INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL Scouting Combine has been up and running since Tuesday, but Friday served as the first actual day of running, blocking and basic football drills.
Even on a day like this, the excitement couldn't be contained to Lucas Oil Stadium's field. It was another busy day of interviews up in the concourse.
Here's our breakdown of the five most important happenings on a frigid Friday.
Top WRs show off strength in bench press
Behind closed doors and away from the hundreds of cameras scattered throughout the Colts' home stadium, two receivers projected for the early rounds showed off their upper-body strength and potential value as blockers with impressive showings on the bench press. West Virginia's Kevin White, whom many project as the second wide receiver to be drafted behind Alabama's Amari Cooper, and Auburn's Sammie Coates each posted 23 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench to lead all wide receivers. (UConn's Geramy Davis also had 23 reps). Blocking doesn't come up much during wide receiver interview sessions with reporters, but it certainly matters when teams like the Browns are evaluating prospective additions to their roster. When asked what separated him from the other elite receivers in this year's draft, White didn't hesitate to say it was his blocking.
Jordan Cameron's 40 time holds up well compared to 2015 TE class
At the 2011 Combine, Cameron notched a blazing 4.53-second 40-yard dash to place him second among tight ends. Only a few from the position have done better in the years since and none were better Friday, as Southern Illinois' Mycole Pruitt led the way with a 4.58. Simply put, there aren't many burners among this year's draft-eligible tight ends. Maxx Williams (Minnesota), whom most project as the first tight end to be drafted, had the third-best time at 4.78 seconds.
No OL freaks this year
One year ago today, Terron Armstead introduced himself to the casual fan when he ran the fastest 40-yard dash by an offensive lineman in NFL Combine history (4.77 seconds). It served as a launching pad for the Arkansas Pine-Bluff product, who was drafted in the third round and eventually went on to start 14 games during his rookie season with the Saints. His 40 time was one of a number of sub-5 40s run by offensive linemen in a uniquely speedy year for the position group. (Among them was Browns guard Joel Bitonio, who ran his in 4.97 seconds.) Bitonio's 40 time would have been the best of this year's group, as Ali Marpet of Division III Hobart & William Smith was the only offensive lineman to clock a time under five seconds (4.98). Among offensive linemen projected to land in the first round, Iowa's Brandon Scherff had the best time (5.05).
Jameis Winston confidently announces he'll throw
The most anticipated press conference of the week became an even bigger spectacle when word leaked that Florida State's Jameis Winston was dealing with weakness in his throwing shoulder. An hour or so later, Winston confidently announced he would be a full participant in Saturday's throwing drills, setting up quite a showdown of sorts with Oregon's Marcus Mariota, who will also throw. Winston was his usual confident self behind the podium, as he faced a flurry of tough questions about his off-the-field issues with the Seminoles and the trust he needs to gain from the Buccaneers if they decide to use the No. 1 pick on him. In nearly every one of his answers, Winston said his goal was to become "the face of the franchise" wherever he went.
Friday was the day for defensive linemen and linebackers to meet with reporters, and a large number of them faced a similar line of questioning about where they might fit in best in the NFL. It was essentially the day of the 'tweener, as highly touted prospects Bud Dupree (Kentucky), Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida), Nate Orchard (Utah) and more explained how they were able to adapt to potential roles as defensive ends in a 4-3 and outside linebackers in a 3-4, the latter being where they'd most likely play if the Browns selected any of them. Washington's Shaq Thompson, though, took it one step further. Along with linebacker drills, he'll do a few things with the running backs Saturday.
This article is part of the Road to the Draft series, driven by Liberty Ford.
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