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Combine Notebook 3/3: McCaffrey Impresses in Drills

Posted Mar 3, 2017

Rams insider Myles Simmons shares his top notes from Friday of NFL Combine week.

INDIANAPOLIS — Friday was the first official day of on-field workouts, with offensive linemen and running backs taking to the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Meanwhile, quarterbacks, tight ends, and wide receivers put their best foot forward meeting wit the media. Here are a few notes from the day.

1) What Kromer wants in an offensive lineman

New Rams offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has been around the league long enough to know exactly what to look for during drills at the Combine. But he said he feels like the in-person interviews are probably more valuable when it comes to the week in Indy.

“The way I like to look at these guys at the Combine, is I’m trying to find out whether they can learn football first,” Kromer told therams.com. “So the interviews are really the most productive thing for me, just an opportunity to teach them something and see if they can teach it back to me.

“Also, just when they are working out, and they are doing their drills, that goes so far,” Kromer continued. “So, they’ve got to know what to do, how to do it, and continue to do the right thing over and over. You can find more about that tin the interview than you can actually on the field in the drills, so I really spend a lot of time and really like the interview process of the Combine.”

We’ll have more in Kromer in a full feature on the site this weekend.

2) RBs impress with 40 times

Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette may not have had the best vertical jump, but his speed was certainly impressive for his size. Fournette, who checked in at 6-feet and 240 pounds ran an official 4.51 40-yard dash.

That time put Fournette right in line with another notable running back, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. He ran a 4.48 40 to go along with his 37.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump.

McCaffrey, however, is listed at 5-foot-11 and 202 pounds. So for Fournette to only be .03 behind the Stanford product in 40 time says something about his athleticism.

T.J. Logan of North Carolina finished with the best 40 time of any running back at 4.37.

3) What are Smith-Schuster’s best qualities?

For some hometown flavor, USC wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was at the podium on Friday afternoon and received a question about his best qualities as a receiver. He listed three: his football I.Q., his toughness, and how competitive he is.

“I’m tough. I played through a broken hand,” he said. “And just very competitive — willing to work, willing to put my body out there on the line.”

Plus, there’s been a bit of buzz around a quarterback who won’t be draft eligible for another year — USC’s Sam Darnold. Smith-Schuster revealed he’s worked out with both Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Eagles signal-caller Carson Wentz in the past, particularly as he prepares for his own draft process. So how does Darnold stack up?

“Sam Darnold’s up there. That’s probably one guy I would take from my team right now,” the wideout said.

High praise, indeed.

4) How would Trubisky about feel heading home?

Speaking of North Carolina, quarterback Mitchell (not Mitch) Trubisky’s hometown, Mentor, Ohio, is about 30 minutes east of Downtown Cleveland. The Browns, of course, hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft. So how would the Northeast Ohio native feel to have his name called by the team he grew up rooting for at the top of the draft?

“I’m going to be excited wherever I go,” Trubisky said. “I have a lot of pride in where I’m from — that being my hometown. But no matter what team selects me, I’m going to be super excited and I’m going to work as hard as possible wherever I go. It’s been a dream of mine to play in the NFL since I was a little kid. So whoever picks me, it’s going to be a dream come true.”

Standard, middle of the road answer. But I’d bet he’d be ecstatic.