Today was the first day the skilled took the field for the combine. RBs, WR, and QBs worked out today, and of course all eyes were on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Friday, Winston answered questions for the media, and I thought he nailed it, especially since the wold loves to call this man stupid and incompetent. He answered the tough questions and even made them laugh a few times.
Mariota was top of the board athletically, running the fastest 40 time. Nick Marshal also was one of the more impressive QBs and I'm surprised more teams haven't ask him to workout at a different position , but the spread option QB may get an opportunity to play QB in the NFL.
Winston and Mariota were the two most impressive QBs throwing the ball, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. I don't think workout numbers really matter for QBs. What matter is how they sling that rock and can they read defenses. When it comes to those two qualities, Jameis is the best out of this group. Jameis also separated himself by being very vocal in the group, showcasing his leadership skills which I think is very underrated.
According to Mike Mayock, NFL Draft guru, most of the other notable QBs in this year's draft are projects such as Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley. I thought Petty had a few good throws during the combine, he did overthrow a couple WRs during the deep ball drill but I didn't see the any holes in his accuracy.
The thing about the throwing drills that I don't like is they don't have a simulated line of scrimmage out there, and what I mean by that is having something or someone being a 6'6 offensive lineman. It's easy to make good throws when you have a clear lane to the receiver. To really test these QBs throwing skills, I think they should have figures acting as the offensive and defensive line.
These were the top 40 times for Wide Receivers, J.J Nelson of UAB leading the pack. The name on this list that everyone has been talking about is Kevin White of West Virginia. White is listed at 6'2 215 lbs, with long arms. He is also strong, 23 reps of 225, and has good leaping ability, 36.5 inch vertical. Of course all of that signals a NFL Wide Reciever, and he will probably be drafted in the first round because of those numbers.
My only thing is, same with Mariota, is he just a product of his college system? White caught 109 passes at West Virginia, who loves to sling the rock. On paper this kid looks to be a stud but I'll wait to see where he goes to determine how good he will be.
Amari Cooper, who I still think is the best WR in the draft, ran a 4.42 in the 40 and 33 inch vertical leap. He was a top performer in the 20 yard shuttle and 3-cone drill, which measures your acceleration and change of direction. To me, those are the two important numbers for a receiver. I say that because, before anything else, a receiver should be a great route runner, something Cooper has already proven to be.
I would say this is one of the better running back groups in recent years. I don't see any of these backs being drafted in the first round but I think it is enough to choose from. Jeremy Langford, who I really enjoy watching run the ball this past season, led all backs in the 40 time. An NFC Scout said that Langford isn't a starter in the league, more of third down back, also isn't a physical runner. Now I'm not going to say that scout is wrong, but I do have a different outlook on Langford.
He played at Michigan State for three years, and eclipsed 250 carries twice. He rushed for over 100 yards, the final 10 games of the season in 2014 and rushed for 22 TDs. I wouldn't call Langford a banger, but more so patient. He can find the open running lanes, whether it's between the tackles or on the outside. Get him into a good system, and I think he could be a very productive back in the league.
Melvin Gordon, statistically, is the best back in this year draft. Gordon led the NCAA in rushing yards and TDs this past season running behind that great Wisconsin offensive line. I like Gordon a lot but I'm not sure on whether or not he is a product of his system. Wisconsin is known for having great backs but it's mainly because of that offensive line and run scheme. I think Gordon is very talented and will probably be the first back off the board, but I'm not sure if he will have the best career.
Another back that I like in this draft is Duke Johnson out of Miami. Johnson ran a 4.54 in the forty and was listed at 5'9 209lbs. Scouts compare him to CJ Spiller because of his explosiveness, but I don't think he has the dazzling speed like Spiller.