(RNN) – The NFL scouting combine wrapped up Tuesday, and while it isn't fully known if anyone helped/hurt themselves, there were some notable developments.
The biggest offseason storyline has been the revelation that Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o didn't know his girlfriend wasn't real. In the immediate aftermath of the hoax revelation, Te'o, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up, faced numerous questions about his judgment. At the combine, it was no different.
In a press conference regarding the issue, Te'o called the experience "embarrassing."
"It got overwhelming, at times," Te'o said. "I've learned to be honest in everything you do. I'm looking forward to getting to football."
NFL teams are notorious for trying to find out every detail of a player's life, and there were reports that some teams questioned Te'o's sexual orientation. Whatever damage the girlfriend hoax did to Te'o, it's likely less than the damage done by his poor performance against Alabama in the BCS national championship game and the slow 40-yard dash time he turned in at the combine.
Te'o ran 4.81 in the 40-yard dash, which is considered slow for his position. He measured at 6'1" and 241 pounds, which are both average. By comparison, more than a dozen linebackers turned in a faster time than Te'o, 12 defensive linemen ran equal or better times, 10 tight ends were faster and two offensive linemen were faster. (Complete results are available here.)
Despite those numbers, Te'o's grade of 87.5 is considered to make him a first-round draft pick and an immediate starter, but Te'o's speed in the 40-yard dash has called into question his ability to defend the pass and be an every down player.
He has another workout scheduled at Notre Dame's pro day in a few weeks.
Several players from the Southeastern Conference turned in stellar performances, including offensive linemen Chance Warmack, Luke Joeckel and D.J. Fluker, defensive linemen Barkevious Mingo, Sheldon Richardson, Sharrif Floyd, and Damontre Moore, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and defensive backs Dee Milliner and Eric Reed.
Warmack, Mingo and Jarvis Jones are all graded as the top players at their positions, and all the players listed above were graded as first-round picks. Several players, including Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Jones, did not participate in the combine and will wait for their school's pro day.
Jones participated in the medical evaluations, and Lacy held out due to a hamstring injury. Milliner ran a 4.31 in the 40-yard dash, but is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn labrum. Injury concerns regarding all three players could hurt their draft positions.
Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu ran a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash in his return to action after missing last year due to suspension. His grade projects him to the second or third round, but he is expected to go well after that. If his off-field issues are behind him, Mathieu could be a steal.
Questions about LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery's effort could hurt him. Montgomery caused a stir when he admitted to not playing up to his potential in games against weaker opponents. He was graded as a second- or third-round choice, but was the No. 16 defensive lineman.
Montgomery's comments could be perceived as evidence of a bad work ethic and could damage his reputation and draft position. He has also reportedly been receiving bad reviews among LSU's coaching staff.
Late last year when word got out of a note to NFL scouts concerning players who "miss workouts and always have an excuse" and "lack the self-discipline and motivation to take care of their responsibilities" it received considerable attention, and Montgomery's name was on the list.
Whether any of this plays a significant role in what happens in the April draft is anyone's guess, but the combine is the best place for NFL teams to compare prospects side-by-side and start forming their draft plans.
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