The NFL Combine just finished up in Indianapolis where hundreds of prospects went through extensive interviews, medical checks, athletic testing and on-field drills. Naturally, with all of that going on in just a few days, this is an excellent chance for most prospects to help their draft stock. And just as naturally, there are a few prospects who end up hurting their draft stock. Here are a few of the prospects that helped, or hurt, themselves the most this past weekend in Indianapolis:
1. Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
I don’t think anyone helped themselves at the combine more than Sweat did. I mean when you’re able to go out and run the fastest 40-yard dash by a defensive lineman or EDGE rusher at the combine EVER, you are bound to help your draft stock. Sweat also showed good agility and solid power in the on-field drills. He probably worked himself into the top half of the first round and may even get some Top 10 consideration.
2. DK Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
No one created more of a buzz than Metcalf over the weekend. He weighed in at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds with 1.9 percent body fat (!!), did a position best 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench, had a vertical Jump of 40.5 feet, and topped it all off with a 4.33 40-yard dash. Let that sink in a little bit. A guy that size should not move that fast. While he did show some concerns in the change of direction drills like the 3-cone and Short Shuttle, Metcalf did solidify himself as the top wide receiver in the draft and is in the Top 10 conversation as well after his performance.
3. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Everyone knew Fant was athletic, but he surpassed most expectations that evaluators had for him. At 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds, Fant was able to put up a 39.5 foot vertical, a 4.5 40-yard dash, a 6.81 3-Cone Drill, and a 4.22 second Short Shuttle. All those numbers ranked highly with some of the quickest wide receivers, not to mention tight ends. Fant also showed better than expected hands when running routes in the on-field drills. He is solidly in the conversation as TE1 with his former college teammate TJ Hockensen and will likely be picked in the top half of the first round.
4. Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
I’ll admit that I haven’t watched much tape of Sanders yet to this point. That may be part of the reason he is such a big riser in my eyes. He showed way more athleticism in Indianapolis than I personally expected with a 4.49 second 40-yard dash and a 36 foot vertical Jump. He also displayed very good change of direction ability as evidenced by his 6.89 second 3-Cone Drill and 4.19 second Short Shuttle. Combine that with him showing off better than expected hands in the receiving drills and showed an all-around ability that I wasn’t sure he had before. He likely jumped his draft stock up at least a round and could be the middle round running back that makes a big impact early, a la Kareem Hunt, Jordan Howard and Marlon Mack.
5. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
I was already higher on Williams than most and never understood why many pundits were questioning his speed and quickness. He answered all those questions emphatically with an incredible 4.38 second 40-yard dash. The on-field drills were a bigger question for me to see if he looked smooth while transitioning and flipping his hips. As you can probably guess with him being in the “Stock IUp” section, he looked quite smooth during those drills. He was no lower than CB4 for me previously, but now he is squarely in the conversation to be CB1 in my opinion.
6. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Let’s face it, based on tape alone you could tell Williams is a top flight athlete at his position and is at least one of the Top 3 prospects in this draft class. Every one knew he was athletic for his size, but I’m not sure any one saw a 4.84 40-yard dash coming from the 303-pounder. What’s even more impressive than that is the 10-yard split he had on that 40-yard dash (which is more important for lineman anyways) – a 1.67 second split. To put that in perspective, Aaron Donald, who is a super athletic freak with an insane first step in his own right, posted a 1.63 10-yard split. Any time a defensive tackle is named alongside Aaron Donald regarding athleticism their draft stock is going up. No matter what.
7. Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
Like Williams, Bradbury didn’t necessarily do anything that scouts didn’t expect. But he did what he was supposed to and then some with a 4.92 40-yard dash, 34 reps on the Bench Press, a 31 foot Vertical Jump, and a very impressive 4.53 Short Shuttle. All this at 6-foot-3 and 306 pounds. Bradbury was being mentioned in passing as a first-round prospect, but after that performance he almost guaranteed himself a selection in the first 32 picks in April.