Workout warriors don’t always become stars in the NFL after shining at the scouting combine, but they do raise eyebrows around the league.
Most of this year’s top performers at the NFL Scouting Combine already came into the event among the top rated players at their position. The combine can only help improve their stock, and they’ll likely be boosted in experts’ draft rankings now that it’s over.
Check out which players were the combine’s big winners at each position.
Johnny Manziel: Manziel decided not to throw at the combine, but he stole headlines with top-five finishes among quarterbacks in the 40-yard dash (4.68 seconds), vertical leap (31.5 inches), broad jump (9-foot-5), three-cone drill (6.75 seconds) and short shuttle (4.03 seconds). The Texas A&M signal caller has the athleticism to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Bishop Sankey: Sankey came out of the combine looking like the best running back in the draft. He finished top five at his position in the bench press (26 reps), broad jump (10-foot-6), three-cone (6.75 seconds) and short shuttle (4.00 seconds). His 4.49-second 40-yard dash proved he can run, and he performed well in drills, showing soft hands, great balance and quick feet.
Brandin Cooks: The Oregon State wideout was a borderline first-rounder before the combine, but he could see a Tavon Austin-esque leap in draft boards. Cooks ran the fastest 40-yard dash and short shuttle among wide receivers, and he finished the three-cone in 6.76 seconds.
C.J. Fiedorowicz: Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Troy Niklas were supposed to kick off the combine with standout performances on Saturday. Ebron sat out after the 40-yard dash, Seferian-Jenkins and Niklas were injured and Amaro disappointed. That left Fiedorowicz as the star after he led tight ends in the three-cone and short shuttle and ran a respectable 4.76 40-yard dash. The Iowa prospect was consistent in positional drills.
Taylor Lewan: Lewan ran a 4.87-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-7, 309 pounds. That shouldn’t be possible. The Michigan tackle proved to be the best athlete at the combine among offensive line prospects.
Aaron Donald: Donald nearly stole Jadeveon Clowney’s thunder on Monday when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds at 285 pounds. He actually beat Clowney in the three-cone drill (7.11 seconds). Donald is the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the 2014 draft, and he proved it in the combine.
Jadeveon Clowney: Saying Donald overshadowed Clowney is no disrespect to the South Carolina defensive end. He ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at 266 pounds. Clowney finished second in the broad jump and vertical leap among defensive linemen.
Khalil Mack: Mike Mayock was pounding the table for Mack to go No. 1 overall. That might not happen, but the Buffalo outside linebacker finished top five in every drill among linebackers on Monday other than the three-cone.
Kevin Pierre-Louis: Boston College must have an incredible weight program. Pierre-Louis led his group in the 40-yard dash and finished top five in every category. He’s a future NFL weakside linebacker.
Jason Verrett: Verrett is on the smaller side at 5-foot-9, 189 pounds, and that might be the only thing keeping him from being a top-15 pick. Verrett finished in the top five among cornerbacks in every speed, agility and explosion drill.
Deone Bucannon: At 6-foot-1, 211 pounds, the Washington State prospect finished top five in every category. Bucannon was already considered one of the top safeties in the draft. His speed, agility and explosion at his size makes him a rare prospect.