Well this year the Combine got off to a rocky start for me. Apparently Time Warner Cable has an automatic power shut off after 4 hours and so only the first half of Day 1 got recorded to my laptop. Really inhibits the ability to make YouTube videos of players going through drills, but I still watched what I missed on the DVR. Unfortunately, that means no running back cut ups of players I thought did well for this portion of the recap (other than what NFL.com provided). Always good to have a backup plan but does not make this any less annoying. Time Warner Cable having a power save mode that arbitrarily comes on after 4 hours is absolutely ridiculous. Could you imagine leaving your cable box on accidentally and then it shuts off while recording your show? Absolutely a bush league invention…especially to force it on people without their knowledge. It’s also bush league that the NFL is so restrictive with their content and makes it impossible to embed clips. Forcing you to go to their website and deal with their advertisers…guess making billions of dollars is not enough.
A second pet peeve of mine, before we get going here, is that the NFL Network does not televise every day or every drill in its fullest. I know they have to cut some of it off for commercials, but to stop broadcasting some days 30 mins early to start doing a replay of the morning instead of doing all the drills is absolutely ridiculous. I was so convinced that they were showing fewer drills than ever before that I actually counted. At one point during the first day, they showed four minutes of actual drills over a 19 minute span (11:41-12:00 CT if you wanna check for yourself). Absolutely a joke if you ask me. Same goes for showing people being interviewed…you can just have them talking in the background while the drills go on, you do not have to always look at who is being interviewed.
As I say every year, I enjoy watching the NFL Scouting Combine, but it is a very small piece of the evaluation process. Smart analysts use the Combine to see if players’ measurables and performances in drills match what they saw on tape. If it doesn’t, then that’s a red flag and they have to go back and check what exactly they missed. Or to just see if the kid had a bad day. When I say that a player has “won” or “lost” at the NFL Combine, I’m referring solely to the fact that their good or bad performance could have made them some money or lost them some money with their performance. By and large though, there are more winners than losers. Guys who jump up on evaluator’s radars with great measurables and then it forces teams to go back and watch their tape more closely happens every year.
Here are the measurables for the Offensive Linemen this year:
The offensive line group is a pretty talented group this year. Laremy Tunsil is a franchise player and I think there are at least 6 guys that could go in the first round. Quite a few players helped their stock and they are probably guys you have never even heard of.
Caleb Benenoch, OT, UCLA: Benenoch showed during the day that he’s probably a better athlete than football player right now. He put up a sub 5.00 40 time (1.68 10-yard split which is MOVING) and seemed to move pretty well in drills, even if his technique was not always there. He’s the type of guy that will go higher than analysts think because there is a team that will think they can turn him into a football player and that you can not teach his athleticism.
Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: Jack Conklin for me is Riley Reiff 2.0. Not a bad player, I just do not think he physically has the tools to be an elite left tackle in the NFL. That being said, he definitely tested better than I thought he would. He ran a 5.00 40 (1.75 10-yard split), put up a 30″ vertical, 25 reps on the bench and had an 8’7″ broad jump. He’s got some explosiveness, but his asset is his technique. He looked pretty darn good in the field drills even if his testing was not amazing.
Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State: This kid is good. He’s got prototype size (6’7″ 310 lbs) and performed very well in the on-field drills. He was not some amazing test subject on the field though. He only put up a 5.23 40 (with 1.80 10-yard), 29″ vertical, 8’5″ broad jump and 20 reps on the bench. But, with how he performed in the change of direction and the pulling drills, no one is going to care. I’ll be shocked if he does not go in the first round.
Joe Dahl, OG, Washington St: Dahl was a guy that I had not heard a lot about coming into the Combine but he had one of those days where you go back and look at the tape if you’re an NFL scout. He kept flashing on the screen and did himself a major favor with his day in Indianapolis. He had a 5.18 40 (1.80 10-yard), 31″ vertical, 9’1″ broad jump, and 28 reps on the bench. Then during the on-field drills he did a very good job showing off his movement skills.
Graham Glasgow, C/OG, Michigan: Glasgow was your prototypical workhorse during the drills…giving it all during the drills. His testing numbers all but ensured that he is going to go higher in the Draft than you might expect because of his versatility. He can play all three positions inside and that is invaluable in the NFL with limited roster sizes. Glasgow ran a 5.13 40 with a 1.76 10-yard split, 25″ vertical, 8’10” broad jump and 23 reps on the bench. He did not look the smoothest going through drills, but he showed good change of direction and did a pretty good job overall.
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: Spriggs will be a guy that continues to shoot up draft boards as we get closer and closer to the NFL Draft. He is an elite athlete that looked fantastic during drills. I really wish I could show you the cut up that NFL Network put together for him. He ran a 4.94 40 (1.75 10-yard) 31.5″ vertical, 9’7″ broad jump and 31 reps on the bench. He looked very natural going through all of the drills and everything seemed to come very easy to him.
Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame: For my money (and just about everyone else’s), Stanley is the second best tackle in the entire Draft. He did not go through all of the testing, but it does not really matter. He ran a 5.20 40 (1.79 10-yard) with a 28.5″ vertical and those probably were not even necessary for him to do. He did a great job in the on-field drills. He’s a smooth moving player and has good feet and excelled in the mirroring drill that they do.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss: Just an absolute stud. What is there to say? He did not do any of the testing but his work during the on-field drills was exceptional. Just watch the clips below. There’s not a whole lot to say that has not been said. He’s a Top 3 player in the Draft for me and I would take him #1 if I was the Titans. He’s just a natural and he’s an absolute freak athletically.
Alright, now it’s time for the running backs…
There were 29 running backs at the Combine and I want to mention 10 of them so I’m going to try to keep this short.
Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas: Collins is an intriguing running back. He’s not a tall back, but he’s thick and he can still move pretty well. He put up a 4.59 40, which is not amazing, but had a 1.55 10-yard split which was the third fastest of all the running backs. This would seem to indicate that he’s an explosive guy but he put up a 28.5″ vertical and a 9’5″ broad jump. Which are not bad, but you would think given that split it would have been better. He did very well catching the ball on the field and actually had a phenomenal one-handed catch that I would show you if Time Warner Cable did not suck *insert insult I should not post on the internet now that I’m out of college*.
Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech: Dixon is thought of by many as the 3rd best running back in this class behind Elliott and Henry. I’m not as high on him as others, but he’s got some pretty good numbers. Dixon had a 4.58 40 with a 1.56 10-yard split and then 10’1″ broad jump and a 37.5″ vertical (this is why I was surprised that Collins vert and broad were not that great). Like Collins, Dixon put up 18 reps on the bench too which is solid. Dixon looked fluid in the drills and was natural running routes. He definitely seems to be a player on the rise.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama: Drake is never going to be more than a running back in a backfield by committee that returns kicks…but he showed at the Combine that he will excel at that role if he stays healthy. He looked fantastic running routes and going through the pass catching drills. He also had a 4.44 40 (1.64 10-yard), a 34.5″ vertical and a 10’3″ broad jump. He’ll make a living contributing as a Swiss Army Knife guy if he stays healthy.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: The best running back in the Draft. He may not be the physical freak that Derrick Henry is, but he is much more of a complete player. The 4.47 40 with a 32.5″ vertical and a 9’10” broad jump was the perfect way to just check off the boxes for Zeke. The tape says it all and aside from one drop during the pass catching drills, he did a damn good job.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Henry is definitely an alien of some kind. Between how he looks and what he did at the NFL Combine, I’m convinced. He weighed in at 6’2″ 247 lbs and then ran a 4.54 40, put up 22 reps on the bench, a 37″ vertical and a 10’10” broad jump. A man that size having that kind of explosiveness is very scary. I still think he needs to go to a team with a good offensive line to be successful (Cowboys at the start of Round 2 would be ideal), but he showed that he’s a freak and he is gonna cause some problems for defenses if he does not have to try to create something out of nothing.
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana: After what Howard did to Michigan, he’s been the #3 running back in this class behind Henry for me. Now he did not run the 40, but he put up 16 reps on the bench, had a 34″ vertical and a 10’2″ broad jump. He’s a powerful guy and he looked pretty smooth and complete going through the drills on the field. He had very good change of direction and some of the smoothest hands out of all the running backs.
Daniel Lasco, RB, Cal: Lasco ripped it up at the East-West Shrine Game and has been steadily climbing ever since then. He ran a 4.46 40 with a 1.53 10-yard split (fastest of the RBs) and then added 23 reps on the bench, a 41.5″ vertical and an 11’3″ broad jump…all while weighing in at 6′ 209 lbs. Physically he’s everything you want in a back. He’s got solid size and he’s clearly very explosive. He worked out well and caught the ball very naturally and showed he can run a route tree out of the backfield. He’s going to make some team very happy this fall.
Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia: Marshall…shoulda, coulda, woulda. His incredible 40 time just makes you wonder what kind of career he would have had at Georgia if he had been able to stay healthy. He posted a blazing 4.31 40 time with a 1.53 10-yard split and then put up 25 reps on the bench and a 30.5″ vertical. Marshall looked good in drills but again, this will all come down to his medical evaluations from teams. Can he stay healthy? If teams think he can, he will go higher in the Draft, and if he does, he will be a very good player.
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA: Perkins did not do anything amazing during any of the drills, but I had to put him on here because he’s a name to know going forward. I think he’s a good runner and he has decent size at 5’10” 209 lbs. He ran a 4.54 40 (1.62 10-yard), a 32″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump and 32 reps on the bench.
CJ Prosise, RB, Notre Dame: Prosise was a former wide receiver and so it should not surprise anyone when I tell you that he did very well running routes out of the backfield and catching the ball. He looked very smooth during all of the drills and is another running back that I think is going to start shooting up draft boards. He weighed in at 6′ 220 lbs and then ran a 4.48 40 (1.57 10-yard) and put up a 35.5″ vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. He skipped the rest of the on-field agility and speed drills and is probably going to let his Pro Day and tape do the rest of the talking.
I was going to talk about special teamers but the Combine for special teamers is purely to weigh them in and interview them…though I did find it hilarious that Iowa’s kicker Marshall Koehn ran a 4.61 40-yard dash. And no, that isn’t a typo.
Related: 2016 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 2: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
Related: 2016 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers
Related: 2016 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 4: Defensive Backs