I have never been one to place too much importance on the work outs and exercises performed at the Combine, instead choosing to look at each player's performance on the field as a better indicator of that player's future potential, but a player's performance at the Combine has nonetheless proven to have a fairly significant impact on players' draft stocks. Each day throughout the NFL Scouting Combine (February 24 to March 1) I'll be breaking down the day's risers and fallers. Enjoy.
The Combine is in full swing as offensive linemen and tight ends participated in workouts like the 40-yard dash, broad jump, etc., as well as various position drills.
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Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic Owls: Housler followed up his impressive weigh-in with a nice day of workouts including a position-best 4.55 40 time. Housler is exactly the kind of guy who benefits from the Combine. He's from a smaller program and many people haven't really looked his way. Impressive workouts and position drills alone may not garner him an early round pick, but they're a great way to get people to take notice. People will start to look at Housler and consider him as a serious candidate to be taken in an early round.
Virgil Green, TE, Nevada Wolf Pack: Like Housler, Green is from a smaller school and got a lot of attention at the Combine. He'll have more people looking at his game film after his performance that demonstrated his superb athleticism.
Shane Vereen, RB, California Golden Bears: Vereen benched 225 pounds 31 times. Weighing in at 210 pounds, Vereen lifted 225 pounds more times than a lot of the offensive linemen in attendance. Benching 200+ pounds 31 times won't make Vereen a bruiser out of the backfield, but the show of strength does bode well for a player not known as a punishing runner and who many have trouble separating from the shifty Jahvid Best.
Marcus Cannon, G, TCU Horned Frogs: For a man his size, Cannon moved very well during workouts including his position drills. He weighed in at 358 pounds, down from the 370's he reportedly played at during the last season, but looked quite athletic during his position drills. He answered a lot of questions as to whether he can mirror defenders and move his feet well enough to keep up with NFL defenders.
Ryan Bartholomew, C, Syracuse Orange: Ok, he won't be an early round pick, but his impressive display of athleticism had to turn a few heads. After putting up the most reps on the bench press, Bartholomew ran the second fastest 40 among offensive linemen at 4.97 seconds.
Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Eagles: I was very impressed with Castonzo not only in the work out drills, but in position drills as well. He moved well and looked very fluid. His on-field performance combined with his impressive showing today could be enough to catapult Castonzo as the top tackle prospect in this year's draft.
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State Bulldogs: As I stated in the Day One recap, in which I called Sherrod a faller after weighing in at over 320 pounds, he was given the opportunity to prove the added weight would not affect his mobility. He did just that today as he looked very fluid in position drills.
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Buffaloes: Solder was a faller yesterday after managing just 21 reps on the bench press. He looked very good today during position drills with very impressive footwork. With others looking very good at the Combine including Castonzo and Tyron Smith, two other players considered top tackle prospects, Solder had to put in a good performance in position drills and did just that.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas Razorbacks: Mallett was none too pleased when reporters prodded into allegations of drug use, going as far as to walk away from the podium. When asked about his decision making on the field, Mallett reportedly responded, "Seven thousand-plus yards and 60 touchdowns in two seasons. That's how I respond to that." There are few who wouldn't be annoyed by the media's tendency to hark on one particular question, but when you're being evaluated for your ability to lead a team and coolness under pressure, it would have behooved him to take a more diplomatic approach to his responses. In all fairness, ESPN's Chris Mortensen said that Mallett's interviews with teams received "favorable reviews."
Weslye Saunders, TE, South Carolina Gamecocks: It may not be fair, but Saunders re-aggravating a broken bone in his foot while warming up to participate in the 40 yard dash does not help his stock after sitting out the entire 2010 season following his dismissal from the team. Once considered possibly the top tight end prospect in the draft before last season, his stock just keeps tumbling.
Danny Hobrock, a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
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