The 2014 NFL combine kicked off Saturday in Lucas Oil Stadium. Draft prospects from across the nation have put in hundreds of hours of hard work to get this opportunity. I focused primarily on the offensive line prospects on Saturday. It was nice to see a small school kid hang with the top 5.
YDCFF 2014 NFL Combine Coverage: OT’s
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to cover this class of offensive linemen participating in the 2014 NFL combine.. There are a lot of talented kids. There are some who came in to this event with a lot of hype, that well, just plain stunk-it-up. There were others that have flown under the radar who knew they had to get noticed. They did.
The one kid who I believe did the most to improve his stock was Nevada left tackle, Joel Bitonio. He weighed in at 6-4 302. He has good length with 33 7/8″ arms and 9 5/8″ hands.
Joel Bitonio logged a 4.97 40, did 22 reps on the bench, a 9′ 5″ broad jump, a 7.37 second 3 cone, and a 4.44 second 20 yard shuttle in the 2014 NFL combine.. He was a top performer in all events but the bench press. When I had watched this kid on tape, I liked what I saw in the games. He has improved his craft.
I have to admit I was thoroughly impressed with how well he moved in the drills: his footwork has definitely improved from what I saw on tape. He kept good bend, controlled his hips well, and never clicked his heels. If a guy his size can broad jump over nine feet, that tells me he has good burst off of the snap. Anytime I see a 300+ lb man run a sub five 40, I am in awe. He will have no trouble getting out in front of screens or sealing the edge on run plays.
I would like to see this kid improve his upper body strength, but other than that he is a solid tackle. A 1.68 10 yard split is elite. Most scouts expect between 1.8 and 1.85. I have no convictions about saying he is a 1st year starter in the NFL. His size and athletic ability make him a perfect fit for a zone blocking system.