Thoughts from Sunday’s combine results

On Sunday, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs worked out at the combine. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out, in one way or another, and what, if anything, they mean. This will be brief and in some cases shallow.

Quarterbacks

  • Teddy Bridgewater didn’t throw, but he weighed in at 214, much more in line with what scouts wanted to see from him. With his hand size also measuring at 9 1/4″, the nitpickers have one less thing to object to about Bridgewater. (Of course, someone will hold not throwing at the Combine against him– not “Mike Mayock and Jadeveon Clowney” hold it against him, but still.)
  • Logan Thomas will be drafted on measurables alone, something confirmed when he ran a 4.61 40, as a quarterback, at 248 pounds. Coaches fall in love with the idea of developing a guy like this. Thomas has the physical tools, but his flaws aren’t strictly mechanical: he’s a terrible decision-maker, and if you can’t make reads and handle pressure in the college game, how are you going to do it better at the next level?
  • Just working from reports, Blake Bortles impressed scouts throwing to receivers, and Johnny Manziel apparently did his homework about the teams that would interview him. No surprises there; I think each one is worthy of a top-five selection, although this draft is so loaded with talent that one of them might slip a little further than that.

Running Backs

  • Dri Archer‘s 40 time was no surprise–he predicted he would break Chris Johnson’s 4.24 Combine record. He didn’t, but his 4.26 is the kind of speed that will translate on game day. He’s probably a late-round pick, but he was no slouch on the field at Kent State– I think he can find a productive role somewhere in the NFL.
  • Jerrick McKinnon is another guy who looked great. His size-speed combination was pretty impressive (he finished second among Speed Score for the RBs I calculated, before surveying the few most recent years and deciding that Speed Score didn’t really correlate with anything) and as the QB for Georgia Southern’s option offense, he comes with the ability to do a little bit of everything. He’ll be drafted somewhere.
  • Andre Williams similarly impressed with his size-speed combination, but he also showed why he didn’t catch a single pass at Boston College: He looked lost in receiving drills. I think that limitation will hurt his stock, as the NFL is a passing league nowadays. If he can’t stay on the field for passing downs, he’s not all that valuable.
  • I also liked what I saw from Bishop Sankey, Jeremy Hill, and Tre Mason, in terms of guys I had fairly high on the RB list already. Of the guys I didn’t, George Atkinson of Notre Dame looked surprisingly good for a guy I’d never heard of before, and Henry Josey showed some surprising speed as well.
  • I was disappointed in Ka’Deem Carey‘s time; I’m trying to remember that 40 times aren’t everything, but he didn’t look particularly explosive out there. James Wilder, Jr. was so slow I was confused as to how he’d looked so much better in college.

Wide Receivers

  • Odell Beckham and Mike Evans confirmed they deserve to be first-round picks. Who you like better depends on what you value.
  • Brandin Cooks and Paul Richardson impressed with their workout numbers. I was higher on Richardson than most going into the combine, and this confirmed my thoughts– I think he’s worth a second-round pick, even in this class.
  • Jarvis Landry had an unseemly 40 time. I don’t think this is as big an issue as most, though; Landry is more of a physical receiver who uses his great hand strength and size to make catches, and has the toughness to go over the middle. (Mayock is fond of comparing him to Hines Ward.) A slow 40 time, especially with the indications that he was running on a minor leg injury, isn’t something to worry about with someone who plays like Landry. (It would be trouble for a small, quick receiver like Cooks.)
  • Martavis Bryant and Bruce Ellington probably helped themselves with great workouts. Those workouts weren’t too surprising to us– it was always obvious these guys were swift; Bryant is just extremely raw and Ellington is small. These guys might be 3rd-4th round selections; that there are so many receivers ranked ahead of them is a testament to the depth of this class.
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