Day 4 was sure eventful as the Quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends all took the field for their timed and positional drills while the defensive lineman did bench press and the defensive backs weighed in. To find out what the biggest takeaways were from Saturday’s action in our NFL Combine Day 4 News, Notes and Rumors.
NFL Combine Day 4 News, Notes and Rumors
DK Metcalf Sets the Combine Ablaze
DK Metcalf was already a favorite among NFL Draft Twitter because of his highlight reel catches, play speed and size. There was some concern about his neck injury but reports are that he’s been cleared and is in the clear. With that good information Metcalf kept his momentum going with an amazing performance that almost burned Twitter to the ground. A 4.33 40 yard dash and a 40.5″ vertical leap at 6’3 228lbs is beyond impressive. The only downside to his performance is Metcalf bombed his agility drills finishing in the bottom 3% in both categories raising questions about his ability to do win in any way other than running in a straight line. But then in the field drills Metcalf was impressive running both out routes and even a in breaking route where he got in and out of his route clean. Metcalf is never going to be an elite route runner, but showed that he has the potential to be more than a one trick poney. Now as long as the neck is fine, we could be taking about a top 10 pick for Metcalf.
Could Jawaan Taylor be the first OT Drafted?
On tape Jawaan Taylor shows outstanding lateral agility and depth cutting off pass rushers. So the hype and forecast on Taylor was already high, but then shined at the Combine showing his quick change of direction and toughness battling through an injury to compete in the on field drills. So it is no surprise that he is a lock to be a top 10 pick and very well could be the first tackle off the board. His athletic traits are on pair with Jonah Williams but he is bigger and longer which could be more appealing to teams. And let’s not let the fact that he’s a right tackle affect anything. With so many top pass rushers coming off the right side the value of a left or tackle has gone away.
Justin Layne is Long
Layne started his career at Michigan State as a receiver but quickly moved to cornerback and continued to develop into a top ranked prospect. We all knew that Layne was a bigger cornerback but nobody really saw him with an elite wingspan. 80 1/8″ is considered average for a defensive end, let alone a cornerback. Layne is going to get a lot of attention from press man coverage teams and is likely going to get a lot of Richard Sherman comparisons.
Noah Fant Stakes his claim to TE1
Fant testing well wasn’t a surprise as well knew that he was going to, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Fant started it off with a 4.50 40 yard dash that lead the TE group and then he went on to shine in the on field drills. Fant looked fluid running and catching making everything look easy. It is going to be a battle between Fant and his teammate TJ Hockenson to be the first tight end drafted and after this weekend, Fant is staking his claim to be the one.
Players Working Out at Other Positions
Every year players are asked to do drills at other positions as some quarterbacks run receiver drills or more commonly defensive ends doing linebacker drills. This year they released the players who will be doing other drills and some names a surprising while some are down right shockers. Fitzgerald had been rumored and even projected to a tight end before, while Butler could easily be similar to Ricky Seals-Jones and being a big slot WR/TE. Heck we even heard from Lance Zierlein that two teams viewed Ed Oliver as a linebacker. McSorley at safety is intriguing as he struggles with accuracy as a quarterback but is a solid athlete who is a playmaker with his feet. Devin Singletary is quick with explosive lateral agility and could be looked as a slot WR, but his 40 yard dash was not very good. The biggest surprise was Dre’Mont Jones as a linebacker. The Ohio State defensive tackle is a bit undersized and having him slide outside to defensive end isn’t out of the question, but outside linebacker? This doesn’t mean much as some teams just want to get a look, but it’s interesting to say the least.
N’Keal Harry Answers Questions with 40
N’Keal Harry is the top receiver on our board but there was some big time concern that Harry may end up running in the 4.70. Harry wasn’t expected to run fast as he projects as a contested catcher in the NFL where his catching radius and leaping ability will allow him to beat cornerbacks. But running a 4.54 and a 4.59 40 yard dash has to be considered a win for Harry. We’ve seen him make big time plays with the ball in his hands whether it’s on a pass or even as a punt returner seeing the field well and making defenders miss. Harry may not end up going in the first round, but he’s a sure fire top 40 pick.
Tyree Jackson Impresses
A big reason why Buffalo has had so much success the past couple of years is they have been able to get players like Tyree Jackson, Anthony Johnson and Khalil Hodges on their roster. Jackson is still a work in progress, but at 6’7 249lbs he shredded the athletic testing numbers finishing as a top performer in the 40, 3-Cone Drill, and the Broad Jump. There were already reports that Jackson could be drafted in the third round, but after the athletic testing he put up and the raw throwing talent he has. Some teams is going to see a moldable piece of clay and want to develop this kid. And to be honest, would you rather take a chance on a player like Jackson in the middle rounds or go with somebody like Brett Rypien, Clayton Thorson, or Ryan Finley whose ceiling’s will all be backup type players? I’d be more willing to take a chance on Jackson.
Drew Lock and Daniel Jones are Just There
Heading into the Combine we’ve heard about four quarterbacks going in the first round and even after the Senior Bowl there was talk about Lock and Jones going high in the first round. While that may still happen, neither player really did anything on the field on Saturday to really stand out. Sure Lock threw with zip, but when we watched him and then Dwayne Haskins and the ball just comes off Haskins hand better. It looks now like it’s Murray and Haskins in the top 10 and then the next step down is the two seniors. And to be honest, it should have been that way all along.
Ohio State Receivers Show Out
While DK Metcalf stole the show for the receivers, let’s not forget about the trio of Buckeyes that held their own. Paris Campbell had the flashiest day of them all with the top 40 time of the Combine so far at 4.31, but not too far behind him was Terry McLaurin at 4.35 and then Johnnie Dixon at 4.41. We know that Urban Meyer loves speed, but these three guys show the type of explosiveness that Dwayne Haskins had to work with this past year. It wasn’t just the 40 that these guys shined at as Campbell continued to show out on the position drills while McLaurin is such a smooth athlete who just makes everything look good. Don’t be surprised to see both Campbell and McLaurin go on Day 2 and possibly both in the second round.