The 6 Day even that is the NFL Combine is done and over and we saw several prospects either help their case to go much higher in the 2018 NFL Draft while others turned out poor performances and hurt their cases. The NFL Combine Stock Watch takes a look at who helped themselves the most and whose Combine had a negative affect on their stock.
2018 NFL Combine Stock Watch
After a solid week at the Senior Bowl LSU receiver DJ Chark was already riding some good momentum heading into Indianapolis. Chark continued that momentum by turning in the fastest 40 time of any receiver at 4.34 and had the highest vertical leap for the position at 40″. Chark is a downfield threat so at 6’3 with that speed and leaping ability it will only enhance his stock. My biggest concern about Chark was his hands where he didn’t always catch the ball clean or go up and win in contested catches.
On tape Gesicki struggled with speed and separating from coverage, but at the Combine he had the best measured time and jump in every single category. Gesicki had such a good Combine performance that according to Kent Lee Platte he had the 3rd best TE Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of any tight end since 1987. This is going to force everyone to go back and watch his tape to see if there were other reasons why he wasn’t separating and see if his timed athletic ability matches how he runs on tape.
The offensive line class has some talent but there lacks a consensus top tackle. One player that has gotten a bit of first round buzz is Kolton Miller who has good size at 6’9 310lbs and has some good tape out there but is far too inconsistent. Miller though used the Combine to show that despite his massive size that he is still a good athlete. That is no better indication than in the broad jump where he had a 10’1″ jump that is just remarkable at his size. Now Miller isn’t going to jump to the top spot after this weekend, but showing htat he is a good athlete will definitely help his cause as teams and offensive line coaches always feel they can mold prospects.
Anybody who is tired of hearing how good Marcus Davenport is and that he shouldn’t be considered a top 10 pick are now going to be happy because the Davenport hype is continuing to build. Davenport is a raw athlete who dominated at the Conference USA level but he has the physical tools to be successful in the league. His 4.58 40 and 1.63 10 yard split are impressive for his 6’6 264lb frame while his 7.2 3 cone drill isn’t elite but still good for the position. In the draft teams love to project and when they see a prospect that big move this well they are going to take a chance and end up drafting him higher hoping they’re getting the next Ezekiel Ansah.
When looking at pass rushers and the Combine the drill to watch is the 3 Cone drill as it often times tells us which prospects can change direction and accelerate the best. If a pass rusher finishes under the 7 seconds that often times is gold for talent evaluators. Landry was a bit of a question mark as his Senior year tape wasn’t as impressive as his junior year because of an ankle injury. But when he put up a 6.88 3 Cone time that is going to draw attention back to him. Because he lacks the ability to hold up in the run game Landry likely moves to a 3-4 OLB where he can be moved around a bit. Landry showed teams that he can make that transition as he performed well on LB drills looking comfortable dropping into coverage. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Landry move back up into the late top 10 discussion and be the 3rd pass rusher taken in the draft.
At every stage of the process Shaquem Griffin has proven he belongs. He was the American Athletic Conference Defensive player of the year, went to the Senior Bowl and held his own and then goes on to the Combine and shows off his athletic ability. Griffin was going to be drafted at some point, but putting up a 4.38 40 yard dash time and then 20 reps on the bench press it backs up his level of play on the field. At this point it would be hard to see Griffin fall past the fourth or fifth round as he at a minimum is going to be a core special teams player and backup linebacker.
It’s no secret that the best and deepest position in the draft is at cornerback, so the Combine was great as it allowed the prospects to really stand out and put some separation between each other. While everybody has been talking up Denzel Ward, Mike Hughes and Josh Jackson it was Jaire Alexander that put up one of the most impressive Combine performances at the position. Not only did Alexander finish in the top 5 for five different tests but on the field drills he looked explosive and fluid.
It was almost a consensus that Calvin Ridley was considered to be the best receiver in the draft. He showed good explosion on tape and even better speed. He was expected to put up good numbers at the Combine to solidify his standing. Instead Ridley struggled and put up the worst SPARQ score of any of the receivers finishing in the 7th percentile. His 4.43 was good but not elite and that seems to be the only thing saving him from finishing with an even worse score. Ridley will have his Pro Day to improve on those numbers, but the time for him to be mocked in the top 10 is over.
It was routine to see Orlando Brown ranked as the top offensive tackle in the draft and mocked in the teens on a regular basis. After his Combine performance we can expect him to slide but the real question is how far.
The fall down the draft board for Orlando Brown will not be a small one. I’ve had more than one team tell me they think he could very well be available by day 3. We will see. Nobody sees him in the 1st.
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 6, 2018
I didn’t understand the hype around Brown where some people were comparing him to Jason Peters. You know one of the best left tackles in the NFL and an elite athlete for the position. When I watched Brown on tape he reminded me of a better Zach Banner who is a monster of a man and uses that to his advantage. However Brown completely bombed the Combine only benching 14 reps (with super long arms that’s really not that big of a deal) but his testing numbers were worse than Banner’s and he finished in the 0 percentile in SPARQ scoring. On the position drills Brown looked heavy footed and only the kick step did he show some quickness. Nobody expected Brown to test well, but the fact that he tested so poorly raises some red flags. Banner was taken in the 4th round and Brown is a better prospect than him, I think he falls out of the first round but believe he is drafted somewhere on Day 2. Maybe a team like the Ravens or Chargers who have had success with bigger OT’s could give him a look.
CB Josh Jackson
Based on his testing numbers alone it was a solid day for Jackson who finished better than the position averages, but the big concern was his on the field drills. During the drills Jackson was often high in his stance and did not look comfortable back pedaling and even was a bit slow in his transitions. What Jackson did look good at in those drills is his ball skills where he tracked the ball and made catches. At Iowa he often played off and reacted to the ball in the air so that is something to remember. However it wouldn’t shock me if Jackson eventually made the transition to safety like his former teammate Desmond King has done.
One of the unfortunate things about the Combine is we often have prospects get injured during certain drills and this year was no different and to an extent a little worse as we saw several players come up with sore hamstrings after the 40 yard dash. But there were several whose injuries really stood out. Billy Price tore his pectoral muscle during the bench press and really didn’t get to show off his athletic ability during drills. One of those prospects that hurt their hamstring was Ronald Jones who did it during his first run and finished with a 4.66 well below what he showed on film. But the worst was Maurice Hurst who didn’t compete in any drills or timing events because they found a heart condition during medical evaluations. Now the word is he had an irregular EKG and he will go through more testing. This is a blessing and a curse as finding this out will help him in his life moving forward but could cause teams to have concerns about drafting him that high and he could slide out of the first round all together.