DALLAS - For the most part, the Combine is tool used by scouts, GMs and coaches to check boxes for prospects. But sometimes prospects make a case for their draft projection to be re-examined, for the better or worst. We must be careful when re-slotting them, but here is my list of players who helped or hurt their cause over the past week.
Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson: The leader of the National Championship winning Tigers answered the questions about his size (6’2 ½ ” 221 pounds), ran a respectable 4.66 40 yard dash and threw the ball well during the passing drills.
Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford: LSU RB Leonard Fournette stole the show initially with his size/speed combo (4.51 40 at 240 pounds), but McCaffrey was near the top of the RBs in the agility drills (6.57 3-cone, 4.22 short shuttle) and showcased his pass catching chops that have offensive coordinators drooling.
Garrett Bolles, OT Utah: Bolles raised eyebrows by running a 4.96 40 showing off the athleticism that could make him the first offensive linemen off the board.
John Ross, WR Washington: Any time you set the record for the 40-yard dash (4.22), you leave the combine a winner.
Chris Godwin, WR Penn State: The well-built Godwin (6’1” 209 pounds) helped answer questions about his inability to separate with a 4.42 40 that could move him into the top 50 picks.
Top Tight Ends: Alabama’s OJ Howard solidified himself as the clear leader, pacing the group in the 40 (4.51), 3-cone (6.85) and short shuttle (4.15). But Miami’s David Njoku recorded a broad jump (11’1”) that proves the athletic display he put on tape is no fluke which keeps him squarely in the first-round mix.
Myles Garrett, DL Texas A&M: Even Cleveland can’t mess this up, right? His freakish combination of size (6’4 ½” 272 pounds), speed (4.64 40) and jumping ability (41” vertical) is something you couldn’t even create in Madden.
Jordan Willis, EDGE Kansas State: On tape, Willis looked to be a high effort guy. But he proved that he is an athlete as well with a 4.53 40, 39” vertical and 6.85 3-cone drill. His combine probably moved him into at least the 2nd round.
TJ Watt, LB Wisconsin: JJ’s little brother (JJ Lite, as I like to call him) put on a show that will have 3-4 and 4-3 teams a like fighting for his services to get to the QB. Will he be available for the Cowboys at #28 overall?
Haason Reddick, LB Temple: Reddick is a perfect example of building momentum and checking the boxes throughout the draft process. He got noticed with his film, had a great week at the Senior Bowl and showed his athleticism with a 4.52 40 and 36.5” vertical at the combine. His first-round buzz is real.
Obi Melifonwu, DB UConn: In all honesty, this whole list of winners could be just about the entire DB group in this draft class, but let’s focus on what Melfonwu did. What is it with UConn DB’s? The 6’3 7/8” Melifonwu did his best Byron Jones impersonation with an 11’9” broad jump on top of his 4.4 40 and 44” vertical. He is soaring up draft boards.
Reuben Foster, LB Alabama: Foster was sent home after a confrontation with medical personnel. Any time you miss working out and interviewing with teams, you put yourself in a hole.
Jonathan Allen, DL Alabama: Unfortunately, medical checks at the combine can be the most damaging to a player’s draft stock, and that looks to be the case with Allen. He apparently has issues with arthritis in his shoulders that might cause him to slide out of the top 10.
Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State: His 40 time wasn’t terrible (4.50), but he did not fare well in any of the other drills and is slightly undersized (only weighed 210 pounds) as a featured back. He is still a first rounder, but may be outside the top 15 as opposed to a top 10 lock.
Deshone Kizer, QB Notre Dame: It’s nitpicking, but of the top QBs he was the most inaccurate during the throwing portion. I currently have him as the 4th QB off the board.
D’onta Foreman, RB Texas: Foreman was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot and was unable to work out at the combine.
Mike Williams, WR Clemson: Choosing not to run when your biggest question mark is speed will certainly create more questions.
Teez Tabor, DB Florida: In a DB group that put on an athletic display, Tabor stands out for his lack of speed with his 4.62 40-yard dash. Still a first rounder but he probably goes in the bottom half of Round 1.
How did your favorite Draft prospect do at the Combine? Share your thoughts with Joe on Twitter @Joeweave3.
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