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Question of the Day: Whose stock rose and fell the most at the NFL combine? [Updated]

March 1, 2011 | 11:32 am

Jones_400 Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Julio Jones' resume at Alabama proved he’s the big, tough, physical possession type of receiver. But Jones showed at the NFL combine he’s also a speedster, burning up the 40-yard dash with a blazing 4.39 time.

And that was before the nation learned Jones did it with fracture in his foot that will be surgically repaired.

Jones' combine showing could be impressive enough to close the gap between him and Georgia's A.J. Green to determine which receiver is taken first.

But the combine isn’t just about the workouts. The drug and medical tests, and personal interviews with teams are just as important, if not more, and there’s widespread speculation that Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett didn’t alleviate the character concerns that have tarnished his reputation. On ability alone, Mallett’s arm is elite. But if he doesn’t prove he possesses the proper makeup for the sport’s most important position he’ll fall down the draft board.

[Updated at 12:42 p.m.:

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

At least two of the top quarterback prospects left Indianapolis with some serious repair work to do. Auburn’s Cam Newton, who declared himself an “icon” before the combine, was off-target during his workout and his throws reportedly were consistently high. Ryan Mallett of Arkansas is facing questions about his character and possible drug use, leaving some to wonder if this is the next Ryan Leaf.

Among the players whose stock is climbing are Alabama receiver Julio Jones, who ran a scorching 4.39 40-yard dash; Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who set a combine record by bench-pressing 225 pounds an astounding 49 times; and receiver Edmund Gates from tiny Abilene Christian, who combined a sizzling 40, variously timed between 4.35-4.37 seconds, with a 40-inch vertical jump.

Good thing the combine isn’t held at Cowboys Stadium. Gates might have bumped his head on the video board.

Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Julio Jones of Alabama made a strong push to be the top wide receiver in the draft because he proved something that no else did at the combine -– toughness.

He surprised teams with his speed when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds. He dazzled them with his athleticism by posting an absurd broad jump of 11 feet, 3 inches, the best of any player since 2009. All of this by a receiver who is 220 pounds, not 190.

But what made Jones stand out above every other player is that he accomplished all of this with a fractured foot. He will have a screw inserted in the foot, which will be followed by eight weeks of rehab.

Coming into the combine, the consensus was Georgia’s A.J. Green was the No. 1 wide receiver in this draft class. Now, with the combine complete, Jones might have taken that title while placing his name among the great stories at this scouting event.]

Photo: Julio Jones. Credit: Brian Spurlock / US Presswire

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