To me, the NFL combined is so over-hyped that it’s ridiculous. Let’s face it these are grown men running around in shorts, nowhere near like putting the pads on and hitting. How many times do you see a player kill it at the combine, get drafted earlier than expected and then become a bust in the NFL? So today even though I think that it is nowhere near as important as watching film of the players with pads on, I am still going to look at what I think the big story lines will be.
In years past a lot of big name QB’s have skipped the combine, that is not the case this year. People have said the QB’s this year are a bad class and I tend to agree. The combine will be a chance for guys like Mitch Trubisky, Pat Mahomes, Deshon Kizer, and Deshaun Watson to up their draft stock. It seems like the last few years teams panic and picks a QB much higher than they should, and I believe that will be the case again this year. A perfect example of that this year could be a guy like Mahomes teams are already looking at him possibly in the first round, and if he blows up the combine, you could see him go in the top 15. The problem of course as always at the combine will be that the QB’s will face no pressure and not have to read a defense under pressure. The combine is not conducive at all to selecting a QB, but if one of these guys has a great combine some team will overreach, you can almost bet on it.
Small School players who could impress
TackleJulie’n Davenport (Bucknell) This is a very shallow pool if you need an offensive tackle and this could benefit a guy like Davenport. Davenport has tremendous size, and a key for him could be the short shuttle drills, if he can show quickness in these drills, it could very well shoot him up the draft boards.
DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (Villanova) – A lot of scouts compare him to the Bengals Margus Hunt, that of course to me is a bad thing as Hunt has done nothing since being picked too high by the Bengals. I do think that Kpassagnon is much stronger than Hunt and actually could be worth a shot in the first three rounds of the draft.
S Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut)- This is a player with tremendous upside, he is a big physical safety, but he is raw. If he tears it up at the combine, he could end up going late first to early second round.
TE Adam Shaheen (Ashland)- The more NFL teams see of ShaHeen, the more they will fall in love with this freakish athlete. He is thickly built but surprisingly fast. He will get big time love at the combine where I think he will raise the eyebrows of NFL scouts everywhere.
TE Gerald Everett (South Alabama)- Everett has been compared to the Redskins Jordan Reed. Everett will be a legit receiving threat in the NFL and will go either in the second round or early in the third round. An impressive showing at the combine could even push him into the first round.
QB Cooper Rush (Central Michigan)- Rush is an intelligent kid, he should have declared last year when he had a better season. The problem with being a smart kid is that he tends to over-think which leads to interceptions. In a weak QB draft Rush could be an intriguing late-round pick for a team that needs a QB.
WR Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington)- Kupp had an incredible senior season and impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine game last month.
Guys with something to prove
S Jabrill Peppers (Michigan)- Peppers draft stock has dropped as of late, and that makes this combine huge for him. He is a jack of all trades but a master of none.
OLB Tim Williams (Alabama)- Williams is a big time talent that finds himself slipping down most boards because of concerns about character issues. The most significant part of the combine for Williams could very well be his ability to do well in team interviews.
RB Dalvin Cook (Florida State)- Cook also needs to interview well as scouts have recently told me teams are starting to worry about the company he keeps around him.
QB Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina)- Trubisky is a solid QB, but the question with him would be his footwork. When he makes the backside throws, he tends to make more of an arm throw because he doesn’t get his feet around to make the throw. A good combine could put him in the top 5.
Predicting the Combine stars
S Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut) – Obi is an incredible athlete with great size for his position, teams will fall in love with his physical gifts.
DE Takkarist McKinley (UCLA) – He weighs almost 250lbs and will probably run in the low 4.5’s. He is a freak athlete and with a good combine could find himself being drafted in the first round.