NFL Scouting Combine: 5 Things That Mattered

    Ohio State invasion, the quarterbacks, the slow receivers, the top quarterbacks, and the No. 1 pick. 5 things that really mattered at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine

    March 1, 2016


    The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine: What were the five things that really mattered?


    NFL Scouting Combine: 5 Things That Mattered


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    5. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. The quarterback situation is settled

    For those waiting to see the two big quarterbacks crumble, they didn’t.

    Jared Goff’s hands might only be 9” from thumb tip to pinkie tip, and Carson Wentz still has a few mechanical issues, but there was no question that it’s these two in line for the top quarterback slots, and then there’s everyone else.

    Paxton Lynch looked terrific for a very big, very good option, and Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg both threw and looked like NFL starters, but over the next several weeks the debate will rage over whether or not Cleveland will go with a quarterback at the two, and how soon the other guy will go.

    Are Wentz and Goff as promising as Jameis Winston? Not really. Are they sure-thing stars who can carry a team to a Super Bowl? Not quite. But the key is that they look the part. There’s no guesswork about style like there was with Marcus Mariota, but there’s also no real wow factor with either one.

    Deshaun Watson would be taken before either one.

    4. The really, really slow wide receivers and defensive backs

    There were a few standout moments – like Notre Dame WR Will Fuller’s 4.32 – but overall it was a sluggish run of 40s for the supposed speed guys.

    The star of receiver stars – Laquon Treadwell – didn’t run, mainly because he’s not really a speedster and is expected to be around a 4.6. Baylor’s Corey Coleman didn’t run, either, and some of the faster-looking receiver prospects like Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and TCU’s Josh Doctson hit the 4.5 mark. Mid-4.5s were the norm with 11 of the prospects running 4.6 or worse.

    The corners were even more painful at times, with supposed blazers like Oklahoma State’s Kevin Peterson running a 4.66 and LSU’s Rashard Robinson with a 4.49. Houston’s William Jackson III (4.37), Auburn’s Jonathan Jones (4.33), Texas A&M’s Brandon Williams (4.37) and USC’s Kevon Seymour (4.39) were the only defensive backs under 4.4. Also not in the group of speedy DBs were …

    3. Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves are the real deal

    The top two defensive backs are set, and they could be early difference-makers in the draft order.

    Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves wasn’t a blazer, but he was just fine with his 4.5 – his game isn’t about speed, anyway. He’s a tough, physical corner who might be a wee bit tight, but was wonderful in the ball drills and jumped really, really well to show off his explosion. And in this year’s group, his run was just good enough. He probably solidified a spot in the top ten, while Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey might have made a push for the top three.

    Ramsey’s 4.41 was only disappointing because he’s a track guy who many thought could’ve been a low 4.3 runner.

    Whatever.

    Ramsey is big, came up with a Combine-high 41.5” vertical, a defensive back-best 11’3” broad jump, and did everything else just right as a potentially ultra-athletic safety or as a big and talented corner.

    2. Invasion of the Buckeyes

    As Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer put it, “the good news is that we have 14 players at the Combine. The bad news is that we have 14 players at the Combine.”

    And they’re almost all special.

    It’s not just painful for a program to lose so much talent, but it’s about what might have been. That was an NFL team the Buckeyes put on the field in 2015, and they couldn’t get to the Big Ten title game, much less the playoff.

    DE Joey Bosa, RB Ezekiel Elliott, OT Taylor Decker, LB Darron Lee, CB Eli Apple and WR Michael Thomas might all go in the first round, while WR Braxton Miller, LB Joshua Perry, and S Vonn Bell are sure-thing second-rounders and almost-certain top 50 picks.

    If DT Adolphus Washington goes in the second, that means Ohio State will have had ten of the top 60 or so NFL prospects starting last year, and that doesn’t even include TE Nick Vannett and QB Cardale Jones – who suffered a disappointing hamstring pull – who could go in the top 100, too.

    1. The No. 1 pick is …

    It’s going to be Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil unless something goes wacky over the next few months.

    No one’s questioning Joey Bosa as a potential superstar talent, but even with the amazing short drills and the 10’ broad jump, he didn’t quite look like Tunsil. And even though the raw stats from the workout weren’t better, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, for his size, almost looked like the best defensive end in Indy.

    Almost, but not quite.

    Even so, there’s still a while to go, but at the moment it appears that Bosa will probably go fourth to Dallas or third to San Diego, Jalen Ramsey will go in whatever spot Bosa doesn’t, Cleveland will go with either Carson Wentz or Jared Goff at the two, and Tennessee will be all set with an easy No. 1 overall selection.

    What to the Titans need? They really need a defensive back, and they might move down a wee bit to stockpile picks and take either Ramsey or Vernon Hargreaves. But to repeat a line that you’ll hear ad nauseam, they have a franchise quarterback, and now they have to protect him.

    It wasn’t just that Tunsil looked smooth, it was that he made everything look so ridiculously easy.

    He ran and moved like a tight end, his feet are flawless, and he was every bit the part of the blocker every team desperately needs to counteract the Von Miller types everyone is looking for.

    What’s the deepest position in the draft this year? Defensive linemen. The Titans should be ecstatic that they’re about to get a guy who can be the answer to that.

    NFL SCOUTING COMBINE WORKOUT ANALYSIS
    Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends

    Fullbacks | Centers | Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards
    Def Ends | Def Tackles | Outside LBs | Insider LBs
    Cornerbacks | Free Safeties | Strong Safeties

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