Former University of Alabama offensive linemen Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker completed their rounds at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Saturday, with neither finishing among their position leaders in the 40-yard dash.
Chance Warmack's broad jump helped demonstrate the power he has out of a set stance.
While that’s not expected to hurt either’s draft status, and Fluker’s footwork made it pretty obvious that he’s a right tackle, the big question for Warmack is how early a team might consider selecting a guard.
“For most people that’s not a sexy pick, and I’m sure Jaguars fans would say, 'What are you doing?’ If he's the best player, don’t you owe it to your organization to do that?” Greg Cosell, a columnist for Yahoo! Sports told the Jacksonville Jaguars’ website. “I think we have a draft where it’s very possible that the number two pick may not be a sexy pick, but you might get a really good player.”
While it wasn’t long ago that taking a guard that early would have been considered laughable, it’s not so much now, especially this year when there are so few top candidates at the most desirable positions like quarterback and cornerback. Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew also credits the new collective bargaining agreement for helping alter the way teams approach the draft,
Warmack and North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper are widely regarded as elite prospects who could potentially be top-10 selections, with Mike Mayock of the NFL Network calling Warmack the best player in this year’s draft on film.
“I think it can be a value,” Tennessee general manager Ruston Webster said in general about guards during his Combine press conference. “I think it needs to be a player you see coming in to your team and making a difference, upgrading you and possibly being an outstanding player at the position. I have never been one to say you don’t take a guard in the first round or whatever. I’ve never looked at it that way. If there’s somebody there that is a special player then we will take a look at him. They are very good players, for sure.”
Tennessee has the 10th selection in the first round and an obvious need at guard. Meanwhile, former Titans coach Jeff Fisher has never used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman, but might do just that if one drops to the St. Louis Rams, who have picks 16 and 22 in the first round.
“If you look at the guard market over the last few years in free agency, it's gone up for a reason,” St. Louis general manager Les Snead said. “As you see the way teams play on defense, if your quarterback can step up in the pocket it's easier to step up and throw than run around. Sometimes when you run around, you've got to stop and figure it out.
“You look at the Saints, I think the Saints have invested well in guard and Drew Brees was one that would step and has had a lot of success.”
Alabama's outgoing defensive linemen Square, Williams and Dial have arrived in Indianpolis.
Fluker ran the 40 in 5.31 seconds.
Warmack ran the 40 in 5.49. His broad jump was 110 inches.
Quinton Dial measured 6-foot-5, 318 pounds, 34.48 arm length.
Damion Square 6-2, 293, 32.18.
Jesse Williams 6-3, 323, 32.08.
Williams aims for bench mark
Although Williams isn’t ready to do any running drills after having arthroscopic knee surgery, he will take a shot at the Combine bench-press record on Sunday.
Eastern Kentucky’s Justin Ernest did 51 reps of 225 pounds in 1999. The closest anyone’s come to that recently was Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea with 49 reps two years ago.
"I will give it my best," Williams said. "A lot of teams know I'm pretty strong already. I'm trying to showcase my size and the way I can move."
Paea reportedly maxed out at 550 pounds, whereas Williams hit 600 last summer and said he could have added more weight.
“I looked good,” he said with a laugh when asked what he thought of the video that quickly spread via social media.
Jerry Dominguez, the defensive coordinator at Arizona Western junior college predicted to the New York Times in January that he thought Williams would do 55 to 60 reps.
When asked if he’s ever done 50 reps Williams said: "I've been close to that, definitely."
Quote of the day
"I'm sure whatever NFL team I go to will be Australia's favorite team from now on.” – Williams.
Other Alabama players
Barrett Jones: His Combine is complete. Wearing a protective boot after having foot surgery he did not participate in drills.
Quinton Dial: Will not participate in workouts after having foot/toe surgery.
Nico Johnson: Sidelined following sports hernia surgery.
Eddie Lacy: Did not run drills at the combine due to a hamstring injury.
Robert Lester: Is expected to go through Combine drills.
Dee Milliner: Will run drills, but not participate in the bench press due to a shoulder injury that will require surgery after the Combine.
Damion Square: Is coming off arthroscopic knee surgery, will not participate in any Combine drills.
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said he spoke with one evaluator who ranks Lacy above former Alabama running backs Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram.
When asked to describe his three best attributes Lacy said: “Power. Agile for a big back and my pass protection.”
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o on why he didn’t play well in the national championship game: “That’s because I didn’t. That’s all on me. I played hard and so did my team, but Alabama had a great game plan and so did we. They executed better than we did.”
The combine started Wednesday:
It's done by positions, and each group goes through the same process:
Day 1: Travel to Indianapolis; Registration; Hospital pre-exam & X-rays; Orientation; Interviews
Day 2: Measurements; Medical examinations; Media; Interviews
Day 3: NFLPA meeting; Psychological testing; PK/ST workout; Bench press; Interviews
Day 4: On-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills); Departure from Indianapolis
The NFL Network will have live coverage of all the on-field workouts, 8 a.m. each day:
Sunday: Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Monday: Defensive linemen, linebackers
Tuesday: Defensive backs