The first day of on the field testing at the 2013 NFL combine is over, and there were a few noteworthy performances Saturday in Indianapolis.
First Manti Te'o spoke and handled everything well. His press conference was jam-packed, maybe the largest combine interview ever (I have no idea where to begin, nor do I care enough, to actually find that out). The point is: Te'o came off well, but the fact that his interview was a circus might give pause to a lot of teams. It was Tebow-esque and we see how much the NFL loves that. I'm interested to see what happens to Te'o during the draft.
Sunday is all about running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks. I don't think these are necessarily the positions of focus for the New York Giants and because I won't have time today to preview Monday I'd rather focus on the defensive linemen and linebackers set for Monday's workouts.
First, let's look back at what we saw Saturday when offensive linemen and tight ends worked out.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff offensive linemen Terron Armstead might have just put Brandon Jacobs out of the NFL. Who needs Jacobs when you can get a 300-pound offensive linemen running a 40-yard dash like a safety? His official 4.71 (4.65 unofficial) 40-yard dash set a combine record for an offensive lineman. He also has long arms and was the best player during the East-West Shrine game week. Great off-season for Armstead.
Oklahoma's Lane Johnson wasn't far behind Armstead with an official 4.72 40-yard dash and looked athletic all around. He is a terrific athlete. He's not technically sound, but nevertheless he probably solidified himself as a top 20 pick.
For the first time in my experience covering the draft I have two offensive guards rated in the top 10 picks Alabama's Chance Warmack and North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper. Warmack did not test well in the drills, while Cooper not only gained weight prior to the combine (after being criticized for being too light), he aced the bench press and then showed off some of the best athleticism of all the offensive linemen. If not for positional value you could lock him in the top 15 picks, he'll likely be the best player available when the Giants pick (if he's still available).
Brian Schwenke put himself on my radar during the Senior Bowl. He's like the overweight guy with the beer belly in the adult rec basketball league who can somehow beat everyone down the court. He doesn't look like a great athlete, but he tested really well. He has perfect size for a center and is a top three center, maybe even the second-best center (Wisconsin's Travis Frederick looked terrible at times) and a top 90 player on my big board. Good pre-draft process for him as well.
On the downside, Luke Joeckel, the number one player on a lot of boards, looked average Saturday. His 1.87 10-yard split was terrible and he did not impress athletically. Joeckel could be in for a bit of a slide (and I mean from potential No. 1 pick to closer to a top 10 pick).
D.J. Fluker doesn't have great feet, but he still has great size and great length. I still feel that he's a top option for the Giants at 19, depending on what happens moving forward in free agency and -- of course -- who is available.
I've been all about the Giants going defense, defense, defense (and offensive line) in the draft, but this tight end class is impressive. There are a lot of players with good size and athleticism.
Zach Ertz has had a terrible combine. Well, terrible is strong, but he didn't measure well and then he was completely outshone by Norte Dame's Tyler Eifert during workouts on Saturday. Ertz will probably be a second-round pick, but if he was battling Eifert to be the top tight end selected he might have an uphill battle now.
Chris Gragg of Arkansas missed much of the 2012 season so he wasn't a player I saw enough of this year, but he had some eye-popping numbers Saturday. He's 6-foot-3, 244 pounds and ran a 4.5 official 40-yard dash. His 37.5-inch vertical jump is not too shabby, either.
Michigan State Dion Sims is "my guy" in the middle rounds this year if he's available. I don't see the Giants taking a tight end early, but if they decide they want to take one in Round 4 Dion Sims could be the perfect target. He's 6-5, 262 pounds, ran a 4.75 40-yard dash and had a 35-inch vertical.
Rice's Vance McDonald is getting a lot of buzz and is testing out well athletically. But when I watch him the same thing keeps surfacing -- this guy cannot catch. He didn't drop everything, but he just doesn't look smooth to me trying to catch the football.
Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner is the last one I'll mention. He was a little heavier than expected today, but still ran a 4.65 40-yard dash. He's a smooth pass catcher and is another intriguing guy if he's available in the fourth round.
Alec Ogletree, measured Saturday at 6-2, 242 pounds with 33.38-inch arms. I've been pumping Ogletree up as a guy who is going to put on a show at the combine and I'm interested to see whether or not he can live up to my high expectations. He also had a press conference people were far less interested in than the Te'o conference and apologized for his DUI.
Sio Moore of Connecticut is a guy I'm very interested in. He came late to the Senior Bowl, but looked good. Moore measured in at 6-1, 245 pounds with 33.58-inch arms (third-longest among linebackers).
Arthur Brown was 6-0, 241 pounds (about 20 pounds heavier than anyone thought he weighed). This could only help him, provided he can put on a show athletically, as people have assumed. There is, however, a rumor floating around that there is concern about his shoulder moving forward.
There wasn't too much unique or fascinating about the linebackers.
The other guys Giants fans should watch are Oregon's Kiko Alonso (very talented, he's also long, but he has a few off the field incidents). LSU's Kevin Minter had some of the shortest arms, but he was a very solid 246 pounds. I've always enjoyed the way Oklahoma's Tom Wort played as well. He was one of the lightest linebackers here at 235 pounds, I think he'll test better than expected.
Shariff Floyd who has gotten a lot of talk here, and elsewhere, was one of the smallest defensive tackles at the combine coming in at 297 pounds and also had the second-shortest arms of any defensive linemen in the draft at 31.68 inches. This is not a huge concern for defensive tackles as much as it is for defensive ends, but he'll need to show off great athleticism (which is anticipated) to keep the buzz going at only 297 pounds.
"Definitely, some weeks that we weren't playing harder teams, there was some times when effort was not needed, It's definitely one of those things when we had the big boys and everything coming in, the 'Bama's or the South Carolina's, I grabbed real close to those guys and I went all out for them."
I'm sure Giants head coach Tom Coughlin would love having someone in the locker room who has admitted to not trying in practice at some weeks, this midst reports that LSU coaches have not been giving Mongtomery ringing endorsements. He measured in at 6-3, 262 pounds and 33.78-inch arms.
Bennie Logan from the LSU TIgers was 309 pounds, which is where he should be to play defensive tackle in the NFL.
There are plenty of other names to watch.
Alabama's Quinton Dial, Auburn's Corey Lemoiner (an under-the-radar potential first-round pick currently No. 45 on my big board), Michigan State's William Gholston and South Carolina's Devin Taylor are just some of the other names to watch. I'll hopefully have a detailed recap of this group on Monday morning.