Jason Spriggs impresses at NFL Scouting Combine #iufb

Jason Spriggs put himself in position to earn some serious cash on Friday.

The former Indiana left tackle turned in one of the most impressive showings from an offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, wowing scouts with some premier numbers during his on-field workout.

Spriggs led everyone at his position Friday with a broad jump of 9-foot-7 — the fourth longest for an offensive lineman during the last 10 years — and posted a position-best 4.94 time in the 40-yard dash.

Those monster numbers were further complemented by a vertical jump of 31.5″ — which ranked third among linemen — and his bench press performance of 31 reps at 225 pounds ranked fourth at his position.

“I’m just trying to continue to be positive about it and keep my head down and keep working,” Spriggs said of his combine invitation earlier this week. “… I just want to further let people recognize my athleticism and kind of how I can move. That is something I can show here.”

It’s already something he demonstrated to those in the Big Ten during his four years at Indiana, closing his senior year with a first-team All-American nod from the Football Writers Association of America.

Now those at the NFL level are getting a feel for what makes Spriggs special at his position.

Spriggs drew wide praise for his work leading into last month’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. and entered this weekend’s combine projected anywhere between the first and third rounds of the NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30 in Chicago.

“I’ve seen I’ve been all over the board,” Spriggs said. “It varies quite a bit. It’s something I try not to pay much attention to.”

Indiana hasn’t had a player taken in the first round since the New York Giants selected receiver Thomas Lewis out of IU with the No. 24 overall pick in 1994. The Hoosiers came close to ending that drought during the last two years with Tevin Coleman (third, Atlanta Falcons) and Cody Latimer (second, Denver Broncos), and Spriggs’ big day on Friday may push him past the threshold.

James Brewer was the last Hoosier offensive lineman to be drafted, when the Giants selected him in the fourth round in 2011.

Spriggs is one of four Hoosiers who received combine invitations this year, joining quarterback Nate Sudfeld, running back Jordan Howard and defensive tackle Darius Latham.

Howard, who battled nagging injuries and missed each of IU’s final two games after a knee scope procedure in late November, participated in position drills on Friday but declined to run the 40-yard dash. Instead, he’ll run the 40 during IU’s Pro Day in Bloomington on April 1.

Howard told reporters in Indianapolis that his injury situation frustrated him last season, and he chose to enter the NFL Draft knowing that his shelf life as a power running back is dwindling.

“I felt like I was ready,” Howard said. “I felt like I had matured enough to play in the NFL. I was ready for the next challenge and I know I was getting close to (700) carries in my career. Running backs don’t have that long of a life span.”

Howard ranked seventh among running backs with a broad jump of 10-2, he tied for 11th at his position with a vertical jump of 34″ and he managed 16 reps during the bench press portion.

According to CBS Sports, Howard entered the combine projected as a second- or third-round draft pick.

“I’m enjoying the process,” he said.

Sudfeld is expected to participate with the quarterbacks today, while Latham will have an opportunity on the field on Sunday.

11 comments

  1. I wonder if there is a bias within the NFL toward players from less-than-strong football programs, like IU? Everything I’m reading and hearing about Spriggs suggests he should be a first round draft choice. But you just wonder if some GM, no matter how impressive Spriggs is, is saying to himself, “yea, but he played at IU?” Well, he played against a couple of the top-rate defensive ends in the country over the last three seasons and he did very well against them. If memory serves me correctly, Spriggs handled Joey Bosa a few times, not to mention some great Des from Missouri.

  2. I don’t see how a team doesn’t take him with the numbers he put up. I don’t think our O-line was over rated in the least bit.

  3. I’m pretty sure Spriggs never lined up against IU.

    I recall him playing MSU, OSU, Iowa, Missouri and a number of other teams but I don’t recall him ever knocking pads against IU. I imagine scouts are more concerned about how he did against players he actually played against, not the guys he practiced with.

  4. Chet I agree with you and I don’t think NFL teams will miss out on drafting him. They look at who he played against and how well he did against them, which was outstanding. I also think they will be impressed with how many games he started against those outstanding DEs he played against. The combo #s just solidify his credentials and the teams won’t sleep on him especially how he did in the game against the best players in the country that scouts could watch practices and the game. He should have a great chance of being drafted in the first round.

  5. The numbers help but NFL team’s look at a players intelligence, their inner motor, and how much they love the game. They will be asking people around the IU program if he was late to meeting, did he excel in the film room and what type of leader he was. There are many players in the league without superior athletic talent but they make up for it with intelligence and heart. The greats in the game love to play and play through injuries without the incentive of money.

  6. I’ve heard that the concern the NFL scouts have with Spriggs is whether he has the power to handle the bull rushing defensive end. He has really great speed and quickness to handle speed rushers but he may lack lower body strength and power to hold up against stronger defensive ends. But he’s rated as high as a late 1st round pick to the 3rd round so it can’t be that big of a concern.

  7. No question Spriggs will be drafted, but given his athleticism and physical upside (he can still put on 15 pounds, easily), you’d think he’d be an obvious first or early second round pick. 31 bench presses at 225 suggests he has plenty of power. He’s durable, only having missed one game in four years, and he was never in the least bit of trouble while at IU. To enhance IU football’s image and reputation, not to mention as a reward for his outstanding contribution, I’d like to see him get picked in the first round.

  8. Po, very good points and I agree it will be good for IU football to gain attention with a first round draft choice. Next year IU has two OL to be drafted in the 2017 draft so momentum should continue for IU recruitment with having IU in the national spotlight. Baby steps so far but steps none the less.and it can lead to bigger steps in the future.

  9. PO- I think there’s something to what you wrote about bias. Not necessarily anti-IUFB bias, but some NFL front offices have a policy to draft from winning programs in the belief that winning is “contagious” (or whatever) and assembling talent from winning programs is the way to go.

  10. No one ever got fired for choosing IBM. I agree there is a bias toward traditional winning programs. I don’t think the bias is because front offices think winning is contagious as much for the safety of the pick. If you are a GM and choose a guy with solid numbers from Alabama that washes out, you can blame the kid. If that same GM chooses a kid from North Alabama State who washes out, everyone is going to say the GM over-reached and made a bad pick. It’s just safer for the guys picking the talent to stay with the big name schools.

    You see that same kind of bias with the combine where a guy like Latham got invited even though he really didn’t show that much production in college. But he was a highly regarded high school talent and seemed to be invited more for his HS rating than his actual performance. By the way, he tested really poorly- I doubt he gets drafted now unless he completely changes the results on his pro day.

  11. 123, Latham took a gamble coming out this year and I hope he doesn’t end up regretting it. NFL tem have scouts all over the country and the good teams pick up small school players with the talent to play in the NFL. You are right that many select the big college programs jut to play it safe but some best players have come from small college schools. If you want to go to the NFL the best opportunity lies with going to major division conference schools. I wish Latham well but his combine didn’t do him any favors.

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