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NFL Combine Offense: WR/RB

Solid days for Longhorns Quan Cosby and Chris Ogbonnaya.

Combine WR

A fast group overall - 20 guys were sub-4.5 40 and Quan Cosby (4.48) was one of them. Are guys getting faster? No. They're better trained and better prepared coming in. Spend six weeks training pre-combine with Michael Johnson learning technique and running theory and you'll shave a lot of time. Many of these times won't translate to a football field when a corner jams them off of the line or, God forbid, they're forced to run wearing shoulder pads and run under enough control to catch a football.

That written, Quan's run is a very good thing for him and it was in line with what he had predicted going in. That he did it at 196 was really good. Obviously, his game speed isn't comparable to some of the guys he tested similarly to, but Quan now has a pitch that works as a 26 year old: a gutty chain mover do-everything guy wih quick schematic uptake who does all of the dirty work and can do damage in the slot. Wayne Chrebet Part II. If he can give you five good years, he's a great investment.

You've been Quanned

I also suspect that Quan's body composition, choppy steps, and toughmindedness makes him a quality bad weather player even if he never had a chance to prove it in Texas. Don't discount that. Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago need to know that you can play in awful conditions. A lot of "better" WRs will fold in those environments. Patrick Turner probably wouldn't leave the locker room.

Obviously, Darius Heyward-Bey awed the combine with a 4.3 40 at 6-1 210, but it's worth noting that some of the greatest WR times in combine history were turned in by NFL non-entities. Hayward-Bey is a track guy and his mediocre production, aversion to blocking, and inconsistent route-running are testament to that fact. He seems a sure 1st rounder, but I'd be very cautious and kick those tires several times.

I won't bore you with numbers as there were several great physical performances that you can read for yourself and draw out for discussion, but Brian Robiskie impressed me again after seeing him first hand in the Fiesta Bowl. He's a big guy with great hands and the polish you'd expect from a NFL coach's son. He also runs a 4.5 40 in pads as well as shorts. I think he's a good 2nd round value and a much better football player than several guys that tested better than he did. Kenny Britt from Rutgers is a similar kind of dude.

Ole Miss WR Mike Wallace is an intriguing physical specimen, but he showed me bad hands and a pretty rudimentary knowledge of the position in drills. He'd be an interesting project, but buyer beware.

Percy Harvin didn't blow away the 40, but I didn't think he would. His game is about quickness, which is spoken of interchangeably with speed, but ain't the same. His refusal to run the route tree was revealing. Combine that with his fragility and you'll have some NFL GMs talk themselves out of a potentially special player because he doesn't fit perfectly into the NFL cookie cutter. If he can get with a NFL coach who will think outside of the box, I like his chances. In a traditional NFL offense, he may disappoint.

Crabtree will run at his pro day.

Maclin did fine. He's fast in pads and at 6' 200, he's plenty big for the league.

Combine RB

A freak athlete like Titan Chris Johnson was nowhere to be found in this group.

The incredible shrinking man

Chris O shrank three inches during his college career (5-11.5 220), but his ability to run a somewhat respectable 40 (4.61) was important for his chances. I was concerned he'd drop a 4.75, frankly. He's a tweener - not a game-breaker 3rd down back, not durable or talented enough to carry an every down load, but his hands and willingness to block are attractive. This is a commodity position and he'll need to sell some value-added if he wants his name called on draft day.

Beanie Wells didn't run a great 40, but that's a distraction. He's a pure runner, looked great physically, and he runs with a lot of agility for a big man. His primary problem is legitimate injury history and false injury history. He's a frontrunner that will fake injuries when the tide of a game is going against him. He's often compared to Jamal Lewis and that may be an apt comparison on a number of levels, good and bad. That would concern me as a GM. Iowa's Shonn Greene may be the safer play and he'll be available later in the draft.

Knowshon Moreno is, by contrast, a consistent warrior. He's also a much better runner than his numbers suggest - he's Walter Payton-like in his ability to make aggressive slashing cuts and punish bigger men at a run's conclusion. I also like his hands. His pedestrian 4.6 may raise eyebrows, but I like his long term future as a durable NFL runner.

I'd avoid Mike Goodson like the plague and his presence on several top 5 RB lists proves that the experts aren't doing their homework. He's a human cancer and the kind of player who is just good enough to get your ass fired.

Northwestern's Tyrell Sutton floundered. 5-8, 211 4.66 40. Injury history. Buh-bye.

Wildcard: keep your eye on Andre Brown from NC State. He had an injury plagued college career, but his physical numbers are spectacular, he's a solid kid, and he has a good skill set. He may be worth a late draft flyer.