The Southeastern Conference had plenty of representation at the 2016 NFL Combine in Indianapolis this past weekend and many of its stars shined brightly on the big stage (SEC East | West Winners). But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the country’s top conference.
Job interviews aren’t always easy, which is why we shouldn’t heap a ton of criticism on guys who slipped a little at the combine. But that doesn’t mean their fall from grace shouldn’t be addressed.
While there are still pro days to help bolster draft stock, here are three NFL combine losers from the SEC East:
Kelvin Taylor, RB – Florida
Taylor scored 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,035 yards last season before deciding to bolt early to the NFL. While that decision shouldn’t be questioned from an iffy combine performance, we’ll always wonder if his draft stock was commensurate to his skill.
A slow 40-yard dash (4.60 seconds), only 15 reps on the bench press (fourth-fewest among RBs) and too many dropped passes during field drills could push Taylor from a Day 2/Day 3 ‘tweener all the way down to a mid-Day 3 pick.
Josh Forrest, LB – Kentucky
There are excuses, and then there are extenuating circumstances for things going wrong at the combine. Forrest turning ill prior to his time to perform was unfortunate.
#Kentucky LB Josh Forrest came down with a stomach bug before doing drills, but still competed. The hope is for improvement at UK Pro Day.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 29, 2016
No linebacker in Indianapolis performed fewer reps on the bench press than Forrest’s 11, and his 40 times of 4.88 seconds didn’t even crack the top 25 among his positional peers. He also posted a less-than-enthusiastic 30 ½-inch vertical jump.
Forrest was the 12th-ranked inside linebacker according to CBS Sports prior to the combine. He’ll need an awesome pro day to recuperate the lost ground from Indy.
John Theus, OL – Georgia
Theus has all the desired experience NFL teams love. He was a four-year starter in the toughest conference in the country and played multiple positions along the line to add some versatility to his maturity.
But he ran an average 5.22-second 40-yard dash (tied for 20th among offensive linemen) and his 1.79-second split at 10 yards was just OK.
John Theus was a tackle at UGA, but looks a little slow for the position in the NFL. Might be a scheme-specific RT or guard-only.
— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) February 26, 2016
Theus didn’t offer many reasons for NFL teams to believe he could be quick, or even athletic at the next level. He entered the pre-draft process hoping to be a relevant Day 2 lineman. But now he may be relegated to “late-round gem” status.
Others With Work To Do
Kentrell Brothers, LB – Missouri: Brothers has the mind and instincts of a field general, but a 4.89-second 40-yard dash is not fast enough for his potential second-round draft projection.