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Top backs post slow times


INDIANAPOLIS—Disappointing 40 times by running backs Knowshon Moreno and Chris "Beanie" Wells (pictured) have probably taken that position out of consideration for the Jaguars' first-round draft pick, the number eight pick overall. Moreno and Wells are two players whose arrows appeared to be pointing down following Sunday's scouting combine workouts.

Moreno ran in the 4.6's and Wells ran in the 4.5's, which raised this question: Are they elite players? The fact that the two players ran poorly introduces other questions: Is Moreno an every-downs back and is Wells durable enough to be a reliable pounder?

Generally speaking, the running back workouts were disappointing. Pitt's LeSean McCoy weighed in 12 pounds under his playing weight and declined to participate because he had the flu. McCoy's draft stock will rely solely on his pro-day and personal workouts.

One running back, Donald Brown of UConn, left Sunday's workouts with his arrow pointing decidedly upward. Brown may have run into the first round with his 4.46 time, especially since the knock on him heading into the combine was that he lacked speed. He's a tough, competitive, productive runner who rushed for over 2,000 yards last season and leaves the combine with his stock on the rise.

Cedric Peerman of Virginia and Andre Brown of North Carolina State also helped themselves. Peerman and Brown ran in the 4.4's.

Iowa's Shonn Greene, as expected, turned in a slow time. His 4.69 was not a surprise. Greene is a big pounder whose stock rests on his power-running ability.

The stock of several wide receivers is soaring today following eye-popping 40 times. Penn State's Deon Butler and Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey ran sub-4.3's. Butler came on late in the year and had a big game in the Rose Bowl. Heyward-Bey has inconsistent hands but caught everything on Sunday. How high will the two rise? Heyward-Bey may have pushed into the middle of the first round; Butler may have pushed into the second round.

Another speed guy is Abilene Christian's Johnny Knox, who came out of nowhere with a blazing 40 time. He's a productive pass-catcher who is likely to climb the board as scouts now focus more attention on him.

Mohamed Massaquoi of Georgia and Derrick Williams of Penn State are two receivers who are likely to fall after running in the 4.6's. Missouri's Jeremy Maclin ran a disappointing 4.49. Virginia's Kevin Ogletree ran a 4.46 but dropped too many passes.

Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford, expected to be the first pick of the draft, declined to work out. USC's Mark Sanchez displayed a strong and accurate arm and a quick release. The Jaguars hope Sanchez pushed his way into the top 10 and will give their pick trade-down value.

In Saturday's offensive line workouts, Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe turned in a top workout that is likely to push him into the top five picks. He is not expected to be available for the Jaguars.

Baylor tackle Jason Smith ran a disappointing 5.4, has rather short arms and the eighth overall pick is thought to be too high for him. Alabama's Andre Smith, of course, left the combine for reasons unknown on Saturday, and that could cause concerns that will make him too risky to pick at number eight.

The Jaguars' need at left tackle could end up being something the team will be unable to address satisfactorily in this draft. Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins likely becomes a player of interest for the Jaguars as the combine heads toward the defensive back workouts on Tuesday. He's the kind of premium-position player who, if he runs well, could offer a low-risk pick that would also address significant need.

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