SEC: 2012 NFL combine

Big days for Cox, Ingram at NFL combine

February, 27, 2012
Two of the best and most athletic defensive linemen in the SEC last season were Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and South Carolina's Melvin Ingram.

Therefore, seeing some of their impressive workout numbers Monday at the NFL combine shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody.

Cox, who gave up his senior season to turn pro, was on display for the first time for the scouts, and at 6-4 and 298 pounds, ran a 4.79 in the 40-yard dash, which was one of the fastest times at the combine for an interior defensive lineman. Cox also showed impressive strength by doing 30 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.

The 6-1, 264-pound Ingram also ran a 4.79 in the 40-yard dash and did 28 repetitions on the bench press. Ingram played defensive end at South Carolina, but also slid inside to tackle some during his career. Some NFL scouts think Ingram could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He actually started his career at South Carolina as a linebacker.

Both Cox and Ingram were projected as first-round picks even before the NFL combine.

Somebody else who helped himself Monday was Florida defensive tackle Jaye Howard, who turned in a 4.82 in the 40.

LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers didn't test as well as some had expected. He ran a 5.36 in the 40 and only did 19 repetitions on the bench.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson won't participate in on-field drills during the NFL combine this week after undergoing minor knee surgery.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that Richardson's representatives sent all 32 NFL teams a memo about the procedure. The memo said that Richardson will be able to participate in on-field activities by the end of March, which means he won't take part in them during Alabama's pro day, which is set for March 7.

Richardson suffered the injury during practice leading up to the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, a game in which he ran for 96 yards and a touchdown (the lone TD in the two meetings between Alabama and LSU). It doesn't appear to be very serious, as Richardson is being held out of on-field drills only as a precaution.

That's very good news for Richardson and NFL teams. Richardson didn't need the NFL combine in order to stay in the first round of April's draft. He might have needed it to insure that he's a surefire top-10 pick, but that's all. In a pre-combine video, in which Richardson was shown training for the combine, he said that he wanted to show everyone that he's the best prospect there by blowing up the drills.

There's little reason to believe he wouldn't have, either.

Now, he won't be able to do that, but it's hard to believe that his accomplishments during his only season as a starter won't be enough reassurance for scouts, coaches and general managers. He set school single-season rushing records with 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns, accounting for more than 36 percent of Alabama's offense in 2011. Not to mention, he won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back and was a unanimous first team All-American and All-SEC member.

Although he won't be able to wow people on the field this week, he'll still have the opportunity to wow them during the interviewing process, which is a tremendously important part of the combine.