5 Potential Workout Warriors at 2014 NFL Scouting Combine To Keep An Eye On
5 Potential Workout Warriors at 2014 NFL Scouting Combine
We are sure to hear the phrase “workout warrior” several times during the NFL Scouting Combine set to take place in Indianapolis from Feb. 22-25. It’s an ever-present factor when the collection of college stars congregates in Indy in shorts and a t-shirt to impress scouts with their ridiculous physical talents.
Most of the time negative connotations are attached to the label, but occasionally there are players who impress both physically and on the field of play.
Last year belonged to Terron Armstead who ran a 4.71 40-yard dash, had a 34.5-inch vertical leap and also hoisted 31 reps on the bench-press at ridiculous 6-foot-5, 306-pounds. He parlayed that performance into a mid-third round selection of the New Orleans Saints last April, and he actually started two games for the team this past season.
But the stories of workout warriors aren’t always so positive. Everyone remembers the names of guys like Brian Bosworth, Tony Mandarich and Vernon Gholston. For various reasons their off-the-charts physical abilities never translated to the field for the teams that selected them.
Nothing beats film evaluation when it comes to on-field results, but comparing players is sometimes difficult given the gap in competition from school to school and the caliber of surrounding talents. For as much grief as the Combine gets as being the “Underwear Olympics,” it really does provide scouts with an apples to apples comparison for players in terms of overall athleticism in performing the same drills.
Some guys are bound to shine when the event begins in a little over a week. Here are five names you are sure to hear a lot about during the four-day event in Indianapolis.
5. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Known more for his bold prediction that he would win the Heisman Trophy this past season at Baylor – which he didn’t deliver on, by the way – Lache Seastrunk is the kind of athletic marvel who will wow scouts at the Combine. Running backs may be out of style in the NFL currently, but there’s something about a reported vertical leap of 44.2 inches, a broad jump of 11-feet, 4-inches and a 40-yard dash of 4.36 that will make scouts pay attention. He’s likely still no better than a second-round pick when May rolls around, but Seastrunk would really turn some heads with those numbers at 5-foot-9, 210-pounds.
4. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
At 6-foot-8, 309-pounds, there is very little that Taylor Lewan has to prove to scouts as far as his physical prowess is concerned. What he may do instead is make them marvel at just how ridiculously strong he is with his performance at the Combine. Though the bench press in Indy will only be 225 pounds as many times as guys can lift it, Lewan has a history of hoisting up 275 pounds 21 times in the past and he reportedly squats a ridiculous 550 pounds. Add those insane numbers to his vertical jump which is said to be 29-inches and an absolutely unheard of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash and Lewan may just vault himself back into the top 10 conversation. Assault allegations are the only thing hanging over his head currently, and if he can assure scouts that those are misplaced then there’s no reason for Lewan not to be chosen in the early teens at the latest come draft day.
3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Interviews may be the most important thing for Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ASJ) to master at the Combine after a March 2013 DUI led to a suspension and many questions about his somewhat hot and cold level of intensity on the field. Personnel evaluators will want to make sure ASJ is committed to football and truly loves the game before selecting him in May, but at 6-foot-6, 276-pounds with a ridiculous catch radius and some impressive numbers likely to come out of his workouts, there’s no question he could vault into a mid-first rounder as a result of the Combine.
2. Ra'Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota
Former basketball players are generally projected to the tight end position in the NFL today, but Ra’Shede Hageman took his background in hoops to the defensive side of the ball. He may have converted from the position originally, but Hageman has really made quite an impact on the defensive line for the Minnesota Gophers. At 6-foot-6, 312-pounds he’s obviously physically imposing enough to now need ridiculous athleticism to excel, but Hageman has a 360-dunk in his repertoire and some ridiculous numbers in his past experience with the Combine tests. With a reported 36-inch vertical, a 10-yard sprint time of 1.57 seconds and a ridiculous 465 pound max bench-press, Hageman is the total package. Don’t be surprised if he impresses teams enough to put him in the conversation as a mid-first-round pick.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Who else would top this list? Jadeveon Clowney is a pure freak of nature at 6-foot-6, 274-pounds, and he recently stated that his desire is to run a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash. Just for some perspective, the record for a defensive end is 4.43 by Manny Lawson who is now a linebacker at the professional level and listed as 240-pounds. If Clowney can even get a sub-4.5 time in the 40 it would absolutely floor everyone watching. Perhaps the only comparable feat was when Calvin Johnson ran a 4.32 after not intending to run when he arrived in Indy only to borrow a pair of shoes to blow the competition out of the water. Clowney would officially cement himself as the best prospect in this draft and make passing on him even more difficult to justify in the process.