Combine Confirmation

Perhaps trying to beat back the ghosts of Mike Mamula and Matt Jones, most NFL GMs will downplay the importance of the on-field workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.  No one wants to be overwhelmed by a “workout warrior,” or to be making radical moves on their draft board based on a couple 40-yard-dash times and vertical leaps.

Rather, the medical examinations and closed-door interviews rank highest on most teams to-do lists while in Indianapolis.  The results from the field are often said to “confirm” the athletic picture a team already has on any given prospect.  Tavon Austin’s blistering 40-yard dash time from Sunday surely did nothing to hurt his draft “stock,” but it’s safe to say that most teams already had “really, really fast” written down on their scouting reports of the West Virginia receiver.

Still, it was a good day for Austin in Indianapolis, and maybe even a better one for equally fast receiving prospect Marquise Goodwin of Texas, who didn’t have nearly the same on-field college production as his Mountaineer counterpart and thus did well to open some eyes at the Combine.  Goodwin also confirmed his athleticism with a 132-inch broad jump that ranked second among all receivers.

Similarly, the players who would go on to form the Buccaneers’ 2012 draft class collectively had a strong showing at last year’s combine.  Again, it’s almost certain that Tampa Bay’s scouting staff already had a well-formed picture of such prospects as Doug Martin and Lavonte David, but those players did nothing to hurt their cause in Indy.

Mark Barron, the Alabama safety Tampa Bay would take seventh overall in the first round, did not participate in Combine workouts because he had recently had minor surgery.  In addition, sixth-round defensive back Keith Tandy and seventh-round running back Michael Smith were not part of the Combine crowd last year.   That left four future Buc draftees working out at Lucas Oil Stadium last year – first-round RB Doug Martin, second-round LB Lavonte David, fifth-round LB Najee Goode and seventh-round TE Drake Dunsmore – and they all had some bright moments.

Dunsmore might have been most impressive, at least in relation to the rest of the prospects at his position.  Dunsmore turned in the best marks among all tight ends in two of the drills and was top-five in five different activities.  Martin, whom the Buccaneers would draft 31st overall after a trade up, also put up some of the top marks at his position.

Here’s how the future Buccaneer draftees fared at last year’s Combine, listed by their rankings at their respective positions in the noted drills:

RB Doug Martin:

- 2nd in the 3-Cone Drill (6.79 seconds)

- 2nd in the 60-Yard Shuttle (11.29 seconds)

- 6th in the 20-Yard Shuttle (4.16 seconds)

- 6th in the Broad Jump (120 inches)

- 9th in the Vertical Leap (36 inches)

LB Lavonte David:

- 7th in the 40-Yard Dash (4.65 seconds)

- 8th in the Vertical Leap (36.5 inches)

LB Najee Goode:

- 6th in the 40-Yard Dash (4.64 seconds)

TE Drake Dunsmore:

- 1st in the 3-Cone Drill (6.73 seconds)

- 1st in the 20-Yard Shuttle (4.03 seconds)

- 3rd in the 60-Yard Shuttle (11.47 seconds)

- 5th in the 40-Yard Dash (4.64 seconds)

- 5th in the Vertical Leap (35.5 inches)

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