NFL Draft Talk Volume X
As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level. Who improved their stock the most and who hurt their stock at the combine? The NFL scouting combine just wrapped up this past weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It’s an event where potential prospects can improve their draft stock, showcase their athletic ability, display their on-field intangibles and answer or put to bed any lingering questions about their character or desirable measurables in the case of Kyler Murray. Here’s a list of prospects that impressed scouts the most and tested themselves into the first round and even top 10 consideration as well as those who underperformed and will need to improve upon their result at the pro days in the next month and a half. Winners whose stock is on the rise:
WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss- The former Rebel star receiver shined the brightest and was the most dominant performer at this year’s combine. He made a lot of scout’s jaws drop and made a lot of mouths of front office executives picking at the top of the draft salivate after his awe-inspiring performance. At 6”3” and 228-pounds, the physical specimen that only has 1.6 percent body fat ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds, recorded a 40.5 inch vertical and leaped 134 inches in the broad jump. He was just as dominant in his on the field workouts as well in showing superb body control as well as balance when coming in and out of breaks. He also caught the ball well and might hear his name called in top 10 of the draft.
QB Drew Lock, Missouri- He continues to draw comparisons to former No.1 overall pick Matthew Stafford during the pre-draft process as he impressed a great number of scouts in attendance with his beautiful deep balls and even showed that he is able to take some muster off of those throws to improve his accuracy. His 40-yard dash time of 4.69 was faster than many believed he would run.
WR Paris Campbell, Ohio State- The former Buckeye speedster may have just run himself into the first round of the draft. He clocked in a 40-yard dash time of 4.37 that even caught the attention of NBA All-Star and fellow Ohio native LeBron James, who tweeted about Campbell's achievement shortly after it was officially announced. The deep threat also displayed some of the more unheralded parts of his game for scouts by showing good quick twitch movements at the intermediate level and polished route running.
TE Noah Fant, Iowa- The former Hawkeye star made a strong case for himself to be the first tight end off the board no later than the top 15 selections. He clocked in at 4.50 in the 40, showed off his soft hands and ran crisp routes during drills.
C Garrett Bradbury, NC State- He had the best showing of all the offensive linemen that attended the combine and all but guaranteed his status as a first-round pick. He ran a 4.92 in the 40-yard dash and exhibited all the makings of a future Pro Bowl interior linemen with his excellent body control, balance, and footwork.
OT Andre Dillard, Washington State- He displayed all the attributes that led many scouts to believe him to be the best pure pass blocker in this draft. He was technically sound and light on his feet during drills and clocked in at 4.96 in the 40-yard dash.
RB Miles Sanders, Penn State- He’s no Saquon Barkley but he did do an admirable job supplementing his role in the backfield for the Nittany Lions last season. While he didn’t light up the combine quite like his predecessor, he did display soft hands and swift footwork when maneuvering through drills. He could go from a day three to a possible day two pick.
DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State- He has been tearing up the pre-draft process and carried the momentum from a strong showing at the Senior Bowl into the combine where he broke the record for a defensive lineman in the 40-yard dash. The 6”6” 260-pound edge rusher clocked in a time of 4.41 and was just as impressive in the movement skill drills. He’s now shown out on tape and in shorts, leading many to believe that he will be a top 10 pick come April.
DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama- The top defensive tackle prospect might have tested his way into consideration form the first overall pick when the 6”3” 303-pound behemoth shocked everyone under the dome by displaying his unique combination of speed, power, and strength at his size throughout his on-field workouts.
DE Rashan Gary, Michigan- He exhibited the excellent footwork and body control of a skill position player while moving through his on-field drills and recorded a remarkable 40 time of 4.58 seconds and posted a vertical jump of 38 inches.
CB Greedy Williams, LSU- The former LSU star corner showed all those in attendance why he is viewed as the top prospect at his position with a blazing 4.37 time in the 40-yard dash and displayed the explosiveness that scouts wanted to see before having to sit out due to cramping.
S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State- He was already viewed as the top safety prospect coming into the weekend and after posting a solid workout and left an even better impression in the private interviews with teams as he all but solidified his position at the top.
CB Byron Murphy, Washington- While he didn’t blow anyone away with his respectable 4.55 time in the 40, he was arguably had the most fluid footwork and technique of any corner in the building.
Losers whose stock is falling:
CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt- Prior to the combine the big-bodied corner was garnering first-round consideration before a below average 40 time for corners with 4.64 and wasn’t too impressive in the other on-field workouts.
OLB Jachai Polite, Florida- He failed to display the elite athleticism that scouts were expecting to see and ran an underwhelming 40 time of 4.84 seconds. There were also reports that he didn’t conduct himself like a professional in his private interviews with teams, leading some to believe that he could fall to the latter half of the first round or out of the opening round entirely.
OT Greg Little, Ole Miss- Unlike his fellow former Rebels, Little let down a lot of scouts that were expecting him to put on a show in Indy. He struggled through on-field drills, ran a 5.33 in the 40-yard dash and didn’t participate in the bench press.
WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State- Even though he ran a good time in 40 with a mark of 4.53 seconds, he didn’t fare as well in the on-field drills as he wasn’t that nimble on his feet as many anticipated and he struggled to catch the ball consistently.
WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Texas- Leading up to the combine he was being talked about as a possible dark horse pick to go higher than anticipated but after running a 4.75 in the 40, slowest among all receivers, he could fall out of favor with a lot of teams.