PIGSKIN’S COMBINE THOUGHTS 2017 Part 1

By | March 7, 2017

Seems like I never learn from some of my previous mistakes. Every year I make the same mistake around NFL Combine time. I watch hours and hours of coverage on NFLN and take notes while I watch. Then I decide to wait until I see a bit more the next day before writing anything for the website. Before you know it the event is over and I am sitting with a dazed look on my face and brain lock form information overload. Then the real issue kicks in… at what point to start writing.

As of right now it seems that a good start might be to begin with some names and observations that I clearly did not see coming. I’m not going to try to rank them in significance or chronological order so let the thought flow begin.

AVIANTE COLLINS/OT TCU. COLLINS was not on my prospect list at all before the Combine invite list was put out for consumption. And his name did not inspire me enough to do any pre-Combine research on him. Just another name that some team really wanted to get a better look at so they pestered National Scouting into inviting him. Happens every year with 10 or so guys, most of whom quickly establish that they are in over their heads against the real prospects. COLLINS measured in at 6’4, 295 lbs., so the first thought, if one bothered to venture a thought on him, was that because of his height and arm length he would be switching inside to OG in an NFL Training Camp next summer. Then the guy pushed the bar up 34 times in the Bench Press. But what caused jaws to drop with the stopwatch crowd was a 4.81/40 at his size. That’s the kind of number about half the TE group put up in Indy during a normal year’s Combine. I suppose you could say we should have seen this coming since his dad and brother are noted track athletes, but still.. What does it mean going forward? It means a lot of scouts will be watching TCU game film, and heading to the TCU Pro Day to see if he can duplicate that number. It may also ported the possibility that some scouts potential steal of the Draft is now on a lot of radar screens. Look for him to turn out to be a Round 5-6 Draftee in April.

With a tip of the hat to GBN friend and contributor LARRY, he was the first guy to point me in the direction of ADAM SHAHEEN (almost a year ago no less) the hulking basketball turned TE at D-2 school ASHLAND. We knew he was big (6’6/278), and as a successful basketball player likely to be athletic. But it was still breath taking to watch him in action on the field with the big boys, and showing some of them up. His arms are not super long at 33.5″, but it was still impressive to see him pump iron up 24 times to tie for the lead in the TE group. He certainly looked more than OK running around in shorts during drill work. His hands are big and dependable. There could be a run of TE drafting in the top rounds this year, given overall quality of the position group, which could mean that SHAHEEN hears his name called early on Day 3 of the Draft.

I can still recall watching JAELN MYRICK/CB/Minnesota during Shrine Week practices and noting to myself that I liked his style of aggressive play for a short guy, with a muscled body. He practiced hard and seemed to be trying to learn from his coaches. But I could not find any specific mention of his explosiveness or speed/quickness anywhere in my notes. So imagine my surprise when he went out and toasted the entire DB group with his 4.28/40. Were it not for the blazing, record setting dash by JOHN ROSS @ 4.22 MYRICK would still be heading Combine wrap headlines. As it is I am guessing this run may propel him into an early 3rd Day Draft slot. Assuming that he impresses in the interviews over the next two months, I would bet his game tape will put him Round 4 consideration. By the way credit where credit is due, the last words out of Mike Mayock’s mouth on air before MYRICK took off was ‘this guy could run really fast’. Chalk that one up in the Mayock win column.

On the other hand, I’m gonna say I nailed it on FABIEN MOREAU/CB/UCLA, when I projected him as a top prospect at the Shrine, when he clearly showed he had recovered most, if not all, of his speed in recovering from a knee injury two years ago. And at 6’0, 206 lbs. what NFL team wouldn’t want him in their secondary. Especially, when you throw in that 4.35 he posted in his 40. The only things perhaps keeping him from being considered elite could be his apparent lack of ball skills, and a bit of stiffness to his frame. But I think he is clearly Top 100 in a very top heavy DB class.

You had to be impressed as MYLES GARRETT/Texas A&M posted great workout numbers that cemented his status as likely the first selection in April’s Draft. It’s hard to not be impressed by a 4.64/40 time at 272 lbs. But I want to go on record here in noting that I thought GARRETT looked far from smooth with his running. He looked somewhat awkward to me, listing to one side as he grunted his way to some excellent numbers. It may speak volumes for his work ethic and inherent athleticism, but I sure wouldn’t use the word “smooth” in describing his sprinting or backpedal. Go back and compare the film on VON MILLER running his drills. Now that is smooth!

I’m not exactly what I want National Scouting to do about it, but it bothers me when they list a bunch of edge-rushers, most of whom will have to stand up most of the time as a pro at OLB. The talent and skill set disparity between a guy at 230 lbs., and a real DE at 290 makes their numbers look very disparate on a stat sheet listing the top 40-times within the DL group.On the Combine player list it showed 59 DL and only 29 LB prospects. I counted 12 players that should have been reassigned based on their likely potential pro positions. That would have made it 47 in the DL group, and 41 in the LB group. Just saying!

Seems like a lot of people like JORDAN WILIS/DE/KANSAS STATE better the more they see of him in action. He was a rising star at the Senior Bowl and put up some numbers in Indy that I really did not expect from him. He’s more athletic than I ever thought watching him in action at K-State the past two seasons. His 4.53/40 time was good enough to call him a LB at 255 lbs. His 39 ” vert and 125″ board jump indicate more explosion than I would have expected. His hustle and effort are elite, but apparently so is his athleticism. I’m still not seeing him as a First Rounder, but must admit he’s knocking on the door. He may end up being a surprise as a pro, ala RYAN KERRIGAN of the Redskins, who I thought was too slow and stiff to stand up, but has proven my judgement wrong.

Gotta run for now. I’ll go through more notes and post more Combine impressions in a day or two.

Cheers

PIGSKIN