The URI Rams had an FCS-high three players participate in the NFL combine. Wide receivers and cousins Aaron Parker and Isaiah Coulter worked out on day one. Offensive lineman Kyle Murphy worked out on day two. All three prospects are on the edge of getting drafted and the combine was a way for them to stick out and possibly have their name called on draft day. So how did Rhody’s three prospects perform?
Aaron Parker had a shaky week in Indianapolis. His 40-yard dash time was in the low end of the pack at 4.57 seconds. A lot of receivers are judged on their forty times so a poor showing in his run could be a big negative for Parker. Parker’s speed is not really his game. He is more likely to catch a jump ball than separate from defenders.
One glaring negative in his combine performance was his vertical jump. He had the worst vertical jump out of any receiver that participated in the drill at 26.5 inches. The vertical jump shows how high you can jump, but it also shows how explosive you are. This is definitely not the performance Parker wanted out of this drill, and he will be looking to improve on his pro day.
Aaron Parker still has the best chance to get drafted out of any URI player come draft day. What he did on the field this season looks a lot better than his combine performance. He had 81 receptions for 1,224 yards including nine touchdowns. Even with a shaky combine, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.
Coulter decided to declare for the NFL draft as a junior, in order to enter the draft at the same time as his cousin, Aaron Parker. Coulter had an okay combine, but his forty time was the most impressive. Coulter had the tenth fastest time for a wide receiver, running it in 4.45 seconds. He followed up a great 40-yard dash time with a solid vertical jump at 36 inches. He has NFL speed and is pretty explosive, which is something scouts look for in a receiver.
One big negative to Coulter’s combine was his three-cone time. He ranked near the bottom of the pack of wide receivers, completing the drill in 7.28 seconds. This drill evaluates a player’s agility, and how quick you can come out of cuts. Coulter had a disappointing showing in this drill but he is a very raw prospect and the ceiling could be high.
Coulter is young and has a lot of time to work on route running and separating from defenders. He is an interesting player because he is built like an NFL wide receiver at 6’2” and 198 pounds, but he isn’t a finished product at all. It is very possible that teams take a risk on him and see how he can develop. The potential for him is high, but he has a lot to work on. Out of the three URI players invited, Coulter had the best performance.
Murphy is a versatile prospect. He has experience at every position on the offensive line. His combine, however, was not what he wanted. He was in the middle or near the bottom of the pack in nearly every workout. Even with a poor combine performance, the North Attleboro native still has good potential and could get drafted.
He was interviewed by nine different NFL teams and his versatility is most likely his best quality. He also was a captain for the Rams twice and was a part of an offensive line that helped a rushing attack go over 1,000 yards on the year. That results are not what he wanted at all, but he could improve on his results on his pro day. Versatility is what some NFL teams need and want. Having a lineman that can play any position is crucial in case of any injuries that occur on the line. When lineman get hurt, it really creates a hole in the line and a player that can fill any hole and be good doing it, is almost invaluable.
The NFL Combine is a big part of the draft process, but it doesn’t mean everything. Showing out on game film is a lot more important than running a fast 40-yard dash or jumping out of the stadium. But the combine can seriously help a player’s draft stock. With all three of these players not having an ideal combine, it won’t really help their draft stock and it could even hurt it. However, Parker, Coulter, and Murphy have the talent to find themselves on an NFL preseason roster when August comes around, if they are drafted or not.