2015 NFL Combine Day 1: Workouts begin in Indy
It's February in Indianapolis and that means two things: It's cold and the NFL Scouting Combine has come to town.
More than 300 of college football's best draft-eligible prospects, including 44 Pac-12 football alums, have gathered in Indy to workout and interview with coaches and executives of all 32 NFL teams. Friday marked the first day of workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium for offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists, while defensive linemen and linebackers also met the media for a round of interviews.
Oregon's offensive line was a strength of the team during the run to the College Football Playoff National Championship. Just ask Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and that potent offense.
On Friday, tackle Jake Fisher stole the show with an impressive workout that featured a 5.01-second mark in the 40-yard dash. Considering he checked in at 6-foot-6, 306 pounds, it was quite the feat. Aaron J. Fentress of Comcast SportsNet detailed Fisher's productive day, which also resulted in the top times in the three-cone drill (7.25 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.33 seconds). Fisher's college teammate, center Hroniss Grasu, measured at 6-foot-3, 297 pounds and held interviews, but elected to sit out the physical portion of the combine.
Stanford star tackle Andrus Peat is expected to be the first Pac-12 offensive lineman taken off the board in this year's draft. Though he didn't take part in the bench press part of Friday's workout, Peat showed good speed and explosiveness with solid marks in the 40-yard dash (5.18 seconds) and the vertical leap (31 inches).
Longtime reporter Gil Brandt of NFL.com tweeted, "I'm not sure I've ever seen a player built so thick in the legs as Stanford OT Andrus Peat. And moves well."
Randall Telfer might have flown under the radar during his four-year career as a tight end with the Trojans, but he still earned an invite to this year's combine.
Though he was in Indianapolis and measured in at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Telfer only participated in the bench press (20 reps) part of the workout. It's unclear if Telfer is still feeling the effects of a foot injury that held him out of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in January.
"Combine in the books," Telfer tweeted on Friday. "Wish I could have been out there with my TEs."
Guard/tackle Jeremiah Poutasi served as Utah's only former player to go through workouts on Friday, and the big fella earned some praise along the way. NFL Networks analyst Mike Mayock gave Poutasi a favorable comparison to 49ers guard Mike Iupati, who has made the past three Pro Bowls. The 6-foot-6, 330-pound Poutasi ran the 40-yard dash in 5.32 seconds while putting up 26 reps on the bench press.
Jamil Douglas is a popular man at the combine. According to NFL.com, the former Sun Devil tackle has sat down with at least eight different teams at the combine, including the defending champion New England Patriots.
Though he was a stalwart bookend on ASU's line for the last couple of seasons, Douglas is projected to be a guard at the NFL level. Douglas posted a 5.25-second mark in the 40-yard dash after measuring in at 6-foot-4, 304 pounds. His combination of size, strength and agility makes him an intriguing NFL prospect.
Could Eric and Mychal Kendricks reunite in the city of brotherly love? Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com reported that the Eagles are scheduled to interview Eric Kendricks, who won the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker last year for the Bruins. Mychal Kendricks is also a Pac-12 alum, as he starred at Cal before getting drafted by the Eagles in 2012.
Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa and nose tackle Ellis McCarthy also met with the media on Friday, but the Bruins had no linemen or tight ends participate in the on-field workout.
While former Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion met with teams behind closed doors, defensive end Obum Gwacham addressed the media and took his measurements. Gwacham, who is projected to be a late-round draft pick, is listed at 6-foot-5, 246 pounds and is expected to post impressive numbers during his workout on Sunday. According to Josh Norris of NBC Sports, Gwacham's physical tools should open the eyes of NFL teams at the combine.
Playing in Pullman for a team that's known for its high-octane offense, Xavier Cooper's career might have gone unnoticed. But now he's got the attention of the NFL at the combine. Cooper's journey from soccer player to defensive lineman was featured by Tony Drovetto of Seahawks.com.
"I sat down with my family, my mom and dad and I also talked to my coaches and I felt like I was physically and mentally ready to chase my dream," Cooper told Drovetto. "Now I'm here and I'm just blessed to have the opportunity to showcase my ability."
No Huskies alumni took part in the drills on Friday, but defensive linemen Hau'oli Kikaha and Danny Shelton met the media. Gregg Bell of The News Tribune chronicled the unique paths that both Kikaha and Shelton have taken from childhood to the doorstep of the NFL.