The biggest job interview for all of the NFL prospects occurred last weekend in Indianapolis. The NFL Scouting Combine can solidify top prospects positions as early selections and can also make draft stock skyrocket or plummet significantly in just a few days. After weeks and/or months of preparation for this event, the players showcased their abilities on the field and also met with individual teams for interviews. The following are prospects that impressed the NFL world and others who came up short with disappointing performance and who will look to rebound at their upcoming pro days.
D.K. Metcalf- WR, Mississippi
Metcalf absolutely stole the show at the combine, the 6’3″, 228LBS wide receiver with a rumored 1.6% body fat ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, a 40.5″ vertical and 27 reps on the bench press. There were some concerns with his workout however, he posted a awful 3-cone drill of 7.38 seconds and a shuttle time of 4.5 seconds. His overall size, speed and athleticism should help offset the potential issues with his change of direction ability. Metcalf likely cemented himself as a top-10 selection in April.
Montez Sweat- DE/OLB, Mississippi State
Being 6’6″ and 260LBS while running an 4.41 40 should be illegal, he also had a second best among is his position group at the 10-yard split with a 1.5 result. Sweat utilizes his superb hand technique and has a quick burst off of the snap that will be highly coveted from a defensive end, but needs to improve on his counter moves to succeed in the NFL. The athletic Sweat has excellent length, good instincts and all of the elite traits to potentially become a star at the next level. The 49ers coaching staff was able to work with him first hand at the Senior bowl — which he absolutely dominated. With the premium that is placed on pass-rushers, he will be selected within the first 15 picks of the draft.
Brian Burns- OLB/DE, Florida State
Burns, my favorite pass-rushing option outside of Nick Bosa in this year’s draft class performed very well in Indianapolis. Questions of his overall size were quickly erased as he weighed in at a respectable 249LBS. Even with the rumored weight gain, he ran a impressive 4.53 in the 40-yard dash (2nd), 3-cone drill time of 7.01 (5th), vertical jump of 36” (6th), and a broad jump of 129.0″ (2nd). On the field, the former-five-star recruit looked like a very natural and explosive athlete. He has a mix of pass-rush moves with elite burst and length that should make his transition to the NFL seamless. Burns appears to have locked himself into a top-10 selection and will be a game changer on any team’s defense.
Devin White- ILB, LSU
White’s stock will definitely rise after a lightning fast 40 time of 4.42 which tied him for the third-fastest time by a combine linebacker since 2006. He also posted a good vertical at 39.5” (2nd), a 4.17 short shuttle (7th) and a 7.07 in the 3-cone drill (7th). White was evenly impressive with the on the field drill as he is an athletic and fluid sideline-to-sideline linebacker who can shed through blockers with ease. He displayed to be a leader during his last year at LSU, finishing his junior season with 123 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defended. Even though linebacker’s don’t usually go too high in the draft, he is going to change that narrative. The Butkus Award winner will be the first linebacker taken in the draft and is likely to be picked in the top 10.
Garrett Bradbury- Center, N.C. State
The super athletic lineman ran one of the fastest 40 times of the offensive lineman with an impressive a 4.92 time at 6’3″, 306LBS, also coming in second overall in his group with 34 bench press reps and the best 3-cone drill performance at 7.41 seconds. The converted tight end has outstanding lateral footwork, agility and has the experience playing at multiple positions along the offensive line. The Rimington Trophy (Nation’s Best Center) winner should continue to climb up team’s boards and be selected as a mid first-round pick.
Gary Johnson- LB, Texas
My favorite under the radar linebacker is Gary Johnson who had a superb combine performance. He was measured at 5’11 and 226LBS, with 31 ¼ arms and 10 ¼ hands. The former-Longhorn ran a great 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds which was tied for the second-fastest time at his position. His on the field ability was the most impressive faucet to me, as he seemed extremely instinctive in all of the drills. He will be able to step right in and excel in pass coverage. Johnson finished his college career at Texas with 150 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, three forced-fumbles, one fumble recovery and 12 quarterback hurries. His stock is absolutely rising and could peak with a second round selection.
Miles Sanders- RB, Penn St
The 5’10, 211LBS running back who was in the shadow of Saquon Barkley throughout his Nittnay Lion’s career is a personal favorite of mine and is a relative sleeper in this draft class. Sanders showcased his athleticism and his potential versatility in all of the drills. He ran 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 36-inch vert and looked like a natural receiver with reliable hands. Sanders displayed excellent change of direction ability, he recorded a 6.89 three-cone time which was best among all of the running backs. He is projected as a mid-round pick and would have great value for the 49ers if they decide to add a ball carrier to their current stable.
Jachai Polite- DE, Florida
The Florida Gator standout absolutely looks the part on tape after a stellar performance last year totaling 11 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and six forced-fumbles. He was a projected first-round pick prior to the Combine, but after a poor performance on the field and a rumored train wreck off of it. The truth of Combine interviews are only known with the individuals involved within the walls of the closed door conversations, but leaks of his were not favorable to say the least. Polite commented on the 49ers’ interview tactics, saying,
“They just bashed me the whole time.”
Putting the poor interviews aside, he ran a 4.84 40 (3rd worst among the edge rushers) with a 10-yard split of 1.71 and a 32″ vertical jump before pulling out of the rest of the drills with a “hamstring injury”. Polite will need a very strong pro day to bounce back into the good graces of teams to be drafted in the first round.
Devin Singletary- RB, Florida Atlantic
Singletary disappointed during his workout recording a 4.66 second 40-yard dash. The shifty runny posted a 7.32-second 3-cone drill which is concerning to say the least about his quickness. He looks to have great vision, a solid blocker and receiver out of the backfield, but lack of home run ability and foot speed is a big concern. The highly productive Singletary had 714 carries for 4,287 yards and and 66 touchdowns in three seasons at Florida Atlantic and regardless of combine results should still be a top-5 back in this class.
Lil’ Jordan Humphrey- WR, Texas
In a deep wide receiver class Humphrey had one of the most lackluster performances in Indianapolis. As one of the many bigger framed pass catchers, he needed to display enough agility to be effective in the NFL. He put up a poor 40-yard time of 4.75 seconds, which was the slowest of all the receivers. Humphrey is a strong route-runner with good size who lined up in multiple positions which adds to his value, but he lacks quickness and overall speed that is necessary for bigger receivers. Humphrey will look to put up better numbers at Texas’ pro day and is slated to likely be a day three selection.
Greg Little- OT, Ole Miss
He is projected to still be one of the first lineman off of the board, but as a fringe 1st/2nd-rounder and measured in at just over 6′ 5 and 310LBS, but he didn’t do much to help raise his stock after running a pedestrian 40 time of 5.33 and a vertical jump of 25″. On tape he seems to have all of the physical tools — with good foot quickness but he struggled during his field drills at the Combine. His decision not to bench press could create questions with his overall strength. Little, the former five-star recruit and starter of 29 games while at Ole Miss, will have an opportunity to resolve all of these concerns at his pro day.
Elijah Holyfield – RB, Georgia
Even though speed was never thought of as a strength of his game, there will certainly be some raised concerns after he ran a sluggish 40 time of 4.78 seconds — demonstrating his lack of breakaway speed (2nd worst of all backs) and an unimpressive vertical jump of 29 1/2″. The powerful ball carrier (5’10 217LBS) still has value as a short distance goal line type of back, he was third-best among the group in bench pressing with 26 reps and is likely to be selected in the mid-rounds of the draft.