' reach after his fast time in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
Brandin Cooks of Oregon State might have moved up beyond the Eagles’ grasp by running the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. That was the second fastest time overall, behind only running back Dri Archer. Combined with Cooks’ incredible numbers from last season -- 128 catches, 1,730 yards -- the 5-foot-10, 189 pounder likely sealed his first-round status.
Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State was as big as advertised -- 6-5, 240 pounds. His 40 time of 4.61 wasn’t especially impressive, but did we mention he’s 6-5?
Odell Beckham Jr., the LSU wideout projected to the Eagles in Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent (pre-combine) mock draft , ran a 4.43. That increases his added value as a possible return man.
Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, who goes 6-3, 212 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.46, and also impressed by doing 21 bench press reps. Receivers don’t have to lift bales of hay, but upper-body strength helps when blocking or trying to get off the line against press coverage.
Dee Ford, the Auburn defensive end projected to the Eagles by NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, proclaimed himself a better player than Jadeveon Clowney, then did not participate in drills because of a medical issue. Ford said he was told not to work out because of a 2011 back injury. You have to wonder if that concern will drop Ford on draft boards.
Anthony Barr of UCLA is considered the second best outside linebacker prospect after Buffalo’s Kahlil Mack. The Eagles would only have a shot at Barr if he slipped a bit. His disappointing bench press result (15 reps) probably wasn’t enough to overshadow his 4.66 speed. (Mack ran a 4.65 and did 23 reps.)
Stanford’s Trent Murphy worked out with the linebackers, not the defensive linemen, and remains an intriguing option for the Eagles. The 6-5, 250-pound Murphy ran a 4.86.
The top two safeties, Lousiville’s Calvin Pryor and Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, ran identical 40 times of 4.58. They didn’t separate themselves from each other, but the blazing speed at cornerback could potentially sway a DB-needy team or two to go that route and drop the safeties a few spots.
Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State is one of those corners. Gilbert ran a 4.35 Tuesday. At 6-0, 202 pounds, that gives him an enviable combination of size and speed.