Category Archives: 2017 Scouting Combine Blog

AUBURN

March 10: All 32 teams had reps at the Auburn pro day including Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. The star of the show was FS Rudy Ford who did not run at the combine because of an ankle injury. Ford, though, was in high gear at the Tigers’ workout as the school reported he posted sub-4.4 40 times of 4.34 and 4.38. That was probably hand-timed so an official time may have been anywhere from 0.05-0.10 seconds higher. Indeed, DT Montravius Adams ran around a tenth faster at the pro day compared with the combine. Still even if Ford’s final time was in the low 4.4 range that’s a very good time. Among former Tigers’ not at the combine, rangy WR Tony Stephens (6-4, 212) had an adjusted 40 time around 4.55, along with a 34.5 vertical, but managed only 12 reps in the BP. MLB T.J. Neal (6-0, 236) ran in the mid-4.8 range, while former starting QB Jeremy Johnson (6-4, 232), a one-time rising college star, ran in the mid 4.7 area. OT Robert Leff, a late Senior Bowl injury replacement, measured in at 6-5.5 and 302 pounds; he had a decent 40 time in the 5.2 range along with a somewhat disappointing 20 reps in the BP. One player pro teams expected to see at the Auburn pro day was RB Jovon Robinson, who was dismissed from the program following a brawl last year, but who reportedly had received permission from school officials to participate in the Tigers’ workout. Robinson, though, did not appear and nobody was saying why.

WYOMING

March 9: A total of 29 teams were represented at the Wyoming pro day, an all-time high for the program. Truth be told a lot of NFL people in attendance just used the excuse to check out Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen, a rising prospect for the 2018 draft, who threw for the receivers. Among those catching passes from Allen was RB Brian Hill, who has really worked on his receiving skills of late. For the most part, though, both Hill and C Chase Roullier stood on their combine results while participating in some of the positional drills.

OKLAHOMA STATE

March 9: All 32 teams were represented at the Oklahoma State pro day in Stillwater. TE Blake Jarwin, a very surprising combine omission, had a solid day to at least keep himself in the 3rd day debate. Jarwin measured in at a tad over 6-5 and 246 pounds. He reportedly ran the 40 in the 4.75 range with a 34.5″ vertical and a 10-1 BJ. He also had shuttle times 4.34 in the short shuttle and 7.37 in the 3-cone, along with 21 reps in the BP. None of those numbers would have been top 5 at the position at the combine, but most were at least middle of the table. Meanwhile, WR Jhajuan Seales never caught a ton of passes for the Cowboys, but may have sent scouts back to the tape to see why as he had a very athletic workout. Seales, who measured in at 6-0.5, 206, ran the 40 in a reported 4.47 seconds and posted an impressive vertical of 41.5 inches. He also managed 20 reps in the BP along with times of 4.29 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.26 in the 3-cone. For the record, the former time was middle of the pack at the combine, but the 3-cone would have been slowest of all WRs in Indianapolis.

More COMBINE Thoughts from PIGSKIN

I cannot believe today’s “NOW” society at times. I’m still pulling together numbers and notes from the NFL Combine, and being accused of living in the past by some. The Combine wrapped up less than one week ago! How can it be old news?! All of our observations cannot be based on first impressions, so I will continue to propose more thoughts on last weekend’s event in Indy in the coming week or two.

Another of my more surprising moments from the Combine was the disappointing 40-times run by both Florida Gator CBs. TEEZ TABOR, could only manage a 4.62/40, while his teammate QUINCY WILSON was acceptable, but not elite, with a 4.54 posting. Both of these players have been listed as Top 10 CB with TABOR even appearing in many Mock First Rounds. There is more to being a top pro CB than straight-line speed, but it is a given that being fast is expected. Both of these guys will have to make up some time, so to speak, at their Pro Days to stay in the Top 50, in my eyes. Expect better in Gainesville, but I sure hope some NFL folks who attend the workout measure to make sure the sprint is on a full 40-yard run basis.

On a brighter note on a CB from the Sunshine State, and UCF, SHAQ GRIFFIN really impressed during his time in Indy. It started at the weigh-in when he was a solid 6’0 and 194 lbs. His 32 3/8″ arms were a real positive as well. He blazed a 4.38/40, as well as showing loose hips in his ability to flip them in coverage drills. His 38.5″ Vert was a clear indicator of explosion in his lower body. A sub-7 second 3-Cone time @ 6.87 was also what scouts like to see. He’s an aggressive player, who should only get better under pro coaching. Watch for him to crack the Top 100 in the Draft. And if you like back-stories check out that of he and his 1-handed brother, SHAQUEM.

An annual mystery to me is trying to figure out what is going on with players who show serious weight differences between their post-season work and what they looked like during their college career. A couple such guys have emerged again since January in this years Draft Class.
KAREEM HUNT was a record setting RB at Toledo, on a winning program during his career there. He was a strong player at over 220 lbs., with good hands as a receiver. He was an explosive runner while at the Senior Bowl venue, but surprised many with a weigh-in number of only 208 lbs. At the Combine he was back up to 216 lbs. running a 4.62/40. Now clearly we know that his game film shows a productive, hard running player who should fit an NFL RB rotation quite nicely. But as Mike Mayock likes to say, ‘I want to know who he is’ in referencing his playing weight. It creates another variable that personnel folks must sort through. Can’t wait to see his weight at the Toledo campus Pro Day.
Another mystery man, probably of even more significance, is TE/GERALD EVERETT of South Alabama. EVERETT is of the same ilk as EVAN ENGRAM, with some scouts ranking him above ENGRAM, who wowed at the Senior Bowl. EVERETT is the hybrid TE type, ala JORDAN REED of the Redskins, but his weight has been all over the place of late. He was listed in the college game programs at a generous 240 lbs, but drew polite gasps in Mobile when he weighed in at only 227 lbs. At the Combine he was back up to 239 lbs. while running a less than blazing 4.62/40. The timing of such a weight gain/loss in advance of running his 40 is questionable to say the least. It was also a bit disconcerting to have his hands measure in less than 9″, at 8.5″. I don’t think EVERETT helped his Draft status with the weight fluctuation and resultant workout numbers. He’s got some explaining to do, and some speed to flash, at team workouts and perhaps his Pro Day.

A sleeper who I mentioned back last Fall in my Who Caught My Eye column, got my attention again at the Combine. I am referring to Ole Miss DT, D.J. JONES. JONES had some excellent workout numbers in Indy. He was right on target measuring in at 6’1/319 lbs. Albeit in a very limited area, he shows some surprising quickness and pursuit along the line of scrimmage. He also has excellent hand strength and obviously a nice low center of gravity. For a team looking for a big bodied, plugger for the middle of their DL he could make a very valuable late round draftee in April. For a team that likes him, waiting tis after the Draft to get him as URFA could become somewhat problematic.

Another oddity that caught my eye watching hour after hour of workouts over the length of the Combine, was my mind’s comparison of the running of the gauntlet drill by receivers and DB groups in general. One of the intangibles that personnel people look for during this drill is for players to run straight along the yard-line that they begin the drill on. It looked quite clear to me that it was the DB group that stayed true to that line, while many in the receivers group were zig-zagging most of the width of the field. Not sure how that gets judged/ranked in scout notebooks, but it was conspicuously noticeable to me.

I am perfectly willing to admit that I do not watch an equal amount of game film on every player that I venture a scouting opinion on. And a guy who I only watched twice this past season (I discounted the hurricane mud-bowl game vs Notre Dame) was JOSH JONES/SS/NC STATE. I thought he looked OK in those 2 games I did watch, but was a bit surprised when I saw he had declared to leave school early for the 2017 Draft. I feel like he blew up his Combine opportunity with a standout display of athleticism and football related skill. It began with his 4.41/40 which he ran at a SS weight of 220 lbs., on a 6’1 frame. He looked very smooth in drill work whether running in forward or reverse mode. He added a 37.5″ Vert and a 132″ (that’s 11′ to you math challenged folks) broad jump, He also has functional strength, which include 20 reps in the Bench Press, with 32″ long arms. Throw his workout numbers on top of a 2016 season that included 109 tackles and 3 Int., and you have a young man who could be headed for a Draft slot as high as Round 2.

Though not as clear-cut good as JONES, a bit of a pleasant surprise in the secondary group was DELANO HILL/S/Michigan. HILL had a decent showing at the Shrine venue back in January, and really looked good at the Combine. He displayed a bit more athleticism at the Combine than expected perhaps, which should make it more likely to actually be drafted than we thought in December. HILL measured 6’1/216 lbs. and was able to run a 4.47/40. He also has 9 3/8″ hand spread & 32 1/8″ arm length. His 6.96, 3-cone time shows he has some change of direction flex to his body. He is lacking a bit in ball skills, but can run with receivers downfield. He showed solid all-around skills out on the field in 2016 with 52 tackles, 4.5TFL, 3 PBU & 3 Int. His ability to run and change direction was obvious in drill work in Indy, and he got mention on several occasions during NFLN broadcast times. Do not sleep on this guy once we get into Draft Saturday.

That’s what I have for today, but chances are good I’ll have more thoughts early in the coming week. I intend to watch the NFLN replay of the RB group workouts later today. I had satellite reception issues on that Combine Friday so I’m thinking I’ll have some additional thoughts on that group in particular early next week.

Cheers

Pigskin

Didn’t mention it first time around but Michigan State SS Dontae Nicholson ran very well with a 4.48 first 40 and then 4.43 in the second. Box safety who has kind of flown under the radar but those times should get him some extra looks.

Wow! Double wow!! Melifonwu with nothing much else to prove goes out and runs a 4.40 second 40. That’s CB time!

Pretty good times for both Tre’Davius White of LSU (4.47) and Ahkello Witherspoon (4.45) of Colorado, another one of those longish CBs that NFL teams love. Not so good for the Wilson brothers – they aren’t really – Howard of Houston, who timed a 4.58 and Quincy of Florida who posted a 4.56.

Disastrous time of 4.63 for Florida’s Teez Tabor who was in the mix to be first corner off the board but that won’t do it with the other guys running in the 4.4 range.

What if they held a combine and a track meet broke out. Back-to-back great times by corners Fabian Moreau of UCLA and Minnesota’s Jalen Myrick. Moreau, who is really starting to get scout’s attention posted a 4.35 then Myrick went even faster at 4.29!

There is no way a 6-4, 224-pound safety should run under 4.5 but UConn’s Obi Melifonwu is a different dude and may just be having the best combine of any one this year. FTR Melifonwu who could actually get some looks as a CB ran a 4.46.

Wow! Marshon Lattimore goes 4.36 and makes statement that he should be top corner off the board this spring!!

Really nice time of 4.44 for Washington CB Kevin King, a 6-3 corner, who ran a 4.44. Same time for Brendan Langley of Lamar, a former Georgia recruit.

First group of DBs just wrapping up their on-field positional drills. While we wait for the second group which includes CBs Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson of Florida, Marshon Lattimore (who by the way excelled in both vertical and long jumps) and LSU’s Tre’Davious White. At the same time, the safety everyone wants to see run is UConn’s Obi Melifonwu after he blew up the vertical jump with a 44″ leap. Meanwhile, a couple of times of note from the first group that we didn’t mention earlier – had a couple of interviews and then the dog got sick; life happens: Washington CB Sidney Jones had a respectable 4.47 which is very good for a corner with his length, but still a step off what Marlon Humphrey and Adoree Jackson were able to produce. Best time for the CBs in the 1st group was by UCF’s Shaq Griffin at 4.38, while NC State Josh Jones was the fastest safety at a very quick 4.41. On the other hand, somewhat disappointing times for Boston College safety John Johnson at 4.61.

Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey first of 4 opening round quality corners to run and he lays down a 4.41 marker. Right after him USC”s Addoree Jackson goes .02 better with a 4.39 clocking!

Very disappointing time of 4.60 for West Virginia CB Rasul Douglas who had been considered to be one of the hot second day guys at the position.

Ohio State CB Gareon Conley has been making some late first round noise of late and running a 4.45 is not going to hurt.

Better time of 4.46 for Budda Baker, one of the other top S in this year’s draft. Nice runs also by second-tier CBs Brian Allen (4.43) and Cidobe Awuzie (4.44).

No prelims with the DBs as the fist guy down the track is LSU S Jamal Adams, a potential top 5 guy this spring. Not sure though that the 4.56 he clocked is top 5 type stuff. Let’s see if he can pick up on that in his second run.

Pretty impressive day all-around for the LBs with a bunch of solid times in the 4.7 or below range including:

Blair Brown, Ohio                        4.59
Vince Biegel, Wisconsin             4.68
Tyus Bower, Houston                 4.66
Jayon Brown, UCLA                   4.67
Matt Milano, Boston College     4.67
Devonte Fields, Louisville          4.72
Anthony Walker, Northwestern 4.66
Connor Harris, Lindenwood       4.69

Solid enough (4.71) time for TJ Watt who is known more for his motor, strength and instincts.

Very nice time (4.59) by LSU’s Duke Riley which should keep him moving up boards around the league.

And the guy everyone has been waiting for today in Jabrill Peppers who will also work out with the DBs tomorrow. No word on whether he’ll run the 40 again! Probably no need to after he posts a 4.47 this afternoon which is plenty fast for an in-the-box safety type.

Good time for Ohio State MLB Raekwon McMillan of 4.61; hasn’t been much talk about him of late but that should certainly solidify him in the second day mix.

Tweener time of 4.71 for Vandy’s Zach Cunningham; good but not great.

UCLA’s Jayon Brown is the early leader in best hair at the combine! Or he could just have a small, furry animal up there!!