Stanford's Zach Ertz led all FBS tight ends last season with 69 receptions for 898 yards and six touchdowns but the junior lost some of his momentum with a less-than-eye-popping performance at the combine.
The first team All-Pac-12 tight end may have pushed himself back into contention with Notre Dame senior Tyler Eifert to be the first player at his position selected in the 2013 draft with a strong workout Thursday on campus, clocking in between 4.57-4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to multiple sources. The general consensus on his times was mid 4.6s.
Ertz's fastest time at the combine had been 4.76 seconds in this event. He also improved upon his vertical and broad jumps Thursday, topping out at 35.5 inches and 9 feet, 6 inches after his best marks in Indianapolis were 30.5 and 9-4, respectively.
He was also impressive during the positional drills, running an estimated 20 routes as directed by Cincinnati Bengals' tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes and catching every pass thrown to him.
Ertz's positive day began before the drills even started. After measuring in with shorter than expected arms at the combine (31 3/4 inches), Ertz's limbs came in an eighth of an inch longer Thursday.
Ertz wasn't the only Stanford player who helped his cause Thursday.
Stanford's "other" tight end, Levine Toilolo, also improved on the 4.86-second time he'd clocked in Indianapolis to measure in the low 4.7s, Thursday. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Toilolo improved his vertical and broad jumps, as well, going from 31 inches and 9 feet, 5 inches in Indianapolis to 33.5 and 9-9 in Palo Alto.
As Stanford's all-time leading rusher, Stepfan Taylor has impressive tape to counter the disappointing workout he'd had in Indianapolis, where he was clocked at 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 5-foot-9, 216 pounds.
Taylor was faster Thursday (4.64-4.68), helping his cause, but wasn't explosive. Taylor isn't the type to dominate in drills and could slip into the third day of the draft because of this fact, but he's nonetheless a favorite of many scouts.