Shawn Nelson came into the event with as an impressive college resume as any of his peers. Nelson left with a new found respect from NFL scouts and fans alike.
Nelson's 4.56 time in the 40 was second best among tight ends, only trailing South Carolina's Jared Cook. Shawn was also third best in the three cone drill with a time of 6.96.
The individual drills is where Shawn really shined. Nelson caught the eye of Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber.
"Shawn Nelson continued to have a solid off season with his strong performance at the Combine," Steuber said. "Nelson, who was riding a positive wave from the Senior Bowl, cruised into Indianapolis for an event that suits his ability. A natural athlete, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Nelson had an outstanding 4.56 in the 40, a solid 33-inch vertical and a respectable 9-foot-7-inch broad jump. But the most impressive workout for Nelson was the strength he showed in the bench press. With his 34 ½ inch arms, Nelson was able to do 19 reps; not bad for a player known for his receiving ability.
"At the Senior Bowl, Nelson got better and better as a blocker each day at practice and showed a lot of promise in that area. Many teams are interested in Nelson, and he will likely find his way into the third round."
Not to be out done by his classmate and teammate, Gerald McRath made a name for himself among the nation's elite.
Gerald turned in an 11.51 time in the 60 yard shuttle which was third best among linebackers in attendance.
McGrath out jumped all but one NFL linebacker hopeful with a 10.3 distance in the broad jump. Only Wake Forest's Aaron Curry jumped farther.
Curry was also the only other linebacker in attendance to outrun Gerald in the 40 yard dash. McGrath turned in a 4.61 time while Curry ran a freakish 4.56.
McGrath was listed as one of Chris Steuber's post combine risers.
"Gerald McRath is a promising inside linebacker who has great tackling technique and quickness," said Steuber. "McRath measured in a 6-foot-2, 231 pounds and had a solid workout in front of scouts. The biggest concern is his size, but he has great upside. Again, McRath’s size is a concern, and his strength didn’t test out too well. He only put up 19 reps on the bench press, but athletically he scored high. Look for McRath to get late third, early fourth round consideration in April."
While McRath and Nelson are looking to find a spot on an NFL roster for the first time, former Golden Eagle Jeremy Bridges is looking to find a spot for the fourth time.
After spending three years with the Carolina Panthers, the third team of his career, Jeremy is looking for a new home with a new team.
Bridges made headlines for all the wrong reasons last season and it appears those off the field concerns may have played a role in his release.
"It's unfortunate and please believe it, it's been real rough for me," said Bridges to Panterinsider.com after news of his arrest last season. "I feel like I put the coaching staff and my teammates in a bad situation by me not being there."
Bridges was one of three players released by the Panthers in an effort to free up some cap room as the free agent period gets underway.