The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is here! The best NFL prospects from around the collegiate ranks will all convene in Indianapolis, Indiana to show off their measurables to NFL teams, albeit in shorts and tee-shirts.
The Combine is like online dating, some of the prospects will look better than they really are and some will look far worse than others. The key to this is to sift through the mess and find the guys who can play on Sundays. So, without further ado, here are some things to watch for at the NFL Combine.
The Coin Flip for 9
The Oakland Raiders’ and San Francisco 49ers’ draft will be greatly impacted by a quarter. On Friday, March 2, these Bay Area foes will flip a coin to decide who selects at No. 9 and who selects at No. 10 in the upcoming NFL Draft. This is something worth noting because Oakland and San Francisco have some similar needs (Linebacker and Corner) and the winner will be in better position to trade down with a team trying to draft a quarterback. However, for the remainder of the draft, the two will alternate rounds selecting first between the two. Both fan bases should be on the lookout for the result on Friday.
Size of Maurice Hurst and Roquan Smith
Yoda once said, “Size matters not.” He would’ve made a poor NFL general manager. Maurice Hurst and Roquan Smith are both receiving high praise while being undersized prospects at their respective positions, defensive tackle, and linebacker. Hurst is currently listed at 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds. Smith stands at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds. Another key element to these players’ draft stock is arm length. Being able to fight off blocks at the NFL level is hard enough, so having long arms to fend off large offensive linemen will be a critical element. Not saying the measurements and size will dictate their careers in the NFL, but it would sure be great if both guys could be a little bigger than anticipated.
Many offseason deals will be rumored and discussed in Indy. Most notably Trevor Siemian, Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, Su’a Cravens, and Dez Bryant could be moved over the weekend.
According to CBS, Siemian appears to be on the move in Mile High. He hasn’t impressed as an NFL-caliber starting quarterback but would suffice as a high-quality backup. With EJ Manuel being a free agent and Connor Cook being on shaky ground, Siemian could be a viable option to back up Carr moving forward.
Despite Landry receiving the franchise tag from the Dolphins, it is rumored he will be on the trade market sooner rather than later, per the Miami Herald. In all likelihood, McKenzie will be reluctant to give up draft picks for only one year of Landry’s services.
Martavis Bryant has a lot of potential but likely too much baggage for the Raiders to offer up much for. In short, Dez Bryant is expensive and aging. He was a superstar in the past but his better years are behind him.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Su’a Cravens could be interesting, however, he too brings a troubled past. Along with off the field issues, Cravens has injury issues, as he left the Redskins midseason last year and contemplated retirement for said issues. If he is healthy and committed again he could provide much-needed depth for Oakland in the secondary. Giving up one of those four 6th round picks the Raiders boast may be worth the risk.
Every year some players destroy the combine and drive their draft stock through the roof. Denzel Ward, Donte Jackson, Tremaine Edmunds, and Saquan Barkley are all plenty capable of killing it during their workouts. Ward and Jackson are lightning quick corners. Both will likely run sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash. Edmunds is a giant, yet freaky athletic linebacker. Barkley, the running back out of Penn State, needs little introduction. He is going to do everything well during the running back workouts. A great workout could put him in the conversation to be picked first by the Cleveland Browns.
The NFL Combine is not the most important evaluating tool for NFL Teams. It is a nice taste of football and prep for the NFL Draft. “Over and under” reactions are sure to be flying around like the many inevitable rumors. The anticipation for the Draft will really start to build now.