NFL Combine 2019 : The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is just about here. College players entering the NFL Combine 2019 will descend on Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on NFL Network. Get the full 2019 NFL Combine schedule, news analysis and more!
Forget what your grandpa told you … the NFL combine matters. It’s an event where prospects can be easily compared — both to other prospects in their class and those who came before them — on a level playing field. Size and athleticism of players are much less debatable after this week in Indianapolis.
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And as always, there are many prospects who will make or break their draft stock at this year’s combine.
These 10 prospects have the most riding on the athletic exhibition inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Bosa has been a sleeping giant since the middle of September when he went down with a core muscle injury against TCU inside Jerry World. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported Bosa is going to be a full participant in Indianapolis which is … awesome, seeing as he entered the pre-draft process with exactly zero momentum after spending the past two seasons as arguably the bests defensive player in college football.
Just about everyone, including myself, has compared Nick to his brother Joey. Here was the latter’s combine effort in 2016.
40-yard dash: 4.86
Vertical: 32 inches
Broad jump: 120 inches
Three cone: 6.89 seconds
Short shuttle: 4.21 seconds
The similarly sized Josh Allen steamrolls into Indy with a hefty amount of hype. He’s long been nipping at Bosa’s heels for the No. 1 edge rusher or even the No. 1 overall pick spot. The former Ohio State star has the most on the line in Indianapolis.
Rashan Gary, EDGE/DL, Michigan
Gary has been the recipient of immense excitement about his athletic prowess for years, and it’s culminated with talk of a huge combine running rampant since the end of the college football season. The former No. 1 overall recruit in the nation isn’t a polished prospect who can beat blockers in a variety of ways. He managed just 9.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss in his three-year stint in Ann Arbor, hardly brutal numbers yet far from typical top 5 pick type production.
Gary can’t do anything about his relative hand-work rawness right now. He can live up to the expectations at the combine. As a hybrid edge rusher/defensive tackle, Gary’s combine performance should be compared to big-time prospects at each position. If he crushes the 40-yard dash, the jumps, and the agility drills, there’ll almost assuredly be a team picking in the top half of Round 1 — or maybe even in the top 5 or top 10 — that is too memorized by Gary’s supreme athletic gifts to pass on him.
However, if he has a good, not great effort on the field, falling to the later portions of the first round will be on the table.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Two pictures have sent Draft Twitter into a frenzy over Metcalf, the size/speed specimen at wide receiver in this draft class. Just 21 years old, Metcalf looks like a seasoned defensive end with turtle shell abs. He averaged 21.9 yards per grab before getting injured in 2018, and while his 2017 production too was respectable, he caught just 67 passes in his collegiate career.
Metcalf’s 40-yard dash over/under was set at 4.59, which seems preposterously slow. However, if Metcalf weighs in over 220 pounds at over 6-foot-3, he’ll be a part of a receiver group that has only seen seven players go under 4.50 of the 37 to hit those physical marks in the past decade. Important context. The names? Julio Jones (4.34!), Michael Floyd (4.40), Mark Harrison (4.46), Darren Waller (4.46), Jaison Williams (4.47), Jon Baldwin (4.49), and Dorial Green-Beckham (4.49).
If Metcalf runs anywhere near 4.50 in the 40 and has a vertical over 35 inches, look out, top 10.
As somewhat of a raw receiver when it comes to the nuances of playing the position at a high level, a slower 40 or a showing of less-than-stellar explosiveness — particularly relative to the hype — Metcalf could be looking at the late portion of the first round.
Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
While his entire performance is critical, the most vital aspect for Burns in Indianapolis will be when he stands on the scale. While listed at 6-5 and 235 pounds during 2018, NFL.com has him at 227. When responding to a question as to why Burns was listed so low, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein sent this tweet:
· Feb 26, 2019
Replying to @LanceZierlein @nflnetwork
the problem you have with Brian Burns is that you have him listed at 227 pounds…. no way he weighs in at 227 pounds, more like 240-245
He was in that 227 range during the year. Scouts check weights when they go into schools. His agent confirmed. He said he’s weighing more now during his pre-combine workouts.
6:56 AM – Feb 26, 2019
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See Lance Zierlein’s other Tweets
So, the call for Burns to add weight are not unfounded. And they’re pretty serious. We’re talking a Barkevious Mingo profile if the Florida State star is 6-5 and around 235 pounds. Maybe it won’t impact his draft position, but Burns almost has to (at least) hit the 240-pound mark to build a solid foundation for a successful NFL career.
Burns is more talented than Mingo was, and he’s more advanced as a pass rusher than 6-6, 244-pound quasi-bust Leonard Floyd who did go in the top 10 of the 2016 Draft. Mingo went No. 6 overall.
As far as the drills, the three cone is the one to watch with Burns. Anything under 7.00 seconds will be acceptable. I won’t be surprised if he goes way under that time. He’s one bendy dude.
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry was listed at 6-4 and 213 pounds during his junior season at Arizona State. Most of the criticism about his physical profile is a lack of explosiveness off the snap and minimal separation down the field. Both those concerns are fair.
But how much is he lacking in the explosiveness department? Are we talking a 40-yard dash in the 4.6s? 4.7s? The latter would send his draft stock into a free fall. Over the past 10 years, 45 receivers have measured in between 6-3 and 6-5 and weighed between 210 and 220 pounds. None of those receivers ran slower than 4.67, and the slowest wideout of that group to get drafted in the first round was … A.J. Green who ran 4.48 in 2011.
Despite carrying the load for the Sun Devils’ passing game since his true freshman season in 2016, Harry enters the combine without much first-round hype.
If he can manage to have a workout in the same realm as other “big” receivers like Metcalf, Kelvin Harmon, Hakeem Butler, or JJ Arcega-Whiteside, he’ll get back on track to be one of the first wideouts taken. He’ll definitely need to run in the 4.5s.
The risky element to Harry on the field in Indy is a bad workout could lead to him confirming the doubts of many and an ultimate draft position deep into the second round.
Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
Allen took full advantage of Bosa being unavailable for the vast majority of the 2018 season and enters the pre-draft process as the No. 1 edge rusher on some team’s preliminary boards. He bulked up into the 260s for his final year at Kentucky, and the additional weight only added power to his game without sacrificing speed, quickness, or bend around the edge, as evidenced by his 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss.
While not as unrefined as Gary but certainly not a master with his hands, Allen wins mainly with his athleticism on the field. He needs to do the same inside Lucas Oil Stadium at the combine.
As mentioned above, it’ll be easy comparing him and Bosa, because they’re essentially the same size. If Allen does what would’ve once been considered inconceivable … overtaking the Ohio State legacy for the top edge rusher spot, he’ll need pretty close to a clean sweep across the board in his workout.
Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State
After Senior Bowl week, everyone was talking about a linebacker from New Mexico State who had the makings of being “Darius Leonard 2.0.” That man was Hanks, a converted safety who put three consecutive 100-plus tackle seasons on his resume for the Aggies.
Like Leonard, his game is predicated on twitch, speed to the football, and comfort playing in space. While the reigning Defensive Player of the Year didn’t do a full workout last year in Indianapolis, here were his combine numbers:
Arm length: 33 5/8
40-yard dash: 4.7
Bench: 17 reps
Those arms are basically tentacles attached to his body, and they help to give him a crazy-big tackling radius. Hanks was exactly 6-2 and 234 pounds at the Senior Bowl with 80 1/2 inch wingspan. A strong showing in the agility drills and jumps would go a long way in the former New Mexico State star getting picked early in the second round.
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
As someone who decided to sit out his team’s bowl game and not participate in the Senior Bowl, the combine is Baker’s first chance to gain momentum with the draft less than two months away.
The senior from Georgia starred for the Bulldogs for the past three seasons with seven interceptions and 23 pass breakups, including 18 in 2017 and 2018 combined.
Baker’s film is loaded with impactful plays on the football, and you rarely see him very far away from the receiver he’s covering. The consensus concern with him is his lack of size, length, athleticism, and downfield speed. He’s not going to be as twitchy as Washington’s Byron Murphy nor as tall or long as LSU’s Greedy Williams.
In the past five years, 22 corners have gone in Round 1. Here are their average figures … which Baker will obviously be aiming to hit:
40-yard dash: 4.42
Vertical: 37 2/3 inches*
Broad jump: 127 inches*
Three cone: 6.83 seconds*
*(not all 22 cornerbacks participated in that drill)
Zach Allen, EDGE/DL, Boston College
Allen measured in at over 6-4 and 280 pounds with arms over 34 inches long at the Senior Bowl. He’s a moose. And a rather polished one, with useful hand work, plenty of power, and flashes of scary bend around the corner at his size.
Oh, and he checks the production box too with 30.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons at Boston College. While Allen’s fortunately dodged the J.J. Watt label that gets thrown around too often — Watt was built in a football laboratory, and not everyone has that opportunity — he’s a similar player to the former Defensive Player of the Year.
Someone who did earn many Watt comparisons was Jaguars 2018 first-round selection Taven Bryan. Of course, he ultimately fell short of Watt’s combine performance that looks like it’s filled with typos, but the former Florida Gator left some good bench marks for Allen.
40-yard dash: 4.98
Vertical: 35 inches
Broad jump: 119 inches
Three cone: 7.12 seconds
Short shuttle: 4.48 seconds
Allen is a bit smaller than Bryan and is more of an edge rusher first. But he’ll want to at least approach some or most of those figures to land in Round 1.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Keeping this short and sweet, because the combine workout itself isn’t very important for quarterbacks, and Murray’s film showcases his elite athletic traits and beyond-his-years pocket-passing skills.
The combine for Murray will come down to three questions; how tall are you? How much do you weigh? How big are your hands?