The running backs took the field on Sunday in Indianapolis, and it was apparent right away that it would be a day of surprises. A few big-name running backs disappointed with their timed runs, while a handful of backs exceeded expectations.
Montee Ball from Wisconsin was the first big name to take the field, and he left some scouts wanting more, as he ran his 40-yard dash in an official 4.66 seconds. He later followed that run up with decent, but not impressive times in the cone and short shuttle drills. While Mike Mayock expressed no surprise in Ball's time, I was expecting him to run in the 4.5s. Equally surprising was that Le'Veon Bell, who's seen as more of a power back, outran Ball in all three of those drills while putting up a more impressive 24 reps on the bench to Ball's 15.
An even more disappointing time was put up by Stanford's Stepfan Taylor, who ran his 40 in 4.76 seconds. He rebounded in the shuttle drill to put up a good time, but was slow in the cones. Taylor may need an impressive pro day to get back into third round consideration. Oregon's Kenjon Barner, who is known as a speedster, put up a time of 4.52 seconds. That's not bad at the position (actually 6th at this year's combine), but it's slower than I expected from him.
Christine Michael of Texas A&M had a great day, however, putting up top numbers at the position in the vertical jump (43 inches!!), the cone drill (6.69 seconds) and the short shuttle (4.02 seconds). His 4.53-second 40 time won't be scaring anyone away either.
The final surprising number was put up by fullback Tommy Bohanon of Wake Forest. Bohanon matched guard Eric Herman of Ohio University with 36 reps on the bench press, which ties for the highest total at the combine so far. The fact that Bohanon had more reps than all but one offensive lineman is both shocking and impressive.