This past Saturday the tight ends, wide receivers, and quarterbacks took to the main stage in Indianapolis at the NFL combine. With over 4,500 fans and representatives from all 32 teams on hand to watch the prospects inside of Lucas Oil Stadium, the stage was set. Everyone in the building was looking forward to watching tight ends Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson, and Irv Smith Jr. as well as wide receivers N’Keal Harry, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, and Kelvin Harmon. With projected number one overall pick Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, sitting out on-field drills, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock led the quarterback group as players to watch. After the dust settled late Saturday afternoon, here are the winners and losers from Saturday’s performances.
Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State: With a draft class lacking a player that could possibly match the 4.22 40 yard dash by John Ross, it was Campbell who blazed a 4.31 in the first group of wide receivers on Saturday that caught the attention of fans and scouts. Campbell was dynamic in the short area drills (4.03s short shuttle) and showed soft hands in the gauntlet drill. After jumping 40 inches in the vertical, Campbell will most likely rise up draft boards after his exceptional performance.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa: It’s time to acknowledge Fant will be a top-15 pick come April. After showing out in the 40-yard dash (4.50s) and displaying explosiveness in his jumps (39.5 inch vertical and 10’7” broad jump), Fant showed scouts and fans why he should be the first tight end off of the board in April. Fant displayed soft hands in the pass catching drills. Combine that with his polished route-running skills from his game tape, Fant solidified his stock as the best tight end in the draft.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri: With a similar skill set to Matthew Stafford, Lock keeps showing out in the pre-NFL draft process. Surprising many, Lock ran a 4.69s 40-yard dash (one of the faster quarterback times in the draft) and dazzled in the throwing drills throwing with velocity and accuracy. He threw the deep ball with ease in the go-route drill and showing pinpoint accuracy in the short-intermediate route drills. Lock may have less than ideal hand size (9 inches), but he still possesses outstanding upside and may sneak into being a top ten pick in the draft.
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State: Despite zipping to a 4.53s 40-yard dash, Harry was inconsistent in pass catching drills, failing to haul in a handful of perfectly placed balls. Harry seemed heavy-footed in his route running and getting out of his breaks slowly may have been the reason for the drops. Despite posting a video early last week of an insane 42 inch vertical, he only jumped 38.5 inches at the combine. Harry is still in the conversation of best receiver in the draft but will have to rebound big at his pro day.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas: Despite being a star at Texas, the potential combine sleeper plodded to the slowest 40-yard dash among wide receivers (4.75s). Pedestrian scores in the vertical jump (33 inches) and short shuttle (4.29s) will have Humphrey falling down draft boards quickly. Humphrey will look to rebound at his pro day in the coming weeks.
Daniel Jones, QB, Duke: Training with Eli and Peyton Manning during the predraft process, Jones was expected to have a strong showing at the combine - potentially vaunting himself into first-round consideration. After running a respectable 4.82s 40-yard dash, Jones was up and down in the throwing drills, missing several deep balls and struggled with placement in short and intermediate throws. Jones garnered split opinions from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper among other draft experts after his workout was complete. Jones will have to clean up his mistakes leading up to his pro day.