After the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend and yesterday I wanted to list the players who stood out the most in Indianapolis. John Ross breaking the record for the 40-yard dash at 4.22 probably made the most noise, but he didn’t do any of the on-field drills. For me it’s more about who had the best all-around performances. Here are some of those guys:
Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama:
To me this behemoth has erased all doubts about if he can succeed at tackle on the pro level with a solid 5.15 in the 40 at 326 pounds and great on-the-field work especially with his kick slides, where he beat the rabbit to the cone, and the mirror drill where he showed excellent lateral agility for a man his size. He could definitely make a living inside, but I also think he has Pro-Bowl potential as a right tackle.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford:
In his press conference McCaffrey said he doesn’t think he gets the credit he deserves. So he reminded everybody what a game-changer he is with his performance on the field. He looked flawless in change-of-direction drills not losing any speed, as well as making people think he could be a top-five wide receiver in this draft with crisp routes and natural hands. He ended up on the right side of 4.5 on the 40, put up the fastest shuttle-drill among RBs and had some of the better numbers in the vertical and broad jumps.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee:
In all the Fournette, Cook, McCaffrey – discussion this guy’s name gets lost a lot of times, but at the end of the day he could easily end up in the first round. Kamara displayed tremendous explosiveness with the best marks in the vertical (39 ½ inches) and broad jump (10’11’’) among running backs. As a pass-catcher he ran sharp routes and caught the ball very naturally.
Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State:
The receivers ran much faster than last year, but some of those names got lost due to John Ross’ record-beating 4.22. Don’t overlook Godwin’s 4.42 though. That’s a good mark for him. He had a really nice overall day with 19 reps on the bench press, the fastest 20 yard shuttle drill at 4 flat and solid leaping numbers. What I liked even better was what he did on the field, as he simply looked like a natural receiver catching the ball away from his body, especially on the gauntlet drill.
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami:
While many peopl thought Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes could be one of the rising quarterback prospects after the combine I think Kaaya actually improved his stock the most. He showed excellent timing and accuracy even when asked to throw three- and five-step drops, plus he had smoothest footwork in all the drills. For him the problems really start when the pocket is breaking down, but he showed he can get the ball out on time and point to not let pressure get in his face.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson:
The other quarterback who really stood out was the reigning national champion. Watson had an excellent day as far as footwork and accuracy on all different levels go. I thought he did everything right and looked like the best QB in the class. He often gets knocked for poor ball-placement and simply having to throw it up for his playmakers, but he was very precise and surprised me with his feet for a spread-offense QB. A 4.66 on the 40 doesn’t hurt either.
Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss:
Let me all remind you – this guy is a tight-end. At 233 pounds he ran a 4.42 on the 40, which topped everybody in his position group. Furthermore, he didn’t show any flaws in the gauntlet drill, ran great routes and made catching the ball look easy in all the on-the-field drills. He simply continues to improve his draft stock after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl.
Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M:
If there was still anything that would make you doubt who the number one overall pick in this draft should be Garrett put those doubts to rest. At 272 pounds he ran 4.64 in the 40 (and looked like he stumbled a bit at the end), took off on a 41 inch vertical and did 33 reps on the bench press. On the field he didn’t look like he had to stress anything and even though he will probably be a 4-3 defensive end at the NFL level anyway, he looked better in LB drills than some of those tweeners who might have to convert to outside linebacker.
Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn:
One of the guys I thought wasn’t talked about enough at the combine was the Auburn edge rusher. With a 4.67 in the 40 including a 1.60 on the 10-yard split, a 4.19 in the 20-yard shuttle (fastest among all defensive linemen) and 35 reps on the bench-press he put up excellent numbers in a bunch of events. In addition to that he destroyed the bags with his clubs showing violent hands and looked solid in LB drills after being a pure hand-in-the-dirt defensive end all his collegiate career.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple:
What more can you say about this guy? He ran 4.52 in the 40, which would have been the fastest among linebackers if he wasn’t tagged as a D-linemen and Jabrill Peppers would have been a defensive back correctly. He leaped 11’1’’ on the broad and 36 ½ on the vertical jump. Then he showed he can flip his hips and change directions very quickly and simply made things look easy. The Temple kid just continues to blow away people after dominating the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago.
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State:
With a 4.61 in the 40 and the work he did on the field scouts might have to rethink their assessments of McMillan just being an inside thumper. The former Buckeye showed really good technique and fluidity in open space. In pedal and change of direction-skills he did a nice job sinking and flipping his hips. To me he looked more like a three-down linebacker who can move laterally but even more so downhill.
Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA:
This is a really deep cornerback class and some really good players at the position will drop simply because of the depth, but I don’t see Moreau slipping further than the second round anymore. He ran a 4.35 in the 40, had a 11’4’’ broad and a 38 inch vertical. What I liked even better was the excellent footwork he displayed in on-field drills and how smooth he looked in everything out there.
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan:
This guy was the first ever to participate on two different days – as a linebacker as well as a defensive back. Believe me – he can play safety. Actually he can line up pretty much anywhere on the field. He ran a 4.46 in the 40 and had a 10’8’’ broad jump. The most impressive part for me though was how quickly he picked up the linebacker drills, opening his hips and cutting diagonally with ease. At the same time he definitely belonged in the DB drills as well.
Obi Melinfonwu, S, UConn:
To me the craziest overall athlete at the entire combine was the UConn safety. He had the furthest broad and vertical jump at 11’9’’ and 44 inches respectively and blazed with a 4.4 flat in the 40. When you consider he’s 224 pounds and puts up those kind of numbers that is mind-boggling. With that kind of athleticism and the hardnosed style he plays with not only is he a really intriguing safety prospect, some people might even look at him as a corner in man-based coverage schemes. He is definitely someone who can match up with various body types and he has crazy range.
Others who impressed:
Garrett Boles, OT, Utah – Had 4.96 in the 40 with 1.71 10-yard split and was impressive in mirror drills.
Ethan Cooper, OL, IUP – Moved very well in all the drills, showing great balance with a low center of gravity and good knee-bend.
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama – At 4.51 he had the same 40-time as LSU’s Leonard Fournette, even though he’s a 250+ tight-end, and he just is a really smooth route-runner and pass-catcher, cementing his status as the number one TE in the draft even more.
Montravious Adams, DT, Auburn – Somehow ran a 4.88 in the 40 at 305 pounds and displayed heavy hands in the bag drills.
Charles Harris Jr., DE/OLB, Missouri – Looked comfortable and natural in all the on-the-field drills, including linebacker stuff.
Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford – Jumped 10’6’’ in the broad and ran a 4.7 in the 40 at 270 pounds. He also looked good in drop- and movement-drills.
Jordan Willis, DE/OLB, Kansas State – Put up a 40 of 4.53 with a crazy 1.54 split as well as looking smooth in coverage drills.
Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF – Showed up big with a 4.38 in the 40, was fluid in his turns and displayed natural hands in the drills, especially the gauntlet.
Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado – 4.45 as a long corner is nice and he made opening his hips and adjusting to the ball look easy.
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State – Put up one of the best numbers in the three-cone-drills and had a great on-field workout, including spectacular one-handed catches.
Josh Jones, S, N.C. State – Put up a 4.41 in the 40 and moved really well in space for a guy his size (220 lbs.), plus he put up a 11’ broad and 37 ½ inch vertical jump.