NFL Draft

2017 NFL Combine: Winners And Losers

2017 Combine is in the books and man, it was a good one. The defensive side of the ball was phenomenal and all the offense did was bring us the fastest 40 time electronically recorded. This is just a tidy recap of some of its best and worst performances. If you’ve been following along throughout the weekend, first of all, thank you, and most of this will sound familiar. But nice to put a bow on it.

WINNERS

– TCU offensive tackle Aviante Collins got some really positive pub, posting the best ten split and 40 time of his group. He has a wide base and gains a lot of ground on his kickslide while showing the ability to drop his hips and mirror. In a weak offensive line class, especially at tackle, its premier position, it should move Collins somewhere into Day Two.

Taylor Moton was my favorite linemen there and I can’t figure out an argument against keeping him out of the first round. Big guy, even after dropping ten pounds for Indy, who moves well and turned in some explosive numbers, getting his 319 pound frame up 30.5 inches in the vertical. Shouldn’t have to discuss him moving to guard. He’s a tackle, heck I have no problem with him at left tackle, let alone right, though the latter is where he’ll probably end up.

Christian McCaffrey’s workout showcased his athleticism and versatility. Natural hands out of the backfield, ran receiver and return drills after everyone else was on their way home, and turned in strong numbers (4.48, 37.5 vert, 6.57 three cone). Think he’s in play to be the second back off the board somewhere near the end of the first after Dalvin Cook’s poor day.

– No quarterback shocked anyone but Miami’s Brad Kaaya seemed to help himself the most. Quick and efficient in his drops, he showed accuracy and a decent arm. Obviously, the shotgun/spread quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb didn’t look nearly as natural. No one really stuck out but I did want to sneak a QB on the list.

Zay Jones may have proven me wrong (even though I did like him coming off a strong Senior Bowl) as a first round contender. Could very well sneak in there. Has size, hands and catch radius, with a near elite ability to sink his hips and burst away at the top of his route. Throw in incredibly impressive numbers for a 201 pounds receiver, a 4.46 40, 11’1″ broad, and 4.01 short shuttle, and you have a receiver who checks all the boxes.

– Ditto with Chris Godwin, though his stock isn’t as high as Jones. Godwin ran a 4.42 and was one of the most natural receivers in drills, including the gauntlet. Like I wrote on Saturday, he fits the profile of what the team looks for. I’ll be doing the “who fits the Steelers” studies from last year in the next few weeks. Really excited to dive into those.

– The tight class was just unreal. It’s hard to know where to start. Evan Engram had the best time and is profiling himself to be a dynamic downfield threat at the next level. There is a chance he won’t get out of the first round and yes, there is a chance the Steelers take him at 30.

David Njoku, O.J. Howard and Adam Shaheen all did well too. You could just post the whole list though and not be wrong. Incredible group. Let’s hope their NFL careers translate.

– To the defensive side of the ball. Myles Garrett, of course, killed his workout and if the Cleveland Browns have a brain cell, will make him the #1 overall pick of the draft. If you need a reminder he ran a 4.64, 41 inch vertical, and 10’8″ broad at 272 pounds. Insane.

– Ole Miss DJ Jones’ quietly had a good workout. Big guy at 319 but light feet, change of direction, and though you won’t see it in drills, a high football IQ. 1.76 split for his frame is excellent. Definite sleeper potential.

– The edge guys had some serious talent, too. Don’t forget about Ohio’s Tarell Basham. Big, strong guy with one of the best ten splits of his peer, a 1.61. Day Two value that I hope the Steelers show interest in.

– Ditto with Derek Rivers, who played himself into first round conversation. 4.61 and a top three cone number, an all-important figure, of 6.94.

– Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan is another dude who played himself solidly into Day Two conversation. Ran and moved well in drills, showing the lateral movement to function well enough in space against sub-packages.

– Finally, to today with the defensive backs. UCF’s Shaquill Griffin has size, speed, explosion, and his stats suggest a guy who can finish plays. Ditto with UCLA’s Fabian Moreau, who I didn’t even write about yesterday, had a similar day. 6’0/4 206, 4.35, 11’4″ broad, and 6.94 three cone. Sparkling no matter how you slice it.

Kevin King should be a Top 15 pick. Big, long, turned in great times, and shows surprisingly little stiffness flipping out of his pedal.

– You already know Obi Melifonwu killed it today. I don’t think I need to add anything else.

Rayshawn Jenkins has strong mid-round value as a big-hitter who showed impressive timed speed today, running a 4.51. Great time for 214 pounds. He’ll hurt you.

LOSERS

– Like I wrote above, FSU’s Dalvin Cook had a pretty terrible day, decent (4.49) 40 time aside. His explosion numbers were both poor and that might’ve been ok had his agility drills been at least respectable. Uh, no. 4.53 and 7.27 in agility drills. Only two backs did worse in the former and the latter time was tied by fullback Sam Rogers. Yikes.

– One big guy, Rushel Shell, and one small guy, Donnel Pumphrey, struggled. Shell ran super slow (4.74) and Pumphrey’s time of 4.48 was just average for how small he is while not looking great out of the backfield, something he has to show.

– At quarterback, I don’t think DeShone Kizer was awful but he was behind Watson and Trubisky. Watson is my #1 quarterback right now, for what it’s worth.

Jerod Evans isn’t fighting to be the first QB off the board but he didn’t have a great day either. I didn’t expect him to look fast in his dropbacks but he’s still struggling with just depth in his five step drop. A bigger project than this Jeep buried in sand for over a decade.

– Lots of people had high hopes for EWU’s Cooper Kupp but he disappointed. To be fair, he looked good in drills, but his athleticism was wholly average. Could struggle to separate at the next level.

– Ditto with Travin Dural whose 40 time didn’t show the deep speed the numbers from two and three years ago suggest. 4.57 official.

– Notre Dame DL Jarron Jones didn’t show much athleticism and struggled to maintain space and keep his base while working on his punch in drills. That’s not a good sign for a five tech who is going to asked to two gap quite a bit.

Takk McKinley is recovering from a torn labrum, pushing his NFL availability by several months. A good workout isn’t there to hold teams over. Ran fast but his agility scores signal stiffness, something I saw on tape. With the talent in the edge class, I think he falls out of the first round.

Ejuan Price probably fell out of the draft entirely. Short, slow in a line, and didn’t show explosion in the vert or broad. 31.5 and 9’9″ respectively.

– Most of the corners did well. Oregon State’s Treston DeCoud did not. Stiff, slow, and is probably going to have to move to safety.

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