The NFL Combine Winners and Losers takes a look back at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine to see which prospects helped or hurt their stock the most. Whether it was the interviews, weigh in, timed drills or even the positional drills it could have helped or hurt the prospects. Now these are not definite as the prospects still have their Pro Days and even team work outs to recover or build off of their performances, but more than likely these just confirmed what we knew or force us to go back and watch the tape.
Montez Sweat DE Mississippi State
After back to back 10 sack seasons in the SEC, Montez Sweat goes to the Senior Bowl and dominates the practices all week long. But Sweat saved his best for the Combine as he ran a record setting 4.42 40 yard time which is the fastest in history by any defensive lineman. This was a faster time than Odell Beckham Jr. and Sweat is 6’6 260lbs. Sweat didn’t just stop there as he had a 125″ broad jump and did his 3-Cone drill in 7.0 seconds. It’s hard to argue that no prospect has had a better predraft process than the Mississippi State prospect. Sweat will be pushing to be taken in the top 10 but I have a hard time seeing him fall out of the top 14 picks.
Noah Fant TE Iowa
Noah 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. Expect Fant to establish himself as a first round pick again and could be the favorite of Mock Drafters to go to the Patriots.
DK Metcalf WR Mississippi
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. 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. Metcalf returend to dominance running impressive 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.
Devin White LB LSU
The top rated linebacker Devin White was dominant during drills as he looked to establish himself as the latest top 10 linebacker. White measured in well at 6’0 and 237lbs running a LB high 4.42 40 yard dash and a 39″ vertical leap. On the field White was all over the place showing burst, sideline to sideline speed and change of direction ability. White is the perfect fit for a linebacker in today’s NFL with his ability to play in space. Denver has been a likely landing spot in my mock drafts, but after his performance you have to wonder if he’ll make it to the 10th pick.
Devin Bush LB Michigan
Behind Devin White there seemed to be a battle between Devin Bush and Mack Wilson to not only go in the first round but to be the second linebacker taken. Well that discussion is no longer necessary needed as Bush clearly separated himself and actually closed the gap between him and White. While Bush measured in at 5’10, that isn’t a big deal because linebackers aren’t needed to be downhill run stuffers anymore and instead playing in space. Bush’s 4.44 40 yard dash time was only second to Devin White while he also a top five performer in the vertical leap, broad jump and 3-Cone Drill. Bush utilized those athletic traits in the field drills to display his range and change of direction ability. Instead of being a fringe first round pick, Bush could easily go as high as the 20th pick to the Steelers.
Justin Layne CB Michigan State
The Justin Layne buzz was starting to heat up before the Combine, but after his performance on Monday there is some real talk of whether he could slide into the first round. Layne ran a 4.50 40 which isn’t blazing, but for his size along with his 33″ arms is pretty good for a press man corner. But Layne didn’t slow down as he killed the on field drills showing smooth movement skills. Most of these drills don’t suit the press man corners, but Layne showed the ability to go in and out of breaks and was great in his transitions. For his size he may have shown the best movements of the entire group.
Andre Dillard OT Washington State
Coming into the NFL Combine we knew that Andre Dillard was going to move well and shine in the testing, so when he’s gone out there and produced well it just confirms what we’ve seen on tape. It started with the 40 yard dash and Dillard was the only offensive tackle to run under 5.0 seconds. From there Dillard showed his lateral quickness and change of direction ability throughout the team drills. But what was the most impressive was that Dillard ran a 4.40 in his 20 yard shuttle which is insane for his size. As Rotoworld’s Josh Norris pointed out this is the second fastest time for an offensive lineman has proven over time no be a a strong indicator of success in the NFL.
Garrett Bradbury C North Carolina State
As the top rated center prospect who moved well on tape there were some high expectations for Bradbury entering the Combine. Not only did Bradbury meet those expectations, he blew right past them. Bradbury shined in the timed drills testing in the top 10 on everything but the vertical leap while having the best 3-Cone drill. In the field drills Bradbury was also impressive showing his burst and lateral agility in every single drill. Not only did Bradbury solidify himself as the top interior offensive lineman he should be a lock to go in the first round.
Jachai Polite DE Florida
During the college football season Jachai Polite was the talk of the online draft media with plenty of clips making their way to twitter showing Polite blow up offensive and win with speed, explosiveness and bend. But the Combine was terrible for Polite who finished with the 4rd worse 40 time and 5th worse vertical leap of any edge defender and then packed it in citing a hamstring injury. Reports then surfaced that Polite bombed some interviews and then criticized teams during his media sessions before saying he never watches his own tape. Polite was considered a potential top 10 pick at one point but the more and more we hear about him, it wouldn’t shock me to see him fall to the second round.
Elijah Holyfield RB Georgia
Holyfield was a name that was starting to get some buzz as as day two pick who runs hard and was an underrated back. Heading into the Combine a lot wasn’t expected out of Holyfield, but we didn’t expect him to bomb the testing portion. His 4.78 40 yard dash was the second worse of any running back while his 29.5″ vertical leap was also the second worse of any running back. Holyfield is a powerful smooth runner who does his best between the tackles, but these numbers are horribly bad and borderline undraftable. Instead of going on day two we could be looking at Holyfield going somewhere in the 6th or 7th. But don’t be surprised if he is a UDFA.
Riley Ridley WR Georgia
Another Bulldog that was getting quite a bit of hype and even being mocked int he first round was Riley Ridley. But much like Holyfield, Ridley had a terrible combine running a slow 4.60 40 yard dash while finishing at the bottom in the vertical leap (worst WR) and 3-Cone. Ridley has drawn a lot of Michael Thomas comparisons, but when you compare the two it’s clear that Thomas is not only bigger but he is faster and more explosive. This doesn’t mean that Ridley isn’t a good receiver, but I think we can all cool down a bit.
Greg Little OT Mississippi
An accomplished three year starter at left tackle with long arms and easy movement it is no surprise Little was viewed as one of the top tackles heading into the season. Even as the season progressed and Little’s tape was great there was talk that he could still go in the first round because of his physical tools. But after his performance in Indy, he may not have that leg to stand on. Little’s 5.33 40 yard dash was the second slowest in the entire Combine while his 25″ vertical leap was the 5th worst. I get that Little is 6’5 310lbs and that offensive lineman are not going to run 40 yards or jump much, but this does show overall athletic ability and for a guy like Little who is suppose to be a good athlete for his position it did not show well. Not to mention Little looked sloppy in the position drills. While he is still showing up in some Post Combine Mock Drafts, look for him to be a Day 2 pick and compare a lot to La’Raven Clark.
Devin Singletary RB Florida Atlantic
The Combine was a big opportunity for the running backs as clear front runner Josh Jacobs did not participate leaving a big group of second tier guys a chance to shine and separate themselves. One of those guys was Devin Singletary who was getting some Lesean McCoy comparisons. Those comps may have to stop as Singletary bombed the Combine finishing in the bottom 3 in the 40 yard dash, Broad jump, short shuttle and 3 cone drill. Know for his lateral agility and being able to make defenders miss, Singletary now raises questions if he has enough burst and explosion to do more once he gets past the line of scrimmage. The Combine often allows teams to sort through a cluster of similar prospects, and this case I’m sure Singletary fell back compared to others.