With the NFL Scouting Combine behind us, it’s time to talk about who shined and who disappointed.
While the combine is only a snippet of the entire draft process, it can be a valuable tool in figuring out if things that were present on tape — home run speed, short area explosiveness, fluid hips — actually exist.
With that in mind, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians are looking for long, linear athletes outside, and explosive, powerful, quick twitch athletes near the line of scrimmage. There were plenty of both in Indianapolis.
(Note: These are just prospects that could be in play with the Cardinals and or have local ties, there are many more names that deserved mention.)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State – We know Arians wants a deep threat and we know Keim has talked about finding a guy to take the top off a defense. What we didn’t know was just how explosive Cooks would measure in Indianapolis.
Cooks finished tops among wide receivers in the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle and 10th in the three cone drill.
He displayed the type of short area burst and long speed necessary to win at the NFL level.
The problem is he may have vaulted himself into the first round of the draft.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa – Fiedorowicz was looked at as a plodding, inline tight end by most, then the combine happened and his short area quickness came through. He finished first among tight ends in both the three cone and short shuttle while putting up 25 reps on the bench press.
Fiedorowicz seemed to be misused at Iowa, and he looks like he can be an athletic, Heath Miller-type in the NFL.
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State – His film showed him as an explosive, violent, hard-hitting safety that could cover at times. But his times showed that if asked, he has the athleticism and length the Cardinals covet in the safety position to be a weapon in the secondary.
Bucannon, was one of the most explosive athletes to test, finishing in the top five of all workouts, while also measuring in at 6-foot-1 with nice length in his arms at 32 2/8″, numbers that should intrigue the Cardinals.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan – While Lewan has long looked stiff in pass protection in college, he showed the fluid movement skills of a potential left tackle in the NFL.
The Chaparral High School product was excellent in drills, finishing in the top five in the 40, vertical jump, broad jump and three cone drill, showing off an explosiveness that was not always present on Saturdays while he was at Ann Arbor.
Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada – The ultimate winner at the combine, Bitonio showed up at 6-4, but measured in with the same arm length as Taylor Lewan and longer arms that Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews.
Bitonio is a pit bull on the field, and it showed up in his workouts as he showed to be the most athletic offensive lineman in Indy, finishing in the top five in every category but the bench.
Bitonio has a chance to be a dynamic NFL player because of his athleticism, but also his non-stop motor and nasty streak that will endear him to his coaches.
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State – Measured in at 6-feet, with shorter arms at 31 1/4″, then proceeded to plod through most of the workouts.
Sutton’s shine has really come off after returning to ASU for his senior season, but the tape still shows a relentless worker, with outstanding closing speed and extremely heavy hands.
The problem is he has to be able to win early and get his hands on guys, because he’s not nearly as explosive.
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona – There was always a concern about Carey’s slight build — he’s very thin in his lower body — but the whispers of Carey being a power back that’s not built like a power back are continuing to show as truth.
Carey ran a slow 4.7 40 and continued his bad workout without showing up in any of the “explosive” categories, finishing out of the top 10 in every one.
Carey’s running style — he flourishes between the tackles — and lack of ideal size, combined with his slower than expected times means his Pro Day will be important.
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville – While many were expecting an electric week from the Louisville safety, his place in the losers has nothing to do with his on the field performance.
Much has been made of Keim’s longing to find a safety with height, length and speed, and many saw Pryor as a potential fit in round one for that.
Listed at 6-2 at Louisville, Pryor measured in an amazing three inches shorter, coming in at 5-11.
There are whispers that the Cardinals would like to find a safety that’s at least 6-1, and after Pryor’s measurements, that’s one more off the list.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama – Much has been speculated this offseason of whether or not the Cardinals would have interest in the Crimson Tide tackle, but after failing multiple teams physical evaluations with an arthritic knee, he may be off their board altogether.
Writing negative things about prospects is never fun, but these are some things that stuck out, leaving lingering questions going forward.