By Keith McGonigle.
Seven former Clemson players took part in the NFL combine over the last week. TheClemsonInsider.com takes a look at their performances and how the combine will this affect their draft stock.
DE Da’Quan Bowers– Official Height/Weight: 6’3” 280 lbs. – Bowers did not participate in any drill other than bench press, where he lifted 225-pounds 22 times (somewhat below average for a defensive end of his size.) It was later reported that Bowers’ is not healing from his “small meniscus tear” as well as expected. All eyes will be on Bowers at the upcoming pro day, where he said he would do all the workouts necessary. I don’t think the knee injury should be a serious concern. It would be one thing if he were projected to go mid-late first round, a knee injury could really affect a guy and make him drop (Sergio Kindle last year.) But Bowers just had a dominate season, I don’t think any teams going to want to pass on him because of a small injury.
S DeAndre McDaniel – Official Height/Weight: 6’0” 217 lbs.- It seems that since his breakout junior year, McDaniel’s stock has been declining. He didn’t help his case on Tuesday at the combine. One big concern was McDaniel’s speed; he ended up running a 4.66 which was mediocre at best in a slow safety class. He did, however, come in the top 5 for both vertical and broad jump among safeties and had some of the biggest hands (bigger hands = usually better catching ability). We all know that McDaniel can make plays in the secondary, but his lack of speed and coverage skills may be a concern to GM’s come draft day.
CB/S Marcus Gilchrist – Official Height/Weight: 5’10” 195 lbs.- Unlike DeAndre McDaniel, Gilchrist’s stock has been rising all year. Many have draft experts have him ranked higher than McDaniel including, NFL.com expert Mike Mayock who has Gilchrist ranked 3rd as a safety. Gilchrist did not disappoint at the combine posting a 4.50 in the 40 and 26 reps in the bench press, the most of any cornerback. He also registered the third best vertical jump of any defensive back. Gilchrist had a great outing at the combine he showed he has good enough speed to play corner, and is big and strong enough to play safety. His versatility should make him a tough guy to pass on come draft day.
RB Jamie Harper – Official Height/Weight: 5’11” 233 lbs – Harper surprised everyone by declaring early and skipping his senior season, especially after an average junior year. Harper really needed to turn heads at the combine, but he had a very pedestrian workout and did not really separate himself. Harper lost weight and got down to 233 but ran a 4.59, which is somewhat surprising because Clemson coaches had said he was the fastest straight line running back on the roster last year. Harper did not place in the top 5 for any other running back drill. I would not be surprised if he is not selected come draft day.
DT Jarvis Jenkins – Official Height/Weight: 6’4” 310 lbs. – The biggest thing for Jenkins may have been his weigh-in where it was confirmed that he was actually 6’4” 310 lbs. NFL teams have to like what they see from Jenkins who is big, can move, and is versatile. Jenkins ran a 5.08 in the 40 which was impressive for a guy his size. The one big negative was his bench press; he put up 17 reps which was the worst of any defensive tackle and 9 less than the player ahead of him. Watching him throughout the year he obviously has good strength, but hopefully teams don’t see that number of reps and pass over him because of it.
CB Byron Maxwell– Official Height/Weight: 6’0” 202 lbs. – Maxwell measured out really well; he ran a 4.46 in the 40, put up 24 reps in the bench, and had the longest arms of any defensive back. If you compare him to other safeties, which is the position most people think he will end up, Maxwell would have had the best 40 time, and second most reps in the bench with 24. At 6’0” 202 lbs. he definitely has enough size to make the switch to safety. Maxwell may have done the most of any Clemson player to help his draft stock out at the combine.
OT Chris Hairston – Official Height/Weight: 6’6” 326 lbs. – Hairston had a great day at the combine. He measured in at good height and weight, and had long arms. He also put up the most reps for offensive tackles in the bench press. Pretty impressive for a guy that came in at 280 lbs and a max bench press of 345. Hairston should still go in the later rounds, but he may have caught the eye of a few teams with his performance.