Annually, the Combine provides opportunities for college prospects, teams, etc...to answer major questions that come their way. 2019 was no different so here are some of the prospects that did just that.
Quarterback Kyler Murray, Oklahoma - “Are you big enough?”
Well, he measured at 5-10 ⅛, which still isn’t tall by football standards, but it’s not 5-9. That’s what some expected, or feared. Those with a top pick in the draft certainly didn’t want to see a 5-9 number at all. Then, he weighed 207.
Answer - “Big enough”
Wide Receiver D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss - “Are you the new Freak?”
Tennessee Titans pass rush star Jevon Kearse is the one and only player to earn the Freak moniker, but it’s time to add Mr. Metcalf to the mix. His Combine performance was SICK - He put up 27 reps of 225 on the bench on Friday, then ran 4.33 in the 40 and posted a 40.5-inch vertical plus a 11-2 broad jump. He did all of that at 228 lb...as a RECEIVER. Are you kidding me? Some might get hung up on his less than stellar change of direction times, but c’mon, those are sick numbers.
Answer - “Oh yeah!”
Cornerback Deandre Baker, Georgia - “What did the watch say”
Most people seemed to know the answer to this question, but the Combine confirmed Baker’s lack of outstanding long speed. Some hoped for a 4.4 number but he ran 4.52, which is sort of a no man’s land in the cornerback world. Faster and he’s a lock in the first. Slower and he probably becomes a cover safety. 19 corners ran faster than the 5-11, 193 lb. All-American from Georgia. In the end, some teams may not see a perimeter cornerback worthy of a first round pick at that speed. Now, he has some length (32-inch arms) and that’ll help his evaluation and he’s a true football player. But, the speed probably didn’t wow those in attendance with a need at the position.
Answer - “It’s Complicated.”
Edge rusher Montez Sweat, Mississippi State - “Did you win the Combine?”
If he didn’t he was certainly on the medal stand. At 6-6, 262 lb., Sweat blazed a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. To put that number in context, Sweat’s time would make him the fifth fastest CORNERBACK at the Combine. Of all the participants, 332 in total, only 15 ran a faster 40-yard dash than Sweat. Then, after he ran his 40, he posted a 36-inch vertical and a 10-5 broad jump. Oh by the way, he threw up 21 reps of 225 lb. on the bench with nearly 36-inch arms! He might as well have printed money after the Combine because he just entered a whole new tax bracket with each test.
Answer - “Winner, winner Bulldog dinner!”
Wide receiver Andy Isabella, U Mass - “Did a clock malfunction steal your thunder?”
Oh man, there’s no doubt. On NFL Network, the clock started before Isabella ran his 40-yard dash so it was shown that he ran 4.54. That’s not enough to create buzz at all but in actuality he ran 4.31, the third fastest time at the Combine. Had there been no clock malfunction, Saturday might have been spent talking about D.K. Metcalf AND Isabella. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and Isabella’s thunder was somewhat stolen. He’ll get it back on Draft weekend, though.
Answer - “Duh.”
Houston defensive front seven star Ed Oliver - “Say, how about an extra donut?”
It’s real easy to pack on weight as one gets older. That happens in a blink, but at 21 years of age, it can be a little tougher. Oliver took that challenge and packed on weight to get to 287 lb., perhaps the heaviest he’s ever been in his career. But, he decided to not do any running tests at his newfound weight. I heard more than a few people in Indianapolis, and elsewhere, that weren’t surprised that he didn’t run at his new weight. He’ll save any running and position drills for his Pro Day in Houston later in March, of course, after he’s lost a few lb. What he did do, WOW - 32 reps of 225 lb. on the bench, 36-inch vertical jump and 10-0 broad jump. Now, he did those at 287 lb. But, it’s time to get ready to run that 40, so he’ll probably slim down to get ready for that in late March.
Answer - “Not anymore, in training.”
Ohio State edge star Nick Bosa - “You okay?”
This one is easy.
Answer - “Yep”
Question - Who won the day at each position?
Quarterback - The Trophy Kyler Murray for stepping on a scale.
Running back - Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill for reminding everyone not to forget about him - 4.40 in the 40, 21 reps of 225 on the bench, a 40 (!!) vertical jump and a 10-10 broad jump.
Wide Receiver (not named Metcalf or Isabella) - Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin nearly jumped through the Lucas Oil Stadium roof. His 43.5-inch vertical was nearly a record and his 11-8 broad jump was a record for an offensive player at the Combine. But, BUT, he also posted an insane 6.77 3-cone drill, in addition to a 4.07 short shuttle. W. O. W!
Offensive Tackle - Washington State’s Andre Dillard...sadly. Why sadly? There’s no way he’s getting to No. 23 now for the Texans.
Interior Offensive lineman - NC State’s Garrett Bradbury
I wrote about both on Friday, so I’ll move on.
Interior defensive lineman - Alabama’s Quinnen Williams was the nation’s best defensive player and he followed that season up with a stellar Combine performance. He ran a 4.83 at 303 lb., posted a 30.5-inch vertical and a 9-4 broad jump. That was it for his testing and, honestly, it was all he needed to do. He should hear his name called within the top three picks, unless a team (or teams) gets antsy for a quarterback and trades into that top three.
Edge (not named Sweat) - Michigan star Rashan Gary ran a 4.58 at 277 lb. That shouldn’t be legal. He also hit 38-inches on the vertical and 10-0 on the broad jump. He should hear his name in the first seven picks of this draft.
Stack/Off the ball linebacker - The top two going into the Combine were Devin White (LSU) and Devin Bush Jr. (Michigan). They will remain the top two after Sunday’s performance at the Combine. White ran 4.42. Bush fran 4.43. White did 22 reps of 225 on the bench. Bush did 21 reps of 225 on the bench. White posted a 39.5-inch vertical. Bush nailed a 40.5-inch vertical. White posted a 9-10 broad jump. Bush posted a 10-4 broad jump. White had a 7.03 short shuttle. Bush broke seven seconds with a 6.93 short shuttle. There’s really not much to separate those two at all. Tremendous workouts.
Cornerback - Auburn’s Jamel Dean measured 6-1, 206 lb. and ran 4.30 in the 40 on a day in which most of the big names ran in the 4.5 range. That might be enough to push him into the top 40 of this draft.
Safety - Virginia’s Juan Thornhill strung together a STUPID good workout. He ran 4.42 in the 40-yard dash at 6-0, 205 lb. then posted a Combine-high 44-inch vertical and a 11-9 broad jump. He might look wiry, bordering on thin, on tape, but anyone that throws up 21 reps of 225 lb. on the bench is certainly not going to be labeled as such. What a day!
Question - Who were some sleepers that’ll have teams’ film departments scrambling to get additional tape on them?
Edge Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan - Maybe it was the skull cap, but Crosby was outstanding in Indianapolis. His decision to declare early for the Draft made more sense after seeing his workout. At 6-5, 255 lb, he ran a 4.66 in the 40, posted a 36-inch vertical, a 10-2 broad jump and an outstanding 6.89 second 3-cone drill.
Safety Zedrick Woods, Ole Miss - All Woods did was run the fastest 40-yard dash in 2019 - a smoking 4.29. Ole Miss may have won the Combine with the performances of D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Woods and Ken Webster. Ohio State’s receivers might have something to say about that, though...Speaking of the Buckeyes…
Ohio State’s receiving corps - Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin - The slowest 40-time of the three was a blazing 4.41. They ran three of the eight fastest 40s in the receiver crew with Campbell running the fastest at 4.31 (tied with Andy Isabella from U Mass). Throw in running back Mike Weber’s 4.47 and it was clear how talented this skill group was that helped make Dwayne Haskins the star that he was in 2018.
Missouri receiver Emanuel Hall - the former Missouri star was nearly pulled from testing on Saturday due to a sports hernia injury. But, he worked out and made some significant money in the process. He ran a 4.39 at 6-2, 201 lb., posted a 43.5-inch vertical jump and a 11-9 broad jump. He’s the one guy that I knew should’ve been in the Harris 100 as soon as I posted it. He will be on the next iteration.
Penn State running back Miles Sanders - The former Nittany Lion star was in the shadows of Saquon Barkley for the first couple of seasons in his career. But, he broke out in 2018 and followed that up with a STRONG Combine performance in Indianapolis. He ran 4.49 in the 40-yard dash and that was just the start. He posted a 36-inch vertical jump, in addition to a 10-4 broad jump. His change of direction drill times were really good as well - 6.89 in the 3-cone and 4.19 in the short shuttle.
More Standout sleepers by position
Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (threw ball well during on field drills, 4.65 in the 40-yard dash)
Travis Homer, Miami (4.48 in the 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical, 10-10 broad)
Alex Barnes, Kansas State (4.59 in 40-yard dash at 6-0, 226 lb., 34 reps of 225 on bench)
Gary Jennings, West Virginia (4.42 in the 40 at 214 lb., 37-inch vertical, 10-7 broad)
Hakeem Butler, Iowa State (4.48 in the 40 at 227 lb., 36-inch vertical, 18 reps of 225 lb. on bench)
Interior Offensive line
C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M (4.89 in the 40-yard dash at 303 lb., 31-inch vertical)
OG Sua Opeta, Weber State (5.02 in the 40-yard dash, Combine high 39 reps of 225 lb. bench)
OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College (4.91 in the 40-yard dash at 308, 30.5-inch vertical)
Kaleb McGary, Washington (5.05 in the 40-yard dash at 6-7, 317 lb., 33.5-inch vertical)
Oli Udoh, Elon (5.05 in the 40-yard dash at 6-5, 323 lb.)
Interior defensive linemen
Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame (4.93 in the 40-yard dash at 6-6, 295 lb, 32-inch vertical)
Trysten Hill, UCF (5.04 in the 40-yard dash at 308 lb., 35-inch vertical, 28 reps of 225 lb. on bench)
Chase Winovich, Michigan (4.59 at 256 lb., 6.94 3-cone, 4.11 short shuttle)
Brian Burns, Florida State (4.53 at 249 lb., 36-inch vertical, 10-9 broad, 7.01 3-cone)
Stack/Off the ball linebackers
Blake Cashman, Minnesota (4.50 in the 40-yard dash, 37.5-inch vertical, 6.95 3-cone)
Gary Johnson, Texas (4.43 in the 40-yard dash, 10-1 broad jump, 33.5-inch vertical)
Mark Fields, Clemson (4.37 in the 40-yard dash, 18 reps of 225 lb. on bench)
Derrek Thomas, Baylor (4.44 in the 40-yard dash at 6-3, 39.5-inch vertical, 10-11 broad)
Darnell Savage Jr., Maryland (4.36 in the 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical, 10-6 broad)
Amani Hooker, Iowa (4.48 in the 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical, 10-3 broad, 6.81 3-cone)