INDIANAPOLIS -- The first athletic testing of the 2013 NFL Combine began Thursday with offensive linemen and tight ends competing in the bench press.
Players are asked to lift 225 pounds as many times as possible without stopping. The current top mark, according to NFLDraftScout.com's records, is 49 repetitions, which was put up by former Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea in 2011. Paea is now a member of the Chicago Bears. That mark beat the 45 lifted by Mitch Petrus (Arkansas, 2010), Mike Kudla (Ohio State, 2006) and Leif Larsen (Texas-El Paso, 2000).
It is worth noting the top mark because there are several players in the 2013 class who could threaten the record, not the least of which is Alabama nose guard Jesse Williams.
While none of the offensive linemen challenged the record, there were several notable performances, including from small-schoolers Luke Marquardt from Asuza-Pacific (31 reps), Terron Armstead from Arkansas Pine-Bluff (31) and Lamar Mady from Youngstown State (35), among the best at their respective positions.
"I was a little disappointed with 31, to be honest with you," Marquardt told me. "I did 33 a couple of weeks ago and was shooting for 35."
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This year's title-winner among the offensive linemen was Ohio's Eric Herman, a two-time all-conference pick whose weight-room strength (36 reps) is evident in his ability to knock defenders off the ball.
Of the tight ends, Rice's Vance McDonald was the big winner with an eye-popping 31 repetitions, seven more than NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated prospect at the position, Zach Ertz from Stanford, who finished second among the group with 24 reps.
NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated prospect Luke Joeckel from Texas A&M showed off the strength that made him an all-conference pick each of his three seasons of collegiate football, posting a very respectable 27 repetitions. This number was matched by Central Michigan's Eric Fisher. Oklahoma's Lane Johnson finished one better than the two left tackles NFLDraftScout.com currently ranks ahead of him, continuing his positive momentum after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl.
Here are the results of some of the top prospects tested Thursday:
- Reid Fragel, OT, Ohio State: 33 reps
- Vinston Painter, OT, Virginia Tech: 32
- Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 31
- Luke Marquardt, OT, Asuza-Pacific: 31
- J.C. Tretter, OT, Cornell: 29
- David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado: 28
- Rogers Gaines, OT, Tennessee State: 28
- Garrett Gilkey, OT, Chadron State: 28
- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma: 28
- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: 27 reps
- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan: 27
- David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State: 25
- Manase Foketi, OT, West Texas A&M: 25
- Jason Weaver, OT, Southern Miss: 23
- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama: 21
- Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin: 20
- Mark Jackson, OT, Glenville State: 20
- Jamaal Johnson-Webb, OT, Alabama A&M: 17
- Eric Herman, OG, Ohio: 36 reps
- Jonathan Cooper, OG, 35
- Lamar Mady, OG, Youngstown State: 35
- Zach Allen, OG, North Carolina State: 32
- Chris Barker, OG, Nevada: 29
- Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky: 28
- Edmund Kugbila, OG, Valdosta State: 23
- Brian Winters, OG, Kent State: *unable to finish due to strained pectoral
- T.J. Johnson, OC, South Carolina: 32 reps
- Brian Schwenke, OC, California: 31
- PJ Lonergan, OC, LSU: 25
- Khaled Holmes, OC, USC: *unable to finish due to strained pectoral
- Vance McDonald, TE, Rice: 31 reps
- Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford: 24
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame: 22
- Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado: 22
- Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State: 22
- Philip Lutzenkirchen, TE, Auburn: 21
- Matt Furstenburg, TE, Maryland: 18
- Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas: 18
- Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State: 18
- Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA: 17
- Chris Pantale, TE, Boston College: 17
- Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee: 17
- Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford: 17
- Jordan Reed, TE, Florida: 16
- D.C. Jefferson, TE, Rutgers: 3*
*According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL, Jefferson's low total may have been due to an injury suffered while lifting. Jefferson was being seen at a local hospital with a possible torn pectoral.