The offensive linemen took the field first in Indy and their were some questions many scouts wanted answered. How good of an athlete is Jake Matthews? Does Greg Robinson have light enough feet to play LT in the NFL? Who is the third best tackle in the draft Taylor Lewan or Zack Martin? Satisfyingly these questions and more were answered.
Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M
You might be asking how can the player who has been viewed by many as a potential top three player in this draft help his stock? Matthew overall measured in at 6-foot-5, 308 pounds with average arm length of 33 and 3/8th inch arm length. Matthews didn't deviate from what was expected of him putting up 24 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. He did however look more explosive than expected posting an above average vertical jump and a slightly faster than expected forty time of 5.07s.
It was in the position drills where Matthews shined. In the pass blocking drills he showed a fluid, balanced kick-slide. Int the cross block drill is fired out fast and in the movement drill he showed impressively fluid hip movements. Matthews was already seen as a player with the technique, pedigree and experience to be a good LT for a long time but in Indy he showed that the concerns about his athleticism are as worrisome as may have been perceived. Matthews is the safest pick in this draft and a future All-Pro player.
Greg Robinson. OT Auburn
After Robinson declared I decided to go back and watch every game of Robinson's I could find again. I came away impressed with his mauling run blocking skills, and saw he was better in pass protection than I originally thought he was. In Indy he had his chance to prove it. Measuring in at a very large 6-foot-5, 332 pounds with impressive 35 inch arm length and large hands. He started off his claim in the Combine by putting up 32 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press which astounding for a player with as long of arms as he had.
He continued his amazing performance with a 4.92 40 yard dash which is incredibly for his size and the second best of the day. Even more impressive was his ridiculous 10 yard split. At 332 pounds he had a 1.68 ,10 yard split for comparison sake, Jarvis Jones at 245 pounds had a 1.66 ten yard split. (Greg Robinson the new OLB for the Steelers?)
It was on the field where Robinson really made his mark. He fired out of his stance with impressive lower body explosion in drills. He killed it in the short pull drill as the drive blocker blowing the bag holding linemen back while remaining low. In passing drills he was incredibly light on his feet and look nothing like what you'd expect for a man of his weight. He also showed some fluid hips. Explosiveness highlighted everything Robinson did. He can still improve his overall kick-slide technique and needs to develop better core strength and body control but, he looks to have the physical tools teams will covet. If there is any linemen that has the potential to be a Hall of Famer when their career is done in this draft it would be Robinson. (Can you imagine what Munchak could do with this guy?) Don't be surprised if he leaps Matthews in the coming months because of the potential. Unfortunately limited experience makes him a bit of a project but i have no doubt Robinson is a left tackle in the NFL, he moves too well to be otherwise. How good he will be will depend on how well he commits to the details of pass blocking.
Taylor Lewan, OT Michigan
All I have heard about Lewan is the same rhetoric of "not being an athlete" or "limited athlete" but when I watched film I just didn't see it. I saw I guy who clearly understood angles in pass blocking, has good foot quickness and was nasty in the run game.
At the Combine, Lewan looks to have finally shut up the "lack of athleticism" critics. Measuring 6-foot-7, 309 pounds with average 33 and 7/8ths inch arm length Lewan put up a solid 29 reps of 225 in the bench press. In the forty he ran the fastest of the day posting a 4.87. Running under a 4.9 at over 300 pounds is incredibly impressive. He had an explosive vertical. On the field, he fired out of his stance, looked good in his kick-slide and showed fluid hips. His long pull drill was incredibly impressive. He showed above average feet. One concern is he was a little high in his stance in the change of direction drills which is concerning given his height. Lewan isn't the elite athlete Robinson is nor does he have the body control Matthews had but Lewan is shows good in both categories. Maybe he isn't a Pro Bowler but he is a LT that a team will draft and not have to worry about the LT position for as long as he remains on the roster.
Zack Martin, OT/OG Notre Dame
Solid overall performance in everything he did. Great balance good feet, and good explosiveness. I still believe Martin would be an All-Pro OG but he looks like he can play any of the five positions on the line and do well.
Weston Richburg, OC Colorado State
After a good Senior Bowl, Weston Richburg look good in the combine. He measured in at just under 300 pounds, good arm length and had a nice bench. On the field he was incredibly quick in the pulling drills, maybe the quickest on the day. Richburg will entice a zone blocking team.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT Alabama
Nick Saban questioned all year the idea of Kouandjio being a first round pick. Mid way through the college season I stated I didn't see the praise. I saw a guy who was clearly not ready for the NFL. Still he rose as high as a potential top ten pick. In Indy Kouandjio hurt his stock badly. He measured in at 6-foot-7 322 pounds with impressive almost 36 inch arm length. Kouandjio could only do 21 reps of 225 pounds in the bench. In the 40-yard dash Kouandjio ran a horrible 5.59 second forty yard dash for comparison sake Terrence Cody at 349 pounds ran a 5.62 forty at his Pro Day. He was unbalanced, very heavy footed and lacked body control in movement drills. Really poor short area quickness, On top of all that there are reports that Kouandjio failed multiple teams physicals due to arthritic knees. Kouandjio stock is going to sink like the Titanic I all but guarantee it.
Jace Amaro, TE Texas Tech
Amaro measured in at 6-foot-5 265 pounds and looked noticeably undeveloped in his upper body. Amaro started off well with 28 reps in the bench press but is was all down hill from there. He posted a slower than expected 40 of 4.74 and lack the explosion in the ten yard split. He struggled in the gauntlet drill, dropping a couple passes and intentionally slowed down so he could secure the rest, drawing the ire of the coaches yelling at him to go faster.
Amaro didn't look good as a receiver today and for a TE that didn't do a good job of blocking on tape that is going to hurt his first round chances.