NFL Combine Live: Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert, Lane Johnson Among Prospects Who Shined in Day 3 Drills

Manti Te'o4:04 p.m.: At the end of the day, Terron Armstead and Chris Gragg came out the winners of the 40-yard dash with 4.71 and 4.50 times respectively, but that wasn’t the only drill of the day.

The Patriots value the 3-cone highly for all positions. It’s the best indicator of agility at the combine and Tyler Eifert was the only player to time lower than seven seconds. Notre Dame’s Eifert finished with a 6.92 3-cone, San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar finished next with a 7.07 and Stanford’s Zach Ertz finished at 7.08, tied with Rice’s Vance McDonald and Arkansas’ Chris Gragg. McDonald’s time is most impressive since he weighed in at 267 pounds. Eifert and Escobar were also among the leaders in the 20-yard shuttle.

Gragg, Eifert and Maryland’s Matt Furstenburg performed best in the vertical jump, while Gragg, McDonald and Eifert topped the broad jump.

UCLA’s Jeff Baca, California’s Brian Schwenke, Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and BYU’s Braden Brown topped offensive linemen in the 3-cone.  Baca, Schwenke and Johnson were also among the top players in the 40-yard dash.

Armstead, Johnson and Ricky Wagner were the leaders in vertical jump, while Johnson, Eric Fisher and Reid Fragel topped the broad jump.

Overall, the real winners of the combine might have been McDonald, Eifert, Schwenke and Johnson. Eifert confirmed that he’s the best tight end in this class, while Schwenke might have vaulted himself into the top center spot. Johnson may be considered with Joeckel and Fisher for best tackle in the class due to his upside.

2:26 p.m.: Manti Te’o said he hasn’t considered legal action against Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. He also said the toughest part of this process was when his family told him they had to sneak out of their house to keep away from press that were parked out on their lawn.

2:20 p.m.: Te’o admitted to meeting with the Texans and Packers. He says he has formal meetings with 18 more teams.

2:16 p.m.: Manti Te’o said every team has asked him about the Lennay Kekua situation. He hasn’t heard that the situation will affect his draft status.

Te’o said he didn’t perform well in the national championship “because I didn’t.”

2:14 p.m.: Manti Te’o is at the mic. We’ll keep you updated on what he says.

1:48 p.m.: We have our first sub-4.5 40-yard dash and it comes from Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg. Gragg ran an unofficial 4.44 40. Gragg caught 22 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.

1:37 p.m.: The tight ends are running now and they’re churning out some pretty impressive numbers. To put these into perspective, Aaron Hernandez ran a 4.64 in 2010 and Rob Gronkowski ran a 4.68.

Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert ran an unofficial 4.60 40-yard dash. Maryland’s Matt Furstenburg bested him with a 4.50.

Rice tight end Vance McDonald’s speed was especially impressive given his 6-foot-4, 267-pound frame. He ran a 4.69. Florida Aaron Hernandez clone Jordan Reed ran a 4.63. The Hernandez comps will continue.

1:24 p.m.: It’s amazing what you can learn from an NFL prospect’s news conference. Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said the first NFL game he watched was the Colts’ Super Bowl victory over the Bears in February 2007, according to Gray Caldwell of DenverBroncos.com.

Floyd said he grew up watching the Disney Channel. Will Brinson of CBSSports.com gave us this amazing quote: “I am not an iCarly guy. That’s so Raven. I was watching that when I was younger. Cartoon Network. Looney Toons.”

12:45 p.m.: Manti Te’o catfished the media today. He was supposed to meet with reporters around noon. The media fell for it and hung around a podium in droves until NFL.com’s Gil Brandt tweeted that the former Notre Dame linebacker was meeting with doctors and wouldn’t be answering questions until closer to 3 p.m.

Here’s my take on the Manti Te’o news conference: No one will learn anything they haven’t already heard anyway.

12:35 p.m.: Jarvis Jones is starting to fall down draft boards after teams have scoped his medicals at the combine. Jones has spinal stenosis in his neck and some teams are removing him from their boards. PFT notes that Jones’ injury has multiple teams shying away from Jones in the first round.

Jones has been looked at as a Top 5 pick in the draft. Two years ago, Aldon Smith had been removed from draft boards due to character concerns — he still went No. 7 overall. That same year Da’quan Bowers was removed due to injury concerns and fell all the way to No. 51 after being briefly considered the best player in the draft.

12:25 p.m.: The official times are in and Terron Armstead still leads the way. Though he was unofficially clocked at 4.65, his official time is 4.71. Lane Johnson actually improved his time once it became official. His initial time was 4.74 and it boosted up to 4.72.

11:40 a.m.: Lane Johnson’s second 40 matched his first at 4.75, but he improved his 10-yard split to 1.61. That’s the best of the day, and it’s significant, because that’s usually all an offensive lineman would ever be asked to run at full speed.

11:28 a.m.: The guard that Mike Mayock is touting as the best player in the draft, Chance Warmack, ran a 5.55 40-yard dash with a 1.85 10-yard split. That time is a little disappointing, but overall it shouldn’t matter.

Menelik Watson was supposed to light up the 40, but turned in an only respectable 5.25.

11:18 a.m.: These incredible 40 times for linemen just keep coming in now. Vinston Painter of Virginia Tech just ran a 4.87. He looked to have a lot of room to bulk up. His build looked more like a linebacker than an offensive lineman.

11:15 a.m.: Kyle Long, Howie’s son and Chris’ brother was timed at 4.93. That’s three 300-plus pound offensive linemen that have been timed under five seconds now — Long, Lane Johnson and Terron Armstead.

Of course, these are unofficial times and the official electronic times usually come in a few ticks slower.

11:08 a.m.: Tanner Hawkinson out of Kansas came this close to being the second offensive lineman to run a sub-5 40. He ran a 5.00 flat 40.

Mark Jackson of Glenville State ran the slowest so far at 5.63.

Potential No. 1 overall pick Luke Joeckel just ran a 5.22. he may improve on that in his second heat.

Lane Johnson, the former quarterback and tight end just ran a 4.75 at 303 pounds. Wow.

10:50 a.m.: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is progressing from his knee injury incredibly well. He told Gil Brandt of NFL.com that he’ll begin running on Monday.

10:10 a.m.: The linemen are going through their positional drills now and Jonathan Cooper is flashing, which is no surprise. Cooper is even higher than Alabama guard Chance Warmack on some draft boards.

Eric Fisher has been impressive, and Mike Mayock says he’s just as good as Luke Joeckel (which this NESN.com writer disagrees with).

Travis Frederick didn’t run the best 40 time (he actually ran the worst), but he’s looked much better in lineman drills.

Alabama tackle/guard D.J. Fluker is supposedly a first-round prospect, but his footwork still needs a lot of work. His future may be at guard since he has trouble kicking out against faster defensive linemen.

9:45 a.m.: In all reality, an offensive lineman won’t be asked to run 40 yards down the field (unless you’re Dan Connolly on a kick return), but a 40-yard dash does show off athleticism. The more important figure for offensive linemen are 10-yard splits. That’s the first 10 yards of a 40.

Armstead leads the way with a 1.64 10-yard split, followed by UCLA OT Jeff Baca with a 1.68. Eric Fisher’s 1.70 and Jonathan Cooper’s 1.73 look good as well. BYU OT Braden Brown and Arkansas OG Alvin Bailey finish out the top 10-yard splits with 1.74’s.

9:34 a.m.: Terron Armstead’s second 40 time wasn’t quite as impressive, but a 4.71 at 306 pounds is still freakish athleticism.

FSU kicker Dustin Hopkins ran a 4.69 on his second 40, which is pretty insane for a kicker. You’ll rarely see a sub-5 40 for a kicker.

Jonathan Cooper ran a 5.25 on his second attempt. He’ll impress at the 3-cone drill today.

9:23 a.m.: Terron Armstead turned in the fastest time at 4.65 unofficially and Wisconsin center Travis Frederick just ran the slowest at 5.60. His impressive beard may have been slowing him down.

9:17 a.m.: Jonathan Cooper wasn’t able to get under five seconds on his 40, but a 5.13 is a great time for a 312-pound guard.

First-round prospect Eric Fisher just impressed with a 5.07.

9:08 a.m.: The combine speed drills just started off with a bang. Terron Armstead of Arkansas-Pine Bluff ran an unofficial 4.65 unofficial 40-yard dash at over 300 pounds. That would set a combine record for an offensive lineman.

Arkansas punter Dylan Breeding kicked off the event with a 4.75 40 and Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins ran a 4.81. It’s rare for special teamers to run sub-5 40s.

Virginia tackle Oday Absoushi disappointed with a 5.44 and Colorado offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, who met with the Patriots, looked smooth with a 5.01.

8 a.m. ET: The NFL scouting combine is officially upon us, and you know what that means: draft season has officially begun. The offensive linemen and tight ends will be out on display, and this is a great class for both positions.

Among the offensive linemen, Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson is supposed to test the best. He’s a former quarterback and tight end prospect who could run a 40-yard dash as low as 4.7. That would be an incredible figure for a player who’s over 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds.

UNC’s Jonathan Cooper is expected to be the most athletic guard in Indianapolis on Saturday. He’s among the best pulling guards the draft has ever seen. His speed and agility should test out very well. Some other names to watch are Alabama’s Chance Warmack, BYU’s Braden Brown, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Florida State’s Menekik Watson.

At tight end, San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar, Stanford’s Zach Ertz and Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert are players to watch. Those are the top three players in the class and should all test out well in speed and agility drills. Some more under the radar players are Florida’s Jordan Reed, who is looked at as an Aaron Hernandez clone, and Rice’s Vance McDonald.

Stay here for the news and analysis coming out of Day 3 of the combine. We’ll send out the best 40 times, most impressive performances and all the biggest news.

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