There are always two prevailing schools of thought with the NFL Combine. There are some people that put a lot of value into the NFL Combine. If a prospect cannot run a certain speed, bench a certain amount of weight or show other athletic traits at the NFL Combine, how is that prospect going to excel on Sunday? There are others that believe that the NFL Combine is a glorified beauty pageant. Football is played with pads and a helmet and the NFL Combine is done in shorts and a tank top. If the NFL Combine mattered, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady would have been the worst quarterback of all-time, not the best quarterback of all-time. In their view, the NFL Combine is a lot to do about nothing.
I do not mean to be the person that cannot take a stand and agrees with all people, but in this case, I do agree with both sides. The NFL is not a Madden Game where you draft players that are strong and fast and that maneuver around a television screen. Football is playing football, not a triathlon and people that exercise well can be terrible football players and good football players are not necessarily Olympic Sprinters or Track and Field Stars.
The Combine is a tool to evaluate tape from the NCAA season and make sure that it confirms what we saw on the field. A great NFL Combine with no college stats to speak of is really not a great thing. Why did these athletic talents not show on Saturdays and if it did not produce great stats in college, what does that mean for the NFL? Conversely, a bad NFL Combine performance makes one wonder if the player was a product of a great coach or a strong program or if the player has talent that does not translate into a strong NFL Combine performance. Ideally a prospect plays great football and is a great NFL Combine performer, that is the perfect blend that makes for an elite NFL prospect.
Where I disagree with people is that the NFL Combine is not important, because the players are not wearing shoulder pads and a helmet. I do think the NFL Combine is important for two reasons. I do not care about how much heart a player has and how much he wants to succeed; a NFL player has to have a certain amount of physical talent to succeed. NFL Combine performance matters for some positions more than others. It did not matter that Brady had a slow 40-yard dash or a bad vertical jump, because he does not need those skill sets to play quarterback at the NFL level. If he were being asked to play wide receiver, I do not care how much heart he has, that 40-yard dash would have been a death sentence. A wide receiver is just not going to make a big impact if he is running 4.90 second 40-yard dash. I think sometimes we make too much out of them being able to run a 40-yard dash in the 4.40-second range, but at a certain point, a wide receiver needs to have a certain amount of speed to create separation at the NFL level.
The other thing a poor NFL Combine performance shows me is a possible lack of commitment to being a NFL player. The regular season has been done since the end of November and Bowl Season concluded in January. A player that has been invited to the NFL Combine has one goal; be ready to excel at the NFL Combine. A NFL Prospect needs to have the discipline to work out and prepare like it is the biggest job interview of their life. When there is good tape and a bad NFL Combine, one wonders how seriously the player is taking the NFL Draft Evaluation Process and whether that is a sign of bad work ethic that will show up once the player receives a NFL contract.
There is no perfect way to evaluate the NFL Combine, because if it were a perfect science, there would never be a bad draft pick. The players would be taken in the order they should and nobody would be a steal, because their value would have been figured out here. This is just part of the evaluation process and here is how I feel the elite prospects that are going to be important for both the NFL and Fantasy Football fared at the NFL Combine. I would like to thank NFL.com and RotoWorld for giving me a lot of great information to put this recap together.
Wyoming QB Josh Allen: I think he showed enough that he will be in play for the first overall pick. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds and he had the best broad jump and vertical jump. More importantly, he showed off a canyon of an arm that had one ball travel 70-yards through the air. There are a lot of concerns about accuracy, but as long as he has a good Pro Day, his stock should continue to trend upward. He has all the tools to be a great NFL quarterback.
Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: I think he made the right decision not to participate in the athletic portion of the NFL Combine. Had he done that, the talk would have been about him having the top 40-yard dash time and him being the best athlete in the NFL Draft at quarterback. He does not want that to be the talk of his NFL Combine, because there is already chatter that he should move to wide receiver. He wants to be a quarterback, so he took part in the passing drills only. That could have backfired, because had he thrown badly, that is all people would have been talking about. Instead, he threw pretty well and that should help quiet the chatter of moving him to wide receiver. He will dominate the exercise drills at his Pro Day, so he has nothing to worry about in that regard.
Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield: I think he did a solid job with a 4.84 second 40-yard dash and he had a decent vertical at 29″ and a broad jump at 111.0.” That is more than enough athleticism for a quarterback and he also threw the ball well in the passing drills. Some people are going to have problems with his attitude, but this was about him showing his physical abilities and he did well in that regard.
UCLA QB Josh Rosen: He did not have a great 40-yard dash time at 4.92 seconds, but he showed well in the vertical jump (31″) and the broad jump (111.0″). The issue with him is not throwing the football; everyone knows he has a NFL arm. The issue is attitude; some people do not think he loves football. Per Roto World, SI’s Bruce Feldman spoke to one NFL QB coach who said UCLA QB Josh Rosen was the “sharpest” of all prospects he met with at the position. Rosen is going to be a Top-10 pick, but it is just going to take a team having a comfort level with him. Rosen did nothing to scare anyone away from him at the NFL Combine, which makes him a winner.
RB Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: There is winning at the NFL Combine and there is what Barkley did at the NFL Combine. He may have set the gold standard for what a running back should do there. He is the slam-dunk most physically gifted player in the 2018 NFL Draft and he may be the best running back prospect in the last 20 years. You cannot teach someone to be 6′ 0″ and 233 lb., bench 225 lb. 29 times, have a 41″ vertical jump and run the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds. Per Pro Football Reference, since the 2000 NFL Combine, no prospect that weighed at least 220 lb. has run faster than a 4.45 40-yard dash and benched 225 lb. 25 times. That is stunning with all the good running back prospects that have come through the NFL Combine that he is the only one able to do that.
This also is not a NFL Combine warrior. In 38 career games at Penn State, he had 5,038 yards from scrimmage and he scored 51 touchdowns. He is the real deal, the perfect blend of great football player with once in a generation athletic talent. Taking a running back first overall is a huge gamble. The last running back to be taken first overall was Penn State RB Ki-Jana Carter in the 1995 NFL Draft. I would not call Carter a bust, he tore his ACL and missed the entire 1995 season and was stuck on a Bengals team that was among the worst in the NFL in the 1990s. Barkley will have a much better career than Carter even if he did suffer an ACL injury, because medicine has advance leaps and bounds since 1995.
You could argue he is the most athletic running back to enter the NFL Draft since Auburn RB Bo Jackson in 1985. Nobody was the blend of speed and power that Jackson was and it is quite probable that nobody will ever be that athletic again. Barkley is the closest thing I have seen to that blend of speed and power and if he plays 10 years in the NFL, he may very well eclipse 15,000 yards. Barkley is a stronger version of RB Marshall Faulk, a player that can run between the tackles, to the outside, catch passes out of the backfield, line up at receiver and block. He has all the tools to be one of the best running backs to ever play in the NFL.
Georgia RB Nick Chubb: Chubb showed very well at the NFL Combine, measuring in at 5′ 11″ and 228 lb. and running the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and benching 29 reps, which was tied for the most among running backs. He is not the freakish athlete that Barkley showed to be at the NFL Combine, but nobody was expecting Chubb to equal Barkley and Chubb should cause some people to remember why he was so special before he injured his knee his sophomore year. As a freshman, he had 1,547 yards rushing on only 219 carries (7.1 yards per rushing attempt) and 14 rushing touchdowns. He could be a very good find for someone in need of running back help in this NFL Draft.
Georgia RB Sony Michel: I thought both Georgia running backs showed well. Michel measured in at 5′ 11″ and 220 lb., he benched 22 reps and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds. He is not the fastest runner in the history of the NFL Combine, but that is fast enough, especially for a running back of his size. He still has a chance to improve on the numbers at the Georgia Pro Day and he did nothing to hurt his stock at the NFL Combine.
North Carolina State RB Nyheim Hines: He is never going to be a featured back at the NFL level at 5′ 8 & 3/8 ” and 198 lbs., but nobody was looking for him to show that. His role in the NFL is going to be as a third down back and scat back with special teams value and he blew up the NFL Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds and a vertical of 35.5″ and a broad jump of 119.” Someone is going to fall in love with the versatility he could add to an offense. His upside is a nice weapon that touches the ball 8-10 times per game and makes an impact with home run plays. His NFL Combine performance showed he has the physical tools to do that.
WR / TE
LSU WR D.J. Chark: The LSU wide receiver had a great NFL Combine, as he finished with the fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.34 seconds. He also did well in the receiving drills, which is important, because football is more than a track and field event. No other wide receiver ran a sub 4.40 40-yard dash time, so anyone looking for a deep threat will be interested in Chark. His stock is on the ascent as his solid NFL Combine followed a great week at the Senior Bowl. At 6′ 3″ and 198 lb. he is establishing himself as the premier deep threat in the NFL Draft and his stock could continue to sore.
Maryland WR D.J. Moore: This is a guy that you are going to want to pay attention to the rest of the NFL Draft process. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, he had a vertical jump of 39.5″ and a broad jump of 132.” That broad jump was the best by a wide receiver at the Combine and he came in an inch taller than he was listed at Maryland. Maryland had him listed at 5′ 11″, the NFL Combine rulers said he was 6′ 0″ and the scale said 210 lb. He was projected as a second rounder, but someone could fall in love with him and draft him in the first round.
SMU WR Courtland Sutton: He was never going to run a sub 4.40 40-yard dash given that he is 6′ 4″ and 214 lb. He needed to have a decent showing and he more than did that with a 4.54 second 40-yard dash. Sutton also registered a 35.5″ vertical jump and a 124″ broad jump. That mix of speed an athleticism to go with his big frame could make him the first receiver taken in the NFL Draft.
Texas A & M WR Christian Kirk: He was more than stellar in his drills, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds and a 10-yard split of 1.54 seconds. Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell also reported that Kirk was very impressive in his interviews at the NFL Combine. There have been Mock Drafts that have him going as high as 18th to the Seattle Seahawks. He did nothing at the NFL Combine to suggest he should not go in the first or early second round and he still hast time to improve his stock at his Pro Day.
Oklahoma State WR James Washington: Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline thought that Washington was the best wide receiver at Senior Bowl practices and Washington is a player that had 226 receptions for 4,472 yards, 19.8 yards per reception and 39 touchdowns. He did not blow anyone away in the 40-yard dash, but he ran it in 4.54 seconds and he had a vertical jump of 34.5″ and a broad jump of 120.” I do not think anyone that watched him expected a sub 4.40-second 40-yard dash time. He is a player that has great timing and anticipation and makes plays downfield. I do not think he did anything to play his way out of the first round or early second round.
Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman: I think he did just enough to make himself a winner at the NFL Combine. He is 6′ 4″ and 216 lb., yet he was able to run the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds and post a 34″ vertical jump and a 121.0 broad jump. He probably was about 0.3 seconds away from having a bad 40-yard dash time, but as long as he cleans that up at his Pro Day, there was nothing disastrous that happened for him at the NFL Combine that will cause his draft stock to tumble.
Colorado State WR Michael Gallup: Some people are going to love him, some are not and nothing happened at the NFL Combine to change peoples minds in that regard. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller views Gallup as one of the more overrated prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft Class. Pro Football Focus views him as one of the best wide receivers. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds. At 6′ 1″ and 200 lb., he does not look to be a burner, but he has plenty of speed and he showed well enough that someone should fall in love with his ability in the second round.
Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton: He did not run the 40-yard dash, but he was good in the vertical jump (34.5″), broad jump (118.0″) and NFL Media’s Steve Smith believes Hamilton runs the best routes in the 2018 class. Hamilton was arguably the best receiver at the East-West Shrine Game and he was solid at the Senior Bowl. It will be interesting to see what he does in his 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, but he has enough good things going for him that he did not need to run at the NFL Combine to keep his draft stock ascending.
Penn State TE Mike Gesicki: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 , which tied with NC State TE Jaylen Samuels for the top 40-yard dash time by a tight end. He also tallied a 129″ broad jump, which is very good for a tight end. I think that performance solidified him as a Day 2 selection and it could allow him to sneak into the end of the first round if someone falls in love with his receiving ability.
North Carolina State TE Jaylen Samuels: He was tied for the top tight end 40-yard dash time (4.54 seconds) and he also registered a broad jump of 121″ and he posted 18 reps of 225 lb. I like that he has shown some versatility, he was a running back during the Senior Bowl practice week, but he was a tight end at the NFL Combine. He is not going to be a blocker at the NFL level, but showed that he has the potential to develop into a nice receiving threat at tight end.
UCLA T Kolton Miller: I think he was a big winner for the offensive lineman. He is not the strongest tackle with 24 bench press reps, but that is not a horrible total and he showed that he is incredibly athletic for a guy that is 6′ 9″ and 310 lb. He showed that with a 31.5 inch vertical jump, a 4.91 second 40-yard dash and a 121.0 inch broad jump. The broad jump number was a record for an offensive tackle, set by Philadelphia Eagles OT Lane Johnson. He will not make the Top-5 like Johnson, who was much faster and stronger at the NFL Combine, but I think Miller played himself into the Top-20 of the NFL Draft and his stock should continue to soar.
Notre Dame T Mike McGlinchey: He measured a little smaller at the NFL Combine than what he was listed in college, but at 6-foot-7 7/8 inches and 309 lb. he has enough size to be a NFL tackle. He declined to run the 40-yard dash, because of a hamstring issue, but he did Bench Press 24 reps, vertical jump 28.5 inches and register a broad jump of 105.0 inches. I think he did enough to stay in the top of the first round and with Oklahoma T Orlando Brown tanking at the NFL Combine, McGlinchey showed well enough to stay as the top-ranked tackle prospect in the NFL Draft.
Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson: A guard being able to eclipse 30 reps in the bench press is very good and Nelson was able to bench press 225 lb. 35 times. He also measured in at 6′ 5″ and 325 lb. He also had all the numbers that the talent evaluators want to see with arm length (33 3/4 inches), hand size (10 3/8 inches) and wingspan (82 5/8 inches). I think Nelson is the safest player in the NFL Draft. He looks like a guy that you select in the first round, plug him into the starting lineup for 10 years and you have an All-Pro First Team Guard for the next decade. The only downside was that he tweaked his hamstring while warming up on Friday for the 40-yard dash and he decided to take it safe and sit that event out. He will have time to heal up for his Pro Day and everything else went great for him.
UTEP G Will Hernandez: This is a guy whose stock keeps ascending as the NFL Draft Process unfolds. He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl Practice Week last month and many of the NFL scouts are impressed with his attitude and work ethic. Hernandez just keeps hitting home runs; he recorded 37 reps on the bench press and a 40-yard dash time of 5.15 seconds. His measurements are 6′ 2″ and 327 lb, which is great size for a guard. If we go back to 2017, Western Kentucky G Forest Lamp had a similar ascent last year, but it was not enough to put him into the first round. He was an early Day 2 selection and Hernandez is someone that could go in the first or early second day of the NFL Draft if he keeps hitting home runs in the NFL Draft evaluation process.
Iowa C James Daniel: Daniel was not able to partake in the 40-yard dash due to a hamstring injury, but he managed to bench press 225 lb. 21 times and he had a 30.5″ vertical jump and 108″ broad jump. He also did not suffer a serious injury like Ohio State C Billy Price. If he continues to show well in the Draft Evaluation Process, he could be the first center off the board in April.
UCF LB Shaquem Griffin: He is one of the more inspirational stories in the NFL Draft, as he only has one hand, but he was able to bench press 225 lb. 20 times using a prosthetic strapped to his arm. He then went out and ran an unofficial 4.38 second 40-yard dash. He is a very productive football player that tallied 33.5 tackles for a loss and 18.5 sacks in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. I do not know if his upside is strong enough to make it into the first round, but he should easily be a Day 2 selection and there will be people pouring over his tape after he ran that 40-yard dash time.
UTSA DE Marcus Davenport: He needed to have a strong NFL Combine performance and he delivered. Per RotoWorld, “Evaluations are “mixed” in NFL circles on UTSA edge rusher Marcus Davenport, according to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson. Davenport did not have a strong Senior Bowl week. Yes, he started to put things together during the final practice and the actual game, but for two days of practice Davenport lacked a pass rushing plan and failed to use his tools to win in one on one situations.”
He could not afford to have a bad combine after not impressing at the Senior Bowl. He posted a 4.58 second 40-yard dash, 22 bench reps, 33.5″ vertical jump and a 124″ broad jump. Those are very good numbers for a defensive end that is 6′ 6″ and 264 lb. His NFL Combine Performance is a reminder of why people are talking about him going in the Top-20 of the first round.
North Carolina State DE Bradley Chubb: Chubb is in the conversation to be the first defensive player off the board and he did not disappoint. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds and he posted 24 bench reps, a 36″ vertical and a 121.0″ broad jump. That is incredible athleticism for a man that is 6′ 4″ and 269 lb. Cleveland is not going to take another defensive end with the first overall pick after using the first pick on that position last year. It is very likely that Chubb ends up in Indianapolis with the third pick or Denver with the fifth pick, if Denver finds a quarterback in free agency.
Georgia ILB Roquan Smith: He showed why he is being considered a Top-10 selection with a 40-yard dash time of 4.52 seconds. At 6′ 1″ and 236 lb. he is a guy that has the speed to play on the inside of a 3-4 scheme. I do not expect him to make it past the Oakland Raiders at the 10th pick. He has a chance to develop into a Pro Bowl player and he showed that at the NFL Combine.
Virginia Tech ILB Tremaine Edmunds: Edmunds is just 19-years old, but he is 6′ 5″ and 250 lb. and he can run the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds and bench press 225 lb. 19 times. His value is skyrocketing right now and he could end up being a Top-10 selection by the time April arrives. People are impressed with his maturity at 19-years old and when you combine that with a player that can fly around the football field, his stock is going to continue to climb in the right direction.
Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch: Vander Esch measured in at 6′ 4″ and 256 lb. and he dominated the 40-yard dash with a 4.66 second time. That is great speed for a man of that size and there were reports that he was very impressive in the interviews at the NFL Combine. He should leave Indianapolis being in the first round discussion, I think anywhere from the middle to the end of the first round is realistic for this very talented linebacker.
Washington DT Vita Vea: Nobody is going to draft Vea to run fast in the 40-yard dash, I thought it was impressive that a man that is 6′ 4″ and 347 lb. could run the 40-yard dash in 5.10 seconds with a 1.77 second 10-yard split. The reason they are going to draft him is to plug up the middle and move the line of scrimmage and 41 bench press reps shows that he has the strength to do that. Had that been all that happened, his NFL Combine would have gone great. However, he tweaked his hamstring and was not able to participate in any other drills. Washington’s Pro Day is March 10th, so he does not have much time to heal up for the Pro Day. Even if he does not participate at the Pro Day, he likely ran his way into the first round. That combination of speed and strength at his size is going to intoxicate someone looking for interior defensive help.
Florida DT Taven Bryan: Bryan showed off his athleticism with a 4.98-second 40-yard dash, 35″ vertical jump and a 119″ broad jump while also benching 30 reps. Scouts were also impressed with his strong performance in bag drills. At 6′ 4″ and 291 lb. he has good size for a defensive tackle and he could be a guy that starts for a team this year. Bryan has a chance to enter the first round discussion if he can keep improving his stock.
Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne: Roto World was not very impressed with his NFL Combine as they wrote all of his numbers fell in the range of average-to-above average in terms of the five-year average for defensive tackles at the combine. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks thought he was a winner. Regardless, he had a 4.95 second 40-yard dash, 28.5″ (vertical jump) and 107″ (broad jump). He did nothing to damage his draft stock and he is being talked about as a potential first round pick, so doing nothing damaging was a good performance for Payne.
Iowa CB Josh Jackson: Jackson did not blow the roof of the NFL Combine, but he ran a decent 4.56 second 40-yard dash and he benched 225 lb. 18 times. He will not be for every team, but at 6′ 1″ and 192 lb. he is a physical corner that will make some team very happy in the first round.
Ohio State CB Denzel Ward: Ward is only 5′ 10″ and he will probably be a slot cornerback, but that is a very important role and he showed that he has the speed to excel in that position, posting a 4.32 second 40-yard dash. He is a lock for the first round, I do not know if he has the size to crack the Top-15, but someone is going to fall in love with his speed.
Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver: He did not run the fastest 40-yard dash at 4.50 seconds, but he is a bigger cornerback at 6′ 1″ and 190 lb. and he has a wingspan of 80 and 5/8.” He is fast enough at that size and he should still be in the Day 1 conversation, otherwise he will not last very long on Day 2.
Louisville CB Jaire Alexander: He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds and that should be enough to ease injury concerns from his time in college. I do not think he will be a first round selection, but this effort should have him looking at going in the second round and he is in a position to continue to improve his draft stock.
Florida State SS Derwin James: James looked very good at the NFL Combine, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds and he benched 21 reps of 225 lb. There have been some questions about his knee, but I think he answered those at the NFL Combine and he should be trending toward the top of the first round.
Alabama FS Minkah Fitzpatrick: A 4.47 second 40-yard dash was not one of the fastest times run by the cornerbacks, but Fitzpatrick is someone that can play both cornerback and safety and that time was fast enough to keep him in the Top-10 conversation. When you are an elite prospect, you just don’t want to damage your draft stock at the NFL Combine and Fitzpatrick maintained his elite rating.
USC QB Sam Darnold: His measurements were good, as he checked 6′ 3 3/8″ and 221 lb. and his hands measured 9 3/8.” Those are all the measurements that talent evaluators like to see from a quarterback. The issue is that he chose not to throw at all, leading to speculation that he may be trying to change his footwork or his throwing motion. He did take part in the athletic testing, but nobody wants to see him run the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds. They also would have like to seen better than a 26.5″ vertical jump and 105.0″ broad jump. He did not show to be a tremendous athlete in his athletic drills. Per RotoWorld, Darnold produced a composite score in the 22nd percentile in the NFL Scouting Combine.
Bottom line, people did not want to see him work out, they wanted to see him throw the football. Had he thrown the ball well, nobody would have cared about the lackluster exercise numbers, but that is all we are left to talk about and it was not great. As long as he does well throwing the ball at his Pro Day, he will still be in the conversation for a Top-5 pick. If he does not do well there, he has no chance to put up good tape after that workout.
The elite prospects have to make this gamble each year; is it best to let the tape speak for itself or is it best to throw anywhere anytime. There is nothing wrong with Darnold’s decision, but it has a chance to backfire with a bad Pro Day. He definitely did not win at the NFL Combine, because he did not participate in any throwing drills and was below average in the athletic measurements.
Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph: He did not show himself to be a great athlete with just a 4.90 second 40-yard dash and a 26″ vertical. Also, his hands measured at 9 1/8″ and that is a bit on the small side. A foot sprain kept him out of the Senior Bowl and I am not sure he really did anything at the NFL Combine to suggest he should be a high draft pick. There are a lot of good quarterbacks in this class and he is not standing out from the rest of the pack.
Washington State QB Luke Falk: I do not think he did anything to damage his stock terribly at the NFL Combine, but he only did the broad jump (103.0″) and the vertical jump (26.5″). He is a college player that threw exclusively out of shotgun, so he needs to show that he can be a pocket passer at the NFL level. I don’t think he created enough buzz at the NFL Combine and he is still looking at being a fourth or fifth round pick. He could still end up being a great NFL quarterback, but the NFL Combine is about improving draft stock and he really did nothing there to move the needle.
USC RB Ronald Jones II: I think Jones might have been a victim of trying to bulk up for the NFL Combine. He measured at 5′ 11″ and 205 lb., which was about 10 lb. heavier than expected. He also had only 8 3/4 ” hands, but with no fumbling issues in college, that should not be a big deal. What is a big deal is running the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds. That is not a good showing for a back of his size, although it appeared he hurt his hamstring running the drill. If that is the case, a good showing at the USC Pro Day could make up for that bad run. If he does not show better, I would question taking him in the first round without a higher gear.
Oregon RB Royce Freeman: He did not do bad at the NFL Combine, but I would have liked to see more. He is a big back at 5′ 11″ and 229 lb., so he either needed to light up the NFL Combine with a great 40-yard dash time or a great bench press workout to gain first or high second round buzz. Instead, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds and he benched 225 lb. only 17 times. At the end of the day, his tape is very good, he has a Pro Day to improve on those totals and he could still be a Day 2 pick. He was someone that was hoping to create some buzz and between Barkley and Chubb stealing the show and his numbers not being great, I do not think he really created that much buzz coming out of the NFL Combine.
LSU RB Derrius Guice: I think I could write the same thing I wrote about Guice that I wrote about Freeman. Guice at least ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, but he benched 225 lb. only 15 times. He is someone that has compared his running style to RB Marshawn Lynch, but Lynch was faster (4.46 seconds) and he was stronger (20 reps). Guice did not do anything disastrous to hurt his stock, but he did not do anything to send it in an upward direction. He will need to have a good Pro Day to show that he has the physical tools people are looking for in a starting running back at the NFL level.
Oklahoma RB Dimitri Flowers: One of my favorite movie lines of all time was in Full Metal Jacket, when Gunnery Sergeant Hartman yelled at Private Pyle, “The f—–g war will be over by the time we get out there, won’t it, Private Pyle?” Someone should have yelled that at Flowers when he was running his 40-yard dash. He ran an unofficial 4.83 second 40-yard dash, which was slower than the fastest offensive lineman. There is running a bad time and showing you do not have the physical ability to play the position. That slow 40-yard dash time will not help his draft stock at all.
Auburn’s Kamryn Pettway: Same issues, the war would almost be over by the time he gets there. He ran an unofficial 4.75 second 40-yard dash on his first run and a 4.85 second effort on his second run. There was not a lot of hype surrounding him heading into the NFL Combine; this will give him a lot of buzz, but for all the wrong reasons. I do not even know if he can repair this with a better Pro Day, he is probably going to have to hope he can catch on somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
WR / TE
Washington State WR Tavares Martin: It has not been a good year for Martin. First, he was dismissed from Washington State in early December due to a violation of team rules. The 22-year old receiver probably should have transferred to another program, but he thought he would let his 70 reception, 831 yard and nine-touchdown season do the talking and try for the NFL. Roto world expected him to run the 40-yard dash in the mid-to-high 4.4’s. He ran it in 4.80 seconds. There is not a demand in the NFL for receivers that run the 40-yard dash in 4.80 seconds, so he is going to need to figure out how to improve that time between now and the NFL Draft, otherwise he may not hear his name be called. That is not what the talented wide receiver needed to do at the NFL Combine, he needed to have his stock start trending in an upward direction rather than continue to decline.
Florida State WR Auden Tate: He just did not do enough to justify taking him in the first round, which makes him one of the losers of the NFL Combine. He is 6′ 5″ and 228 lb., so nobody expected him to have the fastest 40-yard dash time. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 seconds, which is too slow; he needed to break 4.60 to remain in the first round conversation. He also had underwhelming numbers in the vertical jump (31″) and the broad jump (112″). He will have some work to do at his Pro Day, otherwise his draft stock could continue to slide.
Alabama WR Calvin Ridley: He was not a big loser, there were enough good things that he did that you could spin it as a good day. I like that he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and that he had a good showing in the on-field throwing drills. 4.43 seconds is plenty fast for a receiver and if he is running good routes, that is half the battle for being a great NFL receiver. The downside was that his jumps were not exceptional with a 31″ vertical jump and a 110″ broad jump. He is only 6′ 1″ and he will need to be able to jump for some of those balls against bigger cornerbacks. He was a first round pick coming into the NFL Combine and I think that lack of a vertical and broad jump could cause him to slide a bit on NFL Draft day, especially when his tape is not that great, because he played in a run-oriented offense.
UCF WR Tre’Quan Smith: It was not that he had a bad combine, but I think guys like LSU WR D.J. Chark and Maryland WR D.J. Moore ended up stealing the show and they will be the players that people talk about coming out of this NFL Combine. Smith showed up and did his job, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, posted a 37.5″ vertical and 130″ broad jump. The problem at the NFL Combine is that what is remembered is the very exceptional and the very bad. Smith did a great job to no be part of the very bad, but I am not sure he did anything exceptional there that is going to help him make it into the first or second round. I think Chark and Moore will be the under the radar players that improved their stock the most, which hurts Smith.
Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain: I was surprised he did not earn an invite to the NFL Combine, which is why he falls into the loser category. Unlike the other people that were losers of the NFL Combine process, I think he has an excellent chance to recover. Fountain posted 66 receptions for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2017. He was the Offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game with a team-high 61 yards receiving and 40 yards in punt return yardage. If he dominates his Pro Day, he has an excellent chance to sneak into the third or fourth round, but missing the NFL Combine prevented him from further sending his NFL Draft Stock in an upward direction.
Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews: He did not do anything wrong at the NFL Combine, but his 40-yard dash time was just 4.67 seconds. He does not have much ability as a blocker, I think he needed to be about 0.10 seconds faster if he wanted to jump into the first round. He is probably now looking at a second or third round selection, but he is someone that could develop into a very nice tight end at the NFL level.
Oklahoma T Orlando Brown: This is a classic case of the NFL Combine causing a red flag that may not really be an issue. Brown is one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL Draft Class and he measured in at 6′ 8″ and 345 lb. He has a wingspan of 85 1/8 inches. Yet, he bench-pressed 225 lb. only 14 times. That is not very good for an offensive tackle, it is probably one of the worst bench press numbers in the history of the NFL Combine for someone that big. Here was a good tweet by NFL.com’s Chad Reuter. Historical context for Orlando Brown’s reps, OT with 35″+ arms – 14 one of the couple lowest for OT I see since 2003. Alex Barron DNP (21 at pro day) , Clady 24 Tyron Smith 29, Cherilus 24, Okung 38, Jake Long 31, Stanley DNP (24 pro day), Solder 21.
Things did not improve after the bad bench press. Per NFL.com, Brown finished at the bottom of the list among offensive linemen in his group in the 40-yard dash (5.85) and the vertical jump (19.5 inches). That 40-yard dash time is the fifth slowest by any player at the NFL Combine since 2003 and the four slower players went undrafted and never started a NFL game. He was trending toward being a first round pick, he is only going to see his stock decline after this showing and he needs to figure things out before his Pro Day, otherwise his stock could drop further. No elite prospect damaged his Draft Stock more than Brown did at the NFL Combine.
The one thing to keep in mind is that Brown is that Auburn T Greg Robinson had one of the best NFL Combine performances I ever saw from a tackle and he was a bust with the St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams. The NFL Combine is exercise, not a NFL game and this kid is just 21-years old and a couple seasons in a NFL weight room could improve his strength and conditioning.
At the end of the day, the film shows him mauling Big 12 defenders in the running game and being a good pass protector in the passing game. That is probably more important than how much he exercised at the NFL Combine. However, that performance is very concerning and it is going to cause talent evaluators to reevaluate the tape. It is not the storyline he wanted coming out of his NFL Combine performance.
Western Michigan T Chukwuma Okorafor: Okorafor wasn’t able to participate in the Senior Bowl practices and game and that was a chance for him to show his muscle against elite talent. He needed the NFL Combine to show he can dominate against better completion and he bench pressed 225 lb. only 19 times. His 40-yard dash time was 5.31 seconds, which is okay for a lineman, but not elite and his vertical jump was 23.5 inches and his broad jump 102.0 inches. He did not do anything disasterous to suggest he should not be drafted in the second round, but he also did not hit a homerun to help increase his stock. I think he will struggle to make it into the first round of the NFL Draft, but he probably goes sometime on Day 2.
Texas T Connor Williams: I think a lot of his problems came from the weigh in more than the combine drills. Texas listed him at 6′ 6″ and 320 lb., he was measured at 6′ 5″ and 296 lb. at the NFL Combine. One inch is not a big deal, but 25 lb. is a very big deal, so there are going to be questions about whether he lost 25 lb. since the season ended or if Texas was fibbing about his weight. He also had 33″ arms, which is a little on the shorter side and combined that with a 26 rep bench press, which is not terrible, but not great either. His 5.05-second 40-yard dash was good, but there are some questions about his size and his strength that will need to be answered at his Pro Day and through the Draft Evaluation Process.
Georgia T / G Isaiah Wynn: Wynn did well early in the NFL Draft Process. Pro Football Focus reported that Wynn won 80 percent of his battles in one-on-one drills for pass protection at the Senior Bowl. It would have been nice for him to build on that performance at the NFL Combine, but a shoulder injury at the Senior Bowl prevented him from doing more than weighing in at the NFL Combine at 6′ 6 2/8″ and 313 lb. As long as he has a good Pro Day, he should still be a first round pick and even if he cannot, his tape at Georgia is solid. It is just a shame that he could not keep elevating his stock with a strong performance at the NFL Combine.
Auburn G Braden Smith: I do not think he did anything wrong, he was more a loser of the NFL Combine, because he was viewed as the third best guard in this Draft and he was not able to separate himself from Nelson and Hernandez. Smith was excellent in the bench press with 35 reps, but Nelson also had 35 reps and Hernandez had 37 reps. He ran his 40-yard dash in 5.21 seconds, but Hernandez posted a 5.15 second 40-yard dash. Smith did well enough at the NFL Combine to stay on people’s radar, but he did nothing to convince anyone that he is a better prospect than Nelson or Hernandez, which is likely going to keep him out of the first round.
Ohio State C Billy Price: The goal of the NFL Combine is to enter the NFL Combine healthy and to leave it healthy and Price was unfortunately not able to do that. He was able to bench press 225 lb. only three times and it is believed that he tore a pectoral muscle and was unable to finish. His college film will help him be drafted at some point, but the injury could cause him to fall in the NFL Draft.
Arkansas C Frank Ragnow: He did not do anything wrong at the NFL Combine, but he has not been able to help himself either. He had a high ankle sprain at the end of October that ended his season and that injury prevented him from taking part in the Senior Bowl and it prevented him from participating at the NFL Combine. That means the only other chance he is going to have to show his stuff is Arkansas Pro Day on March 26. It helps that he can play both center and guard and his tape was very good, but he has an injury that will not seem to heal and it has kept him from participating in the NFL Draft evaluation process.
Michigan DT Maurice Hurst: Hurst appeared to be doing well in the NFL Draft Evaluation process. He was considered the most disruptive interior lineman in the NFL Draft and he gained 10 lb. since the season ended measuring in at 6′ 1 1/4″ and 292 lb. It was going to be a great opportunity for him to show he was a first round pick and then came news that he had an irregular EKG and he would not be allowed to participate at the NFL Combine.
The good news is that they found this early, he can have some test done, he maybe able to compete at the Michigan Pro Day and this could be just a blip on the radar. That is what happened to Auburn DT Nick Fairley back in 2011 and he still went 13th to the Detroit Lions. It also could be the end of Hurst’s football career. The most important thing is that he is alright and he receives the medical care he needs to have a healthy and productive life, but this is a nightmare scenario for an elite prospect at the NFL Combine.
Oklahoma LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo: He is a little undersized at 6′ 2″ and 238 lb. and you like to see guys like that post blazing 40-yard dash times, because they need the speed to make up for their lack of size. He posted a 4.73 second 40-yard dash time, which is not blazing speed. The good news is that he benched 27.0 bench reps, which is very good given his size. I think he could still be a very good player in the right system and he did show well at the Senior Bowl practices. I think he needed to run a little faster to make it into the second round.
LSU DE Arden Key: I have read speculation that he may end up being a first round pick and I initially had him pegged as the 20th pick by the Detroit Lions, but I am starting to rethink that decision. Per Roto World, Key said teams at the NFL Combine have been “blown away” when he explained the reasons for his leave of absence from the Tigers after last season. I do not know if that is a good thing, but it is what it is. He also did not run the 40-yard dash due to a knee injury he suffered his senior season. He also is coming off a shoulder injury, so he did not bench press either. His only events were a 31″ vertical and a 117.0″ broad jump. I think he is a guy that is trending in the wrong direction and he could find himself being a second or a third round selection.
Auburn DE Jeffery Holland: The redshirt junior decided to come out of college a year early and is profile says that he is a pure pass rusher that needs work in run support. At 6′ 2″ and 249 lb., he needed to run faster than a 4.79 second 40-yard dash and his broad jump of 116.0 was tied with two other players for 19th among edge rushers and defensive lineman. He probably is going to need to have a better Pro Day if he wants to go in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.
Clemson OLB Dorian O’Daniel: He is a really good player that posted 99 tackles and 10.5 tackles for a loss. Someone is going to fall in love with the tape and draft him. I do not think he really improved his stock at the NFL Combine. He is only 6′ 1″ and 223 lb. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds and benched 225 lb. 21 times. He did not crack the Top-10 for fastest linebackers and he is fairly undersized at 223 lb. I think he is still going to find a home and he has a chance to be a good football player, but I do not think he did much to improve his stock.
South Carolina State OLB Darius Leonard: Small school players need to show well at then NFL Combine, because there is a perception that their great numbers are the product of playing inferior competition. Leonard did himself no favors by running the 40-yard dash in 4.70 seconds or benching 225 lb. 17 times. It does not mean he will be a bad NFL Player, but that probably is not enough to make him an elite prospect that goes in the first or second round.
Virginia Tech DT Tim Settle: Nobody was expecting a 6′ 3″ and 329 lb. defensive tackle to dominate the 40-yard dash, but 5.37 seconds is a very slow time. He also was not impressive in the vertical jump (23.5″) or the broad jump (96″). He did not participate in the bench press. He entered the NFL Combine with NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein comparing him former New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork. Wilfork ran a much better 40-yard dash (5.21 seconds) and he benched 225 lb. 36 times. He also ran a 5.08 40-yard dash at his Pro day. Settle is going to need to have a much better Pro Day if he wants to keep being compared to Wilfork.
San Diego State CB / S Kameron Kelly: His 4.66 second 40-yard dash was not a disaster, but it was not good enough to move him up from the third or fourth round discussion. He also had only nine bench press reps, which is not very good either. He will need to try to rebound at his Pro Day if his stock is going to increase ahead of the NFL Draft.
Alabama SS Ronnie Harrison: Harrison ended up tweaking his hamstring before the 40-yard dash and he decided not to run in the event. That really is not a huge deal provided he is healthy enough to run it at his Pro Day. If he has a bad time there, he will have no opportunity to run it again, which could hurt his draft stock.
Texas SS DeShon Elliot: I think he was a victim of all the great times put up by the defensive backs. His 4.58 time is not a bad time, but it was not as good as some of the other defensive backs. Many experts have liked his tape and he does not need to have burner speed at the safety spot. I do not think he did enough to move into Round 1, but he should be a Round 2 or early Round 3 selection.
Virginia FS Quin Blanding: The free safety has to not let people make it behind him and some scouts are not going to like his 4.64 second 40-yard dash time. He is 6′ 2″ and 215 lb., so he is a bigger defensive back, but he will have some work to do at his Pro Day.
Texas A&M FS Armani Watts: He had mixed reviews at the Senior Bowl and he did not run his 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Per RotoWorld, Watts is the only player in FBS to post at least 9.5 TFL, four interceptions, two blocked kicks, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble this season. In addition, he’s the only active FBS player to have over 300 tackles, 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles. The problem is there were concerns about his speed and he did not run the 40-yard dash, so we will have to see how he does at his Pro Day.