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Day 2 Workout Stock Watch: Receivers rising


INDIANAPOLIS -- **The Force with was with *Star Wars* aficionado Chris Conley on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Perhaps no wide receiver did more to open eyes than the 6-foot-2, 213-pound University of Georgia standout, who had the third-best 40-yard dash time (4.35) -- just behind UAB receiver J.J. Nelson's 4.29-second 40 -- and led the way in the vertical jump (45 inches) and the broad jump (11 feet, seven inches).

The broad jump matches New England linebacker Jamie Collins for the best broad jump in the last nine national Combines. His vertical is the best for anyone in Indianapolis since Donald Washington in 2009, but it didn't match Willie Creear's astounding 47-inch vertical at the regional Combine at Dove Valley.

But back to Conley for a moment.

When adding in the receiver-adjusted version of Bill Barnwell's Speed Score metric, plus the Reach Score metric that incorporates 40 time with arm to measure what a wide receiver can run down, Conley results were equally impressive; the 213-pounder was third in Speed Score and first in Reach Score.

Conley was in the 95th percentile when averaging 40 time, vertical jump, broad jump, speed score and reach score. The next closest average percentile across those metrics belonged to Auburn's Sammie Coates (84th percentile).

They were followed by West Virginia's Kevin White (average in those metrics: 81st percentile), Nebraska's Kenny Bell (79th percentile), Arizona State's Jaelen Strong (79th percentile) and William & Mary's Tre McBride (78th percentile).

McBride was the revelation of that group, as the 6-foot, 210-pounder clocked a 4.41-second 40 that was sixth-best among wide receivers. At a minimum, he could become a team's kickoff returner right away, but might be in line for something more -- and might be moving his way into the end of the draft's second day.

Relative to size, Georgia Tech's Darren Waller had the most impressive 40-yard dash of the day, as the 6-foot-6, 238-pounder covered the distance in 4.46 seconds.

By comparison, the day was one to forget for a pair of Mountain West Conference wideouts, Fresno State's Josh Harper and San Diego State's Ezell Ruffin, both of whom struggled in the 40-yard dash.



The strong day by Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon came as no surprise; as a 215-pounder with a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and a 92nd-percentile finish in the short shuttledrill among Combine running backs, he performed as expected, and a good bet to be the first running back off the board -- and a first-round pick.

But Northern Iowa running back David Johnson, a Senior Bowl participant last month, continued to establish himself as a potential second-day value pick. The 224-pounder blasted upfield with a 4.50-second 40-yard dash, which followed a bench-press performance (25 repetitions) that tied for fourth-best among running backs.

Johnson is a good blend of speed and power, and also had the second-best 10-yard split time of any running back (1.58 seconds). He can make plays out of the backfield, has good instincts and above-average hands for a running back (9 5/8-inches).


Plenty of pundits -- myself included -- chattered about Jameis Winston's slow 40-yard dash time after he posted a time within one-one-hundredth of a second of 304-pound offensive lineman Ali Marpet, the fastest O-lineman at the Combine.

But after a throwing session in which he displayed pinpoint accuracy throwing to a collection of wide receivers he barely knew, any concern evaporated. And with buzz building about his football acumen displayed in interviews, the only concern about the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner revolves around his character away from the sport.

On-the-field shots from Saturday's NFL Scouting Combine workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium (Credit: The Associated Press)

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