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  • FOOTBALL

    Winners and losers at the NFL scouting combine

  • INDIANAPOLIS — Oklahoma's Lane Johnson ran nearly as fast as Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin, leaped as high as Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green, and matched the broad jump of New England running back Stevan Ridley.
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  • INDIANAPOLIS — Oklahoma's Lane Johnson ran nearly as fast as Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin, leaped as high as Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green, and matched the broad jump of New England running back Stevan Ridley.
    Were Johnson, say, a safety, his performance at the NFL scouting combine would have been reasonably impressive.
    But this boggles the mind: Johnson is a 6-foot-6, 303-pound offensive tackle.
    "Think about those three things for a 300-pound offensive tackle and put that in perspective of what he can be," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who said Johnson is "going to end up somewhere in the 10-15 range in this draft, and he has the ability to be an All-Pro left tackle."
    Johnson is one of several college prospects who made the most of their opportunity to impress NFL scouts, coaches and executives at the six-day combine, solidifying his standing in a draft class rich with talented offensive and defensive linemen.
    Not everyone came away from Lucas Oil Stadium having seized the moment. A look at some of the memorable and forgettable performances from the 2013 combine:
    OK, so the significance of the 40-yard dash is often overblown. But it's still a worthwhile test, especially for skill-position players. Texas receiver Marquise Goodwin fell short of breaking Chris Johnson's combine record (4.24 seconds), but Goodwin, who finished 10th in the long jump at the London Olympics, turned in a turf-melting 4.27.
    Heading into the combine, this looked like a ho-hum quarterback class, and nothing that happened in Indianapolis changed that. USC's Matt Barkley didn't work out for teams — he'll do so on his March 27 pro day — and West Virginia's Geno Smith was more solid than spectacular. Smith is generally regarded as the top quarterback candidate, but it wouldn't be a shock if he slipped into the second half of the first round.
    The most talked-about neck in Indianapolis last weekend wasn't Peyton Manning's but that of Georgia pass rusher Jarvis Jones. He's a top prospect who suffered an unspecified neck injury during his freshman season at USC and transferred to Georgia after USC doctors wouldn't clear him to return. Now, after Jones' two productive seasons with the Bulldogs and a diagnosis of spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal column), NFL teams are interested but wary.
    As impressive as Johnson was, there's a good chance two other left tackles will go before him: Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Both performed well at the combine, and either could be the No. 1 overall pick.
    Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner both had strong performances in Indianapolis and could be selected in the top 10. First, though, each will undergo shoulder surgery. NFL teams seem unconcerned.
    Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is a potential No. 1 pick who worked out very well, including running a pair of 40s in less than 5.0. He can't tell you a lot about the history of the NFL, though, as he watched his first game only six years ago when the Colts played the Bears in the Super Bowl. For most of his childhood, he wasn't much interested in pro football.
    Disgraced Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was poised in facing the media, and got good reviews on his attitude from many NFL teams, but his slow 40 time (4.82) only reinforces the notion the pro game will be too fast for him. "That was the one physical question that scouts have about him: Does he have the speed to beat backs to the edge?" said Rob Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. "That's absolutely a concern."
    A speedy surprise was 306-pound Terron Armstead, a left tackle from Arkansas Pine Bluff, who set a combine record for his position with a 4.71 in the 40. He also did 31 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press. Scouts say he's raw but very bright and has what it takes to protect a quarterback's blind side in the pros.
    The combine was a disappointment and a blessing for Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, a top prospect who went home without working out after doctors diagnosed him with a heart condition. In light of what might have happened had the situation gone undiscovered, his good luck far outweighs his bad.
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