On one of the biggest stages in the country and in front of millions of people watching on TV — not to mention NFL coaches, scouts and executives — no one wants to see years of work downgraded during the biggest job interview of a players career.
But that’s just what happened to a number of soon-to-be members of the NFL in Indianapolis over the last six days at the 2016 NFL combine. While some players’ draft stock soared, others fell.
Here are three NFL combine losers from the SEC West:
Alex Collins, RB – Arkansas
In each of the last seasons, Collins gained over 1,000 yards on the ground and averaged 221 carries per season. But a poor outing Friday likely had a terrible effect on his second-round projections.
Collins ran a pedestrian 40-yard dash (4.59) and showed little lift with a bad vertical jump (28.5 inches). While the lack of speed and explosive burst were troubling, he lost even more draft ground by failing to impress in pass-catching drills. In today’s pass-happy NFL where running backs are as much dual-threat tools as battering-ram ball carriers, Collins really hurt himself by coming down with a case of camel hands at the combine.
Alex Collins looked as bad as I have seen him. Couldn’t catch, or run, or be fluid at all. Going to go back and watch him again #NFLCombine
— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) February 29, 2016
Robert Nkemdiche, DT – Ole Miss
There was little wrong with Nkemdiche on the field Sunday at the combine. His 4.87-second 40 time was adequate and he showed off some impressive skills in individual drills.
Where Nkemdiche may have crippled his draft stock was during the interview process — both with the media and reportedly with some teams.
Instead of assuming responsibility for a late-night Atlanta hotel debacle where he fell from his room, Nkemdiche offered that no one in his entourage wanted to “take the fall” for what happened. Since the room was in his name, he had to be the one.
NFL Network reporter Kimberly Jones spoke with one NFL team that was flat-out “not interested” in Nkemdiche because of his off-the-field incidents.
Vadal Alexander, OL – LSU
Alexander did not look good running the 40-yard dash, and his slow 5.57-second finish was only a part of the reason why it wasn’t fun to watch. He didn’t move well in the sprint, and that carried over into individual drills where he looked lethargic at times.
His dreams of convincing NFL teams he was versatile enough to play tackle or guard at the next level have faded, and now his chances not only look limited to the inside, but his stock may be falling drastically.
A lot of people I respect like Vadal Alexander. I don't see it in the top 100.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 26, 2016
Others With Work To Do
Kris Frost, LB – Auburn: Frost ran a snail-like (for a linebacker) 4.97-second 40-yard dash and only managed 29 inches on his vertical jump. He could be in danger of going undrafted.
Denver Kirkland, OL – Arkansas: What Kirkland had to do at the combine was convince NFL teams he could play tackle in the NFL. Not only was his 8.72-second three-cone time the worst of any lineman in Indianapolis, he failed to give off the aura of an outside lineman.
Arkansas' Denver Kirkland is a phone-booth mauler at the NFL level. He'd get killed by pro speed off the edge, but pave roads on interior.
— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) February 26, 2016