Gridlock on the gridiron: Scouts torn over varied showings at NFL Combine

John Fox addresses the media on Day 1 of the 2016 NFL Combine (Adam Rossow/MEDILL)

By Tolly Taylor

Some 1,200 journalists tried to tackle the 335 prospects at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The takeaway: there are so many strong prospects on the defensive line, third rounders will look like first rounders in April’s draft. Wide receivers? Raised eyebrows as well, but for all the wrong reasons.

The lights turned on and cameramen clicked record for the head coaches and general managers, who starred on Day 1. Chicago Bears head coach John Fox called the Combine a “first look” at prospects.

‘Superback’ or Superman?
On Day 2, Northwestern’s Danny Vitale benched 225 pounds 30 times, tying for first among running backs and fullbacks with Nebraska’s Andy Janovich. The next day, he would be tops among fullbacks in the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump and the 20- and 60-yard shuttles.

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Party problems
Day 3 featured defensive prospects, several with histories of injuries or run-ins with the law. The biggest surprise was an Ole Miss mishap.

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Great expectations
Just two days after he boasted about clocking a 4.26-second 40-yard dash, Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller was more tortoise than hare.

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Quick take: slow times
Wide receivers competed in seven drills on Day 4, but it was their 40-yard dash times that stood out. And not in a good way.

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Photo at top: Bears head coach John Fox addresses the media on Day 1 of the 2016 NFL Combine. (Adam Rossow/MEDILL)