When we talk of "stock," in the traditional sense, we usually think of Wall Street, where "stock" refers to an investment in shares of a particular company or corporation. That also certainly defines player stock. A player's stock is the sum of the investment risk vs reward of that player to the team. The scouting combine is one such area that can greatly add to a player's risk or potential reward. So with that in mind, let's take a look at the fickle stock of a few players who made a splash.
Aaron Donald, DT Pittsburgh -- The buzz out of Indianapolis was focused, and rightly so, on one man. The undersized 3 technique from Pittsburgh came into last weekend already ascending, and then decided it wasn't enough. After leaving most of his competition in the dust with jaws agape at his 4.65 40 yard dash at 285 pounds, he affirmed that not only did he have tremendous football character and on field production, but that he was a freakish athlete too. As Mike Mayock stated several hundred times during the coverage, he "checks all the boxes." Certainly positioned himself to go in the 1st half of the first round at this point.
Justin Gilbert, CB Oklahoma State -- The theme of the Combine was to weed out the average athletes from the special ones. Gilbert absolutely qualifies for the latter. There's a lot of chatter that he could become a top 10 pick and the top overall defensive back in the draft. While I disagree with that notion, its not impossible. He's smooth and explosive. Looked great in the drills while running a blistering 4.35. He made himself some money.
Jerrick McKinnon, RB Georgia Southern -- You know him? Yeah, same here. Only really heard of him after this combine. What did he do? Only have one of the most complete, freaky, combines that you'll see. He ran a 4.41, good for 2nd among all running backs behind Dri Archer. He jumped 40.5 inches in the vertical jump, good for second behind Lache Seastrunk. He jumped 11'0 in the broad jump (second among RBs). His short shuttle and 3 cone? Yup, top three times in both. Oh, and he also bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times. Like I said, one of the freakiest performances by a candidate in this year's draft. He might not get drafted high, but this put him on the map and will likely guarantee him a spot.
Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan -- Lewan had the best day of all the OL that performed in the drills. Greg Robinson established himself as the de-facto freak, but prior to the Combine, Lewan was losing ground to both Robinson and Matthews. His dominant performance not only in the 40-yard dash (where he posted the best time overall for all OL) but also in the kick slide and movement drills re-established himself as firmly in contention for the best tackle available in this year's draft.
Blake Bortles, QB Central Florida -- Bortles is the winner by default here simply because he was the one with enough stones to throw. He appeared confident in his media appearance, had nice touch on his throws, and showed off his arm strength. While he didn't blow anybody away with his 40-yard time, he looked to be in shape and didn't hurt himself. He has the inside track towards becoming a top three pick.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT Alabama -- Not only did Kouandijo have a horrid athletic performance at the Combine, with a slow 40-yard dash, poor footwork in the drills, and stiff hips, but he apparently also failed several medicals. He has arthritic knees and a failed ACL repair. That's bad news bears for a position that makes exclusive use of knee bending to maintain leverage. He's going to fall like a stone.
Anthony Johnson, DT LSU -- "Freak" Johnson did not really stand up to his nickname. Now, I don't really care about 40-yard times for defensive linemen, but I do want to see a respectable 10-yard split, especially if you are a 3 technique. Johnson's time was a 1.80, which is not ideal for a 300-pounder. You like to see explosion and power from that 1 gap penetrator and we didn't see that. He looked sluggish in drills as well. He went from being an in-season second round pick to possibly falling into the fourth or fifth rounds.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, -- TE Washington Among the bad injury news was that ASJ had a foot issue that would not only preclude him from working out at the combine, but also at possibly his pro day as well. Coming off a bad season production wise, Sefarian-Jenkins needed a strong workout to re-establish himself (from the preseason) as the top TE in the draft. He didn't do that and we're looking at him falling back down into Day 2, possibly even to the third round.
Victor Hampton, CB South Carolina -- Hampton is a good player. He's aggressive, physical, and has good awareness. He's just not that athletic. His official time was a 4.69 as a 5-foot-9, 195-pound corner, so he's undersized as well. As we all know, you can succeed as a slower corner, but it makes it much more difficult and you are guaranteed to fall. Hopefully he can pull his stock back up with a faster pro-day.
Dee Ford, DE/OLB Auburn -- Most of these fallers are due to medical issues uncovered at the Combine, because honestly, most of these players did pretty well in the drills. Ford is on here for this stupid sequence of events:
1) Call out Jadeveon Clowney and proclaim yourself better than him.
2) Jadeveon Clowney runs a 4.47 40-yard dash at 266 pounds.
3) You reveal you have a stress fracture in your foot and can't participate.