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2017 NFL Combine Results: Friday’s risers, fallers

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Who helped themselves, who hurt themselves among the offensive line and running back groups?

NCAA Football: Rice at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books.

With the New York Giants’ twin needs at offensive line and running back, this was an important day for them — and us on the outside.

The Combine is referred to as the biggest job interview of these young men’s lives. So, who aced it, who didn’t, and who might be a Giant come May?

Offensive Linemen

Big Winner - Ethan Cooper (IUP)

Cooper was not a well-known prospect coming in to the combine. Now, however, evaluators should know his name. He didn’t turn a good 40 time, and will be a guard in the NFL. That said, he moved very well for a big, wide, and squatty lineman. His feet looked very good and he looked like a natural knee bender.

There were better workouts.

But not many and none from a similarly unknown prospect, and that makes him today’s winner.

Risers

  • Garrett Bolles (Utah) - Bolles came into today as one of the top two offensive tackles and he backed it up on the field. Not only did he prove himself to be one of the top athletes, but he looked excellent in positional drills. Is he now beyond the Giants’ reach?
  • Dion Dawkins (Temple) - Dawkins moved very well in drills and looks like he could play either tackle or guard at the next level (though I think he could be a better guard than tackle). He worked out very well and was more athletic than anticipated. Combine that with his natural toughness
  • Julien Davenport (Bucknell) - Davenport will be a developmental prospect at the next level, but his physical tools will have coaches and scouts drooling. His size and length speak for themselves, and he showed solid footwork in drills. He is raw, but he has serious potential.
  • Forrest Lamp (Western Kentucky) - Lamp has had a great combine. Not only did his arms measure longer than at the Senior Bowl, but he showed strength and athleticism in the measurable events, but also looked excellent on the field. He solidified his stock as a top interior lineman and a first round pick.
  • Taylor Moton (Western Michigan) - Just like Dawkins, Moton had the opportunity to keep up momentum from a good Senior Bowl, and he did it. He has the versatility to play tackle or guard at the next level, and looked natural moving in space and mirroring “defenders.”

Fallers

  • Aviante Collins (TCU) - Collins set a high bar on the 40-yard dash, but his workout fell off sharply from there. When it came to the much more important positional drills, he did not look natural or smooth.
  • Zach Banner (USC) - Banner’s massive frame caught up with him when it came to positional drills. He looked neither natural nor smooth when asked to move, and appeared to tire quickly.
  • Roderick Johnson (FSU) - Johnson’s physical tools had scouts buzzing, but an illness denied him the chance to work out on the field.

Running Backs

Big Winner - Christian McCaffrey

There might be questions regarding McCaffrey’s size, but there can be no questions regarding his ability. McCaffrey was not only near the top of his position group in the measurable categories, but he made the position drills look easy. McCaffrey’s movement is simply effortless — he can change direction with ease at full speed — was a natural catcher of the ball, and ran precise routes. Every time McCaffrey performed a drill I came away saying “wow.” For a player who was somewhere between third or fourth at his position on many boards, McCaffrey had a great day.

McCaffrey also did drills after the position group as a slot receiver and a returner, showing off his versatility.

Risers

  • T.J. Logan (North Carolina) - Logan lived in the shadow of Elijah Hood at North Carolina but burst out of it today when he lead the entire position group in the 40-yard dash. He caught the ball well when it was thrown to him and moved well when cutting during drills.
  • Alvin Kamara (Tennessee) - The top three running backs performed well. McCaffrey was my big winner of the day, while Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette (poor vertical jumps be damned for both) had predictably strong performances as well. Kamara didn’t quite show the speed we all expected, but he played fast, caught the ball well, and looked like he belonged in the company of Fournette, Cook, and McCaffrey
  • Marlon Mack (South Florida) - Another lesser-known back, Mack did everything well. He turned a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, looked smooth and controlled in drills and caught the ball well in receiving drills.

Fallers

  • D’Onta Foreman (Texas) - Foreman started out well by weighing in at 233 pounds, but was held out of on-field workouts with a stress fracture in his foot. His workout, especially at that weight, was anticipated and it’s a disappointment to not see it. He now might even have injury questions.