The NFL combine is over. Here are some notes & observations on Pac-12 players from the final day.
He entered the combine as the third corner on most boards and needed a great workout to solidify his status as a mid-first round selection. Smith showed athleticism, speed and burst in drills. He is smooth and fluid in movements, showing surprising body control for his lanky frame (6-foot-2, 211 pounds). He displayed sound footwork making turns and transitions in the pedal drills. His fluidity executing those movements is impressive considering his lack of experience in zone coverage.
And UCLA safety Rahim Moore:
Locked in as the top safety in the draft coming in, his solid workout did nothing to dissuade that opinion. Moore put up solid numbers in the athletic drills while showing excellent footwork and fluidity in defensive back drills. He caught the ball exceptionally well and is one of the more natural centerfielder-type safeties in this year's class.
Another positive take on Moore, who appears to have cemented his position as the draft's top safety.
UCLA S Rahim Moore looked good in position drills, showing quick feet and more fluid hips than expected. He was technically sound when turning and running, and just like on film Moore tracked the ball very well.
Smith didn't impress everybody -- he made Clark Judge's list of "guys he didn't like":
Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: It's one thing to be confident; it's another to be cocky -- and Smith was so cocky that when he was asked about comparisons to Asomugha he said, "I think I have better ball skills than he does." Please. One guy's an All-Pro; the other hasn't played a down of pro ball. Whom would you trust?
Smith's fellow corner at Colorado, Jalil Brown, got busted.
Every year prospects try to cheat drills in an effort to mask their weaknesses. Colorado DC Jalil Brown looked like he tried to hide the tightness in his hips, backpedaling slower than a lot of the corners to make it easier for him to open and run. This rarely works for two reasons. First, teams already know about his tight hips based on film study. Secondly, scouts will take a second look at the film of these workouts and pick up on any attempts at cheating.
You've got to feel for Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews. First of all, he has to follow his brother, Clay, who was the runner-up in this year's Defensive Player of the Year voting. Second, he had to withdraw from the combine after re-injuring his shoulder during the bench press. Apparently, it's an injury similar to one he suffered his freshman season. "Unfortunate" is how Matthews described it. I'll say. Clubs might be scared off if they think Matthews is an injury waiting to happen.
Look for USC's Tyron Smith to vault up draft boards in the coming weeks. The guy has all the measurables (he's 6-5, 307) and might be the best tackle in the draft. He's young (20), tested well and has a wingspan so wide that he conceded "it was tough to buy shirts with long-enough sleeves." Smith played the right side in college but is projected as a left tackle in the pros.
Three other Pac-12 players made the list of winners:
Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal. He was a star of the Senior Bowl and then ran the 40-yard dash in the low 4.7-second range. In other drills, he displayed rare explosiveness, quickness, agility and speed for a big defensive end. He showed excellent body control and fluidity when changing directions. Jordan proved he is a top-level athlete and now will be a top-15 pick by a team that plays a 3-4 defense.
Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona. This hard-nosed overachiever displayed good athleticism and now projects as a future NFL starter at outside linebacker. Throughout his workout, he displayed the quickness and agility to change directions smoothly and play well in the open field. He also displayed the hand usage and technique to be a consistent pass rusher. He now has a legit chance to be a second-round pick, surpassing Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan on some team's draft boards.
Jordan Cameron, TE, Southern Cal. He is a raw prospect who was not very productive at USC, but he has the size and athleticism to excite NFL coaches. He was the most fluid and smooth route-runner of the tight ends and showed good hands. He now is a mid-round pick who could go much higher with a great on-campus workout March 30.
Some other links and notes: