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Ex-Arizona Wildcats Foles, Criner on the slow side at NFL Combine

Nick Foles

Running away from defenders hasn't been Nick Foles' strength. Photo by Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Former Arizona Wildcats Nick Foles and Juron Criner weren’t blazers in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine on Sunday.

Foles was timed in 5.14 seconds for 40 yards, according to NFL.com, the worst of the 14 quarterbacks who participated in the 40-yard dash. Foles isn’t noted for his speed, so the poor time doesn’t come as a huge surprise, although he had been hoping to dispel his “lumbering” image.

One of the other critiques of his game has been his accuracy on down-field passing.

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang wrote on CBSSports.com that Foles struggled when throwing longer routes in drills on Sunday, but added that “Foles has good enough tape to withstand the disappointing workout.”

ESPN.com’s Mike Sando wrote that “Foles obviously struggled with his longer passes. …. Foles struggled with his throws, particularly on post-corner routes. Coaches appeared to advise him on his deep-ball trajectory after Foles overthrew Arizona teammate Juron Criner on an early deep pass. Foles put too much air under subsequent deep passes. He did not hit receivers in stride on those balls. Foles did elicit a ‘good throw’ commendation from one coach after connecting with Michigan’s Kenneth Hemingway on a 10-yard out route.”

Foles (6-5, 243 pounds) was the biggest of the quarterbacks competing in drills Sunday. ASU’s Brock Osweiler, who was measured at 6-6 7/8, did not participate.

Criner needed to run fast at the NFL Combine to boost his draft stock, but his time in the 40-yard dash was 4.68 seconds, according to NFL.com. Earlier, Criner’s reported times for his two attempts — on hand-held stopwatches — were 4.59 seconds and 4.63 seconds.

Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, Stanford’s Chris Owusu and Miami’s Travis Benjamin led the receivers with times of 4.36.

In a best-case scenario, Criner would have run something close to 4.5 seconds to be seen as something more than a possession receiver leading up to the draft.

Draft analyst Wes Bunting of NationalFootballPost.com, wrote:

“I still have questions about Arizona WR Juron Criner and his ability to quickly separate at the next level consistently out his breaks. He ran in the 4.6 range Sunday and just isn’t a real dynamic self-starter. He looked coordinated during positional drills however. But, I still see him more as a reserve only in the NFL.”

Heading into the combine, Foles was listed as the 77th-best prospect in the draft and Criner was No. 96, according to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt.

Foles and Criner, and many more Wildcats, will get another chance in front of the scouts at Arizona Pro Day on campus on March 19.

Go to NFL.com’s Combine tracker to see how Foles and Criner did in other drills.

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