Auburn Football: Complete NFL Combine Grades and Analysis for Former Tigers
Auburn sent five players to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., but minor injuries made the extended weekend a less exciting affair than it might have been.
Defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Chris Davis were both advised not to participate in drills at Lucas Oil Stadium, leaving the heavy lifting of the event to Heisman finalist Tre Mason and potential (if not probable) top-five draft pick Greg Robinson.
In some ways, this is a good thing. At least for Auburn fans. It's better that nagging injuries show up in the offseason than the real season, right?
Even if they couldn't perform at the combine, Ford and Davis both already had great weeks at the Senior Bowl and should be good to go for Auburn's pro day. Meanwhile, Robinson and Mason both carried the banner nicely for Auburn in Indianapolis.
Let's take a closer look at how they did.
Note: All combine results courtesy of NFL.com
P Steven Clark
It's hard for punters to move the needle much at the combine. Their tapes and stats from college are far more important than anything else.
That is good news for Clark, who interviewed but didn't do physical testing in Indianapolis. He had a fantastic senior season for the Tigers, especially down the stretch on the biggest possible stages.
According to Brandon Marcello of AL.com, Clark "downed nine punts inside the 10-yard line in the final four games of the season, including five inside the 5-yard line."
If that's the last image he puts in NFL executives' heads, Clark will almost definitely get a long look from someone in training camp next year and might even get drafted in the seventh round.
CB Chris Davis
Davis, the hero of the Iron Bowl, injured his hamstring during a workout on Friday and was unable to participate in field drills at the combine, according to Brandon Marcello of AL.com.
"[NFL teams and officials] just told me don't run here, just wait until pro day," Davis said of his non-serious hamstring tweak. He was still able to bench press and put up 15 reps of 225 pounds, but Davis' evaluation is still for the most part incomplete.
Auburn's pro day is set for March 4.
DE Dee Ford
Grade: Incomplete (but feisty)
According to Steve Wyche of NFL Network, Ford was advised not to compete at the combine after "medicals flagged a 2011 procedure for a herniated disc in [his] lower back."
Although the injury is not believed to be serious, it kept Ford from piggybacking off of his great performance at the Senior Bowl by testing well in Indianapolis. But it didn't keep Ford from making news.
"I'm better [than Jadeveon Clowney]," said Ford in a Sirius XM radio interview, according to ESPN.com. No mincing words on that front.
If only he got a chance to prove it at Lucas Oil.
RB Tre Mason
Mason's stock held more-or-less even at the combine this weekend.
The 2013 Heisman finalist is a one-cut-and-go type of runner who likely wants to be a home run threat at the next level. In that respect, his 4.5 40-yard dash was a little underwhelming (though far from a deal breaker).
Still, Mason looked fluid in position drills and also posted top-five scores among running backs in the broad (126'') and vertical (38.5'') jumps. He showed the lower-leg explosion needed to hit the hole and maybe even gain some yards after contact in the league.
Doing so was of the utmost importance to Mason's stock, especially after he compared himself to Marshawn Lynch at the combine, according to B/R's Eric Frenz.
OT Greg Robinson
Robinson made a statement before he even stepped on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. His arms measured 35 inches at the weigh-in, which is ideal for an offensive tackle, but he was still able to bench press 225 pounds 32 times.
Long arms are offered as a legitimate excuse when players fail to produce at the bench press—see: Clowney, Jadeveon; Durant, Kevin—but Robinson was able to post a top-10 score for the entire combine nonetheless.
He's that strong.
It didn't stop there, though. Robinson corroborated his speed on film by running a 4.92 40-yard dash and his explosion on film by recording a 113-inch broad jump.
From his first day to his last in Indianapolis, Robinson looked the part of a legitimate top-five overall pick and distanced himself from Texas A&M's Jake Matthews for the right to be the first tackle selected.