The annual NFL scouting combine is a place for players to go and be tested for their athletic strengths in front of NFL GMs, coaches, and scouts. What most people don’t realize is that a lot more happens at the event than meets the eye. Medical tests are done to see if players have recovered from college injuries. Mental tests are done in the way of interviews and press conferences where teams and media members try to get to the core of what a player is really about. In this article, I am gonna go position by position and highlight some players who helped and hurt their stock in the various areas I mentioned. There is no way I’ll be able to get to everyone who helped and hurt themselves, but I am going to do my best.
Quarterbacks: Stock up
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma:
Murray might be the only player ever to win the combine and be crowned the number one pick without participating in any drills. Murray ended up being 5’10 and 207 pounds at his weigh in. That was considered a win by most people in the media amidst speculation he would come in at 5’8 and 190 pounds. Not only did Murray win his weigh-in, but he also had a great interview with the Arizona Cardinals. Charlie Casserly from NFL network reported that he heard Murray was terrible in some interviews. I am not sure how much I believe that but the only thing that matters is if the Cardinals love him or not.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State:
Haskins was the top quarterback who actually competed in on-field drills this past week at the combine. Haskins made every throw that was asked of him in drills and looked smooth doing it. Reports are that he did very well in his team interviews as well. Haskins might fall a bit in the draft come April, but he will be a good NFL quarterback.
Quarterbacks: Stock down
Nobody: Honestly, I didn’t think that any quarterback hurt themselves this week at all. I thought everyone performed about how I was expecting.
Running Backs: Stock up
Ryquell Armstead, Temple:
Coming into the combine I had round 5 grade on Armstead and I thought he was more “quick” than “fast”. Armstead ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds which was in the top 5 for running backs. Armstead also had a 7.02 second three-cone drill which ranked in the top 5 for running backs. Armstead proved that he deserves some consideration late in the third round for a team looking for a complementary running back.
Miles Sanders, Penn State:
Sanders was widely regarded by draft media to have had the best performance, for running backs, at the combine. He looked smooth and quick during all of his on-field drills. Sanders looked good catching the ball as well which was something I was concerned about coming in. Sanders ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and ran a 6.89 three-cone drill. Both of those were in the tops of the running back group. Sanders may be a second round pick because of his week in Indy.
Running Backs: Stock down
Elijah Holyfield, Georgia:
Coming into the week Holyfield was a hot sleeper pick by many people to be day one starter in the NFL. Holyfield bombed is 40-yard dash time running it in 4.78 seconds. Nobody expected Holyfield to burn up the track but just under a 4.8 is concerning. I’ll have to go back and watch his tape but being that slow will almost definitely drop his stock on my board.
Wide Receivers: Stock up
N’Keal Harry, Arizona State:
The biggest question with Harry coming into the week was his long speed. Some media members even predicted that Harry would run in the 4.70’s for the 40-yard dash. Well, Harry showed everyone up by running a 4.53 which is plenty good enough to be a first-round pick.
DK Metcalf, Ole Miss:
DK Metcalf might be the most talked about player coming out of the combine. Metcalf is listed at 6’3 and 228 pounds on NFL.com with a 4.33 second 40-yard dash. That number is insane for a player as big as he is and makes him a physical freak. Metcalf tore up the rest of the combine as well (besides flexibility drills) setting Twitter on fire. Metcalf will get drafted in the first round and his combine in Indy helped make that happen.
Wide Receivers: Stock down
Riley Ridley, Georgia:
Ridley was another popular sleeper pick amongst media members coming into the combine. Ridley ran a 4.61 40-yard dash which is considered slow for wide receivers by a good amount. Ridley didn’t help himself much in other athletic testing drills either leading to him getting the meme treatment on Twitter. I’ll have to go back and watch his tape again but I’m officially concerned.
Tight Ends: Stock up
Dax Raymond, Utah State/ Khale Warring, San Diego State/ Josh Oliver, San Jose State:
The reason I have all of these tight ends grouped together is that they all benefited from other players testing bad. We will get to them later but these three tight ends tested well enough to remain in contention of being 2nd or 3rd round picks. I’ll be reevaluating the tight end position heavily and all three of these players have a chance to move up the board.
Tj Hockenson and Noah Fant, Iowa:
Both of these players were fantastic and they will remain my TE 1 and TE 2. Both players also have a chance to finish in my top 10 overall players for the class.
Tight Ends: Stock down
Kaden Smith, Stanford and Issac Nauta, Georgia:
I was so excited to see these guys test because I have been defending them as good prospects for most of the draft season. To say the least me and the rest of the NFL were disappointed. Both tight ends ran in the 4.90’s which is just horrible honestly. It is really hard to find any successful tight end in NFL history who ran that slow. I’m gonna have to go back and watch the tape but I am pretty sure they will fall down my board.
Stock up: Offensive Tackles
Andre Dillard, Washington State:
Honestly, the tackles part of the combine was a bit uneventful. Most of the players performed exactly how I expected them to. Dillard was clearly the most athletic of the bunch. He looked smooth and quick in most of his on-field drills. Dillard is most likely a first-round pick when the draft rolls around.
Stock down: Tackles
Greg Little, Ole Miss:
Little’s draft stock has been falling since the start of the college football season. Little didn’t do anything to help his stock at the combine. He ran a slow 5.33 second 40-yard dash and only had a 25-inch vertical jump. For people who don’t know, 24 inches is widely regarded as the thresh hold most scouts say players must hit to be considered NFL caliber athletes. Little only beat that number by one and the rest of his testing wasn’t great either.
Stock up: Interior O-line
Garrett Bradbury, NC State:
Bradbury just looked like he was born to play the center position in today’s NFL. He is a smooth mover in space and that showed in spades during on-field drills. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said during the broadcast that “everything just looks way to easy for him”. I could not agree more with that statement. Bradbury is going to get a round one grade from me.
Stock down: interior O-line
Nobody: Much like the quarterbacks, I didn’t think any of the interior prospects performed badly enough to negatively affect their stock.
Stock up: Defensive Tackle
Quinnin Williams, Alabama:
Much like DK Metcalf, I am starting to question if Williams is actually human or not. He moves like a wide receiver, at times, on tape and that showed up when he ran a 4.83 40-yard dash. That number is basically unheard of from people as big as he is. Chalk it up right now: Williams will be taken in the top five.
Khalen Sanders, Western Illinois:
Sanders is similar in a lot of ways to Williams in that they are both elite movers for big men. Sanders was going through some of his on-field workouts with more quickness that some receivers. Sanders was considered a sleeper by many, but I think after this weekend he will be taken in the third round.
Stock down: Defensive Tackle
Nobody: There were so many defensive tackles that put up great numbers that nobody ended up lowering their draft stock.
Stock up: Edge Rushers
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State:
On tape, one of my biggest knocks on Sweat was that he didn’t appear to be a great athlete. Sweat ran a 4.41 40-yard dash which broke the record for a defensive lineman. The only problem is that 40-yard dash is not really important for edge rushers. Either way, Sweat got enough hype this week to raise his stock into being a lock for the first round.
Nick Bosa, Ohio State:
I feel like a lot of people forgot just how good Nick Bosa was because of his injury this past season. Bosa returned for the combine and tested in the top percentiles for edge rushers. Bosa is far and away the best player in this class and he proved that this past week.
Stock down: Edge Rushers
Jachai Polite, Florida:
It is hard to find the words that would accurately describe Polite’s week at the combine. Things started when Polite had a press conference with the media. During the conference, Polite talked about at length about how all teams did was “bash” him during their meetings. Polite followed that up by running a poor 40-yard dash time and then left the combine after suffering a leg injury. So in summary, Polite complained about teams saying he needed to improve, ran a bad 40 time for someone as light as he is, and then suddenly had an injury that forced him to miss the rest of the combine. Not a great look for a player that was trying to prove they belonged in the top 15.
Stock up: Linebackers
Devin Bush, Michigan:
In every draft class there are prospects that I would stand on the table for if I was in a draft room. Devin Bush is one of those players this year that I just love. I love his style of play and I love what I’ve seen of his tape so far. Bush ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, jumped 40.5 inches, and ran a 6.93 three-cone drill. Those are really good numbers for any linebacker let alone one that is a bit undersized. Bush will be a first-round pick and should get a first round grade from me.
Devin White, LSU:
Everything that I said about Devin Bush can be applied to Devin White. I love White’s tape and his testing was also very good. Some media members mentioned that White tested better than they expected. White is gonna finish in my top 5 overall players when its all said and done.
Stock down: Linebackers
Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State: It is hard to say that Hanks had a lot of stock to lose when he showed up to the combine. He certainly had a lot of stock to gain though. Hanks was another popular sleeper pick who ran poorly. Hanks 40 time was 4.98 and in the great words of former American Idol judge Randy Jackson “That’s gonna be a no from me dog”.
Stock up: Cornerbacks
Greedy Williams, LSU:
The top question coming into the week about Williams was whether or not he had enough speed to keep up down the field. Williams shut us all up by running a 4.37-second 40-yard dash. Williams was in a battle with Byron Murphy for CB 1 and I think he certainly won the combine battle between the two.
Stock down: Cornerbacks
Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt:
People pegged Williams as a potential top-50 pick before the combine. The report on him was that he had prototypical size and length to be a great NFL corner. The question was about his long speed and sadly he answered that question by running a 4.64 40-yard dash. Williams can still get taken late in round two if a team falls in love with him but I think the top-50 talk needs to die down.
Stock up: Safties
Taylor Rapp, Washington:
Rapp is another player that I would stand on a table for in this draft class. He plays super physical and is better in coverage than people give him credit for. Rapp tested well during the week including a 6.82 three-cone drill and a 3.99 20-yard shuttle run. Both of those rank in the high percentiles for safties. Rapp might not get a round one grade from me, but he might get drafted there anyway.
Amani Hooker, Iowa:
Hooker might be the first “sleeper” prospect to actually do well at the combine. I have yet to see any of his tape since I scout safties last but I’ve heard that he will impress. Those same people, however, said that Hooker might not test very well at the combine. Hooker proved everybody wrong by running a 4.48 40-yard dash and running a 6.81 three-cone. I am excited to really dig into his tape in the coming weeks.
Stock down: Safties
Mike Bell, Fresno State:
Bell was yet another popular sleeper pick that didn’t live up to the hype. Bell ran 4.83 40-yard dash which was ranked last among all safeties at the combine. Jon Ledyard from The Draft Network tweeted out that Bell might be undraftable because of his poor time.