Yesterday was quite an important day in Indianapolis, at least as far as the Falcons are concerned.
The O-linemen and tight ends worked out, and the skill position players (QB, RB, WR) all weighed in after arriving on Friday. As we move into Sunday, perhaps the day that receives the most media coverage for obvious reasons, that same skill position group will run their on-field workouts, and the next group (D-line and linebackers) will be weighed.
With all of that in mind, it's time to hit some of the high points from Saturday's Combine performances:
Offensive Linemen Combine Results:
Kelechi Osemele, the monster tackle/guard out of Iowa State, continued to have a good showing at the Combine, recording 32 reps in the bench press drill and running a solid 5.36 40-yard dash (he's 6'6, 330 lbs, what were you expecting?). If drafted, Osemele's power blocking prowess would fit in well at right guard for the Falcons.
Another more likely selection for the Falcons is Illinois OT Jeff Allen, who benched 26 reps and had a solid 40-time of 5.28 seconds. Allen fits the more "traditional" model of a left tackle, and could start as early as this season if he can improve his pass blocking footwork a bit.
And then there's Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, another name often linked to the Falcons among the mock drafters. Zeitler had a solid combine: he showed good technique in the on-field drills, managed an impressive 32 reps in the bench press, and also had a nice 10-yard split of 1.75, showing a nice, quick burst off the line.
One guy who definitely hurt his stock at the combine was UAB tackle Matt McCants, who only managed 17 reps in the bench and ran a 5.52 40. Some have the somewhat raw McCants as a sleeper, and he'll probably still fall pretty far on draft day.
Coby Fleener, someone the Falcons recently interviewed at the combine, did not participate in the running drills because of a recent ankle injury. Still, all of his other measurables seemed to check out (he managed 27 reps in the bench press) and he certainly has the frame of a tight end (6'6, 247 lbs).
Ladarius Green somewhat confirmed his previous label as a receiving-only tight end. While he really impressed with a 4.53 40 time, a 1.58 10-yard split, and a 34.5 inch vertical, he also only managed 16 bench reps, second-lowest among the tight ends present. But given this perceived flaw, Green may very well fall to the Falcons on draft day, and having a year to bulk up and learn from Tony Gonzalez sounds like a great situation to me.
Finally, one of the biggest surprises by far on Saturday was Oklahoma TE James Hanna. The 6'4, 252-lb Sooner ran an impressive 4.49 40-yard dash and also had a 36-inch vertical to go along with it. Hanna's ability as a blocker may be a little suspect (only 24 bench reps), but he's definitely turned some heads after this weekend.
Quarterback, Running back, Wide receiver weigh-in:
Really not a whole lot going on here as far as the Falcons are concerned, as all three of these positions are pretty low on the totem pole for Thomas Dimitroff. If the Falcons do actually draft any of these positions, count on it not being until the final day of the draft (rounds 5, 6, 7).
That said, there definitely are a couple of shorter, faster wideouts that could peak the Falcons' interest should they elect to let Harry Douglas play somewhere else. Marquis Maze, Julio's old teammate at Alabama, came in at 5'8 and 186 pounds, and would likely start off primarily as a special teams contributor before being eased into the offense.
Another option is James Rodgers, older brother of the Falcons' very own Jacquizz Rodgers, who at 5'7 and 184 pounds is another agile speedster who could fit right into Dirk Koetter's vertical passing game.
And then there's quarterback, another position the Falcons likely won't address until the end of the draft if at all. Undersized sleeper guys like Russell Wilson (5'11, 204 lbs) or Case Keenum (6'1, 208 lbs) could be potential targets at that stage of the draft.