2017 NFL SCOUTING COMBINE RISERS AND FALLERS
The combine is used to verify medical, interview players, and check boxes on the athleticism a player showed during the fall. Every year there are players whose performances help or hurt their stock, especially underclassmen who NFL teams have less verified information on.
Below is our look at those who helped and hurt themselves.
Running Backs, Offensive Lineman, and Special Teams.
Here are four players who we believe helped themselves.
OT GARETT BOLLES, UTAH
You can’t help but pull for a kid like this. The path to the draft for Bolles has been a long one as he started out in Junior College at Snow College where he was an All-American and overcame a path of destructive behavior where you would not expect him to ever play in the NFL but he turned his life around and had an amazing season at Utah where he dominated. Bolles declared early and at 6’5, 297 pounds he was a top performer in the 40 (4.95), broad jump (9’7), 3-cone (7.29), and short shuttle (4.55). His performance in position drills was also impressive and he may have gone from a mid to late first round pick to a top 8 pick.
OT AVIANTE COLLINS, TCU
Collins was a bit of a surprise to the media and even some scouts as he only had one year of tape and was solely on the NFL radar entering the season because of 4.86 40 at his junior pro day. He got invited due to the 40 and the fact scouts felt he had upside. His father was a track and field star at TCU so he has the bloodlines and scouts turned out to be dead on about his upside. At 6’4, 295 pounds with 33 3/8 arms and 9 3/8 hands he lacks ideal tackle traits but could be a freak athlete to play inside if he can bulk up and be developed by a coach. He showed the strength with 34 bench reps and athleticism with a 4.81 to have better days ahead. We believe he took himself from a 6th or 7th round pick to a potential late 3rd or early 4th round pick now that everyone has seen firsthand what a great athlete he is.
RB ALVIN KAMARA, TENNESSEE
During the fall you did not see Kamara as the feature back where he backed up Jalen Hurt so there was a bit of surprise when he declared early because he could have come back and had a breakout season. His tape where you got to see him a good bit was impressive as he could both catch and run well. Kamara caught 40 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns with a 5.8 yard per carry average, 596 yards, and nine touchdowns. He ran a 4.56 electronic 40-yard dash with hand times in the 4.53 to 4.65 range along with a 39 ½ inch vertical and 10’11 broad jump. His athletic upside may have pushed him from a 3rd round pick to a likely 2nd-round choice.
OG FORREST LAMP, WESTERN KENTUCKY
After a strong senior campaign scouts mostly had Lamp rated in the 4th or 5th round but did have some thinking top 50-75 because of his Alabama tape. He really cemented himself as a guy you better take in the 1st or early 2nd round if you want him because of the freak workout he posted on Friday. He was a top performer in the 40-yard dash (5.00), bench (34 reps), broad jump (9’3), and 3-cone (7.55). He was solid in the short shuttle with a 4.62 and a 27 ½ inch vertical. Lamp was very good in position drills and created quite the buzz before he left.
Here are four players who we believe hurt themselves.
RB COREY CLEMENT, WISCONSIN
Clement was a productive player with 1,375 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016 who did not look extremely explosive as a senior coming off a hamstring injury in the fall with just 4.4 yards per carry. His combine workout not only confirmed he lacks explosion but was far worse than you expect. He ran a 4.68 40-yard dash at 5’10, 220 pounds with a 28 ½ inch vertical, and 9’7 broad jump. His 19 bench reps were solid but when you have short arms and have a compact build a good bench is expected. Some expected him to be a 4th-6th round pick coming in to the combine and he should now feel lucky to get drafted.
OT JULIE’N DAVENPORT, BUCKNELL
There was media hype that Davenport could be a top 100 pick after being selected for the Senior Bowl so early but the scout buzz on the road and his tape looked more like a late round pick. For a guy who some believe would have been overdrafted because of upside and athleticism, he did not show much more than being long and tall. He looked the part at 6’7, 318 pounds with a 36 ½ arm, and 10 ½ hands but was weak with 18 bench reps, slow with a 5.45 40, and not explosive at all with a 27 inch vertical. His shuttles were pretty good which show that he can move well in short areas and really the only difference in his ability and that of Ugowke. We believe he won’t be drawn up the board and will instead go in the late rounds like his film showed. Davenport does have upside though because he is young at the position and still could have a good NFL career but will need a couple years instead of being a guy you can plug in and get good play from as a rookie.
OG DAMIEN MAMA, USC
Mama is a two-time All-Pac 12 selection who was highly touted in high school so when he declared it was fair to believe he had gotten a high grade from the NFL and would be a top 100 pick but at 6’3 ½, 334 pounds he showed very poorly and may be lucky to go before the 6th round with a 5.84 40, 24 ½ inch vertical, 8’0 broad jump, 8.51 3-cone, and 5.38 short shuttle. He is slow, stiff, and did not look good in position drills. If he were coming from a small school we would be talking about him being lucky to get drafted.
OT JERRY UGOKWE, WILLIAM & MARY
We had higher hopes for Ugowke after he is a walk-on for the Tribe who gets better every year and appeared to be a definite draft pick after his senior campaign and play at the NFLPA Bowl but those expectations were tempered with his workout. He looked good physically with 35 3/8 arms and 10 3/8 hands at 6’7, 321 pounds but his on field workouts looked more like a priority free agent. He ran a 5.61 40, did just 18 bench reps, 26 inch vertical, 8’7 broad jump, 8.35 3-cone, and 5.17 short shuttle. We have dropped him from a late round projection to a likely priority free agent.
Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, and Tight Ends.
We take a look at a few players who helped or hurt themselves in their workouts.
Here are six players we believe helped themselves.
WR ROBERT DAVIS, GEORGIA STATE
Davis surpassed Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson as the Georgia State all-time leading receiver and was impressive during the fall after being very lightly recruited out of high school. He followed up his tape with a very good week at the NFLPA Bowl but scouts projected him as a likely priority free agent because he was not expected to be very fast with expected 4.55-4.60 speed but he blew those expectations away. At 6’3, 219 pounds he ran a 4.44 40, did 19 bench reps, had a 41 inch vertical, 11’3 broad jump, 6.83 3-cone, and 4.28 short shuttle. That 11’3 broad jump is tied for second all-time at the NFL Combine since 2003. The Panther product was a top performer in the bench, vertical, and broad and his 40 was very impressive for his size. He may have gone from a priority free agent to a 5th or 6th round pick with this workout.
WR CHRIS GODWIN, PENN STATE
One early entry who helped separate himself from those rated close to him is Godwin who most thought was a 3rd round pick but likely pushed himself into the second round with a 4.42 40, 36 inch vertical, 10’5 broad jump, and 4.00 short shuttle at 6’1, 208 pounds. After a strong junior year he started 2016 slow but then finished strong and this combine workout may have made him the highest rising receiver of anyone since the beginning of October.
TE GEORGE KITTLE, IOWA
While there are others who are more freakish like Bucky Hodges, O.J. Howard, Evan Engram, David Njoku, etc there was nobody who helped their stock as much as Kittle did. We had Kittle as a 6th or 7th round pick and now he could go as high as the top 100 after his workout. At 6’3 ¾, 247 pounds, Kittle ran a 4.52 40, did 18 bench reps, a 35 inch vertical, and 11’0 broad jump. Kittle shared time in 2015 and was the main tight end in 2016. No tight on this list perhaps has helped themselves more in two years going from a backup who is just a free agent to a potential top 125 pick because he ran run, block, and catch with very good explosion.
QB TREVOR KNIGHT, TEXAS A&M
There was little love for Knight from area scouts and most were surprised he got a NFL Combine invite. They liked his upside but he was not very accurate and did not have a big arm so most viewed him as a player you sign as a free agent and would be lucky to make a team. His workout at 6’1, 219 pounds may have gotten himself drafted in the late rounds and give him a chance to make a 53-man roster. Knight ran a 4.54 40, 4.14 short shuttle, 11.28 60 shuttle, 35 ½ inch vertical, and 10’4 broad jump, which were good enough to be among the top performers in each drill. Don’t be surprised if someone takes him in the 6th or 7th round because they don’t want to fight 10 other teams in free agency for him.
WR JOHN ROSS, WASHINGTON
While we don’t believe Ross will go much, if any higher because of his workout, he certainly made himself a ton more money with endorsements because he posted the fastest official 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine with a 4.22 by unseating NFL star running back Chris Johnson. Ross was explosive on tape and a player we believe will go in the top 10-15 picks because of his speed, hands, and ability to create separation.
QB MITCH TRUBISKY, NORTH CAROLINA
While there was buzz that Trubisky may go in the first round most NFL teams believe he has the talent to be a good player but needs time on the bench before he can be a good starter. Some view him as a second tier player they would rather take in the late first round or second round but he may have solidified himself as a top 10 pick with his combine workout. He ran a 4.67 40, had a 6.87 3-cone, and 4.25 short shuttle as a top performer in those drills at 6’2, 222 pounds. He lacks ideal size but has a strong arm, athleticism, and would be an ideal player to draft, sit for a year, and then be your franchise quarterback. We anticipated this and had him in our top 10 prior to the combine but he did not cement himself as a top 10 pick until Day 2 of the NFL Combine.
Here are four players we believe hurt their stock with their workout.
WR ISAIAH FORD, VIRGINIA TECH
Most scouts believed that Ford should have stayed one more year and push himself into the top 50 picks but he came out early and there was hope he would test well to move from a late 3rd to 4th round pick but he was very average and may have fallen a round with so many other receivers testing so well. He ran a 4.61 40, did 14 bench reps, had a 35 ½ inch vertical, 6.94 3-cone, and 4.34 short shuttle. His numbers weren’t awful but at 6’1, 194 pounds coming off two straight All-ACC seasons you would expect more from him and he may slide a little bit because of it.
WR SHELTON GIBSON, WEST VIRGINIA
Gibson predicted he would run the fastest 40 and the buzz was that he would be one of the top 3 fastest because of how he just ran by people on vertical routes for the Mountaineers. However, he failed to do more than just post an average workout. He ran a 4.50 40 with a 32 inch vertical, 9’8 broad jump, and 6.83 3-cone at 5’11, 191 pounds. He was a player who declared early and some thought would sneak into the 2nd round but he may end up in the 4th round now.
WR KEON HATCHER, ARKANSAS
The 2016 season ended well for Hatcher and then he went to the NFLPA Bowl where he was a standout. The expectation among some scouts was that he would end up in the 5th round range but he had a disappointing combine with a 4.64 40 and did not do any of the other drills. Hatcher must rebound at pro day if he wants to guarantee himself a draft pick despite being one of the first receivers invited to the combine. This year’s class is stacked and if you aren’t moving up the board you are moving down with others passing you. We feel he is a borderline draft pick as of right now without a good pro day despite the fact his tape is mid round worthy caliber.
TE HAYDEN PLINKE, UTEP
The road for Plinke has been long as he once was committed to Oregon but went to Boise State, then transferred to Portland State, and finished his career at UTEP. He ran a 4.97 40, did 18 bench reps, a 28 inch vertical, 7.55 3-cone, and 4.59 short shuttle. Hayden Plinke was not a top performer in any category and likely went from a possible late round pick to just a free agent.
Defensive Linemen and Linebackers.
Below are eight players we feel helped themselves.
LB ALEX ANZALONE, FLORIDA
This Florida linebacker had a tough career due to injuries but when he was healthy he was very good. His Senior Bowl week was solid and he continued his postseason rise on Sunday. After a very average day in the jumps with a 30 ½ inch vertical and just 16 bench reps he was a top performer in the 40 (4.63), 3-cone (6.88), short shuttle (4.25), and 60 shuttle (11.71).
LB TYUS BOWSER, HOUSTON
Due to missing a month with a broken orbital bone he was need of a strong finish to his senior year and postseason. He did just that with 2nd team All-AAC honors posting 12 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and looked very good at the Senior Bowl. His combine workout perhaps got him back in the conversation of being a top 100 pick with a 4.65 40, 10’6 broad jump, 37 ½ inch vertical, 6.75 3-cone, and 21 bench reps at 6’3, 247 pounds. We believe he could end up going in the 3rd or 4th round.
LB BLAIR BROWN, OHIO
Late in the fall there was some buzz on Brown and he received a late invite to the NFLPA Bowl where he got hurt during the week so it was crucial for him to test well at Indianapolis. He did just that with a 4.65 40, 37 inch vertical, 10’3 broad jump, 6.92 3-cone, and a very good 4.18 short shuttle. His explosion, speed, and shuttles have put him back in the draft conversation and could land him as high as the 6th or early 7th round after being a projected priority free agent during the fall.
DE MYLES GARRETT, TEXAS A&M
There was buzz that Myles Garrett could be the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and at 6’4, 272 pounds he helped his caught with a 4.64 40, 33 bench reps, 41 inch vertical, and 10’7 broad jump. While his 2016 tape was not as consistent as you want he showed the athleticism that defensive line coaches drool over and he could be a long time perennial Pro Bowler that is just too good to pass up for Cleveland.
DE TREY HENDRICKSON, FLORIDA ATLANTIC
There may not be a defensive lineman who has made more money this postseason than Hendrickson. At 6’4, 266 pounds he ran a 4.65 40, 4.20 short shuttle, and 11.43 60 shuttle – all of which were among top performers. He was solid in the 3-cone with a 7.03 and vertical jump with 33.5 inches. After earning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors most considered him as a 5th or 6th round pick but he may have put himself into the second round with a very good Shrine Game performance and cemented that with his combine workout.
DE HAASON REDDICK, TEMPLE
Reddick has been on fire since mid-season as perhaps our biggest riser from October to November and then again at the Senior Bowl where he put himself from a 5th round type player to a possible 2nd or early 3rd round pick. His NFL Combine performance has helped him further and perhaps moved him into the first round or at least top 35-40. Reddick posted a 4.52 40, 24 bench reps, 36 ½ inch vertical, 11’1 broad jump, 7.01 3-cone, and 4.37 short shuttle at 6’1, 237 pounds.
LB T.J. WATT, WISCONSIN
The Badgers have put out a lot of good front seven players and Watt is next in line after a productive college career where his ability on tape was emphasized even more with a strong combine. At 6’4, 252 pounds he ran a 4.69 40, did 21 reps, a 37 inch vertical, 10’7 broad jump, 6.79 3-cone, 4.13 short shuttle, and 11.20 60 shuttle. He was a top performer in every drills except the bench and 40 and still did above average in both of those. He may sneak into the first round or be one of the first couple players taken in the second round after being a projected late 2nd round or early 3rd round pick by many prior to this workout.
DE JORDAN WILLIS, KANSAS STATE
Willis had a monster senior season in which many scouts had him as a solid second round pick but he may have vaulted his way into the first round with his combine workout. At 6’4, 255 pounds he ran a 4.53 40, did 24 bench reps, had a 39 inch vertical, 10’4 broad jump, 6.85 3-cone, and 4.28 short shuttle. He was among the top performers in every drill but the broad jump and bench and those numbers were good at his size.
Here are four players who hurt their stock on Sunday.
LB BEN BOULWARE, CLEMSON
We are listing Boulware only because he is a big name who some might have thought would be a mid round pick but NFL scouts did not expect a good workout and he even passed on running the 40 where many believe he will run a high 4.8 or 4.9. The leader of the Clemson defense is what he is and that’s a tough, productive player with athletic limitations who we expect to be a late round pick or free agent and have a solid NFL career but his testing numbers may knock him out of the 255 picks. He only had a 29 ½ inch vertical, 9’3 broad jump, 7.02 3-cone, 4.43 short shuttle, and did 20 bench reps at 6’0, 238 pounds.
LB KEVIN DAVIS, COLORADO STATE
Davis was a highly productive high school player who has had a dominant career in the Mountain West but he did not show the athleticism that teams are looking for to draft a G5 player in the mid rounds or perhaps at all. At 6’2, 235 pounds he ran a 4.91 40, a 30 ½ inch vertical, 9’2 broad jump, did just 11 bench reps, 7.18 3-cone, and a 4.38 short shuttle. If he stands on these numbers we believe he is a 7th round pick at best and may not get drafted.
LB KEITH KELSEY, LOUISVILLE
Kelsey was a repeat All-ACC selection in 2016 and was a player who was expected to go in the 5th or 6th round but may have cost himself a shot to be drafted with a 4.92 40, 29 ½ inch vertical, 7.28 3-cone, and 4.56 short shuttle at just 6’0, 233 pounds. When you are undersized you have to be a very good tester to guarantee being drafted and right now it appears he is a borderline 7th round pick who may go undrafted unless he can improve on these numbers at his pro day.
DE AVERY MOSS, YOUNGSTOWN STATE
Moss is a solid player who had his best year in 2016 but the former Nebraska Cornhusker who was dismissed from the program needed more than just a strong senior year to get drafted but a good combine and he failed to do what his teammate, Derek Rivers, was able to do. Moss measured at 6’3, 264 pounds and ran a 4.79 40, did 14 bench reps, a 9’5 broad jump, 32 ½ inch vertical, 7.25 3-cone, and 4.43 short shuttle. He failed to be a top performer in any drill and was middle of the pack or near the bottom in pretty much every drill. We believe he had a shot to go in the 6th or 7th round but is more likely to be a priority free agent now.
Cornerbacks and Safeties.
We could have added more to this list but here are the top 7 from the final day of workouts at the NFL Combine.
CB BRIAN ALLEN, UTAH
The expectation for Allen entering the combine was to run in the 4.5s and eventually be a priority free agent but there is now buzz he could go as high as the 5th or 6th round due to his workout. Allen measured at 6’3, 215 pounds and ran a 4.48 40 with 15 bench reps, 34 ½ inch vertical, 9’8 broad jump, 6.64 3-cone, and 4.34 short shuttle. Nobody expect him to close 4.4s and weigh as much as he did.
CB CHIDOBE AWUZIE, COLORADO
Awuzie measured at 6’0, 202 pounds and ran a 4.43 40 with a 11’0 broad jump, 34 ½ inch vertical, 6.81 3-cone, 4.14 short shuttle, and 16 ebnch reps. While he was only a top performer in the broad jump this was a very good workout and could bump him up a round or so.
CB SHAQUILL GRIFFIN, CENTRAL FLORIDA
After a strong season showing good ball skills there was still concern that Griffin may only be a 4.5 speed type guy but he blew away the Combine with a 4.38 40, 17 bench reps, 38 ½ inch vertical, 11’0 broad jump, 6.87 3-cone, 4.14 short shuttle, and 11.62 60 shuttle. Griffin was a top performer in the 40, broad jump, vertical jump, and 60 shuttle. We have moved him from a priority free agent projection to a late round projection in our rankings that will come out later this week.
S DELANO HILL, MICHIGAN
The 2016 2nd team All-Big Ten selection was a projected priority free agent entering the combine but we are moving him back into the draft after his workout where he ran a 4.47 40 at 6’1, 216 pounds along with 17 bench reps, a 6.96 3-cone, 33 ½ inch vertical, and 9’6 broad jump.
S JOSH JONES, NC STATE
After a strong season in which he was somehow overlooked by the ACC coaches for postseason honors he proved that he is a top tier player at the NFL Combine with a 4.41 40, 20 bench reps, 11’0 broad jump, and 37 ½ inch vertical at 6’1, 220 pounds. He was a top performer in every drill and may have put himself into the 3rd or late 2nd round.
S OBI MELIFONWU, UCONN
Everyone remembers what UCONN CB Byron Jones did at the NFL Combine but Obi has replaced him as the biggest freak to come out of UCONN. He measured at 6’4, 224 pounds and ran a blazing 4.40 40, 11’8 broad jump, 44 inch vertical, and did 17 bench reps. He was a top performer in every drills but the bench and that was still solid. Most had him pegged as a 3rd round pick prior to the combine but he may have put himself in the top 40-45 picks.
CB FABIAN MOREAU, UCLA
After a Lisfranc injury sidelined him early in the season this was an important workout for Moreau and he made the most of it. He was a top performer in the 40 (4.35), vertical jump (38), broad jump (11’3), and 60 shuttle (11.45). He also had a 6.94 3-cone and 4.12 short shuttle. There is buzz he could go in the top 60 picks now after many expected him to be a 4th or 5th round pick. We had him as a priority free agent but he could be our biggest riser with this injury due to the fact we had him much lower not knowing his true health because of the injury.
This DB group was very good so there wasn’t much along the lines of fallers but we highlight the main one below.
S LORENZO JEROME, SAINT FRANCIS (PA)
It had been a great postseason for Jerome until the final day of the NFL Combine where he ran a 4.70 40, did 11 bench reps, ran a 7.63 3-coen, and 4.68 short shuttle at 5’10, 204 pounds. He had potentially put himself into the mid rounds but could be lucky to get drafted unless he can improve on those numbers at his pro day. On film he looks more like a 4.5 speed guy so we won’t drop him out of the draft but we could see it going either way now.
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