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Six Ducks ready to hit field at combine

Feb 20, 2014

by Rob Moseley

The NFL Scouting Combine has begun in Indianapolis, with six former Oregon players scheduled to participate in the weeklong event that sets the stage for the draft (May 8-10).

Each participant will be on site for four days, beginning with his arrival date. Day two is highlighted by medical testing and measurements, day three features a psych evaluation and the bench press test, and there are interviews scheduled throughout the first three days. The fourth and final day is the marquee element of the combine, when a guy takes the field for football drills and agility testing.

The bench press is measured by the number of reps of 225 pounds a player completes. The speed and agility drills include the 40-yard dash, a vertical jump, a broad jump, a three-cone drill and shuttle runs.

Here are capsule looks at the Ducks in attendance, in the order they were scheduled to report.

COLT LYERLA, tight end

Scheduled to report: Wednesday
On the field: Saturday

At Oregon: A former five-star in-state recruit, Lyerla made 12 career starts before leaving the team midway through his junior year last fall. He finished with 34 receptions for 565 yards and 11 touchdowns, and ran 16 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Lyerla was an honorable mention all-Pac-12 player in 2012 and seemed primed for a breakout junior season, but it never got on track.

What scouts want to see: There’s never been any doubting Lyerla’s athletic gifts, and that’s no different now; analyst Mike Mayock labeled him a potential first-round talent this week. But Lyerla’s off-field conduct after leaving the program was a red flag, and his performance in interviews and medical testing will be more important than anything else at the combine.

From his scouting report: “Would benefit tremendously from a coach willing to serve as a strong father figure.”

JOSH HUFF, wide receiver

Scheduled to report: Thursday
On the field: Sunday

At Oregon: After two injury ravaged seasons, broke out with 62 catches for a school-record 1,140 yards and a record-tying 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2013. The former high school quarterback played an all-purpose role as a true freshman in 2010 but was never 100 percent as a sophomore or junior. Put all that behind him last fall, culminating in the game-winning Civil War touchdown catch and another TD in the Alamo Bowl.

What scouts want to see: Huff’s 40 time could be key, as his scouting report suggests that he “lacks elite explosion and top speed to pull away vertically.” He’s a tenacious blocker, and a big number in the bench press could prove he’s got the power to push NFL safeties and outside linebackers. No doubt he’ll also be asked about his emotional reaction on the Stanford sideline during last season’s loss.

From his scouting report: “Can work at flanker or slot and has potential to become a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in a system incorporating spread concepts.”

DE’ANTHONY THOMAS, running back

Scheduled to report: Thursday
On the field: Sunday

At Oregon: Simply one of the most explosive, dynamic players in school history, illustrated by his two touchdowns on two rushes in the 2012 Rose Bowl, and kickoff return to open the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. “DAT” was at his best in those seasons playing an all-purpose role. He became the primary running back in the fall of 2013 but suffered an ankle injury on special teams when conference play began and never really got his season back on track, but for a big day in the loss at Arizona.

What scouts want to see: Is Thomas the fastest guy at this year’s combine? He might be, if he can outrun the likes of Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and Kent State running back Dri Archer, according to But anybody thinking of drafting Thomas may do so regardless of what happens this week. “You’ve got to have a plan in place for how you use him,” Mayock said. “… How do we manufacture those eight to 10 touches a game so he can make those plays for us that he did at Oregon?”

From his scouting report: “Diminutive stature will decrease the odds he'll be able to stay healthy in the pros, and his commitment to the game will dictate his future success. Rare speed creates a higher commodity on Draft Day.”

TAYLOR HART, defensive line

Scheduled to report: Friday
On the field: Monday

At Oregon: Developed from under-the-radar in-state prospect to a second-team all-Pac-12 player as a senior in 2013, thanks in large part to his tireless work ethic and relentless motor. Led the team with eight sacks as a junior in 2012, despite – yet also aided by, in some cases – the presence of 2013 No. 3 overall draft pick Dion Jordan. Started 38 games over the last three seasons.

What scouts want to see: Hart is tall and long, which is an asset, but his performance in the bench press Sunday can prove to NFL personnel he’s strong enough to move pro offensive linemen. The three-cone and shuttle-run drills give Hart a chance to prove he’s a better athlete than his reputation suggests.

From his scouting report: “Has the makeup to surprise if he learns to play with power.”

BOSEKO LOKOMBO, outside linebacker

Scheduled to report: Friday
On the field: Monday

At Oregon: A big-time special teams player and reserve defender his first two seasons, Lokombo took over as a starter in 2012 and 2013. He finished with 63 tackles as a senior, with three sacks, one interception and a team-high seven quarterback hurries.

What scouts want to see: The football drills on the field Monday might be paramount for Lokombo. He’s a freak athlete, so he figures to test well in the timing drills. But the native of Canada is still relatively raw as a football player, compared with other linebackers at the combine. He can show this week he’s got the instincts and football savvy to make an impact in the NFL.

From his scouting report: “A run-and-chase, strong-side linebacker with speed that could easily be utilized on the weak side or allow him to develop as a nickel-cover linebacker.”


Scheduled to report: Saturday
On the field: Tuesday

At Oregon: A three-year starter and 2012 Pac-12 honorable mention all-conference selection. Mitchell led the Ducks with five interceptions as a junior in 2013, before entering the draft with a season of eligibility remaining. He brought swagger and toughness to the UO secondary.

What scouts want to see: Is Mitchell more than just a solid, experienced college player? He had little left to prove at Oregon, but now has a ton to prove to NFL personnel. His scouting report suggests the league believes he got by on savvy and guile in college, a notion he can shatter in Indianapolis.

From his scouting report: “Could compete for a job as a No. 4, but lack of ideal explosiveness, top-end speed and bump-and-run ability limits his ceiling.”