Players To Look For During The 2018 NFL Combine
With the NFL Combine beginning this weekend, here are some players that could boost their draft stock with a solid performance. These are guys that are just outside in terms of positional rankings and will look to display their athleticism in Indianapolis.
1. Donte Jackson (Cornerback- LSU)
Before the 2017 college football season began, scouts and analysts noted that Donte Jackson was the fastest player in college football. On the tape, you can see that Jackson has extreme lateral quickness and an ability to hunt down the ball no matter where its located. This NFL Draft class has two corners that are the sure No.1 and No. 2 in the rankings: Denzel Ward and Joshua Jackson. The third spot though is in Jackson’s reach if he can “wow” NFL staffers in the interview process and put up a 40 time in the low 4.3 range. My prediction for Jackson is that he will, in fact, come close to breaking John Ross’s 40-yard dash record, but may fall a little short of that title.
2. Mike White (Quarterback- Western Kentucky)
This is a name that has become more familiar to NFL fans due to his excellent performance at the Senior Bowl where he was 8-11 with 128 yards and a touchdown to LSU wide receiver D.J. Chark. Obviously, White will not be a 1st-round draft pick, nor will he be one of the first five quarterbacks taken. However, he may be able to prove to scouts why they can wait and take him in the 2nd or even 3rd round. The combine gives White the chance to showcase his arm with the likes of Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, Allen, and Jackson, giving him the opportunity to prove his true value.
3. Derrick Nnadi (Defensive Tackle- Florida State)
In a class where there is no true favorite to be the first defensive tackle taken, it is the perfect opportunity for guys like Nnadi to boost their name among the ranks. As a player at Florida State, Nnadi was able to receive 1st team All-ACC as a Junior, and as a Senior was on several lists for recognition as a top defensive player. At 6’1, 315 pounds, his size doesn’t stick out, but this may be one of the strongest prospects in the draft and he will showcase that on the bench press. If he can lead all defensive players in that drill, his name will definitely take a strong jump up many draft lists.
4. Jaylen Samuels (TE/WR/FB/RB- North Carolina State)
Samuels might be the most intriguing prospect in this draft, as scouts don’t seem to have a set position for him. At NC State, he played all positions on offense and was very successful in doing so. If he manages to showcase his speed and hands during on the field drills then many will see him as an “offensive weapon” or someone who teams will have to gameplan for. Some see him as being too small for a tight end, but he has the same size as Pro-Bowler Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans. If you ask me, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be compared to him.
5. Lamar Jackson (QB- Louisville)
Yes, I know Jackson is already going to be one of the most talked about players regardless of the combine, but he still has a lot to gain. Many believe Jackson should switch to the wide receiver position, but this is his chance to prove them wrong. If he goes into the combine and blows away the 40-yard dash as well as making accurate passes in quarterback drills, teams may start to sway their opinion of the position change away, and just see him as a quarterback threat.
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