2018 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: OL
The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine gets underway in full on Friday, March 2nd. Overall, each timed or on-field drill means something for each position. However, some drills mean more and some mean less.
Today we are going to break down the offensive linemen as it relates to the Scouting Combine.
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR AT OFFENSIVE LINE?
The athletic testing drills are a somewhat important part of rating these blockers.
So what drills am I focusing on?
10-YARD SPLIT– The whole forty is a pretty useless metric for offensive linemen. If an offensive lineman is running forty yards during a game, something bad has probably happened. Hence, the first ten yards are a better measurement for them.
BROAD JUMP – The broad jump is a good measure of lower body explosiveness for linemen.
THREE-CONE DRILL – It is also known as the “L” drill. In sum, it tests a player’s lateral agility.
BENCH PRESS – Players do reps of 225 pounds. Measuring functional strength, it doesn’t necessarily equate to being a good blocker, but it can show who at least puts in an effort.
The mirror drill is a good one to watch. It tests the endurance of the blockers. I also like to watch the drill testing the kick slide of the players that will be offensive tackles. Also, the drills testing pull blocks are great to watch as well.
For the players not fortunate enough to play in an All-Star game (mostly underclassmen), official measurements are key. Whether we as fans or analysts like it or not, each of the 32 NFL teams has certain criteria that a player must meet or they will not draft them. Whether it is a height threshold, a weight threshold, or a certain hand size, teams will cross guys off if they don’t meet their numbers.
WHO IS PARTICIPATING THIS YEAR?
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Connor Williams, Texas
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan
Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
Kolton Miller, UCLA
Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Alex Cappa, Humboldt State
Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh
Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State
K.C. McDermott, Miami (FL)
Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T
Brett Toth, Army
Joe Noteboom, TCU
Greg Senat, Wagner
Timon Parris, Stony Brook
Desmond Harrison, West Georgia
David Bright, Stanford
Jaryd Jones-Smith, Pittsburgh
Jamil Demby, Maine
Geron Christian, Louisville
Toby Weathersby, LSU
Will Richardson, NC State
Rick Leonard, Florida State
Rod Taylor, Mississippi
The offensive tackles at the top of the draft class are very close in terms of grades. In fact, any little thing could separate them. Thus, I am anxious to see if Orlando Brown (Oklahoma) can show the athleticism necessary to keep the top spot. Furthermore, Connor Williams (Texas) needs to get a clean bill of health from the Combine doctors. Additionally, Chukwuma Okorafor (Western Michigan) missed the Senior Bowl with an injury so he can try to get himself into the first round conversation. Finally, I expect Wagner’s Greg Senat to put on an athletic show.
Desmond Harrison (West Georgia) will have many questions to answer when he speaks to NFL teams. Specifically, because Harrison was kicked out of Texas. An injury kept him from the Senior Bowl, although he did show up for the weigh-in. Harrison had an illness that caused him to weigh in about 25 pounds lighter than his playing weight.
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Will Hernandez, UTEP
Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Austin Corbett, Nevada
Colby Gossett, Appalachian State
Wyatt Teller, Virginia Tech
Brian Allen, Michigan State
Braden Smith, Auburn
Taylor Hearn, Clemson
Skyler Phillips, Idaho State
Sean Welsh, Iowa
K.J. Malone, LSU
Cole Madison, Washington State
Nick Gates, Nebraska
Sam Jones, Arizona State
Salesi Uhatafe, Utah
This guard class in one of the best in years. Indeed, Quenton Nelson is a potential top-ten NFL pick. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, or even Austin Corbett were first-round picks. However, the player whose testing numbers I am most intrigued to see is LSU guard K.J. Malone. Not to mention, he is the son of NBA Hall-of-Famer “The Mailman” Karl Malone.
Billy Price, Ohio State
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
James Daniels, Iowa
William Clapp, LSU
Mason Cole, Michigan
Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
Coleman Shelton, Washington
Billy Price is the top prize of center prospects this year but if Frank Ragnow was not injured for the bulk of the season, he very well could have been the top guy. Thus, his medical testing will be huge.
What offensive linemen are you most looking forward to seeing take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium? Let us know in the comments below!
A reminder: The NFL Combine and Pro Days are only a small percentage of the evaluation. In fact, game tape is always the number one factor in prospect evaluation.
Next time we will preview the Combine Defensive Line and Linebackers!