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Friday, July 31, 2015

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Spartans perform at NFL Combine

By          Posted: 02/27/12 12:20pm         

While much of yesterday’s focus from the NFL combine was on Robert Griffin III’s blazing 40-yard-dash time and Andrew Luck’s athletic versatility, former quarterback Kirk Cousins gave scouts another reason to pay attention to the group of quarterbacks that took the field yesterday.

Behind Griffin and Luck, there’s no clear number three quarterback in the draft, but Cousins is making a strong case for the position, drastically improving his draft stock behind a solid performance during the quarterback drills.

Cousins’ workout numbers were less than impressive, as his 40 time of 4.93 was faster than only Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Arizona’s Nick Foles among quarterbacks.

His long jump of 28.5 inches also ranked near the bottom of the quarterbacks list, as did his 20-yard shuttle time of 4.50 seconds. Cousins’ broad jump of 109.0 inches and a 3-cone drill time of 7.05 seconds put him somewhere near the middle of the pack in both drills among quarterbacks.

But scouts aren’t looking just at Cousins’ numbers, and he impressed just about everywhere else. Cousins was on target with nearly all of his passes, and he did a good job of showing off the deep pall, throwing tight spirals and even looking off imaginary defensive backs before hauling it down field.

His ability to drop the ball in his receivers’ hands and hitting his receivers in stride on the short routes more than likely turned a few heads — Including ESPN analyst John Clayton’s who labeled him the big winner of the quarterback combine — and in a shallow quarterback class he may have emerged as the third quarterback taken off the board come April.

Former wide receivers B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin also were given the chance to show off their skills, and of the two it appeared to be Martin that helped his case the most, and the 6-foot receiver likely jumped a few spots in more than a few scouting reports.

Martin’s vertical leap of 39.5 inches placed him fourth among all wide receivers and his 40 time of 4.45 seconds was eleventh fastest among for his position. His 20 and 60-yard shuttle times also were impressive, and his 60-yard shuttle time of 11.16 seconds was good enough for third best.

Meanwhile, Cunningham ran a 4.59 second 40 time while finishing near the bottom half in just about every drill he participated in. To be honest, I was a little surprised by Cunningham’s sub par performance, but he did well during the on field drills catching most of the balls thrown his way and running crisp routes.

Prior to the combine, ESPN ranked Cunningham as the 18th best receiver prospect, with a Scout, Inc. grade of 63.

Finally, former running back Edwin Baker may have increased his worth at the combine with an above-average 40 time of 4.53 seconds and 20 bench press reps of 225 lbs. He also tied for 12th on the vertical jump with 35 inches.

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