Predicting Texas A&M Players' NFL Combine Performance

Michael TaglientiFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

Predicting Texas A&M Players' NFL Combine Performance

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    Luke Joeckel performs at 2013 NFL Combine
    Luke Joeckel performs at 2013 NFL CombineJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    On February 19, a group of invited NFL prospects will descend on Indianapolis to participate in the 2014 NFL combine. Three Texas A&M players will attend the combine in an attempt to increase their draft stock. 

    The Texas A&M football team has produced a top 10 pick in the NFL draft for three years straight. They are going to try to make it four years in a row with quarterback Johnny Manziel and offensive tackle Jake Matthews, both projected to go in the top 10 in 2014. 

    Aggies wide receiver Mike Evans will join Manziel and Matthews in Indianapolis at the combine. The three players were the only three from A&M invited to the combine. 

    The rest of the seniors who want to earn a shot at the NFL will get a chance to perform in front of the NFL scouts at A&M's pro day on March 5. That event will allow Aggies football players, like running back Ben Malena and wide receivers Derel Walker and Travis Labhart, the opportunity to impress NFL personnel. 

    This is a look at what kind of performance fans should expect from the three Aggies participating in the NFL combine. 

     

QB Johnny Manziel

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The most dynamic, and possibly most controversial, participant in the 2014 NFL combine will have limited participation in the combine. Texas A&M's former quarterback Johnny Manziel will not throw at the combine.

    Instead, he will throw at his individual pro day on March 27. It remains to be seen what tests and drills Manziel will participate in when he travels to Indianapolis.

    Manziel will interview with teams, take the Wonderlic test and participate in all of the off the field testing. There is no official word on whether he will test on the field.

    One of the biggest questions for Manziel will be answered when they measure his height. He is listed as 6'1" tall by A&M, but many people believe he is shorter than that.   

    If Manziel measures at 6'0" or above, it is a major plus for him. If he measures at shorter than 5'11", then it could hurt him in the draft. 

    Since he is a quarterback, it is unlikely that Manziel will participate in the bench press at the combine or his individual workout. Fans should expect Manziel to run the 40 in right around 4.50 seconds. He will turn in a vertical of 37 inches. 

    Do not be surprised if Manziel's 20-yard shuttle time is around 3.95 seconds. He is one of the quickest players in space in recent memory in college football. Expect Manziel to impress the scouts and coaches during the interviews with his knowledge of the game and his competitiveness. 

OT Jake Matthews

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    Aggie OT Jake Matthews signs autographs
    Aggie OT Jake Matthews signs autographsPhelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Jake Matthews is one of the top-ranked left tackle prospects in the 2014 NFL draft. He is projected to be selected in the top 10, which would give the Aggies top 10 picks from the offensive line in successive drafts. 

    Matthews probably has the best genetics of any athlete in the draft. His father Bruce Matthews is enshrined in Canton, and his brother Kevin Matthews played in the NFL. 

    He has two cousins, Clay and Casey, who are currently playing in the NFL. Matthews will be carrying on a family tradition when he is drafted.

    Matthews is an excellent athlete for his size. Expect him to be among the top performers among the offensive linemen in the 40 yard dash. Matthews will turn in a time close to a 5.10.

    He will do 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, and his vertical will be 29 inches. Expect Matthews to turn in a broad jump of nine feet and to run a 4.6 in the shuttle.  

WR Mike Evans

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The big question for Aggies wide receiver Mike Evans heading into the combine is his speed. He can make himself a lot of money if he turns in a fast 40 time. 

    Right now he is projected to be selected somewhere between picks No. 12 and No. 20 in the first round. If Evans run a great 40 time in Indianapolis, he could push himself into the top 10. 

    Evans has tremendous strength, but a hamstring injury in 2012 limited his speed. He showed he was a true breakaway threat in 2013 with big games against Alabama and Auburn. 

    If Evans runs a 4.5 in the 40, then he will solidify his place as a top 20 selection. If he runs below a 4.5, then he may push himself into the top 10. If Evans runs in the 4.6s then he could drop to the end of the first round. 

    Expect Evans to run in the low 4.5s and to be among the leaders at bench press with 20 reps of 225. Do not be surprised if Evans has a vertical above 35 inches. He will impress the scouts during the drills with his sure hands. 

     

Aggies at the A&M Pro Day

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    There are multiple Aggies who were not invited to the NFL combine but who will work out in front of the scouts on March 5 at the Texas A&M pro day. This event allows Aggies football players to test and do drills in front of NFL scouts and personnel in College Station, Texas.

    The three players who have the best chance of making an NFL roster are running back Ben Malena and wide receivers Derel Walker and Travis Labhart.

    Expect Malena to turn in a 40 time of 4.50 seconds with a vertical leap of 36 inches. He is an explosive athlete, so his results in the shuttle and broad jump should be very solid.

    Walker will turn in a solid 40 time of around 4.5 seconds. He will stand out to the scouts with a vertical leap of around 38 inches.

    Labhart has good speed in small spaces. Expect him to run the 40 in 4.6 seconds and to run the shuttle in under 4.1 seconds.