Winners and Losers from the NFL Combine

With the NFL Combine, or ‘underwear Olympics’ as some refer to it as, coming to a close – it is time to take stock and look back at who improved their draft stock and who hurt theirs. Below are some of the winners and losers from Indianapolis.

 

Winners

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

No one player did more to improve their draft stock than Deshaun Watson at the Combine. Watson crushed the athletics aspect of testing, which was to be expected – but Watson excelled in the passing drills and was arguably the most impressive of the group in showcasing his arm talent. A big knock on Watson has been his accuracy and arm talent – with few questioning his ability to bring it when the lights are at their brightest or his athletic ability. Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid summed up Watson’s amazing showing – “He had a great day. Every throw was on the money” per USA TODAY Sports.

(USA TODAY Sports)

Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M

Garrett cemented his status as the No.1 overall pick and did not put a foot wrong at the Combine. Nothing scary appeared in the medical or measurables – and Garrett wowed scouts with his athleticism as he ran a freaky 4.64 at 6 foot 4, 272lbs. Garrett followed this strong showing with an impressive display of athleticism in the position drills, showcasing exceptional body control – balancing raw speed and explosion with great change of direction. Garrett also has a great character and work ethic which should shine in the interview stage. Coming out of the Combine, Garrett looks like a lock to go No.1 Overall.

John Ross, WR, Washington

When you break the 40 record – chances are you will rocket up draft boards. Ross re-affirmed his reputation as a speedster who possesses elite top speed to be able to blow the top off Defenses. Ross’ 40 time should cement his place in the First Round as teams looking to stretch the field vertically will find few options better than Ross. He is also a great route runner, however, struggled to showcase his full potential at the NFL Combine as he struggled with sore calves. Durability remains an issue.

Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss

Engram put on a performance worthy of an academy award. Engram blew up combine posting a mind boggling 4.42 at 6 foot 3, 236lbs. To put that into perspective, Jordan Reed at 6 foot 2, 236lbs ran a 4.72. Here’s a few WR(!) numbers for you to compare to with what Engram can bring at the TE position:

Kelvin Benjamin (6’5″, 240lbs) 4.61 // Dez Bryant (6’2″, 225lbs) 4.52 // A.J. Green (6’3″, 211lbs) 4.47 // Odell Beckham Jr (5’11”, 200lbs) 4.43.

His ability to stress Defenses and burn Linebackers in man coverage on Go routes should move Engram up Draft Boards.

(AP Photo)

Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State

McMillan’s showing in the combine might just earn him a Day 1 Draft Grade on some Boards. McMillan ran an impressive 4.61 and looked extremely comfortable moving in space in the pass coverage drills. He showcased fluid hips and looked natural in zone coverage as he showed great poise and body control – something that translates into him having three down LB potential. McMillan was a tackling machine for the Buckeyes and presents a solid option for teams looking for a three down Linebacker who can also be a thumper on the Inside.

Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

Reddick took a big leap, run and lift (?) to hearing his name being announced Day 1 in the 2017 NFL Draft. Reddick was the fastest Edge Rusher/ LB (not including Peppers) in the 40 yard dash with a scintillating 4.52. Reddick was also the Combines top performer in the broad jump and ranked 3rd in the vertical jump being Myles Garrett and Jordan Willis (also a winner from the Combine). He also posted an impressive 24 reps in the bench press. Reddick smashed the dummies in pass rush drills and floated effortlessly over the bags in space drills showing he has all the makings of a Pro-Bowl 3-4 OLB. Reddick’s ability to rush the passer AND drop into coverage, should make him an enticing prospect as many teams will now start to go back and review the Temple standouts tape. 

(Brian Spurlock/ USA TODAY Sports)

Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

Bolles’ performance in Indianapolis have re-affirmed his status as this classes top Tackle. Boles posted a sub-5 40 (4.95) and showed great movement, body control and quickness in the movement drills. He looked every bit a pro-typical Franchise Tackle. If Bolles further impresses at his pro-day he has a legitimate chance to crack the top-15 come Draft day.  

Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Harris added major value to his draft stock as he excelled in the position drills, displaying great balance, body control and agility – showing he can be deployed as either a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. Harris’ fluidity in space should allow Defensive coaches to drop him into coverage. Harris was one of the few prospects who showed he can excel as both a pass-rusher and in coverage. 

Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky

Lamp showed that he is the top Guard in this years Draft class and worthy of a 1st Round Grade. He impressed with his size, athleticism and technique. Lamp made it look easy for a man of his size to turn so effortlessly and looked great moving in space. Lamp’s NFL combine performance backs up a strong tape which should result in him being selected in the 1st Round in April.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

McCaffrey looked like everything we thought he would be. A three down RB with break away speed, who is also a huge asset in the passing game. McCaffrey’s showing on the field made up for his disappointing performance in the weight room (10 reps). He is not a RB who will run the ball 30 times a game, but in today’s modern NFL teams could easily get great production out of him by running it 10-15 times and lining up in the slot 5-10 times per game.

(AP Photo)

Most of the DBs

This Defensive Backs class, particularly the Corners, is SPECIAL! I believe Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore is a lock to go top-10 and should, almost certainly, go in the top-5. 

USC’s Adore’e Jackson proved he’s a world class athlete and has all the physical tools to develop into a No.1 Corner. Obi Melifonwu, the Safety from Conneticut significantly increased his draft stock as he took over the combine showcasing his rare athleticism for a player his size. A lot of teams will target him in Day 2, conjuring up plays that will put his talents to use. Marlon Humphrey’s cemented his place as a lock to go in the 1st Round and likely to go Top-20. Kevin King from Washington may have earned himself a 1st Round grade showing off his speed and athleticism to go with his rare size. There were simply too many standout’s to name here.

 

Losers

Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

‘Do you know who I am?’ A phrase which ended up getting Reuben Foster – a player I recently had going No.2 overall to the 49ers (mock draft available here) – sent home from the NFL Combine. The story differs based on who’s side you hear but Foster, who was expected to go top 10, might start tumbling down Draft Boards. His antic in Indianapolis will raise questions about his maturity, professionalism and emotional control. However, Foster still remains the best ILB in the draft by a country mile (see my scouting report).

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

Kaaya was not a loser, he just wasn’t a winner in my eyes. Kaaya electing to not run the 40 was strange, yet, the thing that will hurt his stock most was the few middle to intermediate throws that he missed. Kaaya failed to seize the moment and convince scouts that he’d be a steal early in the 2nd or 3rd round. He proved that he is a 4th or 5th rounder, who could carve out a nice career in the NFL if he is given time to develop at the next level.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington

Kupp was a small-school Senior who made noise coming out of the Senior Bowl as a potential under-the-radar guy who could develop into a big time play maker. However, Kupp ran two 40s in the 4.6 range and will most likely have to wait till Day 3 to hear his name called. Scouts will go back and watch his impressive tape, however, many will now question whether he can match that level of production against elite competition.

(David J. Phillip/ AP Photo)

Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

Cunningham was billed by many as an extremely athletic and productive Linebacker who could be a three down ‘backer with elite sideline-to-sideline range. Cunningham under-delivered as he posted a mediocre 4.65 – 40 time, and did not look fluid or smooth when operating in space. The Vanderbilt star also struggled pulling in passes and for a player who’s tape is extremely varied and difficult to evaluate (see my scouting report) – Cunningham’s performance in Indianapolis might just have cost him a chance of being taken Day 1 in the Draft.

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

After being overshadowed by Deshaun Watson most of his college career, the NFL Combine was Gallman’s chance to force teams to take a second look at the talented RB. Unfortunately Gallman’s poor 4.6 mark could send his draft stock tumbling and lead to him being overlooked in a stacked class.

D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas

Foreman was knocking of the door of being in the discussion as one of the Top-5 RBs in this loaded Draft class. While most love his size at 6 foot, 233lbs – scouts were unable to see whether he possessed the necessary speed and quickness to excel in the NFL as Foreman was sidelined due to a foot injury. A slight stress fracture in his foot will be a red flag for some teams, especially with the Draft only 2 months away. Foreman might just find himself slipping down Big Boards and out of Day 1 and 2 of the Draft.

(AP Photo)

Teez Tabor, CB, Florida 
Question marks surrounding Tabor’s speed and quickness were underlined at the Combine. Tabor ran a mediocre 4.62 – questioning whether he has the necessary recovery speed to hang with faster receivers. He also struggled in drills as he did not look smooth in his hip movement. With this years class being loaded on the perimeter, Tabor could find himself falling out of the 1st Round on the back of his performance.

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