With the 2015 scouting combine in the books, next up for the NFL is free agency, pro days and individual player-team meetings, all of which lead up to the draft on April 30.
Our complete coverage of the combine can be found here. Before we move on entirely, though, let's take one last look back at who thrived in the Indianapolis spotlight. Presenting the 2015 all-combine team:
QB: Jameis Winston, Florida State
RB: David Johnson, Northern Iowa
RB: Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
WR: Kevin White, West Virginia
WR: Chris Conley, Georgia
TE: MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
OL: Ereck Flowers, Miami (Fla.)
OL: La'el Collins, LSU
OL: Ali Marpet, Hobart
OL: Jake Fisher, Oregon
OL: D.J. Humphries, Florida
The most important factor for both Winston and Marcus Mariota was simply that they showed up. "I think it’s really cool ... that they are going to both work out," said Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht, owner of the draft's No. 1 pick, prior to the QB session. "And I think it speaks to their competitiveness and things that we know about both of them."
Neither QB did anything to hurt his stock, and Winston confirmed that he is quite far along as a passer. Of course, the other contenders left something to be desired:
QB coach who was on the field for the throwing drills: "Horrendous. HOR-REN-DOUS. Winston looked great only bc the others looked so bad."— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) February 23, 2015
For the other skill positions (running back, wide receiver and, increasingly, tight end), the stars of the show all flashed speed and athleticism. White's 4.35 40-yard dash time was among the more eye-popping occurrences of the entire combine—his stock as a potential top-10 pick continues to climb. Conley matched White's time, then threw up a 45-inch vertical—a combine best—and a broad jump of 11'7".
Langford's 4.42 was a money-making time for him, even more so given that the running backs were rather slow overall. Johnson already had positive buzz tailing him thanks to a strong Senior Bowl, and he built on it. The Northern Iowa back checked in with a sturdy 6'0", 224-pound frame, ran a 4.5 40-yard dash and posted impressive numbers in the vertical (41.5 inches) and three-cone drill (6.82 seconds).
Circle Pruitt's name as a sleeper in a below-par TE class. He caught 81 passes for 861 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, numbers backed by a 4.58 40, long arms (33 1/2 inches) and big hands (10 1/4 inches). Pruitt is raw, especially as a blocker, but he will intrigue NFL teams as a pass-catcher.
The stars along the O-line all should be familiar, up to and including Humphries, whose stock was red-hot heading into Indianapolis. Flowers struggled a bit in blocking drills but flashed great strength, nailing 37 bench-press reps. Collins, Marpet, Fisher and Humphries all confirmed scouting reports stating that they were plus athletes. In particular, Fisher's quickness (5.01 40, 7.25 three-cone, 4.33 short shuttle) stood out—the Oregon tackle could sneak into Round 1.
DL: Vic Beasley, Clemson
DL: Owa Odighizuwa, UCLA
DL: Preston Smith, Mississippi State
DL: Dante Fowler, Florida
LB: Ben Heeney, Kansas
LB: Bud Dupree, Kentucky
LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas
DB: Trae Waynes, Michigan State
DB: Ronald Darby, Florida State
DB: Byron Jones, UConn
DB: Josh Shaw, USC
The players are grouped here as they were at the combine, so there are an abundance of edge players and cornerbacks.
If you're keeping score on defensive tackles, Iowa's Carl Davis again impressed, as he did at the Senior Bowl; and Tennessee-Chattanooga's Derrick Lott might be on a few more draft boards than he was earlier in the month. At safety, Arizona State's Damarious Randall (who ran a 4.46 40) could wind up as the second player off the board behind Landon Collins, while LSU's Jalen Collins and Utah's Eric Rowe both will be coveted because of their multi-positional capabilities.
Fowler exited Indianapolis all but locked into the top 10, while Beasley and Waynes should be off the board well before the first 20 picks wrap. There may not have been a better all-around performance over the weekend than the one delivered by Beasley. He weighed in at a healthy 246 pounds, ran a 4.53 40 and generally looked ready to excel as an NFL rusher.
He still will have a tough time chasing down Fowler. The Florida star was brilliant during his media session and equally as outstanding on the field (260 pounds, 4.6 40, 4.32 short shuttle). Waynes followed in his footsteps a couple days later, separating himself from Washington's Marcus Peters and the rest of the CB class with a 4.31 40 time.
Smith (6'4", 271 pounds), Odighizuwa (6'3" 264 pounds) and Dupree (6'4", 269 pounds) measured in with similar height/weight combos, but they are different players. Smith is most likely to kick inside as a pass-rushing tackle when need be, Odighizuwa may be the best option as a strict 4–3 DE and Dupree (4.56 40, 11'6" broad jump) ... well, the jury's still out on his NFL position, though 3–4 OLB currently holds the pole position.
Hicks and Heeney are mid-to-late-round guys who both scored well across the board this week. Heeney landed a top-five mark among linebackers in the 40 (4.59), three-cone (6.68) and short shuttle (4.0).
The combine highlights speak for themselves on Jones, whose UConn pro day figures to draw quite a crowd next month. Darby was far more of a known quantity, yet his 4.38 40 and 41.5-inch vertical hammered home his athletic capabilities. Don't be surprised to see him leapfrog fellow Seminoles cornerback P.J. Williams in some rankings over the coming weeks.
Shaw has had a long road back from a humiliating preseason suspension. (You'll recall he concocted a lie about saving his young nephew from drowning.) Few defensive backs were even in Shaw's neighborhood physically—he weighed in at a cut-up 6'0" and 201 pounds. Case in point: Shaw's 26 bench-press reps topped all DBs. Add in a 4.4 40 and solid efforts elsewhere, and Shaw is firmly back on the radar.