Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
At 6’5″ and 306LBs, Terron Armstead is the ideal size for the modern NFL tackle. He’s big, strong, and as evident at the combine, fast.
Coming from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), Armstead hadn’t really made a name for himself in the national sphere. However, he did get called up to the Senior Bowl as an injury replacement for Tennessee’s Dallas Thomas.
Things changed for Armstead at the combine. Jaws dropped at his 4.71 40 yard dash. Linemen aren’t supposed to run that fast–especially 306LB linemen. His time was better than Manti Te’o's 4.82 and many other players in the spotlight. During linemen drills, Armstead impressed scouts with his quick footwork, proving that he is a true athlete. However, he’ll need to continue to improve upon his lower body strength to take on an NFL-style bull rush. We’ll see how he does at his pro day on March 4th.
Armstead’s performance got him trending on Twitter and made him the talk of combine week. Scouts think they’ve found something special, so don’t be surprised if he’s taken mid-2nd round.
Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Lane Johnson is an all-around athlete. Originally a high school QB, Johnson played TE in junior college before switching to right tackle. Finally, in his senior year at OK, coaches moved him to left tackle where he protected QB Landry Jones and later dominated in the Senior Bowl.
At the combine, Johnson proved just how athletic he is with a 4.72 40 yard dash time, a mere .01 second slower than top O-Line performer, Terron Armstead. Johnson’s time was better than many tight ends, and such burst will give teams a huge advantage in the run game. He bested all offensive linemen in broad jump by 2 inches.
The only possible knock against Johnson is his little experience at left tackle. However, I say he’s already more than proven his worth and abilities at the position. NFL coaches can teach him to master the fundamentals, but it is rare to find such raw athleticism. He proved Saturday that he deserves to go within the Top-15, possibly Top-10.
Kenny Vaccaro, FS, Texas
Born: Brownwood, Texas Years in College: 3
INTs: 5 Forced Fumbles: 4
Tackles: 231 Sacks: 2.0
Overview: Vaccaro’s 6’1″ height is the ideal for modern NFL safeties. He’s able to cover the slot exceptionally well and has a good combination of speed and strength. He has a very aggressive mentality which will lead to many pass deflections and interceptions, but has hurt him when trying to make open-field tackles. He needs to work on wrapping up the ballcarrier rather than going for the big hit.
- 40 Yard Dash:4.63 seconds
- Bench Press: 15 Reps
- Vertical Jump: 38.0 inches
- Broad Jump: 121.0 inches
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.78 seconds
- 20 yard shuttle: 4.06 seconds
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: CBS Sports 14/1
Projected Team and Round: Vaccaro is a definite first rounder, but for now I see him going in the middle of the round. He did well at the combine, showing incredible quickness and a ball-hawking mentality. He may struggle with more physical receivers, but his size will help. Many teams around the league need a leader like Vaccaro, so he could go within the Top-10, but I think he’ll likely go either #16 to the St. Louis Rams or #17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
DeMarcus “Dee” Milliner, CB, Alabama
Born: 9/14/1991 Millbrook, Alabama Years in College: 3
INTs: 6 Fumble Recoveries: 1
Tackles: 136 Sacks: 1.5
Overview: Milliner’s size and ball-hawk mentality are ideal for today’s NFL scouts. Milliner shone in the giant talent “Tide”-pool that was the SEC this year, with a conference-high 22 passes defensed. Some scouts worry of Milliner’s limited starting experience. This past season was his first as a starter in every contest, but he did see action in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2010, and in all 13 games in his sophomore year. Given the Crimson Tide’s recent dominance in the cornerback position, it is understandable why Milliner did not step up to the full starting role until 2012.
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.31 seconds
- Vertical Jump: 36.0 inches
- Broad Jump: 122.0 inches
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.32 seconds
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: CBS Sports 5/1
Projected Team and Round: Although a sure first-rounder, where in the round Milliner will go remains a debate as April approaches. Some say he’ll be gone within the Top-5, even as early as number three to the Oakland Raiders. The 30th ranked Raider defense could certainly use a talent like Milliner’s in the backfield, although they’ll most likely be looking to replace free agent DE Matt Shaughnessy. I’d be shocked if he fell out of the Top-10, the Tennessee Titans need help in their backfield and if Milliner is still there by the time their #10 pick is on the clock, they’ll take him.
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Born: 5/25/1990 Memphis, Tennessee Years in College: 4
Height: 6’5″ Weight: 311lbs
Overview: By far the most versatile lineman in this year’s draft class, Jones has started 3 BCS Championship Games at 3 different positions on the line. He’s most ready to be an NFL Center, where he played his final season at Alabama. He absolutely dominated Notre Dame Nose Tackle Louis Nix III in the 2013 championship. He may not be the flashiest of athletes with raw talent, but his mastery of the fundamentals and intelligence make him a safe pick.
Combine Results: Jones did not participate in the combine. He played in the BCS National Championship game with slightly torn foot ligaments, and was unable to fully heal them before the combine.
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: Walter Football 31/1
Projected Team and Round: Jones will likely be a late second or very early third round pick. He could go #60 to the Atlanta Falcons because they need to eventually replace Todd McClure, but their second round pick will likely be spent on an OG. Jones’ stock has certainly fallen as a result of his no-show at the combine. We’ll see if he can perform at his pro day.
Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Born: 9/14/1991 Atlanta, Georgia Years in College: 4
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 320lbs
Overview: Alabama’s frontmen dominated virtually every defensive line they faced in 2012. Warmack was a major part of the equation due to his footwork and strength. He moves surprisingly well downfield to take on blocking linebackers. Although shorter than the ideal, Warmack is the most NFL-ready guard prospect in the draft. His performance at the BCS Championship Game against Notre Dame proved this, helping the Crimson Tide offense roll over the hyped Irish defense. His rather un impressive 40 yard dash time is uncharacteristic, and could indicate a lack of preparation.
- 40 Yard Dash: 5.49 seconds
- Broad Jump: 110.0 inches
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: CBS Sports 3/1 Walter Football 9/1
Projected Team and Round: He didn’t have a particularly impressive showing at the combine, but scouts have seen Warmack where it really counts–on the field. Great tackles typically fall to the later first round, but Warmack’s experience–having played in 5 games as a true freshman and starting every game for the next 3 seasons–makes him special. He won’t fall past the Rams at #16, but don’t be surprised if the Arizona Cardinals take him #7. The Cardinals need a reliable guy up front, and Warmack is the epitome of reliable.
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Born: 11/6/1991 Arlington, Texas Years in College: 3
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 310lbs
Overview: Joeckel has an incredible work ethic and experience, earning the starting LOT job as a true Freshman. He has near perfect fundamentals and is very disciplined. His athleticism has peaked the interests of scouts as the combination of a relatively lean, muscular, build and quick feet. Much of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manzeil’s success can be attributed to Joeckel’s superb blocking.
- 40 Yard Dash: 5.30 seconds
- Bench Press: 27 reps
- Vertical Jump: 28.5 inches
- Broad Jump: 106.0 inches
- 3 Cone Drill: 7.4 seconds
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.68 seconds
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: Draftteck 1/1 CBS Sports 1/1
Projected Team and Round: With the combine still to come, it remains unclear what the Kansas City Chiefs are going to do with their number one pick. Joeckel is a sure Top-5 selection, but the question remains if KC will take him at number one. They need the help in pass protection, giving up 40 sacks in 2012. Their recent acquisition of former 49ers QB Alex Smith indicates that they’re focused on putting points on the board. I’d be surprised if they didn’t take Joeckel at this point. Smith will need a pass protector he can rely on f he’s going to resurrect the Chiefs’ offense. Unless KC wants to vastly improve their defensive line, I say Joeckel will be the first pick. If he falls, the Philadelphia Eagles will take him #4 overall.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
Born: 1990 Geismar, Louisiana Years in College: 3
Rushing TD: 30 Rushing Yards: 2402
Receiving TD: 2 Receiving Yards: 338
Overview: Many are undecided on the top RB in this year’s draft, but despite suffering injuries in 2012, I think Lacy’s hard work and dedication makes him the top RB prospect. Giovanni Bernard, RB out of North Carolina has less experience, and certainly less strength. Lacy’s 220lb build gives him a great advantage for those teams in need of a thunderous back to pound the ball up the middle and break tackles. He shined brightest on the biggest stage with 140 rushing yards and a TD, earning him MVP honors. A true workhorse, he has the potential to be a solid starter in the NFL and could rise to be a Frank Gore-type.
Combine Results: After a slight tear in his hamstring, Lacy did not participate in combine drills.
Draft Rankings Overall/Position: CBS Sports 36/1 Drafttek 48/2
Projected Team and Round: With his absence at the combine, Lacy will need an impressive pro-day performance to claim his rightful spot as the top RB in the draft. With a stellar performance, he could break into the Top 32 with the Denver Broncos at #28. Peyton Manning needs a reliable RB to hand the ball off to every once in a while, and Knowshon Moreno just cannot stay healthy. If he falls to the 2nd Round, I can’t imagine him going later than #46. The St. Louis Rams will need to replace Steven Jackson eventually, and drafting Lacy would allow the great Jackson to mentor him.