INDIANAPOLIS -- The pace picked up on Sunday morning as the receivers took to the field at the combine. Surprisingly, it was lesser known and second tier wide out prospects who stole the day and impressed NFL decision-makers.
Jacoby Ford/Clemson: Ford began his combine workout by turning in a pair of blistering times in the forty. Both runs were under 4.3-seconds, the fastest stopping a number of watches at 4.25 seconds. Ford kept that speed during drills and looked incredibly explosive. He ran terrific routes and caught everything thrown in his direction.
Golden Tate/Notre Dame: Tate began his combine by running fast, timing a pair of forty's at just below 4.4-seconds. He dropped a few passes early in the practice session but really pulled it together and by the end of the day was one of the best receivers on the field. Tate has now positioned himself in the first round and could be the second or third receiver selected in April.
Emmanuel Sanders/SMU: In many ways, Sanders stole the day as he surpassed expectations at every turn. After running well in the forty, Sanders was fast during the practice session and made all the catches. He ran good routes in the short field and was flawless making the deep receptions. Sanders made NFL decision-makers take notice and could end up as a top 100 choice.
Taylor Price/Ohio: Price continued the momentum he built at the Senior Bowl and turned in a terrific combine performance. He was fast in the forty, stopping watches right around the 4.4-second area. Later he looked outstanding in all aspects of his pass-catching workout. Price has cemented himself as a top 60 pick in the draft.
Arrelious Benn/Illinois: Benn ran his forty in the mid 4.5-second area, slightly better than expected. His work in the practice session was terrific as he ran good routes and displayed hands of glue. After a junior season that was plagued with injury and inconsistency, this was the type of performance Benn needed moving towards the draft.
Scott Long/Louisville: Long turned in one of the most impressive workouts of any receiver at the combine in a long while. His forty time was solid in the mid 4.4-second range, his vertical jump topped 43-inches and Long's three cone time was terrific. His pass-catching workout also impressed scouts.
Carlton Mitchell/South Florida: The South Florida junior proved he made a wise choice entering the draft. After tipping the scales at 215 pounds, Mitchell ran well in the forty, getting underneath 4.45 seconds on a number of stopwatches. He caught the ball extremely well and has now entered the conversation as a top 100 choice.
Brandon Banks/Kansas State: Banks measured in at a tiny 5-feet, 6.5-inches and 149-pounds. He ran fast, clocking 4.4-seconds in the forty, then really stood out during pass catching skills. Banks displayed a burst of speed which he was able to turn on in one step, and was incredibly exlosive. His pass-catching skills were better than advertised as Banks made all the catches during the session.
Mardy Gilyard/Cincinnati: Gilyard was justifiably known as a game-breaking receiver and return specialist in college. His ability to take it the distance struck fear in opponents. Gilyard was unable to break 4.60 seconds in the forty during his workout on Sunday. He still has the tools to play at the next level, but scouts must now reevaluate whether or not Gilyard has the physical skills to be a second receiver on the NFL level.
Jordan Shipley/Texas: Shipley was slow in the forty, then displayed limited quickness and route running skills during the practice session. Scouts must now decide if Shipley is a legitimate NFL receiver or a product of the spread offense at Texas.
Preston Parker/North Alabama: Parker ran poorly in the forty, barely breaking the 4.7-second barrier after weighing in under 200 pounds. He dropped several passes throughout the day and did nothing to help his cause.
Notes:Chris McGaha of Arizona State struggled throughout his combine workout, uncharacteristically dropping a number of passes. He never seemed to get his feet underneath him and looked uncomfortable all day. There was good reason for this. During his combine examination, it was found McGaha had just 20-60 vision, a situation which was further complicated by his indoor workout today. As a result, McGaha has already scheduled Lasix surgery this week with the hopes of correcting the situation.