1) Defensive Front Seven Strong
There’s little doubt where the strength of this year’s draft class is and it’s leaning heavily up front on the defensive side of the ball. Some of the edge defenders and defensive tackles that impressed during their college season continued to solidify their draft status didn’t and disappoint in Indianapolis. I’ll start with the edge athletes because you can’t go wrong with any of these defenders. Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Montez Sweat from Mississippi State, Josh Allen from Kentucky and Clelin Ferrell from Clemson all had outstanding workouts. Let’s start with Bosa, because he could be one of the first players taken this April. He clocked a 4.79-40 yard dash and looked healthy after sitting out most of the 2018 season for the Buckeyes. Nick is a stud and I’m sure he will continue to impress at his pro day. Another freak is Sweat, who had the fastest 40-yard dash time for a defensive lineman in 15-plus years at the combine. At 6’6, 260 pounds, Montez ran a 4.41-40, and ran through the defensive drills like a wide receiver! He just might have vaulted up into the top five in this year’s draft. Allen can do a little bit of everything, playing as a pure pass rusher, or off the ball as a stand up outside linebacker. He plays the game just as fast in pads as he did in shorts at the combine! Ferrell isn’t going to wow you with is workout numbers but his college production should match up nicely to his combine workout and his pro day later this month. On the inside, Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Christian Wilkins from Clemson led this group of talented defensive tackles. Williams ran well (4.83-40) and should be the first down lineman taken in April. Wilkins showed his quickness and explosiveness over the weekend, and his leadership skills are off the charts. He should be off the board mid-way or slightly after that in the first round. Also, Houston’s Ed Oliver, who has drawn some comparisons to Rams All-Pro Aaron Donald, plays with similar size and quickness. Lastly, it was disappointing for Clemson’s big down lineman Dexter Lawrence pulling a quad muscle running his second 40 yard dash. His 5.05 at 342 pounds is unbelievable and should be able to bounce back at his pro day later this month.
2) Quarterbacks Group Uneven
I wasn’t blown away with this group before the NFL Combine and after watching on Saturday, my thoughts haven’t changed much. I believe that the one player that didn’t throw at the combine (Kyler Murray) might have vaulted his way to Arizona’s No. 1 selection. I’m not sure that there was one quarterback that stood out from the crowded pack, but if I had to pick one, it was Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State. He threw with nice anticipation and was accurate down the field. The one thing that would scare me or not make me push all of my chips to the center of the table is his short area athletic movement. His eyes and feet sometimes aren’t in sync and he’ll need to work on that quickly to be effective in the NFL. Some of the other quarterbacks that threw the ball well in the on-air drills were Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), Drew Lock (Mizz), Ryan Finley (NCST) and Daniel Jones (Duke). These guys had good showings, but not players who can come in on day one and play right away.
3) Others That Stood Out
Some of the other players that really stood out to me were wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown from Ole Miss. Metcalf is a freakish specimen at 6’3, 228 pounds, that ran his 40 in 4.33 seconds! He also looked natural in drill work catching the ball with good balance and control. Brown also ran well (4.49-40) and put on a show with a few on-handed receptions during the drill work. Alabama running back Josh Jacobs looked the part and displayed why teams believe he’s a three-down back at the next level. Also, his college teammate Jonah Williams could be the first offensive lineman taken in the draft, but teams aren’t quite sure if he projects better at tackle or indie at guard. Lastly, linebacker Devon Bush showed his athletic ability while crushing the underwear olympics in Indy. His vertical, broad jump and fourth time just might have moved him up significantly in many teams draft boards.