Earlier this week I hit on five performances at the combine that impressed me — of course those weren’t the only good performances — they just were the prospects I was watching with interest for the Arizona Cardinals.
That means there has to be another side to the coin: who were the prospects that I was watching that may have disappointed? Disappointed may not be the right word though, it is more like, what five prospects left me with questions still unanswered?
Here are the five prospects that “disappointed” me at the NFL Combine.
Luke Joeckel, LT, Texas A&M – 6-6, 306 lbs
It’s not that Joeckel necessarily disappointed, but it more looked like a guy that wasn’t as interested in being at the combine as I would have wanted him to be.
Joeckel ran a slower than normal 40 for an elite left tackle prospect, and he is elite, and was pedestrian in the explosion drills.
He made up for it a little bit with an excellent three cone time, but outside of that, he didn’t show the elite athleticism that shows up week in and week out on film.
That’s why the combine can be a tricky situation. There are sites, multiple sites in fact, that are already knocking Joeckel down not only from the top overall prospect, but from the top left tackle prospect because of his not-so-impressive combine performance.
To put it in a better light, Joeckel’s overall performance was similar to that of Brandon Mosley, the fourth round pick of the Giants in 2012, and not that of recent top flight left tackles like Matt Kalil, Russell Okung and others.
That’s why it is important to take the combine with a grain of salt, but also to go back and see if the lack of explosion and lateral movement shows on the film.
Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky – 6-3, 332 lbs
Maybe my favorite prospect in the draft, someone I have been coveting to see in Cardinal red since October, Warford didn’t look like an explosive, powerful guard, but more that of a lumbering buffalo.
Warford showed a combination of power and short area quickness that is rare for a man of his size and girth on film, but at the combine he put up a modest 28 reps on the bench, and was SLOOOOOOOW in individual drills.
I have stayed awake many a night dreaming of a scenario that has Joeckel and Warford lined up on the left side of the Cardinals offensive line for the next decade, so take this “disappointment” from them with that knowledge.
Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M – 6-4, 250 lbs
Another Aggie makes the list, but this one I expected… almost.
I knew just by watching film that Moore wasn’t an explosive, up-the-field athlete that jarred defenders with power and then finessed his way to the quarterback.
That being said, even I expected to see some better numbers coming from one of the better sack men in college football.
His 40 time of 4.87 seconds was similar to that of Terrell Suggs in 2003, but he put up seven less reps on the bench than the former Sun Devil standout, only notching 12 reps of 225 pounds.
Moore is an interesting case where expectation meets reality, and then people start moving him down their boards.
I never saw Moore as an elite-level pass rusher but more as a consistent effort-type that will be in the league for a decade plus and get you 6-8 sacks a year.
Maybe Moore can prove me wrong like Suggs has done to so many critics.
Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State – 6-5, 310 lbs
While many believed Watson would blow up the combine, myself included, he came in and looked like just another guy.
Built like an NFL tackle, Menelik preceded not show the raw athleticism that everyone expected, and instead left team officials scratching their heads.
Guys like Ziggy Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, Lane Johnson and Terron Armstead can show that untapped athleticism that goes with their rough around the edges tape. But when Watson doesn’t blow anyone away in any drill (he literally ended up middle of the pack in every drill) it makes you wonder if he’s worth a risk early.
There was a growing buzz that Watson could end up as high as the 20th pick to the Chicago Bears, and he was definitely a guy that I had been going back to get film on as a potential second round tackle option. But does the combination of inexperienced technique on film and average athleticism make you salivate?
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah – 6-3, 311 lbs
Can not working out really hurt you that much? Just ask Mr. Lotulelei about that. The only reason Lotulelei makes this list is because I don’t have any idea what his future holds now.
He was a contender to be the first overall pick if and when his heart ailment checks out, but until that time, I can’t list him as anything but a guy that I would let go by, and I would not have said that pre-combine.
It probably wasn’t fair to have Lotulelei on my list, but the reality is he may fall down to the teens if there are still questions about his heart condition.
Even after all this talk of combine disappointment, I would still love to see any combination of four guys — Joeckel and Warford or Lotulelei and Menelik — end up in Cardinal red come draft day.