The 2014 NFL Combine has come to a close and like always, things have become interesting for several former Alabama stars.
Cornerback Deion Belue decided against doing workouts, and will work out at Alabama’s Pro Day on March 12th in Tuscaloosa. Belue is projected right now as a 4th to 5th round pick by CBS Sports, and ESPN has him ranked as the 39th cornerback in the draft.
Linebacker CJ Mosley came into the draft as one of the top defensive prospects in the entire draft and he continued to show off his athleticism by being a top performer in the both the broad and vertical jumps. He didn’t run the 40-yard dash but showed what he could do with his feet in the position drills. CBS Sports has him projected as 1st round pick, and he is the first ranked inside linebacker by ESPN.
Free safety HaHa Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor were considered the country’s best safety prospects coming into the combine, and coming out of the combine most feel that is still the case. Dix and Pryor posted identical 40-yard dash times, both clocking in at an impressive 4.58 seconds. Dix also impressed in the position drills and he was the top performer in the three-cone drill among safeties and the 60-yard shuttle. CBS Sports has Dix rated as a mid 1st round pick and ESPN has him ranked as the No. 1 safety in the draft.
Dix’s fellow safety Vinnie Sunseri did not participate in on-field drills due to him still recovering from ACL surgery in 2013, but he plans on participating in Alabama’s second Pro Day in April. Sunseri was a top performer in the bench press and CBS Sports has him projected as a 5th round pick while ESPN ranks him as the 9th best safety in the draft.
Linebacker Adrian Hubbard came into the Combine with more to prove with his interviews and personal conversations with teams than anything on the field, after reports criticizing his personality began to come out. We won’t know how those interviews went for some time, but on the field Hubbard was impressive as expected. He didn’t work out in some of the drills, he will do those at Alabama’s Pro Day, but he did show just how fast he was in the 40-yard dash running a 4.69. He was also a top performer in the vertical jump showing off his impressive athleticism. Reports have suggested the Philadelphia Eagles are very interested in the hybrid linebacker/defensive end. CBS Sports has him projected as a fourth round pick currently, while ESPN ranks him as the 8th best outside linebacker in the draft.
Defensive end Ed Stinson did not work out due to a groin injury that also forced him out of the Senior Bowl earlier this year. He hopes to work out at one of Alabama’s Pro Days before the draft. Currently CBS Sports projects him as a fifth round pick and ESPN has him as the fifteenth ranked defensive end.
Fellow defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan was also slowed by some injuries, though he did work out in some position drills. CBS Sports has him projected as a seventh round pick while ESPN has him ranked above Stinson as the eighth ranked defensive end in the draft.
Quarterback AJ McCarron came into the NFL Combine feeling “disrespected” and though he had a lousy 40-yard dash he impressed everyone with his passing. He was described by the NFL Network as “making it look easy” going through his passing drills. CBS Sports currently has him projected as a third round pick and ESPN has him ranked as the fourth QB in the draft.
Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio came into the combine as one of the top tackle prospects but had a very, very rough weekend that has put his once promising future in doubt. He ran a 5.59 in the 40-yard dash, the worst among all offensive linemen, and was only able to pull off 21 reps of 225 lbs. in the bench press, second worst among offensive linemen. That bench press was especially disappointing for the tackle that has grew a reputation as being extremely powerful. Kouandjio even left the combine early as concerns about his knee, which he had surgery on as a freshman, began to pop up questioning his longevity in the NFL. One Buffalo Bills scout was also quoted as saying that Kouandjio could “kiss the first round goodbye” and that Kouandjio was “sluggish, slow, and totally unprepared.” CBS Sports still has him projected as a first round pick and ESPN has him as the fifth ranked tackle in the draft.
As disappointing as Kouandjio’s combine weekend was, Kevin Norwood’s was much more promising. Norwood shocked most by posting a sub 4.5 40-yard dash and he was a top performer in the 60-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill. Norwood turned heads with his speed and it could very well move him up some draft boards. He is currently projected as a sixth round pick by CBS Sports and nineteenth ranked wide receiver by ESPN.
Offensive guard Anthony Steen wasn’t able to do much at the combine due to the shoulder surgery he had at the end of the season. He’s currently projected as a third or fourth round pick by CBS Sports and is the ninth ranked guard in the draft by ESPN.
Rounding out Alabama’s group of players at the combine was punter Cody Mandell who was one of just 10 special teams players invited to the combine. He actually ran the second best 40-yard dash time among the special teams players, at 4.78 seconds. He was as impressive during position drills as he was all year in 2013 and he is currently projected as a seventh round pick by CBS Sports and the fourth ranked punter by ESPN.
Alabama’s first Pro Day is March 12th and the NFL Draft is May 8th.