As you may have guessed from reading my prop bet recap the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine provided few surprises, and thus, isn’t likely to vault any prospect into the stratosphere, or destroy anyone’s livelihood. But I do think the combine served as a reality check on some draft hopefuls, and we’ll see some of the narratives on these players shift accordingly. Here’s a look at the most prominent risers and sliders following the grueling, week-long event.
Josh Allen QB Wyoming
Allen posted athletic testing results nearly identical to those posted by Carson Wentz two years ago, and the former Cowboy reportedly threw the ball with more consistency than he did at Senior Bowl practices in January. Allen has been blessed with size, athleticism and the strongest arm on the draft, and that might enough to convince NFL people to overlook his uneven college career. I totally buy that he’s in consideration for Cleveland at the 1st or 4th overall pick.
Sam Darnold QB USC and Lamar Jackson QB Louisville
Darnold didn’t throw last Saturday, and Jackson didn’t run or jump. With pro days coming up, neither QB will be down long, but full the participation from Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Allen is fresh in everyone’s mind.
Courtland Sutton WR SMU
At 6’3” 218, Sutton’s 4.54 40 time was plenty fast, and he dazzled scout’s with some of the best agility scores of the entire receivers’ group. Sutton has easy athleticism and his 40 time doesn’t do his acceleration justice. I’ve been so impressed with his game tape that I’ve compared his run-after-catch ability to Josh Gordon, and now Sutton’s combine performance may have bumped him to the head of the receiver class.
Auden Tate WR Florida State
Draftniks had been excusing Tate’s uninspiring production by blaming FSU quarterbacks, but the big receiver didn’t help his cause with a 40 time north of 4.6 seconds. Clearly, questions about his speed were legitimate.
Calvin Ridley WR Alabama
Ridley is a speed guy, and his 4.43 40 time is fine, but not elite. In other words, he’s not a Will Fuller-type burner who can convince you to live with certain shortcomings because nobody can stay with him deep. Ridley’s also not an explosive leaper who will screen off defenders and win tough, contested catches. He’s a thin guy (6’1” 189) who will run good routes, but ideally he’s a second or third option, and that’s not how he’d been billed prior to Saturday’s workouts.
Mike Gesicki TE Penn State
Penn State is a freak factory apparently, as Gesicki followed Saquon Barkley’s lead, and put on one of the all-time great combine performances. In addition to running in the 4.5s, Gesicki showed off his volleyball background by jumping out of the gym, then followed that up with ridiculous agility scores. Gesicki was typically showing up in the Day Two range in mock drafts prior to the combine, but is now seated squarely at the head of the tight end table, and will garner first round consideration.
Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma
Brown posted the worst combine numbers in recent memory, and his poor showing was amplified by the fact that he had previously been appearing in the first round of mock drafts. Unfortunately, this led some to question Brown’s work ethic. But let’s be realistic about the degree of athleticism we can expect from a 6’8” 345-pound man. Brown weighed over 400 pounds at one point, and has managed to knock about 60 pounds off over the past five or six years, and keep it off. It’s fair to say he doesn’t have the profile of a Day One or Day Two pick, but suggestions that he is lazy seem unfair.
Sam Hubbard DE Ohio State
Hubbard was part of a deep rotation along the Buckeyes’ defensive line, and he never had the breakout sack totals we might expect from a first round pass rusher. But Hubbard showed up in Indy about the same size as former OSU teammate Joey Bosa, and posted similar testing numbers. In a pool of pass rushers light on production, but heavy on potential, Hubbard looks to be positioned solidly within the top 40 picks.
Tim Settle NT Virginia Tech
This is another guy draft analysts got a little too hot on leading into last weekend. Settle actually looks like he’s moving well for an enormous man, but his high school athletic testing should have served as a clue that he wasn’t going to blow anyone away in a “shorts and t-shirt” setting. Indeed, Settle is a plugger, which is to be expected for a nose tackle, but like Brown, will suffer from unrealistic expectations.
Denzel Ward CB Ohio State
Ward checked his first box by measuring over 5’10” (just a shade under 5’11” in fact), and checked a second in matching former teammate Marshon Lattimore’s arm length (31 1/4”). Ward then tied for the fastest 40 time overall (4.32 seconds) and posted 2018’s longest broad jump (11’4”). With just enough height, dazzling athletic ability, and impressive production (2 INTs and 15 PBUs in 13 games last season), Ward is locked in as the top cornerback in the draft, and a probable top-10 pick.