The NFL Combine wrapped up on Sunday and as Ross already wrote, Tristan Wirfs was easily the star of the show for Iowa, if not the star of the whole damn thing. Wirfs was one of five Hawkeyes to participate, the others being A.J. Epenesa, Michael Ojemudia, Nate Stanley and Geno Stone. Here’s how they did.
Somehow, A.J. Epenesa both won and lost at the Combine. He “won” because of his measurements, which were 6’5, 275, with a 34” arm length and 81” wingspan. With that, everyone started salivating. Then, A.J. actually worked out and he went from hero to zero, real quick. He ran a 5.04 40-yard dash. The leader, James Smith-Williams of N.C. State, ran a 4.60. He only put up 17 reps on the bench press. The leader, DaVon Hamilton, put up 33. Everything was sort of middling for Eppy. He didn’t finish in the top five in any category, nor did he finish in the bottom five.
Fortunately, anyone who actually saw Eppy play knows what type of player he is. He didn’t overly damage his draft stock but he definitely didn’t help it. Expect better at Iowa’s pro day.
Ojemudia finished in the top 10 with a 4.45 40-yard dash but his real highlight came at the 3-cone drill. Every NFL Draft guru has their own opinion on what the most important drill is at the Combine. I think it might be universally accepted that the 40-yard dash is primarily for gloating because what lineman is going to be in a full sprint during an NFL game? It might be more applicable to defensive backs, even though short passing seems to dominate this era’s NFL.
Regardless, the 3-cone drill is important when it comes to judging agility and good news Hawkeye fans: Ojemudia killed it. His time of 6.87 was good for second best behind only Myles Bryant of Washington. He also posted the sixth highest 20-yard shuffle. The biggest advantage for him might be his size, though, as he had the fourth longest arms and sixth widest wingspan. So yeah, it was a good combine for Mike.
Honestly, I’m not sure what Nate Stanley could actually show anyone at the NFL Combine. He isn’t very fast...WAIT, I take that back:
Is Nate Stanley the greatest lead blocker in history? We report, you decide! Touchdown Iowa! pic.twitter.com/NvBHZ8YdU9— Go Iowa Awesome (@IowaAwesome) November 29, 2019
Overall, he isn’t going to wow you with his athletic ability. His quickness isn’t really being tested, is it? I mean, so what can he tell us with these drills? His results:
- 4.81 40-yard dash (8th fastest)
- 28.5 vertical (3rd lowest)
- 108” broad jump (shortest)
- 7.26 3-cone drill (5th slowest)
Stanley isn’t a “run fast” quarterback. He’s a “throw the ball down the field” and "beat Nebraska" quarterback. His Wonderlic score and pro day are far more important than any of these tests.
Stone has a long list of things he’ll need to improve upon at Iowa’s pro day as he finished near the bottom five of every testable category. The thing about Geno is that he’s always been undersized, underappreciated, and underrecruited but he’s always outworked his opponents as he is a very smart football player. He’ll beat you on the football field long before he beats you in the gym.