Pac-12 NFL combine winners and losers

February, 28, 2013
2/28/13
5:30
PM ET
The meat market that the NFL combine is always features drama. It tends to require some sorting through, and media opinions sometimes seem widely divergent. Or in disconcerting lockstep.

So here are various takes on some of the Pac-12 players who were in Indy.

The Sporting News rated Oregon OLB Dion Jordan the No. 6 winner, writing:
He could easily be a top-five pick, even though he faces shoulder surgery in March that could sideline him until training camp. New Eagles coach Chip Kelly coached Jordan in college and the Eagles have the fourth overall pick. The Lions pick No. 5 and need to address their porous defense. Jordan had an impressive 40-yard dash time (4.60) and workout, and some teams believe he can also play defensive end. Elite pass rushers always have high value, and Jordan might be the best pass rusher in this draft.

It also thought highly of USC QB Matt Barkley, though not for obvious reasons:
He actually benefited by interviewing and not throwing, because none of the other quarterbacks was lights-out. There will be plenty of rumors about Barkley being a top-10 pick, possibly to the Cardinals at No. 7. But it will be important for Barkley to throw well at his pro day, prove that his injured shoulder is sound and convince quarterback-needy teams that he’ll never last until the second round. If that happens, either Barkley will go in the top 10 or somebody will trade up later in the first round to get him.

That opinion on Barkley was seconded here. It seems that Barkley will be either first or second QB taken if he throws well at USC's pro day. I got $1 that says he will.

Sports Illustrated also had California's Brian Schwenke as a riser:
Sort of the opposite of Aboushi (and, again, with the acknowledgement that 40 time is not as important as how quick a lineman plays in tight space) -- Schwenke put up a 4.99 40 and 31 bench press reps. He’s a pretty decent athlete for 6-3, 314.

Lots of Pac-12 defensive players on this Sports Illustrated list, most of it good.

As many Washington fans have eagerly noted to the Pac-12 blog -- I have no idea why (he innocently types) -- Washington CB Desmond Trufant may have pushed himself into the first round of the draft with his performance, including a sub-4.4 40 time. (And Ted, not Kevin, should be faulted for saying, "I bet Trufant runs a 4.5 at the combine," during their myriad top-25 discussions. Were any Huskies fans a bit surprised with 4.38?)

Writes CBS' Rob Rang:
Having established himself as the top cover corner in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Trufant continued his positive momentum with a sparkling all-around performance at the Combine, matching the 4.38-second 40-yard dash his older brother, Marcus, ran at the 2003 Combine and finishing second among all participants tested this year in the short-shuttle (3.85 seconds). Trufant isn't known to be a particularly physical defender but showed more aggression when asked to play press as a senior and surprised with 16 reps at the combine.

ESPN's Todd McShay, like many, many others, liked what he saw from Arizona QB Matt Scott:
Other QB notables were Arizona's Matt Scott, who ran a 4.69 40, which was third fastest for the QBs. He had a 31-inch vertical jump and 9-6 broad jump. There's been a buzz about his potential development. He can continue to get bigger and stronger. He also needs to work on the consistency of his delivery and mechanics. He really came on in Rich Rodriguez's offense and he can do some things athletically that other late-round prospects don't have. He has helped himself during this pre-draft process.

ESPN's Mel Kiper liked what he saw from a pair of former Pac-12 receivers : USC's Robert Woods and Washington State's Marquess Wilson.

On Woods:
USC's Robert Woods was overshadowed some by teammate Marqise Lee during the season, but Woods (6-0\, 201) began building some momentum in Indianapolis. His 4.51, 33.4 vertical, 9-8 broad jump and 14 reps are not off the chart, but he ran good routes and caught the ball well.

He's not exceptional in any area, but Woods is decisive in his routes and with the ball. Some people fell asleep on him, but people are going to hear more about Woods going forward and he's solidly in the second-round range.

On Wilson:
Washington State's Marquess Wilson showed off smooth, easy movement skills, and the soft hands and flexibility that make him another very natural pass-catcher. He moved well during the gauntlet drill. However, intangibles are a big question mark for Wilson (6-25, 194), who clashed with his coaches at Washington State and eventually quit the team.

Scouts and front-office personnel want to know whether he has the thick skin to take NFL coaching. Wilson has the skills to be in the Day 2 mix, and if he interviews well he could push his stock solidly into the second round. If not, he could struggle to hold on to remain in Day 2 at all.

Losers? Well, Utah DT Star Lotulelei was one, for obvious reasons:
Lotulelei is hoping for the best after doctors at the Combine detected a heart issue and refused to let him work out. He is scheduled to undergo more tests in Utah, and hopefully he will receive positive news. But his status as a potential top-five pick is now cloudy.
CBS also rated Stanford OLB Chase Thomas a faller:
In racking up 50.5 tackles for loss over his career, Thomas established himself as an instinctive, productive player for the Cardinal. Critics, however, questioned whether he was a product of Stanford's scheme, a stigma Thomas failed to overcome in Indianapolis by ranking the slowest among all outside linebackers tested in the 40-yard dash at 4.91 seconds.

What about an all-interview team? That's another area in which UCLA DT Datone Jones caught eyes, er, ears.
Scouts already liked the way he plays. Now they like the way he thinks, too. One front office man said Jones looks like “the complete package.” He said he knew his stuff, and liked the way he expressed his dedication.

Ted Miller | email

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