With the Combine starting to wind down Day 5 brought us some of the best prospects in the draft and it didn’t disappoint the slightest. Whether it was the consensus top prospect in Myles Garrett or some unheralded prospects we saw some records broken and plenty of athletic ability shown. Here are 10 news and notes for the day.
The Myles Garrett Show Continues
Every day at the combine Myles Garrett did something that just makes you shake your head and saw wow. Standing at 6’4 1/2 272lbs Garrett ran a 4.64 40 while jumping 41″ in the vertical leap and 10’8″ in the broad jump. Despite his size he continues to show the speed, power, and explosiveness that we saw on film and continues to show that he is the top prospect in this class and likely top overall pick. After film study I have Myles Garrett graded higher than Jadeveon Clowney and his combine performance does nothing but solidify it. Garrett is such a highly regarded prospect that an NFL executive told NFL Network’s Michael Silver that Garrett is a job saver.
Solomon Thomas Wows
Thomas was a fast rising prospect (my 2nd rated player overall) already but entering the combine there was a little blow back because of his size and lack of a true position. However that may change as Thomas blew up the combine finishing in the top 5 of four different testing drills along with looking fluid and explosive on the on field workouts. Any team looking for a top notch interior pass rusher in the draft is going to need to look elsewhere unless they are picking in the top 5 of the draft.
Jordan Willis Impresses
It wasn’t too big of a surprise that guys like Garrett and Thomas to have huge numbers but the performance that shocked many is the Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis. Willis finished in the top 5 of the 40 yard dash (4.53), vertical leap (39″), 3-Cone (6.85) and the short shuttle (4.28) along with a 6th place finish with a 10’5″ broad jump. Let this sink in, Jordan Willis had better Combine testing numbers than Jadeveon Clowney.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) March 5, 2017
When you pair up this performance with a good week at the Senior Bowl and a productive senior year that saw him win Big 12 Defensive Player of Year with 11.5 sacks. The significance of these testing numbers makes everyone go back to the film where Willis showed straight line speed but lacked the flexibility to bend around defenders. Historically these testing numbers do translate to the NFL, but you have to wonder why they didn’t show up on film. None the less Willis’ stock is soaring and he is a solid Day 2 prospect now.
Down Day for Tim Williams
Coming into the Combine the word on Williams was he was a talent on the field but off the field concerns was going to push him down draft boards. The hope was that a good Combine performance would make it tougher for teams to pass on him in the first round. While it wasn’t a complete disappointment for Williams his performance is going to make it more difficult for somebody to pound the table over him. His 40 time of 4.68 wasn’t awful but for someone who is 244lbs and game built on speed you would have hoped his time would have been better. His 10 yard split, vertical leap and broad jump numbers were alright but none were top five numbers and were down to where most expected him to test. With some concerns that Williams struggles to bend the edge his on the field drills saw him struggle to change direction and he even took out the bag when working on the club and bend drill. The days of Williams being a first round pick could be over with.
Banner Day for the Edge Rushers
As noted earlier it was a good day for the likes of Garrett, Thomas and Willis but overall there were several edge rushers that really stood out. Derek Barnett put up solid numbers despite suffering through an illness. TJ Watt put up comparable numbers to his brother JJ. Derek Rivers continued to build his momentum as a first round pick. Even the raw Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon not only looked physically impressive at 6’7 289 pounds but had the third best broad jump of the defensive lineman. If you need a defensive end or pass rushing outside linebacker in the draft, your going to be a happy drafter.
Reddick the top LB?
It was odd that Reddick worked out with the defensive ends because he played linebacker in college, worked out there in the Senior Bowl and projects to play off the ball in the NFL. None the less his numbers dominated the drills and if you combine the defensive lineman and linebackers Reddick finished in the top 10 of five different drills not to mention had the second fastest 40 (2nd to only Peppers who should have been with the safeties) and set the record with a 11’1″ broad jump which is the 3rd best broad jump since 2006. With the fact that he looks so natural playing off the ball in drills and Ruben Fosters anger issues coming up it wouldn’t shock me to see Reddick being the first off the ball linebacker taken in the draft.
Tyus Bowser Shines on the Field
Continuing with the dominance of the measurement drills you can’t ignore the performance that Tyus Bowser showed finishing in the top 5 of the 40 yard dash, vertical leap (1st among LBers) and broad jump. On film Bowser looked fluid dropping into coverage and changing direction and he continued to show it on the field during the workout drills. Bowser did show on occasion the ability to rush the passer in college, but with these explosion numbers you have to think teams that use pass rushing linebackers are going to be all over Bowser.
Jabrill Peppers Shows he’s fits with the Safeties
The news during the player press conferences on Saturday was that Peppers didn’t like that he was grouped with the linebackers and saw himself as a safety. Well he backed that up on the field putting up safety like numbers and moving around like one on the field. His 4.46 40, 1.53 10 and 10’8″ broad are all good compared to safety averages. While some continue to call Peppers a linebacker we all have to remember that he played safety as a sophomore and moved to linebacker because a lack of athletsm there along with depth at safety. Sure he didn’t pup up eye popping plays at linebacker but when he moves back to safety and settles into that role he has the athletic ability to play at a high level.
DeDe Westbrook Undraftable?
NFL Draft Insider Tony Pauline is reporting that DeDe Westbrook is receiving undraftable grades from several teams. This doesn’t surprise me as there are a lot of different factors going against Westbrook. First he has the off the field domestic violence issues, pulling out of the Senior Bowl, chose not to work out at the Combine, and now reports that he was guarded and untruthful during his Combine Meetings. Pair that with in my opinion that he’s an overrated receiver who has good speed (not John Ross speed) but is very limited outside of that. Westbrook in my opinion was a 3rd round pick going into all of this, but he’ll be lucky to be drafted in the 5th round at this point.