NFL Draft

2019 NFL Combine: Winners And Losers

Tying a bow on the 2019 NFL Combine that wrapped up this past Monday. Know we reviewed things day-by-day but with so much going on, wanted to write an overview of the best and worst of what went down at Indy. If I missed anyone, let me know in the comments below.

WINNERS

DK Metcalf/WR Ole Miss: One of the obvious winners of the Combine. I know his agility drills were poor, the only area he didn’t excel in, but given his game and how rocked up the dude is, it shouldn’t come as a total surprise either. When you have a 6’3, 230 pound receiver who runs sub 4.35 and jumps out of the gym, you have a special lump of clay to mold. He’s the first receiver off the board.

Miles Sanders/RB Penn State: There weren’t a ton of running backs who stood out, especially with Alabama’s Josh Jacobs sitting out due to injury. Sanders was one of the best of the bunch, running a sub 4.5 at 211 pounds while other drills showed his explosiveness (36 inch vert) and agility (6.89 three cone, one of two backs to run under seven seconds). Caught the ball well in drills, too. Potential Day Two selection.

Hakeem Butler & N’Keal Harry/WR: Two more big receivers who can fly. Butler, from Iowa State, and Harry, from Arizona State, turned in excellent triangle numbers. Butler is a freak (4.48 at 6’5, 227) and Harry showed he’s more than just a height/weight guy (4.53, 38 inch vert at 6’2 228). It’s hard to see Butler fall out of the first round while Harry should go early on Day Two.

Noah Fant/TE Iowa: Overshadowing teammate T.J. Hockenson, Fant is another name who is unlikely to fall out of the first round. He might not be as well-rounded nor the blocker Hockenson is, but for teams looking to get one of those matchup nightmares at tight end, this is your dude. 4.5 flat at a hamburger under 250 pounds with a 39.5 inch vert, 10’7″ broad, and 6.81 three cone. Rose above the rest in one of the deepest tight end classes in years.

Foster Moreau/TE LSU: Moreau won’t get that Day One call like Fant but he’s not the Day Three sleeper I thought – and hoped – he’d be. Excellent numbers all around: 4.66 40, 36.5 vert, 10’1″ broad on a 253 pound frame. Has the blocking experience playing in the Tigers’ pro offense and can have a better NFL career than college, where receivers weren’t often targeted.

Garrett Bradbury/C NC State: The best workout I saw from Indy. Athletic, the ability to pull and get into space, he’ll fit best in a zone scheme and received comparisons to Jason Kelce. Don’t think it’s too far off. It’s not a question of if Bradbury will go in the first round. Just how high.

Dalton Risner/OT Kansas State: Less confident Risner will be selected in the first but I think he should. Love his physicality, tenacity, and the energy he’s bringing all the time. Don’t underestimate conditoning for an offensive linemen either. He was able to finish drills stronger than anyone else I saw in his group.

Montez Sweat/EDGE Mississippi State: The winner of Indy. Didn’t believe the rumors Sweat would run in the 4.4’s. And the dude nearly cracked 4.3. At 260 pounds, that’s literally unheard of, setting a Combine record for his position. Then he went out and killed his jumps and agility, posting a 7.00 three cone, an excellent time. I still saw a little stiffness going through drills but that’s a footnote to how dominant he was.

Brian Burns/EDGE Florida State: You figured Burns would test well. But it’s nice to see him do so after adding 25 pounds from his college playing weight. That 1.57 ten split and 7.01 three cone is a great combination. Best of all, he was by far the most fluid and natural player going backwards in the coverage drills. No surprise given his tape and usage in college but still nice to see the comparison to the rest of the group.

Trysten Hill/DT UCF: Still may turn out to be a Day Three pick but it was a good showing. Hill moved like a linebacker in drills, fluidly changing directions. At 308 pounds, he ran a 5.04 with a very good 1.74 split. Added in a 35 inch vert too. Could be an interior one-gapper that’s attractive to most teams, regardless of scheme.

Jerry Tillery/DT Notre Dame: Tillery got dinged for his player last year at Notre Dame. But then we found out he played through a torn labrum most of the year. Credit to his toughness. Healthy now, he had a very good workout, running a sub 5.0 and stellar 1.69 split. Should solidly go Day Two.

Devin White/Devin Bush/LB: Hard to separate these two. Clearly the top pair of linebackers in the draft, both running in the 4.4’s and jumping around 40 inches. Proved they can be the three-down linebackers in a league that demands it. They’re in a tier all their own and should be no-doubt first one picks. White may go top ten.

Amani Oruwariye/CB Penn State: Didn’t talk a lot about him Monday or during yesterday’s podcast but looking over his numbers and reviewing my notes, he had a really impressive day. Posted a 4.47 at 205 pounds with a stellar 6.81 three cone, a great time for a bigger corner. Probably won’t be a Day One selection but odds are good you’re seeing a Top 50 player.

Juan Thornhill/S Virginia: Few helped them out as much as Thornhill. Weighing in at 6’0, 205, he blazed a 4.43, and jumped an insane 44 inch vert and 11’9″ broad. He went from someone projected to be a Day Three selection to probably somewhere in Day Two.

Amani Hooker/S Iowa: Hooker’s day might not have been as flashy but I really thought he had a strong day. Ran sub 4.5, jumped well, pretty fluid in drills, and his agility drills showed someone who can play nickel and closer to the line of scrimmage. Like I mentioned on yesterday’s podcast, think he can be a really good fit for the Steelers.

LOSERS

Elijah Holyfield/RB Georgia: Holyfield was plenty hyped up coming into the Combine. A lot of crickets exiting it. 4,78 40, sub 30 inch vertical (not the end-all for backs but still not good) and fell behind the rest of the group too. With poor testing and not a lot of production, he’s going to go in Day Three.

Riley Ridley/WR Georgia: Another Bulldog who didn’t have a great day. Still like his tape but when you combine his small production and poor results – 4.58 40, 30.5 vert, and 4.28 short shuttle – makes him an eyesore for the analytical community.

Greg Little/OT Ole Miss: Hard to see him being pegged as a first rounder, like some have suggested, compared to guys like Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, and Risner. Poor Combines don’t mean terrible NFL careers, look at what Orlando Brown did last year for Baltimore, but he looked stiff, slow, and won’t get drafted until Day Two.

Isaac Nauta/TE Georgia: Something about the Georgia players not testing well. Nauta was about the worst of a really strong group of tight ends, running in the 4.9’s and not showing explosion in his jumps. When you have tight ends running sub 4.6, your stock gets dinged.

History says he’ll have to wait until middle to late Day Three to hear his name called. Since 2000, only four tight ends who’ve run 4.9+ have been selected in the top four rounds. And of the 62 tight ends taken in any rounds, they’ve only produced four 300+ yard seasons.

Jachai Polite/OLB Florida: Probably one of the worst Combine reviews of anyone at Indy. Questionable media answers? Check. Shaky interviews? Check. Ugly 40 time (4.8)? Check. Hamstring injury? Check. Maybe he can still hang around in the first round with a solid Pro Day workout, it takes just one team after all, but he’s a safer bet to be selected Day Two.

Mack Wilson/ILB Alabama: It wasn’t that Wilson did anything horrible but when you have Bush and White running like receivers, you’re left out of the picture. Injury didn’t let him run the 40 or participate in drills and the two events he did participate in, broad and vert, 9’9″ and 32, don’t suggest a great athlete.

Joejuan Williams/CB Vanderbilt: Interested in checking him out heading into the weekend. But he ran slow, even for his size, and looked tall and stiff trying to flip his hips. Can’t see him going in the first round like some in the national media mocked prior to the Combine.

Mike Bell/S Fresno State: Poor tackling and slow. That’s a difficult combination to get past. His 4.84 40 was the worst of his position group in an otherwise speedy bunch of safeties. Definite Day Three pick who will have to rely on his ball skills to make a roster.

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