The NFL Combine took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis last week, with several former Iowa Hawkeyes taking the field and the podium hoping to improve their draft stock ahead of next month’s draft, April 23-25.
Five Hawkeyes showcased their talents in Indianapolis: quarterback Nate Stanley, offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs, defensive end A.J. Epenesa, safety Geno Stone and cornerback Michael Ojemudia.
No one had a better performance of the five than Wirfs, who was projected to be a first round pick heading into the Combine, and emerged — if nothing else — confirming the validity of that thought, if not bumping him into the top 10. Let’s break it down, along with the other four performances, below. I’ve listed official measurements and stats for each player, along with video and analysis from Twitter that I found interesting or insightful. All Combine stats are taken from the official NFL Combine results website.
Since we already started talking about Wirfs, let’s just get right into it with him:
Weight: 320 lbs
Hands: 10 1/4”
40-yard dash: 4.85 seconds
Bench press reps: 24
Vertical jump (inches): 36.5
Broad jump (inches): 121.0
3 cone drill: 7.65 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 4.68 seconds
Wirfs’ performances in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump were good enough for first of the offensive linemen, while his 3 cone drill was 5th and 20-yard shuffle a tie for 7th. That’s impressive. I think we all knew of Wirfs’ talent and what he brought to the Iowa offensive line (and how they struggled at times with him injured) but I admittedly was surprised at just how incredible these numbers were.
And people paid attention, too. Our own SB Nation had Wirfs as their top winner of the combine. A top 10 pick for Wirfs is certainly not out of the question.
No one should be that big.— NFL (@NFL) February 29, 2020
And that strong.
And that fast.
But @HawkeyeFootball OL @tristanwirfs74 was in a record-setting workout.
: 2020 #NFLCombine continues 4PM ET on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/45Mu9GoyRZ
Notable Vertical Jumps at #NFLCombine— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) February 29, 2020
Last 10 Years
• OL Tristan Wirfs - 36.5”
• WR DeAndre Hopkins - 36”
• WR Jerry Jeudy - 35”
• WR CeeDee Lamb - 34.5”
• WR A.J. Green - 34.5”
• WR Amari Cooper - 33”@HawkeyeFootball @TristanWirfs74
Weight: 275 lbs
Arms: 34 1/2”
Hands: 10 1/8”
40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds
Bench press reps: 17
Vertical jump (inches): 32.5 inches
Broad jump (inches): 117.0 inches
3 cone drill: 7.34
20 yard shuttle: 4.46
AJE's combine yesterday wasn't all that surprising but was a little slower in 10y split(1.78-1.80) and 3 cone(7.34) than you'd hope. Combine was never gonna be his spot to shine but it keeps the JJ Watt comparisons from being made— Hawkeye Gamefilm (@hawkeyegamefilm) March 1, 2020
Epenesa was also asked to work out at linebacker, which is a bit surprising. Given his somewhat lackluster numbers, some mock drafts have him falling o the second round — or even lower. But anyone who watched Iowa the last three years, or who know how drops have worked for other Iowa studs (see King, Desmond, for example), there shouldn’t be too much overreaction about these numbers.
Weight: 235 lbs
Arms: 32 5/8”
40-yard dash: 4.81 seconds
Bench press reps: N/A
Vertical jump (inches): 28.5
Broad jump (inches): 108.0
3 cone drill: 7.26 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 4.48
Certainly not a bad day for Stanley according to the numbers. But I don’t think anybody doubted his athletic ability or arm strength at any point in his Iowa career. The biggest knocks were decision making and accuracy. And Scott Dochterman says Stanley has been working with a “QB whisperer” leading up to the Combine and draft (paywall) so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Someone will give him a chance, most likely in the middle rounds to be a backup (at least for the foreseeable future? I don’t know, I’m not a draft expert).
Weight: 200 lbs
Arms: 32 1/4”
Hands: 8 7/8”
40-yard dash: 4.45 seconds
Bench press reps: N/A
Vertical jump (inches): 36.0 inches
Broad jump (inches): 122.0 inches
3 cone drill: 6.87 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 4.21 seconds
By all accounts, a really nice performance from Ojemudia that might see him bump up a few spots, if not a few rounds. He has really good intangibles, which from all I know about the NFL, can make up for a lack of performance at the Combine. I would be shocked if Ojemudia wasn’t a solid contributor to a good team in a few seasons.
Iowa CB Michael Ojemudia ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds to rank ninth among cornerbacks. Only 3 CBs had longer arms and only 5 had wider wingspans.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) March 1, 2020
Along with a solid Senior Bowl week and his playing experience (which is most important), Ojemudia could move into the top 100 picks. https://t.co/cKnsImsOsb
Weight: 207 lbs
Arms: 29 1/4”
Hands: 9 1/8”
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
Bench press reps: 12
Vertical jump (inches): 33.5 inches
Broad jump (inches): 116.0 inches
3 cone drill: N/A
20 yard shuttle: N/A
From what I understand, this performance was about what was expected of Stone. Not a physical marvel by any means, but a player with a strong IQ of the game itself. I think Stone will add some depth to a roster but he might have the toughest climb of this group to be contributing every Sunday afternoon.
Just a bit of hip stiffness on each swivel, not clunky but not fluid, makes it tougher to ask'm to step down over most slot WRs https://t.co/2wMldhFnqy— Hawkeye Gamefilm (@hawkeyegamefilm) March 1, 2020
So, what do you think about the performances from these Hawks? Regardless of where they land, it’s going to be fun to watch all five of these guys play professionally come next fall.