The NFL Scouting Combine events kick off on Tuesday, which promises to generate a lot of interest from all parties involved.
Whether you’re a fan, member of the media, team scout, or actual prospect, this is a big deal. However, there are some that don’t believe that the combine tells all. Sure, the amount of film that has been assembled from a player’s collective time at their respective alma mater tends to paint the big picture. As we’ve seen over the years, even the highest projections don’t always pan out.
For the New Orleans Saints, I think back to a prospect like Terron Armstead. The Arkansas-Pine Bluff product was projected as a late third round draft choice. Armstead, like many small school projects, received some criticism due to facing inferior competition on the collegiate level. Originally, Armstead wasn’t even on a top prospect level at his position. After shining at the NFL Combine, his draft stock shot up.
Unfortunately, winning at the combine doesn’t mean everything. We look at some of the top performers the New Orleans Saints have drafted over the past several seasons, and look to see if they’ve found themselves among the top 15 in any respective category. Furthermore, we’ll make sense of what some of the drills mean.
This drill measures the prospect’s speed and acceleration. A prospect starts in a three-point stance, and once he gets going off of the starting line, he’ll run a full 40 yards as fast as he can. Like all drills, it’s repeated twice.
- Brandin Cooks, 2014 (4.33 seconds – 1st)
- Kenny Stills, 2013 (4.38 seconds – T-4th)
- Damian Swann, 2015 (4.50 seconds – T-11th)
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (4.56 seconds – 3rd)
- Kenny Vaccaro, 2013 (4.63 seconds – 13th)
- Ronald Powell, 2014 (4.65 seconds – T-4th)
- Khairi Fortt, 2014 (4.70 seconds – T-11th)
- Terron Armstead, 2013 (4.71 seconds – 1st) *Combine record for OL
- Andrus Peat, 2015 (5.18 seconds – 12th)
This is exactly as it sounds, as prospects lift 225 pounds repeatedly for as many times as possible to measure upper body strength.
- Tyeler Davison, 2015 (32 – 5th)
- Terron Armstead, 2013 (31 – T-8th)
- Khairi Fortt, 2014 (30 – T-1st)
- John Jenkins, 2013 (30 – T-5th)
- Davis Tull, 2015 (26 – T-5th)
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (23 – T-13th)
- Vinnie Sunseri, 2014 (18 – T-4th)
- Brandin Cooks, 2014 (16 – T-9th)
- Kenny Stills, 2013 (16 – T-8th)
- Kenny Vaccaro, 2013 (15 – 14th)
This is meant to measure a prospect’s lower body explosion (burst off the line of scrimmage) and leaping ability. The prospect raises their arm as high as possible while the Vertec system will adjust accordingly to represent a bottom marker of 18-24 inches. Both feet are planted on the guard, and a prospect is permitted to swing his arms and knees before jumping.
- Davis Tull, 2015 (42.5″ – 1st) *Tied for combine record for LB
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, 2014 (41.5″ – 1st)
- P.J. Williams, 2014 (40.0″ – T-4th)
- Kenny Vaccaro, 2013 (38.0″ – 6th)
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (37.0″ – T-7th)
- Khairi Fortt, 2014 (36.0″ – 9th)
- Ronald Powell, 2014 (35.5″ – T-10th)
- Terron Armstead, 2013 (34.5″ – 1st)
- Tyeler Davison, 2015 (33.0″ – T-11th)
- Andrus Peat, 2015 (31.0″ – T-8th)
In a nutshell, this measures lower body explosion and balance with how far a prospect is able to jump from a standing position. It’s not necessarily about how far you can jump, as you have to land successfully. You’re permitted to swing your arms and bend your knees for momentum.
- Davis Tull, 2015 (11’0″ – 2nd)
- P.J. Williams, 2015 (11’0″ – 2nd)
- Stanley Jean-Baptiste, 2014 (10’8″ – T-3rd)
- Kenny Stills, 2013 (10’4″ – 9th)
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (10’2″ – 9th)
- Khairi Fortt, 2014 (10’0″ – T-9th)
- Terron Armstead, 2013 (9’4″ – T-4th)
- Andrus Peat, 2015 (8’9″ – 13th)
A total of three cones are placed five yards apart from one another to form a “L”. The prospect starts the drill with one hand down, running five yards to the middle cone and touches it. Then, they’ll come back to the beginning cone to touch it, and reverse direction once again. This time, they’ll run around the middle cone and towards the inside of the outside cone to loop around the third cone to sprint to the end. Naturally, a picture sums it up best.
- Brandin Cooks, 2014 (6.76 seconds, 10th)
- Kenny Vaccaro, 2013 (6.78 seconds, T-6th)
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (7.07 seconds, T-7th)
- Terron Armstead, 2013 (7.62 seconds, 13th)
This measures agility and lateral movement, or quickness and ability to change direction. The prospect starts the drill in the middle of cones placed 10 yards apart. The prospect begins the drill running 5 yards to the right cone and touches it, and then quickly changes direction to run a 10-yard distance to the opposite cone to touch it. Finally, they’ll reverse direction to sprint the final 5 yards as fast as possible.
- Brandin Cooks, 2014 (3.81 seconds, 1st) *Combine record for WR
- Stephone Anthony, 2015 (4.03 seconds, 2nd)
- Kenny Vaccaro, 2013 (4.06 seconds, 2nd)
- Tyeler Davison, 2015 (4.46 seconds, 15th)
- Andrus Peat, 2015 (4.62 seconds, 10th)
The layout features three cones placed 5 yards apart, and essentially has the prospect running ‘suicides’. At the starting point, the prospect will go to the first cone (5 yards) and back to the original starting line (5 yards). Then, they’ll run to the second cone (10 yards) and back (10 yards). Finally, they’ll sprint to the third cone (15 yards) and back (15 yards).
- Brandin Cooks, 2014 (10.72 seconds, 1st) *Combine record