NFL combine: NC State, UNC among winners and losers

jperson@charlotteobserver.comFebruary 26, 2013 

Manti Te’o won the press conference, then lost the 40-yard dash.

Matt Barkley didn’t throw – and didn’t lose any ground to a mostly middling pack of quarterbacks.

The Player Formerly Known as the Honey Badger looked like his NFL dreams would die with him flat on his back on the bench press. But former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu pulled himself off the bench and ran his way back on to draft boards Tuesday with a fast 40 time and a solid showing in the position drills.

A look at the winners and losers from the NFL’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, including several from the state:

WINNERS

David Amerson, CB, N.C. State

After an abysmal junior season when he was a human highlight film – for opposing receivers – Amerson needed a big showing in Indy to get back in first-round conversations. Amerson, a big corner at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, ran the 40 in 4.44 seconds, posted a vertical jump of 35 1/2 inches and did 15 reps in the 225-pound bench press. Now, can he convince teams he can still cover?

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

Floyd’s athleticism has always been his strong suit, and it was on full display in Indy. The 6-3, 297-pounder had the fastest 40 among defensive tackles at 4.92 seconds, and he moved well in the bag-and-cone drills. He’ll be a top-10 pick, if not higher.

Jonathan Cooper, OL, North Carolina

Cooper was smart and engaging during his press conference and, presumably, his meetings with teams. But he also tested well, getting through the 40 in 5.07 seconds and doing 35 reps in the bench, second among offensive linemen. It also helped that the other top guard did poorly (see below).

Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

Milliner did nothing to hurt his standing as the top corner in the draft. Milliner blazed through the 40 in 4.37 seconds and dazzled in defensive back drills. If the Panthers want him, they’ll have to trade up from 14. Way up.

Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

There are middle-schoolers who can push up four reps with 225 pounds on the bench, which was Mathieu’s sad total Monday. But Mathieu redeemed himself Tuesday by running a 4.50 in the 40 and backpedaling and breaking well in the drills. The guy has baggage, but he can play.

LOSERS

Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame

John Harbaugh’s expression said it all. The NFL Network cameras showed the Ravens' coach shaking his head after Te’o labored through the 40 in 4.82 seconds. Hard to think of anyone who’s had a worse January and February than Te’o, from getting exposed by Alabama in the title game to the fake, dead girlfriend hoax to his combine flop. If only his 40 time were a fake.

Chance Warmack, OL, Alabama

Some draft analysts downplayed Warmack’s 5.49 time in the 40, saying pulling guards don’t have to run 40 yards. But the 6-2, 317-pound Warmack looked soft – maybe the reason he skipped the bench press.

Mike Glennon, QB, N.C. State

The 6-7 Glennon wasn’t awful. His 4.94 clocking in the 40 was respectable, and he showed off the arm strength that has been his trademark. But like the other top quarterbacks who threw – Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and West Virginia’s Geno Smith – he was inconsistent and lacked the “wow” factor.

Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Banks came into the combine considered the top corner behind Milliner – and a possible target for the Panthers. But his 40 times were average, as was his performance in the drills.

Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

Maybe Moore should have stayed at A&M for his senior year – or at least hit the weight room a little more. Moore put up 11 reps in the bench, ran a slower 40 time than Te’o (4.95 seconds) and looked nothing like the second-best defensive end prospect in the draft, as some analysts had him ranked.

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