COMBINE 2023 Day 4

March 6, 2023

We have seen a slight moderation in parameters and nomenclature as it applies to labeling and grading of the OL Group, which started off our day as the Combine progressed to Day 4.  51 players were packed into this group of the “big uglies”. In reality guys in this grouping are either OT or IOL, meaning the OG/OC are graded as one group with more than a few of its group may rotate between those inside spots, and back up all 3 when not starting. In most scout training manuals (if there really is such a thing)  different criteria are applied to determine which OL Group these young prospects will be herded into, or pigeon holed as we used to say.

A very explicit example of the latter category assignment could very well fit a top prospect for this next Draft: PETER SKORONSKI/Northwestern who was a standout OT for the Wildcats from Day One of his freshman season. But early scouting of SKORONSKI uncovered the reality that his arm length did not fit the mold of an ideal pro OL. He has been good in pass pro, based on footwork and a very high FBI. But the scouting guide says 34″ should be the minimum arm length for an OT, as their main pro job will be stopping edge-rushers from sacking their QB. And historically speaking OT with shorter arm length are not as successful doing that at an elite level. SKORONSKI’s arms measured out at 32 1/8″ in Indy. At 6’4″ tall he is also less than the ideal 6’5 /6’6 mark. As players and NFL personnel left Indy it seemed pretty clear that most teams would place SKORONSKI on their Big Boards as a likely IOL, specifically OG pro prospect. Meanwhile, it seems pretty certain that the new Top Ranked OL coming out of Indy will be BRODERICK JONES/Georgia. Exactly why?, you ask. Let’s compare them side by side.

B. JONES                            P. SKORONSKI

6’053″              HGT             6’040″

311 lbs.             WGT            313 lbs.

10 5/8″            Hands          10 ”

34 3/4″            Arms            32 1/4″

1.74 sec          10/yd.           1.75 sec

4.97 sec         40/yd            5.16 sec

30″                 Vert               34.5″

Based on a few inches here and there the NFL would consider JONES the better athlete, thus the higher ranking and placement on the arguably more critical position of OT vs. IOL. Either one will more than likely be an immediate NFL starter and future Pro Bowler. I think they will both be gone before the first round is held over.

Two good groups of Prospects overall?  Yes, with the slight disclaimer that the IOL group represents a higher number of games started in their college careers than the average OT. So some of these OT are a bit short on game experience to display their blocking wares.

I have been giving you listings of the Top 40-times in each position group up until now. The following list is based on that 10-yard split number for each player. The commonly held scouting criteria amongst the big guys is how quick they are off the snap, getting to their blocks, which might involve pulling. Thus, the first 10 yards is the key, not 40 yards downfield where they seldom go except to help celebrate a TD.

I have added 40-times at the right for OL who went sub-5.00 for their 40-times just for the heck of it.

1.68     BLAKE FREELAND     OT      BYU       4.98/40

1,71      BRAEDEN DANIELS       IOL   Utah    4.99/40

1.73      JON GAINES     IOL       UCLA

1.74      EARL BOSTICK     OT       Kansas

1.74      JORDAN McFADDEN     IOL    Clemson      4.99/40

1.74      BRODERICK JONES       OT      Georgia       4.97/40

1.74      ANTHONY BRADFORD     OG     LSU

1.75     PETER SKORONSI       IOL       Northwestern

1.77     ANTON HARRISON     OT        Oklahoma     4.98/40

1.78     RYAN HAYES          OT      Michigan

1.78      JAELYN DUNCAN    OT     Maryland

1.79      CODY MAUCH     OL      North Dakota St

1.79      JUICE SCRUGGS     OC     Penn State

Trivia question… which college team sent the most beef on the hoof to the Combine in one pair of OL?

No matter how you slice it (pun intended) it had to be Ohio State represented by their two starting OT with a total of 687 lbs. combined: PARIS JOHNSON (313) &  DAWAND JONES (374). PS, the Buckeyes  also sent 303 lb. OC LUKE WYPLER to the COMBINE.

My most pleasant surprise in the OL Groups had to be Kansas OT EARL BOSTICK. I had made a note to myself during on-field workouts that I liked the way BOSTICK did most of his footwork on his toes, not back on his heels. Then I went to check his numbers and decided he could be an early Day 3 Draftee.

*Speaking of those performance numbers… I have been using stat sheets compiled, in a sortable format of tables, by the  good friends of GBN REPORT, over at Draft Countdown, . Just like the GBN Report they offer their info at no cost to the public. Just tag a pop up add for a few seconds once in a while to help them, and us, pay the bills.

My other surprise player going forward from here to the Draft is BRAEDEN DANIELS/IOL/Utah. DANIELS was invited to the Senior Bowl but later backed out. He’s a 43 Game starter for the UTES, mostly at OT, but looks like better suited for IOL as a pro. If not Top 100, a very early Day 3 prospect.

I like this OL Group in general and expect to see 4/5 guys in Round One. A also count about 15-17 guys overall that I like in the first 3 Rounds.

ADD-ON     RB Day 4

I found it rather frustrating that of the 27 RB at the Combine only 15 of them ran their 40’s. Luckily 18 of the 27 at least did something beyond measurements. So let us start with the Top 6 times in the 40-yard runs.

4.32     DEVIN ARCHANE    RB/RS   Texas A&M     5’084/188

4.36     JAHMYR GIBBS          Alabama     5’091/199

4.37      KEATON MITCHELL     East Carolina     5’08/179

4.41       DENERIC PRINCE       Tulsa        6’/216

4.43      CHASE BROWN        Illinois      5’094/209

4.46      BIJAN ROBINSON      Texas     5’11/215

My first reaction to the times speeds in this group was the surprise (to me) that BIJAN only recorded a 4.46. That time is not terrible for a guy carrying 215 lbs. on a muscled frame, but it tells me to expect a lot of 10-25 yard rushes from him, but not too many 50+-yarders. He is still ranks as RB 1 to me, and most others. The question might be, does that time bump him into the second half of Round One, where top RB seem to be taken in the past decade? Perhaps he will run another 40 at the Texas Pro Day.

GIBBS did not surprise me with his sub 4.40/40. He is explosive and flat out fast. And that is especially true when he catches passes and weaves his way thru and past the second level defenders. He showed off his good hands running patterns in field drills. I expect a wise NFL team tat takes him let in Round One will use him as much for receiving work, as they do giving him work as a runner.

No surprise at all that ACHANE was the fastest straight-line runner in the group. The silliest ting I heard during the entire Combine was from some media folks who expressed disappointment in ACHANE’s time because he failed to get under 5.30. But I suppose because of the TURNER posting at 4.26, this 4.32- 40time somehow looked slower. He’s not gonna look slow in any way during pro games next Fall.

I am proud to say I was on the MITCHELL band wagon to be fast, fast, fast and indeed a 4.37/40 is fast. I had watched/scouted several ECU games last Fall because they were winning and scoring points. MITCHELL was incredible in getting to the edge and avoiding contact when he made his cut upfield. What will make him successful in the NFL is his contact balance in a crowd.

I have been surprised with the emergence of Tulsa RB DENERIC PRINCE whose 4.41/40 was 4th best in the group. PRINCE has a very nice combo of speed and power. He’s a similar size/build to BIJAN and at least on this Sunday he outran him by  0.005 seconds over a 40-yard distance. Sounds kinda silly doesn’t it. But it all goes into their scouting profile pages.PRINCE may be working his way into a late Day Two Draft position with his recent work.

I do have a favorite player in this group who I would be glad to Draft to add to my team’s RB room. And that man is EVAN HULL/Northwestern. This young man is a good athlete, which he proved in Indy if anyone had any doubts. Led all rushers at the Senior Bowl as well.  I think HULL can contribute in multiple ways to a RB room, and as a key Special Teamer on any/all units. Here are his Combine numbers…

5’10/209     9 1/4″H/30 5/8″A     4.47/40    1.53/split   37″ Vert     10’3″BJ     4.36 ShSh    6.90/3-Cone

Those numbers combined give clear evidence as to the kind of above average athlete he is. And then there is attitude. He became Rich Eisen’s RB Group darling with the fact that every time he ran a drill, starting with his 40, he ran the ball all the way to the end zone. NFL teams look for guys like him, who may not have starter testing numbers, but have heart and attitude to spare. But take another look at the numbers above one more time. Then tell me he’s not athletic enough to play in the NFL. On my Draft Board there is a big star beside his name and he’s gone in Round 4. Barring injury he’ll play 6-8 years in the NFL.

I feel  like I saw 2 Round 1 guys, and another 8 on Day Two.

Starting to work on those QB this afternoon.