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NFL Combine Results: Reviewing the Running Backs and Offensive Line

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Day one of drills immediately satiated many combine viewers' needs to see some of the best athletes in the world do absolutely incredible things in testing. The other day I previewed just a few things that I was interested in for this upcoming weekend and through one take my ears are already all the way perked.

The first thing to talk about, predictably, is Jason Spriggs' combine. My 6-6, 301 pound man crush posted an absolutely astounding performance in Indianapolis. His outstanding speed and agility drills are among the best ever for tackles at the NFL combine and he is by far the most impressive linemen at the combine in terms of athletic ability. I have been a big fan of Spriggs for a while, recently mocking him to the Eagles at 13 over the likes of other tackles like Taylor Decker or Ronnie Stanley. Spriggs' athletic ability, which we can no qualify, is a major asset at offensive tackle and he would be a massive addition to an Eagles offensive line in need of more youth and more athletes.

As much as Jason Spriggs showed out and impressed, it is fair to say that Ronnie Stanley disappointed. The Notre Dame tackle has been profiled by many as a technician with excellent movement skills but lacking of a mean streak. Unfortunately, his combine does not confirm the position that he is a great athlete. He posted average numbers in the 40 yard dash (less important) and worryingly low numbers in agility drills (very important). At the least, it will make me reevaluate him, but I have a concern that possibly adding weight for the combine slowed him down. If he cannot play with top tier movement at a higher playing weight, that is a massive concern. If a player is not a great athlete, they need to compensate with instincts and intensity. However, that has never really been part of Stanley's game. His performance raises a lot of questions, for me, and it seriously bears watching.

Jason Spriggs may have taken a trophy home for the big men of the combine, but the running backs put on an absolute show as well. It was funny hearing people talk about Derrick Henry throughout the season like he was some type of plodding power back. Even when he was outrunning entire SEC defenses like it was nothing, some evaluators even went as far to say he had to play fullback in the NFL. Well, it was hard to say that in November but it is damn near impossible to say that now. Henry destroyed speed and explosion tests, running an insane 4.54 40 yard dash and broad jumping 10'10". At nearly 250 pounds, Henry is the most explosive running back to ever work at the combine. His detractors point to a below average 3-cone drill, but...

I said the other day on Bleeding Green Nation Radio that Henry can transform an offense with his home run ability and he did a great job of making me look (kinda) smart yesterday.

Derrick Henry was not the only running back to wow teams and fans every yesterday. Georgia's Keith Marshall posted a jaw dropping 4.31 40 yard dash, third fasted for running backs since 2006. The two to run faster times, Chris Johnson and Dri Archer, ran the 40 at 197 and 174 pounds, respectively. Keith Marshall posted his blazing time at nearly 220 pounds. That is an insane display of athletic ability from the former Bulldog.

A few years back, when Keith Marshall was a freshman running back, there was a legitimate conversation about whether or not Marshall was better than his running mate at Georgia, Todd Gurley. Unfortunately, the rest of Marshall's career at Georgia was plagued with injury while Gurley went on to be a first round pick and rookie of the year. However, whenever Marshall saw the field, he showed spurts of that talent that dazzled the country when he was a freshmen. It is encouraging to see him at the combine healthy and tear it up. Everyone is rooting for him to get back to peak health and original form because god knows he has every ounce of talent to be a difference maker in the NFL.

Another injury prone back to show out was Cal's Daniel Lasco. He posted all around great numbers including the best broad jump for a running back ever. The former Golden Bear is an excellent back with a very complete skill set. He is outstanding in open space and is a valuable receiver. He was dinged up for much of this last season, but he has shown the ability to be a difference maker as a number one back. As a team in need of a spark at running back, Lasco would be an excellent player to go with later in the draft if the team does not want to go the direction of investing a top pick into a running back.

Day one of on field testing yielded some awesome performances and, as a lover of shiny things, I was greatly entertained. It only gets better today as quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers (!!!) will be running.

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