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Chop Robinson and Dallas Turner successfully play their ‘athletic freak’ cards

NFL draft prospects who are marketed as incredible athletes carry something of a burden into the annual scouting combine. When the lead story is being an amazing physical specimen, there is some heavy pressure to actually perform like one.

For two highly regarded defensive prospects, the marketing campaign based on being almost superhuman athletes proved to be true. Now the real work comes in proving the product can live up to the successful sales pitch.

Dallas Turner and Chop Robinson both checked the boxes everyone expected them to on Thursday here in Indianapolis. They did so with incredible displays inside Lucas Oil Field in the athletic testing.

Turner, a defensive end from Alabama, was one of the biggest “winners” from the first day of combine workouts. Measuring in at 6-foot-2 and 247 pounds but with arms nearly 35 inches long, Turner wowed by running the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds. He logged a 40.5-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 7 inches. Those testing metrics land Turner in the top five percent of athletes at the combine. No, not just this year. Top five percent ever.

Robinson, from Penn State, measured in at 6-foot-3 and 254 pounds. All he did was run the fastest 10-second split ever for a player over 250, doing so in 1.54 seconds. His total testing numbers were also elite, even topping Turner in speed.

Both players have some size concerns. Turner is much shorter and a little lighter than ideal, though he compensates well with freakishly long arms and an 83-inch wingspan that defies his 6-2 frame. Robinson is a little taller but has very short arms (32 1/4 inches, about 1.5 inches shorter than expected for his height) and smallish hands for his size.

They can’t control their measurements. At the combine, they can only control how well they use them athletically. Robinson and Turner both stated their case to be top-20 draft picks as best as they can on Thursday.

Testing as an athletic freak doesn’t necessarily translate to being a very good football player, but it’s hard to become the latter without being at least a little of the former. The trick now for Turner and Robinson is to explain to NFL teams why they didn’t dominate in college more than in fits and spurts despite their undeniable physical gifts, and convince those same teams that they will be able to make more impactful plays more often while facing a higher level of competition.

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire