MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett may have solidified his status as the best player in the draft at the NFL’s annual scouting combine.
Washington receiver John Ross III turned heads with a record-breaking time in the 40-yard dash.
But the biggest riser so far this offseason might be an offensive lineman from Western Michigan.
“The guy that’s helped himself, in the Senior Bowl/combine process is Taylor Moton from Western Michigan,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said before the workouts wrapped up Monday. “A lot of people thought he was going to be a guard. I think he’s going to be a tackle.”
The timing couldn’t be better for Moton. While this draft is deep on defense , deep at running back and deep at receiver, not so along the offensive line, which could continue to push his stock up.
“The offensive tackle class, as good as this draft is, that’s where the weakness is,” Mayock said. “You can find some interior offensive linemen, but once you get past the first two guys, there’s a bunch of question marks.”
Otherwise, the week went mostly according to script .
At 6-foot-4, 272 pounds, Garrett showed he possesses that rare combination of speed and strength everyone expected. His 4.64-second 40 was tied for fifth among defensive linemen and his 33 reps on the bench press were tied for second in his position group.
The other big winner might be Ross, who sprinted into the spotlight Saturday by breaking Chris Johnson’s 9-year-old combine record with a 4.22 in the 40. And he developed cramps in his calves.
Scouts weren’t the only ones who noticed.
“Dang,” Garrett said when told of Ross’ time.
The week also was intriguing for another reason: who wasn’t in town.
Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly were left out because of a league policy barring players who have been convicted of violent crimes from attending the workouts. Mixon was suspended from the Sooners’ 2014 season after punching a woman in the face. Kelly has had a couple of legal run-ins and transferred from Clemson after a sideline spat with the coaching staff.
While Kelly was barely mentioned, Mixon’s name came up a lot.
“The combine was set up for this type of situation. As a matter of fact, it was set up as a medical clearinghouse for all players back in the early ’80s: medical, psychological, off the field,” Mayock said. “This is the ideal environment to deal with some of these character players and maybe, to take it a step further, proactively, vet them.”
Here are some other things to watch after the combine:
Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster will be available to meet with teams for three hours Tuesday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, NFL Network first reported. Foster made headlines for the all the wrong reasons in Indy after he was sent home Friday following an argument with a hospital worker. He then posted a video on social media, had college teammates vouch for his character, and now will try to rebrand himself.
PRO DAY WATCH
Foster’s meetings will take place one day before perhaps another big moment: Alabama’s pro day.
Most mock drafts project at least five Alabama players, including Foster, will go in the first round. If another sneaks in, the Crimson Tide would tie the 2004 Miami Hurricanes (six) for the most players taken in the first round of one draft.
One looming question about the 5-11, 188-pound Ross is whether he’ll stay healthy in the NFL.
In addition to the leg cramps he had following his impressive run, Ross also is scheduled to have labrum surgery March 14. The recovery time is expected to be four to six months. But Ross delayed the surgery so he could work out in Indy.
“I wanted to compete. I wanted to come here and enjoy this process,” he said. “Not everyone can do this”
GETTING THE JUMP
Two years after one UConn cornerback impressed scouts with his jumping ability, Huskies cornerback Obi Melifonwu did it again. He had a 44-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot, 9-inch broad jump — the second longest at the combine since 2003. Byron Jones set the record in 2015 at 12-3.
Melifonwu also ran a 4.40 in the 40. The question is whether those physical skills will translate into a better draft position, as Jones managed to do, getting selected in the first round by Dallas.
LEADERS AND BEST
Michigan’s 14 players at the combine were the most of any school here this year.
It’s not a record. Three other teams have sent 15 players to Indy for combines.
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