The raw talent of the 2014 NFL Draft class was finally on display Friday afternoon with offensive linemen competing in the bench press.
The players are asked to lift 225 pounds as many times as possible without stopping. The event measures upper body strength obviously, but also stamina. Scouts expect offensive linemen to challenge the 25 rep mark and take note of players who break the 30 repetitions, especially if the athletes possesses long arms. Players with shorter arms have a natural advantage when lifting weights, just like athletes with shorter legs are generally quicker and often faster than their taller peers.
As such, the 36 repetitions by Tennessee's Antonio Richardson and 32 lifts from Auburn's Greg Robinson -- each of whom possess 35-inch arms -- will be certain to catch the attention of scouts. It is also the reason that the relatively low number of reps from Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio (21 reps) won't draw as much concern as you might think. Kouandjio turned heads yesterday by measuring in 6-foot-6, 322 pounds with 35 5/8 arms.
Remember, it was just a year ago that former Alabama standout D.J. Fluker lifted the bar "just" 21 times. That didn't stop him from earning the No. 11 overall selection of the 2013 draft and earning a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team as the San Diego Chargers' starting right tackle.
North Carolina's Russell Bodine led all offensive linemen with 42 repetitions but this number won't necessarily earn him quite as high of marks among NFL talent evaluators due to the fact that he possesses 32 1/2 arms.