Risers and Sliders from the NFL Combine
With all 32 teams and dozens of the top prospects present the NFL Combines are the unofficial start of each season. It doesn’t hurt that they occur days before the official start of the NFL season. At this point in time the area scouts, College Scouting Directors, and (good) General Managers have seen enough tape of the players to have an idea of which prospects might fit their system. The major benefit of the combine is threefold;
The NFL teams each have their own medical staff on hand to take a detailed look at prospects.
All of the players complete the same drills, at the same time, under the same circumstances.
Teams are allowed to meet with players individually for interviews.
Truthfully, the first and third reasons are extremely important. Most any scout, coach, or personnel executive will take the best results in drills they can find for players they like, and the worst for players they don’t like. A player with significant injuries will be severely downgraded, or removed from a team’s draft board entirely, as will a player that appears to be deceptive, arrogant, or whiney during the interviews. Here’s a list of the players that helped and hurt themselves the most at this year’s combines.
Gareon Conley Conley ran well, tested well, and has the tape to backup a spot in the mid first round.
Kevin King King is a 6’3” cornerback with a 39.5” vertical jump who runs a sub 4.5. He helped himself this weekend.
Myles Garrett It’s impossible to rank higher than 1, but Garrett strengthened his lead on the #1 spot with an amazing week in Indianapolis.
Carl Lawson Lawson did 35 reps on the bench press and ran a 4.68 in the 40. He likely moved up into the mid 20’s.
Hasaan Reddick Reddick continues to make a case for being the top 3-4 edge rusher in this draft.
Garett Bolles Bolles answered NFL team’s questions about his past with sincerity and regret. He has established himself as the #1 tackles and could go off the board in the top 20.
Chris Godwin Godwin got a lot of people talking with good overall numbers.
Curtis Samuel If not for John Ross Curtis Samuel would be the talk of the combine. He might have moved into the late first after running a 4.31.
John Ross Ross was already highly rated, and he isn’t the same kind of player as Mike WIlliams and Corey Davis, but Ross had an amazing week and solidified himself as a top 20 receiver.
Leonard Fournette Many people expected Fournette to lose ground to Dalvin Cook in Indy but Fournette actually gained ground. He established himself as the best back in this draft by far.
Reuben Foster Foster getting sent home wasn’t as big of an issue as his official measurements, which confirmed that he isn’t likely big enough to play a mike linebacker in every system. That will hurt his draft stock, though not by much.
Teez Tabor On a day when all of the highly rated defensive backs ran blistering speeds Tabor ran a 4.64. His other numbers were pedestrian and his off field issues have some teams concerned. Tabor has very clean tape, but right now that’s all he’s got. He probably slipped from the top 3 cornerbacks drafted to going somewhere between 12-15th at the position.
Charles Harris Harris looks like a situational player, at least early in his career, which should knock him out of the top 45 or so picks.
Tim Williams Every year a couple of teams overdraft an Alabama player. Williams looks like he’ll be one of them this year.
Marshon Lattimore The biggest knock on Lattimore is his injury history and his thin frame - which leads to injuries. He didn’t help himself by missing drills with a hamstring injury.
Zach Banner Banner is a big guy with good bloodlines but he doesn’t display great technique, athleticism, or strength.
Ryan Ramczyk Teams are starting to questions how much Ramczyk loves the game. That’s the kiss of death in the NFL.
Dede Westbrook Tony Pauline is reporting that many teams took Westbrook off their boards entirely because of his demeanor during the team interviews. Westbrook will likely be drafted but he just cost himself a bunch of money and better roster security.
Dalvin Cook Cook’s numbers were pedestrian while other running backs excelled. Cook might fall out of the first round.