Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NFL Combine Stock Report Pt 1

The NFL Combine in Indy this year was pretty crazy. We had a player get into a fight with a nurse, a new 40 record set, crowds yelling at benchpressers, a debunked Romo trade rumor to Washington and a Mitch turn into a Mitchell. Here is a look at the players who most helped or hurt their draft stock this weekend by position:


Stock Up
•    Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-3 221lbs
I left the NCAA Championship Game thinking Watson was a great college player who wouldn't translate to the pro game (see Vince Young). But Watson has really improved his mechanics, ala Dak Prescott last year, and looked really great in drills. Watson now has a chance to be the 1st QB off the board in April.

•    Pat Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2 225lbs
Mahomes had a mixed bag weekend but moved up  his due to the middling performance of “Call me Mitchell”Trubisky and the awful showing of Deshone Kizer. Many teams were impressed with leadership and arm strength but concerns remain in mechanics and reading NFL defenses. One report said Mahomes “had some Jay Cutler in him” which will intrigue some and terrify others.

Stock Down
o    Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4 233lbs
Before the drills started, rumors floated that Kizer was interviewing well by taking ownership of his failings at Notre Dame and the losses this year. Then he started spraying the ball all around in drills and those failings became apparent. Someone will take a shot on Kizer with all his physical gifts, but it probably won't be in the 1st round.

o    Brad Kaaya, Miami, 6-4 219lbs
Whoever advised this kid to enter the draft this year is hopefully looking for work. Kaaya looked dreadful in drills and needed another year in college to find his game. It's likely Kaaya is a pure Day 3 project QB.

Running backs

Stock Up
•    Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 5-11 202lbs
McCaffrey was the highlight of the RB class at the Combine, running a 4.48 in the 40 and a blazing a 6.57 in the 3 cone agility drill (next fastest was 6.82). In the drills McCaffrey looked every bit the hybrid WR/RB running routes and catching passes with ease. With this performance it's likely McCaffrey is the 2nd RB off the board only behind Fournette.

•    Marlon Mack, South Florida, 5-11 213lbs
Like McCaffrey, Mack benefited at the sake of others by passing other 2nd tier RBs to be solidly in the Day 2 mix. With both the Raiders and Chiefs taking a shine to him, don't be surprised if Mack comes off the board late in round 2.

Stock Down
o    Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-10 210lbs
After weighing in lighter than projected, many expected Cook to really light up the Combine with his speed and agility. He did anything but that. An ok 4.49 in the 40, a sub par 7.27 in the 3 cone and a lackluster effort in the on-field work had many scouts shaking their heads. Combined with serious character red flags, Cook could slide into the late 1st or even possibly the early 2nd round unless he can redeem himself at his pro day.

o    Corey Clement, Wisconsin, 5-10 220lbs
After impressing many at the Senior Bowl, Clement seemed poised to jump into the 2nd tier RB mix in rounds 2-4. Instead, Clement ran a lethargic 4.68 in the 40 and showed little burst in drills. Add to the fact that it was rumored he wasn't very popular in the Badgers locker room and Clement may find himself closer to a 5-7 round selection.

Wide receivers

Stock Up
•    John Ross, Washington, 5-11 188lbs
Ross broke Draft Twitter on Saturday by also breaking the record in the 40 with a 4.22 and just missed out on winning his own island. But in addition to this feat, Ross also posted a 37 in vertical and an 11-1 in the broad jump. Ross is likely the 2017 version of Will Fuller and will get drafted in the mid-first on big play potential alone.

•    Zay Jones, East Carolina, 6-2 201lbs
While Ross got all the headlines, Jones just continues his momentum throughout the draft season by proving over and over again he is one of the top 5 WRs in this draft. With a 4.45 in the 40,  a 6.79 in the 3 cone and raves in the Gauntlet drill, Jones has the speed and agility of the smaller WRs in a 6-2 in body. It's possible Jones could even move past the injured Corey Davis as the 2nd or 3rd WR off the board.

•    Chris Godwin, Penn State, 6-1 209lbs
Goodwin falls into the same mold that Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell did last year: a mid level WR prospect that got attention with an outstanding Combine performance (19 reps of 225lbs and a 4.42 in the 40) and could go as high as the 3rd round. Godwin can only hope he season ends the same way Mitchell’s did too.

Stock Down
o    Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington, 6-2 204lbs
Kupp came to Indy riding high on the hype train. But that train was derailed after a 4.62 in the 40 showed he's more quick than fast and likely only a 3rd WR/slot guy. It's possible Kupp falls to the 3rd round.

o    Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 6-0 178lbs
Despite not working out while still recovering from a brutal hit that ended his season, Westbrook reportedly bombed in interviews when addressing his past domestic violence incidents. With the league hypersensitive to this issue, Westbrook could completely off some draft boards. (Cowboys reportedly interviewed Westbrook at the Combine).

Tight ends

Stock Up
•    Evan Engram, Ole Miss, 6-3 234lbs
While almost no TEs hurt themselves, a few really jumped a full tier or two, including Engram. With a blazing 4.42 in the 40 and a 36 in vertical Engram went beyond Jordan Reed comparisons into 1st round TE talk only behind OJ Howard.

•    Jonnu Smith, Florida Int, 6-3 248lbs
In a class of pass catching TEs, Smith showed he can do both catch and block. 22 reps of 225lbs,  a 4.62 in the 40 and a 38 in vertical have Smith solidly in the Day 2 TE pool.

Offensive tackles

Stock Up
•    Garrett Bolles, Utah, 6-5 297lbs
No one in the OL group had a better weekend than Bolles. In a group without a true blue chip prospect, Bolles agility and attitude could have him the first OT off the board and maybe in the top 10.

•    Aviante Collins, TCU, 6-4 295lbs
Collins was down in the undrafted free agent zone prior to the Combine and was a surprise to even get the invite. But Collins took full advantage, with the fastest 40 time and 10 yard split (4.81 and 1.69 respectively) and 34 reps of 225. It is highly unlikely Collins doesn't get drafted now.

Stock Down
o    Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-6 310lbs
Ramczyk did not compete in drills due to injury but that isn't what hurt his draft stock. Rumors about a lack of desire to play the game began to swirl in Indy and that is a huge red flag for most teams. If he cannot dispel this at his pro day, Ramczyk could fall out of the 1st round entirely or further.

o    Chad Wheeler, USC, 6-7 306lbs
With an opportunity to really rise in the ranks as a true LT, Wheeler looked completely unprepared for the Combine. Only 15 reps of 225lbs and a below average 5.01 in the 20yard shuttle, Wheeler will need an outstanding pro day to even get drafted potentially.

Interior OL

Stock Up
•    Isaac Asiata, Utah, 6-3 323lbs
Much like winning the 40 time is for a WR, the winner of the bench press always gets a little boost among the OL. Asiata won that with 35 reps of 225lbs and showed great power in drills as well.

•    Ethan Cooper, IUP, 6-2 322lbs
Small school prospects have to try hard to get notice and Cooper did just that in the OL drills. For a man his size, Cooper moved almost gracefully yet powerfully in space and will get a nice look in the middle rounds from zone blocking teams.

Stock Down
o    Damien Mama, USC, 6-3 334lbs
Mama almost got beat by the infamous Rich Eisen 40 time and looked awful in drills. Might fall all the way out of the draft.

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