Jones, Newton close the gap at NFL Combine

Julio Jones (

Quarterbacks and wide receivers headlined Sunday's early workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine, and a pair of SEC stars began their ascent up draft boards across the league.

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Wide Receiver – Julio Jones vs. A.J. Green

Julio Jones talks at the NFL Combine
(Kevin Carden /
Green is widely considered the top wideout in this year's draft but Jones appears to have closed the gap following the wide receivers portion of the NFL Combine. Green ran as expected in the 40-yard dash but surprisingly looked somewhat unpolished during field drills and lacked explosiveness in the vertical jump. Green displayed both qualities during his college career at Georgia - so no need to jump to conclusions - but his performance left the door open for Jones.

Jones capitalized on the opening and then some with a lights out performance. Jones demonstrated more all-around explosiveness, speed and even looked better catching the ball than Green. Jones still has his work cut out to overtake Green as the top receiver come this April's draft but a tremendous Combine may have catapulted him into the top 10. Green is still likely to be selected with a top five pick, but any other hiccups along the way won't help his case.

A.J. Green
(AP Photo)

Tale of the Tape

Jones (6-foot-3, 220 pounds)
40-yard Dash: 4.39 seconds
Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches
Broad Jump: 11-foot-3
Bench Press: 17 reps

Green (6-foot-4, 211 pounds)
40-yard Dash: 4.50 seconds
Vertical Jump: 34.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10-foot-6
Bench Press: 18 reps

Field Drills: Advantage Jones

Quarterback – Cam Newton vs. Blaine Gabbert

Most of the quarterbacks showed up in a big way this weekend, starting with Newton. Newton boasts an intimating stature and everything he does seems effortless. Gabbert's performance was also up to par, but his decision not to throw allowed Newton to close an already shrinking gap. Newton – taking advantage of the spotlight – struggled with his accuracy during field drills but demonstrated the tremendous arm strength he's already known for.

Both Newton and Gabbert feature impressive size, strength and agility but Newton's body of work has him on the verge of overtaking Gabbert on draft boards around the league – at least for the time being. The buzz about Newton continues to grow and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is on pace to continue building momentum through his Pro Day at Auburn. Honorable mention goes to Ryan Mallett – whose own set of physical attributes wowed the crowd at times in Indianapolis.

Cam Newton

Tale of the Tape

Newton (6-foot-5, 248 pounds)
40-yard Dash: 4.59 seconds
Vertical Jump: 35 inches
Broad Jump: 10-foot-6

Gabbert (6-foot-4, 234 pounds)
40-yard Dash: 4.62 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10-foot

Field Drills: Advantage Newton

Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at

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