2018 NFL Combine: Offensive Recap
The 2018 NFL Combine is in the books. The NFL Combine had over 300 of the top players available for selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Over the course of four days, they all were poked and prodded, most took part in a litany of athletic tests and then took part in position-specific drills.
So now let’s recap what we know about the offensive players after all of this with a position-by-position breakdown.
There was going to be nothing for me that was going to separate the QBs here. I am glad to see the “His teammates don’t like him” narrative about Josh Rosen (UCLA) start to die off. He, Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Sam Darnold (Southern Cal), and Josh Allen (Wyoming) will be the first four quarterbacks selected, all possibly in the top ten and not necessarily in that order. My board will not have Allen rated that high. Lamar Jackson (Louisville) elected not to do any athletic testing and only did the throwing portion, where he was up and down. The next tier of QBs who should fit in the late 2nd-third round range is Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Kyle Lauletta (Richmond), and Luke Falk (Washington State). Falk was seemingly the only QB throwing with much anticipation but this was likely to compensate for his lack of arm strength.
This was the Saquon Barkley show! The Penn State back ran 4.41 in the forty and had a vertical leap of 41-inches at 233 pounds! Two backs that really helped themselves with testing were Nick Chubb (Georgia) and Royce Freeman (Oregon). Nyheim Hines (NC State) put up a really nice number on the running surface. The former track star ran 4.38 and ran crisp routes on the field. One of the more surprising performances for me was from Bo Scarbrough (Alabama). He ran 4.52, had a 40-inch vertical, and broad jumped 10-feet 9-inches at 228 pounds. Justin Crawford (West Virginia) was a top-ten back for me entering the season. After a poor showing on the field in 2017, his combine probably cemented him to undrafted status.
Overall, this did not seem like a fast group (especially compared to the DBs). LSU WR D.J. Chark ran 4.34, vertical jumped 40-inches, and broad jumped 10’9”. After being named Senior Bowl MVP and now this, I wouldn’t be surprised if his name started popping up into the first round of mock drafts. Calvin Ridley (Alabama) ran a fast forty, but he was pedestrian in the other athletic testing. Ridley’s tape is better than most, but if he was close with some of these other players, then this may be a reason to move him down. Courtland Sutton (SMU) ran a 4.55. But at 6’3” 218, his 6.57-second three-cone was elite. D.J. Moore (Maryland) was the rare weigh-in that was taller than his listed height. The school had him listed at 5’10” but he measured here at 6-feet even. His elite athletic scores at the Combine and high levels of production at Maryland could get him in the 1st-round conversation. Two names that will send me back to the tape are Marquez Valdes-Scantling (South Florida) and Dylan Cantrell (Texas Tech). MVS ran a 4.37 forty and Cantrell posted elite numbers in the broad jump, vertical, and three-cone. All things considered, James Washington (Oklahoma State) and Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) had mediocre days compared to what was expected of them.
What kind of training program do they have at Penn State? Mike Gesicki blew the place up with his workout. He ran 4.55, had a 41.5” vertical, a 10’9” broad jump, and ran a 6.76-second three-cone. These are numbers that haven’t been put up by a TE since Vernon Davis over a decade ago. Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State) couldn’t do a full workout because of an injury at the Senior Bowl, but he did manage to put up a position best 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench. Hayden Hurst (South Carolina) put up solid athletic numbers, but his star shined the brightest during the field drills. Jaylen Samuels (NC State), who probably should have been in the RB group, tested really well and ran tremendous routes. Ryan Izzo (Florida State) was a borderline Top-100 player on my board coming in, but that is over now. He ran a nearly five second forty and looked sloppy on the field.
I really liked Orlando Brown’s (Oklahoma) game tape. But it is hard to get behind someone who looked completely unmotivated to be there. His work ethic will rightfully be questioned. Brown only put up 14 reps on the bench (bad), had a 10-yard split of two seconds flat (really bad), and ran a 40 of 5.86 seconds (historically bad). He has some serious rehab work to do over the next seven weeks. Kolton Miller (UCLA) had the fastest 10-yard split, a really good broad jump, and a solid three-cone. I have not studied him on tape (YET), but I have heard first round buzz on him.
Connor Williams (Texas) measured in with sub-optimal arm length (33”), stoking the talks of him having to move to guard. I am not there, yet. Williams looked good in the field drills, but time will tell on him. Rod Taylor (Mississippi) surprised me. I knew nothing of him before the combine, but he looked really fluid. His 6’3” height probably means he is a guard, but I think he warrants further study. In the was there ever a doubt file, two of the safest players, Quenton Nelson (Notre Dame) and Will Hernandez (UTEP), both had really good days. Hernandez put up a position best 37 reps in the bench press. James Daniels of Iowa put up fantastic athletic numbers and looked silky smooth on the field.
What offensive players stood out to you at the 2018 NFL Combine? Let us know in the comments.
Tomorrow, we will be back with the Defensive positional review!