COMBINE Winners 2018

March 13, 2018

Sorry again for the time delay in getting this up, but remember it has only been a week since the Combine ended. Patience and reflection are still virtues in my book. Besides i have been distracted by John Dorsey cleaning up his roster in Cleveland. Here are some of my players who made strong impressions on me in Indy. Some are stars in the making, others are not.

D.J. CHARK/WR/LSU has been checking boxes and drawing praise for his athletic ability and work since the end of the LSU season. With all due respect to Danny Etling/QB CHARK, like more than a few LSU wideouts before him, has not exactly been blessed with an elite QB throwing to him during his college career. But competing with the best of the best for the past couple of months he has to now be considered one of the Top 5 WR prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft. Back at the end of January he emerged as arguably the top performer in the WR group at the Senior Bowl. Now he has put a stamp on that evaluation with impressive numbers coming out of the Combine. He measured 6’2.7″ at 199 lbs. WE all saw him outrun people all week in Mobile and he did the same in Indy with a 4.34/40-time. Now throw in a 40″ vertical and 10’9″ broad jump. He looked natural and fluid during receiving drills out on the grass. I would add that his playing speed in pads may be even more impressive that that sub-4.40/40 number. I felt like that he was the only guy in Mobile with that 4rd-gear, to pull away from defenders, once he caught the ball. He’s now right on the cusp of being a first round wideout for my money.

Because of injury rehab COURTLAND SUTTON/WR/SMU did not show up in Mobile for Senior Bowl work and play. So, what he did in Indy was pretty important to a lot of folks looking for a big wideout ala ALSHON JEFFERY. He did not disappoint at the Combine, and in fact firmly placed himself in Round 1 to my eyes. He was a solid looking 6’3.3″/218, and ran a very respectable 4.54/40 for such a long player. I luv his 9 3/4″ hands. Perhaps most impressive for such a long guy was his 3-Cone time of 6.57 seconds. That was the second best time posted by a WR in Indy, and only 0.01 seconds slower than CANTRELL & MOORE. That’s an impressive demonstration of his ability to change direction in a hurry, despite his length.

In this man’s opinion the 2018 Draft Class is good and very deep. It has some elite players, but by the second half of Round One I expect need to be just as important as talent because of relative parity amongst clusters of prospects. A lot of selections in April will come to a closely weighted decision between player talent and team need. That said, it is once again a less than stellar draft class when it comes to the OT position. If you listen to some out there, it may be a year bereft of LT prospects. That just can’t be folks cause someone has to play there. I will present you with a guy who showed at the Combine, that he has the athleticism and talent to be an NFL LT, even if it requires a year or two of work with a teaching OL coach and help in the weight room” KOLTON MILLER, OT, UCLA. The underclassman was just dripping with talent and athleticism in Indy. MILLER stood 6’08.5″ and weighed 309 lbs. He has 10 3/4″ hands at the end of 34 1/8″arms. MILLER was one of only 4 in the OL group to run his 40-time in under 5.00 seconds @ 4.95 seconds. Even with those long arms he was able to push the bar up 24 times at 225 the Bench Press. His broad jump of 10’1″ was a Combine record for the OL. MILLER looked athletic and mobile out in field drills. In fact looking at his numbers and his workouts I would say he compared favorably to Nate Solder of the Patriots. All that combined (excuse the pun) puts him Round 1 for me.

A relatively late add down at the Senior Bowl was OC/SCOTT QUESSENBERRY of UCLA. His hustle and solid play there may have had something to do with his invitation to the Combine. His performance in Indy marked him as a legit Draft prospect and IMO a Top 5 ranking in the OC group, which is pretty solid again this year. SCOTT had measurement numbers that were well suited for an OC. He has nice size at 6’035″/310 lbs. He has nice big hands at 9 3/4″ and his relatively short arms (31 3/4″) should not be an issue at all at OC. The biggest surprise was an OL 5th best running time of a 5.09/40. He looked mobile and athletic in on-field drills, which confirmed what I thought was an athletic and high energy effort during practices and the game at the Senior Bowl for Scott. He is the younger brother of OT/G DAVID of the Texans, who just returned to action last season from a 2 season battle with cancer. A determined and talented couple of brothers in the Quessenberry family. His work at the Combine put him in good position for a solid draft selection. Look for Scott around the 4th Round of the 2018 Draft.

I don’t want you to think that I am possessed by the OL group, but there is at least one more player who has gotten my attention since the end of the college season, and that is WYATT TELLER, Va Tech. Teller never really stood out to me when I watched Hokies games last fall.So I was more than a bit surprised when he showed up on a Senior Bowl roster. Then he caught my eye with some pro-like weigh in numbers, followed by some nice work in practice drills and during the actual game. So I at least had a glance or two at his numbers and workout at the Combine. The clincher that he needed to be taken seriously as a prospect was when the OL group was done with their field work and headed to the airport. Ads the numbers came up for workout results TELLER, out of 48 OL at the Combine was ranked in the Top 5 performers out of almost every major workout. His numbers really stand out if you consider him as an OG, although I think he could backup out at OT on a team depth chart. His broad jump of 9’6″ was 2nd overall for OL. His 30 rep Bench Press ranked 5th. His 7.45 3-Cone also ranked 5th. He ran a 5.24/40 at 6’044″ and 314 lbs. His hands were 10 1/4″ and his arms measured 34″. He’s no Adonis in shorts, but by the time we get to Draft Saturday he should be showing up on teams’ Draft Boards.

It seems to me that most evaluators had MIKE GESICKI/Penn State rated as the top TE in the 2018 Draft class. He had a solid week in Mobile in January, but many still question how much help he will bring as an inline blocker. A venue like the Combine will not clarify that question to any great degree, but his testing numbers certainly verified his athleticism. His 4.54/40 ld the TE pack, as did his 10″+ hands and 34″+ arm length. His bench press of 22, with those long arms was impressive. The former HS volleyball/basketball star laid to rest the old principle that “white men can’t jump” with a 41 1/2″ vertical. He was the only true TE (I am excluding SAMUEL, even tho he worked out with the TE group) to run a sub-7 second 3-Cone drill at 6.76 seconds. He aced the Combine with an on-field showing of good hands, which we saw most of the time during Senior Bowl week. Whether or not he can do enough to convince someone to take him in Round 1 is still to be determined, but he looks to be the guy if there is one selected that high.

There are still some very heavy doubters when it comes to how highly JOSH ALLEN ought to be ranked in this year’s QB class, but some interesting numbers did surface from the Combine. He still aces the eyeball test with his 6’5, 237 lb. frame, and 10 1/8″ hands. He was the fastest of the true QB candidates with a 4.75/40. Clearly LAMAR JACSON will easily eclipse that mark when he runs at his Pro Day. I thought it was pretty impressive that at his size he posted a 6.90/3-Cone time. Shortly after the Combine concluded the Ourlads folks released ball velocity numbers for all the QB who threw in Indy. Mr. Allen led the pack with the only 60mph+ velocity. Throwing out-patterns to both the left and the right, ALLEN nailed 62mph in both directions. It should be noted that BAKER MAYFIELD touched the 60mph mark with his throws to the right side, while hitting 59mph to the left. To my eyes, I did not see that ALLEN was any more errant with some of his throws than the other QB prospects. Someone has got to take a gamble on this young man early in Round 1, and then count on a QB guru to improve his throwing mechanics. There is too much talent to ignore in Allen, as well as a bright young mind that wants a pro career badly.