Winners and Losers at the Half Way Point of the NFL Combine
Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
If there was any question about who was the best running back in the NFL Draft (There wasn’t), it should be gone now. Barkley displayed why he’s the not only the top running back, but the top overall prospect. At 233 pounds, Barkley ran a 4.40 40-yard dash. That kind of speed for someone his size is something you don’t get every day. While displaying speed, Barkley also displayed his power by doing 29 reps on the bench press and had a 41 inch vertical. Barkley did everything right. Barkley also showed us his pass catching and route running abilities. Whoever drafts him will likely use him as a receiver at some point. Whether that’s actually lining up as a receiver or out of the backfield, Barkley is a dangerous receiver. He’s the full package. It’s unusual for a running back to go first overall, but Barkley could be taken first and there would be no questioning it. I could go on and on about this guy, so I’m just going to stop now.
DJ Chark, WR LSU
At 6’3″ and 200lbs, Chark ran a 4.34 at the combine. That’s insane speed for someone his size. Chark doesn’t have the stats you want to see from a top receiver, but his QB situation at LSU wasn’t exactly favorable. He may not be the most polished receiver in the draft, but he is the fastest. Teams love speed. Chark also posted a 40 inch vertical, showing teams he has the ability to jump over defensive backs to get the ball. After a good week at the Senior Bowl and now a good performance at the combine, Chark has significantly boosted his stock. I don’t think Chark gets into the first round, but to me he’s a for sure second round pick.
Kolton Miller, OT UCLA
Miller had a great combine workout, showing off is athletic ability. He ran under 5.00 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 31.5 vertical, and had a broad jump of 10’1″. During his position drills he moved around very well, which is what every team looking for an offensive lineman wants to see. Miller was one of, if not the best offensive lineman at the combine. He benefits not only from his incredible workout, but from the poor workouts of others such as Orlando Brown, who you’ll find on the loser list. Kolton Miller may have just put his name into first round consideration.
Mike Gesicki, TE Penn State
Freak. Mike Gesicki is a freak. Standing at 6’6″ and 247lbs, his size alone makes him a freak. Then you add in a 4.54 40-yard dash, 41.5 inch vertical, and a 10’9″ broad jump. Double freak. A twitter post by the NFL stated Gesicki’s numbers made him “taller than Calvin Johnson, faster than Antonio Brown and a more explosive jumper than Odell Beckham Jr.” How does that not grab someone’s attention? Gesicki’s name might be thrown into the first round, but I don’t think he goes there. Maybe one TE will go in the first, maybe. Gesicki is a round two guy for sure if he’s not taken in the first round. He’s on the radar for a lot of teams after today.
Josh Allen, QB Wyoming
I’m not high on Allen myself, but he was the bet of the quarterbacks today. He showed accuracy on just about every throw, regardless of if it was deep, intermediate, or short. As we all knew, Allen threw the deep ball with ease. The accuracy of other quarterbacks such as Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson was off. Sam Darnold didn’t even throw. Josh Allen showed teams looking for a quarterback exactly what they wanted to see, while most of the other quarterbacks didn’t. There’s no question he’s a first round pick.
Was he the worst performer out of the offensive lineman or the worst overall performer? Either way, Orlando Brown hurt his draft stock significantly. It may have even been bad enough to knock him out of the first round. His 40 time was 5.85, he only had a 19.5 inch vertical, and his broad jump was 6’10”. Brown’s workout will have teams going back to the tape and second guessing him. Unless it’s to see how truly dominant you are, you don’t want people going back to the tape.
Ronald Jones II
Ronald Jones isn’t a loser because of a poor performance, but rather because of an injury. He didn’t get to show scouts his speed or athleticism. What he really needed to do was show teams his ability to catch the ball. With several prospects moving up the board, it just sucks for Jones because he didn’t get to show his stuff. He will get another chance at his pro day, but this may have knocked him down into the second round.
Lamar Jackson needs to change his attitude about teams wanting him to play receiver. I get that he wants to be a quarterback, but when you refuse to do certain drills it shows teams you’re not willing to do whatever it takes to help your team. Jackson didn’t run the 40 and didn’t do athletic testing. He wanted to do everything in quarterback drills, but that ended up hurting him. Jackson wasn’t accurate with his throws, which is what teams were looking for. Jackson is known as a dual threat player, but because he didn’t do the athletic drills, he didn’t show that second threat. Poor choice by Jackson.
Ridley ran a good forty time, but he didn’t impress in the rest of the drills. His numbers didn’t show the burst scouts seem to love about him. Other receivers like DJ Chark and DJ Moore boosted their stock and closed the gap on Ridley as the top receiver. Ridley is a good route runner, but he didn’t move well at the combine. Teams will go back to the tape on Ridley. His workout wasn’t terrible, but he’s a loser because he didn’t perform up to expectations.
Defensive lineman aren’t doing on field workouts until tomorrow, but Hurst won’t be participating. Hurst was diagnosed with a heart condition, which will keep him out of the workouts. Teams will red flag Hurst for that condition, which is very unfortunate. This may jeopardize his first round status, and depending on the severity, his NFL career. I’m rooting for this guy, I really am. It’s so unfortunate when an explosive athlete like Hurst has to go through that.