The NFL Combine was just under a month ago from February 28th to March 6th and as usual, some players’ draft stock skyrocketed, some plummeted, and some stayed relatively the same.
One of the trends over the past few years that has been in the spotlight is the jaw-dropping speed in the 40-yard dash times. This year was no different as the trend continued and there were 17 different guys running under 4.4 time and over 25 guys running in the 4.40-4.49 range. This is due to the pre-combine training that goes on, these athletes are training with some of the best sports scientists in the country for a two to a three-month period for most and perfecting all different types of forms and tricks to impress scouts and general managers.
Darnell Washington: Tight End Georgia:
Washington had a really impressive day at the combine, Washington already has teams salivating over his size at 6’7” and 264 pounds then he added an exquisite performance at his combine running a 4.64 40, leaping a 31-inch vertical jump, posting a 10-foot 2-inch broad jump, making great catches that showed his ridiculous catch radius, and reinforcing his ability and willingness to be a great blocker.
Anthony Richardson: Quarterback Florida
Richardson put on an eye-opening performance for a quarterback and showed how good of an athlete he is. Richardson has been seeing his draft stock rising the week leading up to the combine and he didn’t let the rumors fall through. Starting the testing by running a 4.44 was impressive, then he continued the show by jumping a 40.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot 9-inch broad jump. After showing he resembles a little Cam Newton he went on to have a solid day throwing the ball which is still the biggest question out of Richardson.
Adetomiwa Adebawore: Edge Rusher Northwestern
Adebawore who has had questions because of his size just being 6’2” and weighing in at 282 left no question that he is an elite athlete after running a 4.49 40-yard dash which is the fastest by someone over 275 pounds since 2003. Adebawore also landed a 10-foot 5-inch broad jump and leaped a ridiculous 37.5-inch vertical jump which both were also top-three by a guy over 275 pounds since 2003. The fascinating thing about this is these numbers are all better than the number one overall pick from last year’s draft Travon Walker.
Jalen Carter: Defensive Tackle Georgia
Carter was viewed by some as the potential number-one pick and the best defensive prospect this year by a landslide. As some character issues already stemmed from different sources reporting two arrest warrants were issued for Carter in a racing incident that left his teammate and a team employee dead, as Carter was not in the same car as the two who sadly passed away it is being said that he lied about his involvement in the incident. Not only this, Carter showed up to his pro day a couple of weeks later nine pounds heavier and couldn’t finish his drills due to cramping and him being out of breath.
Michael Mayer: Tight End Notre Dame
He didn’t have to do much to reassure the scouts for someone who is marketed as the best tight end in this stacked tight end class. Instead, he was almost 20 pounds lighter at 249 than what he played this season at 265 and ran a 4.7 which is concerning since he was lighter than expected but running slower than expected. At the end of the day, Mayer didn’t need to have crazy numbers wise but instead, he just had a disappointing day that is concerning for scouts and Mayer as he could see himself sliding in maybe the best tight end we’ve had in a while.
Jordan Addison: Receiver USC and Jalin Hyatt: Wide Receiver Tennessee
Addison and Hyatt both had a similar problem but not for the same reason, Addison weighed in at just 171 pounds and if you are going to be that undersized of a receiver you have to impress with great speed and twitchy movement which Addison didn’t have, as displayed by his 4.49 40-time and most likely moving himself from a first to a second-round pick. Hyatt wasn’t as small as Addison but also hasn’t had as much success as Addison throughout his entire career and was seen as mainly a speedy deep threat with a couple of shaky parts of his game that could be looked passed if he had elite speed. Hyatt wasn’t able to portray that as he ran a 4.4 which is fast don’t get me wrong but if you are being questioned for being one-dimensional and you can’t convince scouts it doesn’t matter because you have elite speed like a 4.3 level it makes it hard to drive your stock up.
In the end, this is a fairly strong draft class. Some guys have taken steps forward while others have taken steps in the wrong direction in these past couple of weeks. It’ll be very interesting to see who some of the diamonds in the rough are and where they end up.