With the Senior Bowl in our rear view mirror the draft community turns their attention to who to watch at the NFL Combine which has turned from a small gathering for the NFL teams to the biggest event before the NFL Draft. Our NFL Combine Preview highlights what you need to look out for.
NFL Combine Preview
The seven-day event has taken on a life of itself over the past several years with day long coverage on the NFL Network and close to 1,000 media members credentialed to attend and player and coach press conferences can attract a packed room.
Drills like the 40-yard dash and the vertical leap will get the most attention from fans, but it’s the on field workouts, medical testing and player interviews of the over 300 prospects that makes this such an important week for scouts, general managers and coaches.
For the prospects there is a lot to gain by testing well in drills or wowing teams on the field or in the meeting rooms. Not only can they see their stock increase but that could translate to millions of dollars earned by a single event.
Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma
All of Gallimore’s strengths play right into the combine. He’s very explosive and has really good quickness. He should shine in all the jumps, sprints and footwork drills. As long as he shows respectably well in the bench press, which I’d expect him to, he could have the type of combine that moves into the first round conversation.
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Reagor is incredibly fast. Absolutely scary game changing kind of fast. If it weren’t for Henry Ruggs, we would likely be talking about Reagor a lot more in this draft process. After he runs a low 4.3 at the combine, which is around what I would expect, I believe that’s exactly what will happen. The fact that he’s a great overall athlete and football player should cement him as a mid first round pick.
Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Trautman looks like he’s playing in a completely different gear than his competition. Granted, it’s a lower level of competition, but he still impresses on tape. I believe that will transfer to his workouts this week. If he shows that he’s on par or better than the other big name prospects in Indianapolis then there should be no question that he’s the best tight end in this draft.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Another small school prospect who is looking to prove that he belongs with the big boys. Highsmith as all the production you could want from a college player and he looks like a well put together athlete. He needs to show that he has the burst and bend that’s on par with the top pass rushers in this class to prove that he’s a top five edge rusher in this draft.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
Davis-Gaither might be an undersized linebacker at 6’1 and 220 lbs, but he also might be a top five linebacker prospect in this class. He’ll have a chance to show off his speed, a trait that separates him on tape, compared to the rest of this class. In a year where linebacker doesn’t look very deep, Davis-Gaither could establish himself as a day two pick if he tests like I expect him to.
Other guys who should have a great week
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Becton is considered a physical freak because he is so big and moves so well for his size. However, I worry that he’s too big. Guys with long arms often struggle with the bench press, so he might not show as much power as some are expecting. And if his quickness is just average then it will be hard to overlook a lot of subpar tape and make him a first round pick. Just look what happened to Orlando Brown Jr who slid a few years ago as a much better prospect.
Curtis Weaver, EDGE Boise State
Weaver is an interesting and effective player who can win with power and effort in college. At the same time, he doesn’t look very explosive or all that athletic. That’s a problem when playing edge in the NFL. If he tests poorly then he could drop from an early to mid round two prospect down to as far as day three.
Evan Weaver, LB, California
Weaver was a tackling machine at Cal and he showed fairly well at the senior bowl compared to what I was expecting. With that said, he still faces all the same questions I’ve had with him since day one. Is he fast and athletic enough to play in the NFL? For better or for worse, we will know soon enough.
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
I am not worried about Adams’ athletic testing. Granted I would like to see him have a good day with the bench press, but he looks athletic enough on the field to be a good NFL player. What could hurt him are his medical tests. Offensive linemen and back problems are not a good combination. This is the kind of thing that could tank is draft stock.
Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan
Hill is sub 5’10 and 185 lbs. Due to his lack of size he’ll probably be limited to playing the nickel. What could really be a problem for him is that he doesn’t look like a great athlete. I’m not sure he’s particularly fast or quick. And if you’re small and slow then it’s really hard to be a successful corner in the NFL.