The NFL Combine is the ultimate platform for college athletes to showcase their talents, hustle and attitudes one final time in front of the league before the NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins, as we know, face glaring holes on their offensive line, and will undoubtedly use both FA and the draft to fill these holes. As yesterday was the day for offensive linemen, here is a list of results and my thoughts for the “top” of the pack.
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Robinson’s combine performance put him into the mix as the best prospect overall in the entire draft. The 330 pound big man ran a 4.92 40-yard dash, benched 32 reps, recorded a 28.5 inch vertical jump and a 113 inch broad jump. In other words, he completed the combine like a linebacker would, not an offensive linemen. This kid is going to be worth using a top 5 pick, and I would not be surprised to see a team (hopefully not the Miami Dolphins) trade up for him.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews was also a guy who surprised a lot of scouts in a good way with his performance. Once dubbed a poor athlete by media, Matthews proved that false by running a 5.07 40-yard dash and benching 24 reps. The big guy was also a top performer in the vertical jump category with a 30.5 inch showing. He also led his peers on the 3 cone drill and ran a 4.47 on the 20 yard shuttle. Matthews solidified his already booming stock, and should go as expected in the Top 10.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Attention Dolphins fans, if this kid falls to 19th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, he will be a Miami Dolphin! At 6 foot 7, 309 pounds, I am not sure if anyone saw Lewan running at the top of his class in the 40 yard dash with a time of 4.87 seconds. Add on top of that 29 reps, and a top 3 performance in the vert jump (30.5 in), the broad jump (117 in) and the 3 cone drill (7.39) and you could say that Lewan blew the combine out of the water. He will be a dominating tackle in this league.
Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: This guy has been linked to the Miami Dolphins at the number 19th overall pick for some time now. However, after his combine results (and for some time before), I have not been sold on this kid. Martin did not run the 40 yard dash, benched 29 reps, had a vert jump of 29 inches, a broad jump of 106 inches, a 3 cone drill of 7.65 seconds and a 20 yard shuttle run of 4.59 seconds. In the events he participated in, Martin was not a top three performer in any of them. I do not know if he was sick or what, but I think Miami should consider their options carefully before going after Martin.
The combine in reality is just one of the measures of future NFL players. Is it important? Yes. Is it everything? No. One thing I look for in a player is how they handle themselves on and off the field, and if they grow from one season to the next. Two things you won’t find at the NFL Combine. That being said, the combine is a great way to either increase or decrease your stock in front of coaches. I hope that GM Dennis Hickey and HC Joe Philbin are keeping their eyes open for proven players who can come in and do what the Dolphins need them to do.