The NFL combine, lovingly known as the "underwear olympics" concluded yesterday. Six LSU players were in attendance, which we covered here. Ultimately, it was a wildly successful weekend for the Tigers in attendance. Let's take a look at how each performed.
Collins is a player we earmarked with a chance to really solidify his stock with a good performance at the Combine. Here's Collins numbers neatly charted:
These numbers are weighted against all available Combine data, not just 2015 performers. None of the numbers are eye popping. Collins short arms are a bit worrisome as far as a future at LT may be concerned. That being said, he quickly alleviated the concern by flat out dominating during the drills. Collins' name was routinely cited by multiple analysts as being tremendously impressive during the drill sessions. Is it enough to get him into the top 10? I'm guessing not, solely because his short arms will continue to cause scouts to think he's more of an interior or RT only type player. That said, he's locked into the 1st round with his performance. A great weekend for La'El.
The other Collins was another interesting prospect with a lot to prove this weekend. Unlike La'El, Jalen entered without a world of experience, finding himself benched due to poor play in 2013, and playing in a rotation with Rashard Robinson 2014. NFL Network's Mike Mayock had Collins labeled a 1st rounder heading into the weekend, primarily due to his immense athletic skills. Did his workout back it up?
Absolutely it did. Measuring at 6'1", 203 pounds, Collins is one of the bigger CB prospects in this draft. Marry that to an impressive 4.43 40 and it's clearly he's athletically gifted. But is he a workout warrior? Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network doesn't seem to think so:
Jalen Collins is making a lot of today.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 23, 2015
On multiple occasions I heard analysts state that the tape backed up the workouts on Collins. He's a 1st rounder now, the question is how high? Could he be the first DB off the board?
Hunter is a guy I thought could use an extra season of polish. Mayock agreed, saying he could have been a "preeminent edge player" with another season. Instead, here we are.
Immediately you can see what Mayock is talking about. Hunter weighed in at 252 pounds. He clocked a 4.57 40. He threw up 25 bench reps. He has big hands and long arms. He checked every eyeball test box possible. Danielle Hunter looks like God intended football players to look. He did not compete in any of the drills. I'm not sure if he hurt himself running the 40 or what. I never saw confirmation. The bigger question will be, why such modest production? That's a tricky question to answer. If you try to put it on the scheme, you walk a fine line. NFL types won't take kindly to "blaming the coaches." Hunter likely won't go 1st round unless some teams falls in love with his potential, but these numbers will help him.
We knew Kwon would show up as an undersized LB prospect, so he needed to flash that athletic ability that allowed him to excel at times at LSU.
These are good times, especially the 40. In fact, he clocked the fastest 40 of any LB at the combine. That size will continue to hurt him though. Not only is he short, he has short arms. Teams will love his speed, but how much? Kwon's performance surely didn't hurt him, but he's likely a middle round prospect.
Though Hilliard spent his entire career at LSU in a timeshare, there are few secrets about his game: he's a big, powerful, violent runner. There's room for players like that in the NFL. How did Kenny perform?
This is... not good. Hilliard's size checks out well, but he ran in the 4.8s on his 40. He's not an explosive leaper nor with overly quick feet. It's gonna be an uphill climb for Kenny to get drafted at this point.
Magee was the player I was perhaps most intrigued by this weekend. Like Hilliard, he played in a rotation, but I felt there's more athletic upside to his game. He's a short, compactly built player that may not have elite top end speed, but he's flashed some explosive burst. Not to mention that he's a consummate pass blocker and a great receiver.
The numbers somewhat back me up a bit here, Magee jumped well. The shuttle and 3 cone times aren't great. Magee didn't run the 40, nor compete in drills from what I saw. Not sure why. Still think there's a solid chance Magee gets drafted. He checks all the character boxes, will play special teams and can offer teams a lot in terms of versatility.
Short of Hilliard, and perhaps Magee, the LSU crew performed admirably this weekend. I think both of the Collins solidified their draft grades in the 1st round. Hunter will have a shot for the pure freak factor. Kwon put hard numbers to what tape said, illustrating he's an athletic but undersized backer.
LSU should continue it's strong draft showing again in 2015, putting yet another DB into the league, and a chance for a couple multiple year starters in La'El Collins and Danielle Hunter, as well.