Every year we go to the combine with some big question marks – How correct are the measurements given out for prospects by their respective schools? How does a player’s athleticism correlate into real numbers? And how do they fare when put into actual football drills, that can expose weaknesses? While the medical reports and interviews going on behind the scene are obviously a big part of the evaluation as well, I want to focus on the things we saw from these NFL hopefuls during their testing and workouts. Even though it is natural that some prospects fall down boards because of what they do in Indianapolis, I wanted to stay positive and point out the who stood out the most with their combine showings. Here is the list:
Every year there are prospects who boost their draft stock with amazing performances at the NFL scouting combine and then there are those who really hurt themselves with slow times in the fourty, a lack of explosiveness in the leaping events or bad on-field drills. With that being said, the combine is just a small part of the evaluation and most of the information can be found on tape. However, there are some things you see in Indianapolis that make you go back to the film and re-evaluate certain areas of these guys’ games, whether that may be stiffness in their hips, a lack of speed preventing defensive backs to survive full-time on the outside or heavy feet in the drills. Of course, these can also be positive, but for the most part it is just a confirmation of what you have already seen if nothing particularly stands out. The prospects I chose for this article are the ones who I wasn’t completely sure on where I would rank them among their position or on the big board, but really solidified or even improved their draft status.
Overall I think the linebackers and defensive linemen are the groups that really stood out on day three, which was to be expected to some degree but still was highly impressive, considering how they were able to move with the weight they carried. I was discouraged by some of the cornerbacks and there was only one quarterback who really left his mark in Indy in my opinion. Although there were a few performances that made me drop guys a few spots, I thought most of them helped themselves. So while there was nobody who completely threw off my board, I thought these young guys really shined over the weekend:
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:
It was a very eventful and surprising three days in Chicago and all teams improved their roster. So now it’s time to look at who benefited most from the draft and who had to come out of it with some form of disappointment. The lists include both teams and players and at the end I put up the biggest steals on this year’s board and which players I thought didn’t present a good enough value at the spot they were taken. None of them are ranked in any particular order.
After doing tons of film work on all the prospects, analyzing them by position and overall, here’s my one and only mock draft for the first round. Draft day is crazy and anything can happen. You can never have your whole board right because of all the trades and shiftings going on, so I decided to leave the projections for possible trades and went with the board as it is right now.
You can check also check out all the analyses on the top prospects at each position and my big board right here.
After listing my top ten prospects at each other position, finally here are my quarterbacks. With the mega-deals by the Rams and Eagles we already know who the first two will be that hear their name called on Thursday, but I think this is a very deep and talented class. Once again I’m projecting what kind of players they can become, so the guy at number one isn’t the only one, who wasn’t in the national spotlight during his collegiate career.
Adding to my top 10 cornerback prospects, here is my list of the best safeties available. The skill-sets of these guys are very different and can go from in-the-box safeties to center-fielders. I always like to see lower-level players I can put up here and there are a couple of very intriguing guys out there.
Following my analysis of the top wide receivers in the draft, here’s my list of the guys covering them. To me cornerbacks either have to be able to take the responsibility of covering receivers one-on-one or bring versatility, because they have more value than system players. And I like my corners to have an attitude.
In recent years we have seen a lot of receivers have success early on in their career and as the league becomes more and more pass heavy coaches look for different skill sets. While a lot receivers have become bigger and stronger, smaller and quicker players can also make a big impact. I don’t think this draft class is quite as deep as the more recent ones and there probably are no superstars like Odell Beckham Jr. and Co., but the 2016 class certainly has some great playmakers.
Over the course of the last one-and-a-half weeks I listed my top 10 runningbacks, linebackers, offensive tackles and interior offensive lineman and edge rushers. I continue with the best interior defensive linemen, which includes nose tackles, base D-tackles who line up across from guards and three-techniques on the guard’s outside shoulder. This class is very deep and you can find quality starters probably all the way down to day three, while there also could be five to six of them ending up in the first rounds.
Update: Also check out the list on wide receivers.