1. OLYMPIC SPEED - Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
A long jump finalist at the Olympic Games in London, Goodwin got all the headlines after running a 4.27 40, nearly breaking Chris Johnson’s all-time Combine record of 4.24 seconds [note: all times and measurements via NFL.com/combine]. That said, monster 40 times haven’t exactly been a great predictor for success in the NFL, especially for receivers. Other than Johnson, the fastest 40 times in recent years belong to Jacoby Ford, Yamon Figurs, Jason Hill and Darrius Heyward-Bey. A few of those guys have shown flashes of brilliance in the NFL, but none can be considered household names.
He’ll likely be drafted…somewhere in the mid-to-late rounds. Goodwin only caught 26 passes his senior year and is very small for an NFL receiver, but some team—possibly one with a surplus of picks—will take a flyer on his elite speed.
2. BIG HANDS, I KNOW YOU’RE THE ONE! - Keenan Allen, WR, Cal
A knee injury kept Allen from participating at the Combine, but he at least remembered to bring his hands. Several scouts spoke in hushed tones about his huge mitts, which measured a touch over ten inches from thumb to pinkie. While hand size can only be so meaningful, the measurement helps him stand out in a deep, talented wide receiver pool that’s lacking a clear number one option.
He’ll likely be drafted…early Round Two. since he missed the combine, Allen is something of an unknown quantity, but teams still like the body and work ethic. While his injury history and lack of playmaking ability may turn off some, he’s definitely in the top tier of receivers and should go to a team in need of a large, physical pass-catcher.
3. BIG FAT FAST GUYS - Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Nothing’s more terrifying to me than a guy who’s both faster than I am and a hundred-plus pounds heavier. 300+ pound tackles Terron Armstead and Lane Johnson fit that bill after running the two fastest 40 times ever by offensive linemen (4.71 and 4.72, respectively). To put those numbers in perspective, consider that only nine linebackers at the Combine ran faster 40’s.
They’ll likely be drafted…Lane Johnson’s athletic display sent his stock skyward. He’s now nipping at the heels of Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher, the consensus 1/2 tackles in this draft. It’s hard to see him sticking around past the middle of Round One. Armstead, on the other hand, wowed with his physical tools but there are still concerns about his injury history, technique, and in-game toughness. There’s also probably a little bit of small-school bias working against him. Still, he seems a safe bet to go by early Round Three, with the best case scenario being the middle of Round Two.
4. MONSTER KICKER - Dustin Hopkins, PK, Florida State
The combine’s pretty irrelevant for kickers, but Hopkins, already considered by many as the draft’s top kicker, decided to participate in drills anyway. He proceeded to embarrass several skill position prospects. His 4.74 time in the 40 yard dash was better than Missouri wideout T.J. Moe’s (4.75) and Cincinnati running back George Winn’s (4.76), both of whom are expected to go in later rounds. Even more impressive, Hopkins’s vertical leap (33.5”) beat possible first-round wideouts Robert Woods (also 33.5”) and Tavon Austin (32”), who’s currently ranked as the best wide receiver in the 2013 draft class by ESPN.
He’ll likely be drafted…Um, somewhere? Predicting where kickers go can be a crapshoot, but expect Hopkins to be taken in the later rounds, probably by a team itching to bust out their kooky backyard fake field goal plays.
5. THE TWO-FER: LONGEST ARMS, HEAVIEST BODY - D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
Of all the draft’s early round prospects, D.J. Fluker feels gravity’s pull the most. And here’s the crazy part—at 339 pounds, he’s actually lost sixteen pounds since the Senior Bowl. As if Fluker’s girth isn’t eye-catching enough, his arms measured a staggering 36 and 5/8 inches. That’s a good inch-and-a-half longer than nearly every other tackle measured. Basically, this guy’s already half of the Fantastic Four.
He’ll likely be drafted…in the mid-to-late first round. Weight issues put him outside the top tier of tackles that includes Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, and Lane Johnson, but teams have to like the recent weight loss. Plus, teams can always use more talent on the offensive line.