2016 NFL Scouting Combine Winners And Losers

Robert Nkemdiche

As I say every year, winning and losing a Combine will not make or break someone’s career…it can just greatly influence their Draft stock and where they end up playing on Sundays. Some of the losers will be able to reverse any negative effects at their Pro Day, but it’ll be put up or shut up time and the pressure will be on.

Winners

Joe Dahl, OG, Washington State: Dahl had the type of day that sends people back to the film room. These are the best types of days that you can have when you’re not a marquee prospect. In the testing Dahl 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.

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: Spriggs proved to be one of the most athletic tackles in the NFL Draft and it probably helped turn him into a first round pick. I would not say that it is a guarantee, but with teams running more and more of their offense out of the spread, he will draw some major interest. In the testing Spriggs 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.

Daniel Lasco, RB, Cal: Lasco is the type of back that causes teams to avoid going with a running back in the first round. They think it’s better to get Lasco as a value pick later on, rather than spend a high pick on a player with a short shelf life. 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.

Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia: Marshall put himself back on the map with a lot of team’s with his blazing 4.31 40 time. Like I said before, Marshall’s draft stock all depends on how healthy teams think he will be going forward. In terms of athletic ability, he can do it all, he put up 25 reps on the bench and a 30.5″ vertical on top of his 40 time. He looked good in drills, but drills will only take you so far when durability is the number one question mark.

Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU: Carson Wentz crushed the Combine from a testing stand point and during the on-field drills. He posted a 4.77 40, a 30.5″ vertical, and a 9’10” broad jump which just helps him check off the boxes for teams. He was smooth with his footwork in drills and threw a nice deep ball. Clearly a big winner and solidified the fact that he will go in the Top 10 of Draft, even if I do not think he should.

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Dak quietly had a very solid year at Mississippi State last year and even though his stock seemed to dip, I think he managed to raise it with his Senior Bowl week and the Combine. He tested pretty well and ran a 4.79 40, had a 32.5″ vertical and a 9’8″ broad jump. He looked fairly comfortable dropping back after playing all of college in the Gun, and I think he’s going to make a solid developmental QB for a team.

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame: People knew coming in that Fuller can run, but I’m not sure they were prepared for him to run as fast as he did. Fuller ran a 4.32 40 (1.52 10-yard), and added a 33.5″ vertical and a 10’6″ broad jump. But perhaps the biggest thing for him was that he was able to run all of the routes and did not drop passes during drills. His hands are still his biggest question mark, but he definitely reassured teams with his workout in Indy.

Marquez North, WR, Tennessee: Raw athleticism is what North has. He has a ways to go in terms of developing as a wide receiver but the tools are there. At 6’2″ 223 lbs he ran a 4.48 40, had 17 reps on the bench, a 35″ vertical and a 10’3″ broad jump. You can be sure that he sent quite a few teams back to the tape to check on him after his day in Indy.

Matt Judon, EDGE, GVSU: Judon is going to be this year’s non-FBS player that goes higher than most people expect. Judon weighed in at 6’3″ 275 lbs and ran a 4.73 40 with a 1.68 10-yard split. Then he posted 30 reps on the bench, a 35″ vertical and a 9’1″ broad jump. That is damn good for a guy his size and he looked very natural and fluid during the on-field drills. His stock is on the rise.

Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE, Oklahoma State: Ogbah’s tape is very hot and cold but that is not going to matter to some teams after the testing numbers he put up. At 6’4″ 273 lbs he put up a 4.63 40 with a 1.59 10-yard, added 20 reps on the bench, a 35.5″ vertical and a 10’1″ broad jump. He did look great going through the drills and seemed to be a pretty polished player, moving laterally well and dropping into coverage with ease. Something tells me that a team takes a flyer on Ogbah in the first round in hopes that they can get him to perform more consistently.

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: Rankins has been on a meteoric rise since the Senior Bowl and he just kept right on moving at the Combine. It turned out that he’s a pretty solid athlete for his size…posting a 5.03 40 (1.74 10-yard) 28 reps on the bench, a 34.5″ vertical and a 9’10” broad jump. I’ll be floored if he does not get picked in the Top 20 of the Draft after the way he has performed.

Charles Tapper, EDGE, Oklahoma: Perhaps the biggest shocker of any of the testing was Tapper posting a 4.59 40 (1.59 10-yard) at 6’2.5″ 271 lbs. That is moving for a man that size. He only posted a 34″ vertical and a 9’11” broad jump with 23 reps on the bench but he’s still an explosive guy in my eyes. He was very smooth in drills, more so than expected, and I would think that he should go in the 3rd or 4th round now. You cannot teach that type of athleticism.

Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: For me, Lee was the biggest winner of the entire Combine. Lee weighed in at 6′ 232 lbs and is a LB/S tweener type but has the athleticism to back up the tape. He posted a 4.43 40 (1.55 10-yard), 17 reps on the bench, 35.5″ vertical and a 11’1″ broad jump. His lateral movement and change of direction skills looked to be elite during the drills and his versatility is going to make him a major asset. As I said before, he was thought to be a fringe first rounder but I would say that he is a lock to go in the first round and could go as high as #16.

Jonathan Jones, CB, Auburn: Jones only weighed in at 5’9″ 186 lbs but made up for his lack of size with some supreme athleticism. He ran a 4.33 40 with a 1.47 10-yard split, then he added 19 reps on the bench, a 36″ vertical and a 10’3″ broad jump. Jones is a very explosive athlete and that 40 time is going to have people going back to check the tape on him. He did an excellent job getting in and out of his breaks and even though he had a few drops, he had one of the best one-handed catches of the day during the drills.

Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State: Locked himself into a top 5 pick after his day at the Combine and is a top 3 player in the entire draft for me. At 6’1″ 209 lbs he ran a 4.41 40 (1.52 10-yard split), then had a 41.5″ vertical and an 11’3″ broad jump. Those are some absolutely ridiculous numbers, especially when you add in the fact that he could be at safety next year. That would be one helluva threat to have roaming center field or near the line of scrimmage. His versatility is going to be a major asset at the next level. He’s the best defensive back in the entire class and it is not particularly close.

Losers

Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State: Cardale Jones got hurt running his second 40 and then did not get to participate in any of the drills. That’s about as bad a day as you could have had, especially after the tumultuous season he just went through as the on-again, off-again starter.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State: First off, apparently Hackenberg made excuses for his bad play over the last two years in meetings with teams and blamed his teammates…that is a HUGE red flag for any player, especially a quarterback. Then during the on-field drills all he did was show what was on tape…he’s a very hot and cold passer and can look like a stud one minute and the next he’s skipping passes to receivers 10 yards away. I’m very curious to see where Hack goes in the Draft.

Duke Williams, WR, Auburn: Duke getting kicked off of Auburn in the fall was a major problem for his stock but during interviews he owned up to his mistakes, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, he got on the field and ran a 4.72 40 and then had issues with quite a few drops. Will he get drafted? Probably. But I would not be spending anything worthwhile on him right now.

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida: After getting suspended four times at Florida, he did the opposite of Duke and did not own his mistakes in interviews. He tested alright, putting up a 4.59 40 at 6’1″ 203 lbs with a 34.5″ vertical and a 10’3″ broad jump. During drills he blended in and did not stand out, which for me is enough to not bother with the kid for the first 5 rounds of the Draft. Take a late flyer on him? Sure, why not. But his physical attributes do not make up for the potential disaster you could have on your hands.

De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State: De’Runnya came out early when he probably should not have and then he ran a 4.85 40. Sure he’s 6’4″ 224 lbs, but he got some majorly bad advice by whomever told him to come out. I feel bad for the kid…he’s gonna need one helluva Pro Day.

Noah Spence, EDGE, Eastern Kentucky: Spence is a “loser” from the stand point that he basically assured he will not go in the Top 10 now. After his Senior Bowl week, everyone was sky-high on him and he could have capitalized on that, but he did not. The 4.80 40 and pedestrian performance during the drills will likely cause enough teams to think twice just enough to hesitate on pulling the trigger that high. At least for his sake he answered any and all character questions…supposedly.

Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss: On the field Nkemdiche knocked it out of the park. The problem is that all of the whispers that kept coming out at the Combine are that he is a major liability off-the-field and that he is going to deal with the greatest fall in the draft of any of the healthy players. Don’t get it twisted though, he will still go in the first round. At 6’3″ 294 lbs he ran a 4.87 40 (1.68 10-yard), posted 28 reps on the bench, a 35″ vertical and a 9’8″ broad jump. His numbers are too good to ignore.

Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame: Poor Jaylon Smith. The reports at the Combine are that he suffered nerve damage which would be nearly impossible for him to come back from and would rule out 2016 completely. Fortunately, there are medical rechecks in April and maybe he could get lucky and that evaluation could change or maybe the original was wrong. Either way, Smith went from Top 15 lock to potentially career over in the blink of an eye.

Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona: Just an absolute train wreck of a day for Scooby. He has dealt with quite a few injuries over this season and did not look fully healthy at the Combine…or at least I hope he wasn’t. His testing numbers were awful. He weighed in at 5’11” 236 lbs, then ran a 4.90 40 (1.67 10-yard), 22 reps on the bench, a 31″ vertical and a 9’5″ broad jump. The lack of explosiveness at that size is not going to help his cause, no matter what the tape looks like.

That’ll do it for the Combine this year. Better late than never, right? Don’t worry, the Calvin Johnson post is coming.

Related: 2016 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 1: Offensive Linemen, Running Backs, Specialists
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

[Photo via: USA Today]

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