NFL Combine Risers and Fallers
Now that the NFL Combine has wrapped up, it’s time to talk about what the event did for prospects. Who moved up draft boards based on their measurables? Who moved down draft boards? It’s important to note that just because a player looked good during the on-field portion, it doesn’t translate to this article, because that’s all subjective.
Whether it be a blazing-fast 40-yard dash time, explosive vertical, 3-cone drill, or even a height/weight measurement, these are the players who were the biggest movers by each position in the NFL Combine.
Kyler Murray (Oklahoma)
Whether it’s right or wrong, Murray moved up draft boards due to one thing – his height measurement. There had been discussions about him being 5-foot-9 or under, but when he measured in a 5-foot-10 1/8, the reports started coming in that the Cardinals were taking him at No. 1 overall.
Tyree Jackson (Buffalo)
While standing at 6-feet-7 inches tall, Jackson wowed spectators with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash (2nd among quarterbacks), 34.5-inch vertical (best among quarterbacks), and 120-inch broad jump (best among quarterbacks). He definitely raised his stock during the Combine.
Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State)
It’s not that Haskins necessarily did anything wrong, but he also didn’t do anything to separate himself from the field behind him. His 40-time of 5.04 seconds was brutal. While he’s not going to be taking off running with the ball anytime soon, teams want to see some sort of athleticism because it’s only going to get worse as time goes on.
Miles Sanders (Penn State)
Not only did he look the part at 5-foot-11 and 211 pounds, but he forced teams to look at him a bit closer when he rattled of a 4.49-second 40-yard dash. Some believe the 3-cone drill is the most telling drill for a running back’s agility, and his time of 6.89 seconds was the best among those at his position, as nobody else registered lower than 6.95 seconds.
Alex Barnes (Kansas State)
He was expected to be a late-round pick, but his performance at the Combine may have moved him up multiple rounds. At 6-feet-0 and 226 pounds, he wasn’t expected to be a burner, but his 4.59-second 40-time was respectable. From there, he demolished the drills. He finished first in bench press (34), third in vertical (38.5 inches), fifth in broad jump (126 inches), second in the 3-cone drill (6.95 seconds), and first in the 20-yard shuttle (4.10 seconds).
Elijah Holyfield (Georgia)
He was supposed to be a workout warrior, but it didn’t go that way. His 4.79-second 40-yard dash was slower than every other running back (not really all that close) and wide receiver. Keep in mind there were 13 wide receivers who were 6-foot-3 or taller. Not just that, though, as he posted just a 29.5-inch vertical (tied for lowest among running backs) and then didn’t even participate in the 3-cone drill or 20-yard shuttle.
Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic)
Measuring in a 5-foot-7 and 203 pounds isn’t ideal for a running back, especially when you’re one who doesn’t offer much of anything in the passing-game. It didn’t get any better from there, as he finished in the bottom-five for 40-time and broad jump, then finished in the bottom-half for the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
Parris Campbell (Ohio State)
If you were high on the Ohio State speedster, the Combine only raised expectations. He measured in a 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds, then rattled off a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. His 40-inch vertical, 135-inch broad jump, and 4.03-second 20-yard shuttle were all top-five among wide receivers.
Miles Boykin (Notre Dame)
Many were talking about D.K. Metcalf, but Boykin posted numbers that were equally impressive across the board. His 40-time of 4.42 seconds may not have matched Metcalf’s 4.33, but his 43.5-inch vertical, 140-inch broad jump, and 4.07-second 20-yard shuttle at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds were all remarkable. The receivers at Notre Dame don’t get the opportunity that some do, but Boykin made the most of his opportunity here.
D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss)
He was the talk of the Combine, so that has to be good for his stock, right? His 4.33-second 40-time was remarkable, as was his 27 reps on the bench press, 40.5-inch vertical, and 134-inch broad jump. His weak 3-cone drill of 7.38 seconds has some worrying, but believe me when I say the Combine moved him up draft boards.
Kelvin Harmon (NC State)
He wasn’t someone who separated very well on film, so his 40-time was going to be something many were watching. When he turned in a time of 4.60 seconds, it wasn’t exactly good for his stock, as there were just five receivers who posted worse times. His vertical of 32.5 inches and broad jump of 117 inches were also towards the bottom of the position. He’s solid in contested catch situations, but teams are realizing that may be all.
Lil’Jordan Humphrey (Texas)
Most didn’t expect him to come into the draft this year, so expectations were that he’d be ready to show off a bit. Once we saw his 4.75-second 40-time, it was a head-shaking moment. No other receiver turned in a time slower than 4.64 seconds. In fact, there wasn’t any drill or measurement where he finished above average.
Noah Fant (Iowa)
If there was one prospect who dominated essentially every single drill, it was Fant. He lived up to expectations with a 4.50-second 40-yard dash, but also showed off a vertical of 39.5 inches, which was two inches higher than any other tight end, and higher than all but five wide receivers. His 3-cone drill of 6.81 seconds was also a full 0.21 seconds faster than any other tight end.
Foster Moreau (LSU)
From an athletic standpoint, Moreau did everything he could at the NFL Combine. He was the only tight end to beat Noah Fant in the 20-yard shuttle with a time of 4.11 seconds. While that was his biggest highlight, he posted above-average numbers across the board, including his 4.66-second 40-yard dash.
Kaden Smith (Stanford)
Not only were the on-field drills not great, but Smith saw his stock decline while running a 4.92-second 40-yard dash, which was the second-slowest among tight ends. He was also at the bottom of the list when it came to the broad jump at just 108 inches. To give you an idea as to how bad that was, there was just one quarterback who had a broad jump of less than 109 inches.
Isaac Nauta (Georgia)
You don’t need to dominate every drill to move your stock up, but you cannot finish towards the bottom of literally every drill. Nauta ran a 4.91-second 40-yard dash (3rd-worst), had a 28-inch vertical (worst), and took 7.45 seconds in the 3-cone drill (worst). This was especially bad because he’s a smaller tight end at just 6-foot-3 and 244 pounds.
Garrett Bradbury (NC State)
Not only did he get a lot of TV coverage, but Bradbury delivered in the drills. Posting a 4.92-second 40-time for a lineman is ridiculous, and while it may not matter most of the time on the field, it highlights his athleticism to get out in front of a play. Outside of the broad jump, Bradbury was in the upper echelon of all drills.
Andre Dillard (Washington State)
When you’re 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, you’re not supposed to be able to run a sub-five-second 40-yard dash, but that’s what Dillard did when he turned in a time of 4.96 seconds. Not just that, but he posted a 7.44-second 3-cone drill (2nd-fastest), 4.40-second 20-yard shuttle (fastest), and a 118-inch broad jump (longest).
Nate Herbig (Stanford)
You know when they say don’t put too much stock into the Combine? Well, if there’s one thing you don’t want to do is continually see yourself near the bottom of lists. That’s where Herbig found himself in 5-of-6 drills. His 40-time of 5.41 seconds was the slowest of the entire combine, not just offensive linemen. He was bottom-five in vertical, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. Keep in mind that the offensive linemen group was over 40 prospects deep.
Ben Banogu (TCU)
It was Montez Sweat who had the most coverage, but Banogu actually topped Sweat in bench reps, vertical, broad jump, and 20-yard shuttle. His 4.58-second 40-yard dash wasn’t quite Sweat’s 4.42, but it was still the fourth fastest time among edge defenders. While Banogu’s play on tape doesn’t come close to Sweat’s, he was stride-for-stride with him at the Combine.
Montez Sweat (Mississippi State)
A 4.42-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds? It’s become cliché to say, but you’re not supposed to be able to move that fast when you’re that big. None of the other edge defenders who weigh more than 256 pounds ran faster than 4.61-seconds. Sweat was also near the top of edge defenders in broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle.
Cece Jefferson (Florida)
When putting together my spreadsheets from the Combine, everything next to Jefferson’s name is in red. His 40-time (5.03 seconds) was second-worst among edge defenders, 17 bench reps were the second-lowest, 30.5-inch vertical was second-lowest, 108-inch broad jump was the worst, as was his 7.50-second 3-cone drill. The broad jump is the worst, as he’s just 266 pounds and he tied Nate Herbig, the worst offensive lineman in the drill, who weighed in at 335 pounds.
Oshane Ximines (Old Dominion)
For someone who was being discussed as a potential Day 2 pick, Ximines had a bad Combine whose stock went down. There wasn’t any one drill he delivered an above-average score on, while his 20-yard shuttle was especially bad, as 4.57 seconds was the second-worst among all edge defenders.
Anthony Nelson (Iowa)
When looking at strictly numbers from the drills, Nelson dominated among the defensive tackles, though it does help that he’s just 271 pounds, while many of them are 300-plus pounds. He put up just 18 reps on the bench, which was the lowest among linemen, but he was in the top-three in every other drill, including a remarkable 6.95-second 3-cone drill, highlighting his agility. He may appeal a bit more to teams as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme after this performance.
Quinnen Williams (Alabama)
We all know he’s good, but a 4.83-second 40-yard dash while weighing over 300 pounds? If you didn’t have Williams as a top-three pick before this (you really should’ve), you do now.
Isaiah Buggs (Alabama)
After watching his teammate Quinnen Williams doing damage in the Combine, Buggs did his own damage, though his was to his draft stock. He had the fifth-worst 40-time (5.15 seconds), the second-fewest bench reps (20), the shortest vertical jump (24.5 inches), the shortest broad jump (96 inches), and was bottom-four in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. It was all bad for Buggs.
Demarcus Christmas (Florida State)
In a deep class of defensive tackles, you need to stand out. Christmas stood out, though it was in a bad way. Outside of the 40-yard dash, he finished bottom-three in every drill, including finishing dead-last in both the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
Devin Bush (Michigan)
He was already considered a borderline first-round pick, but with his performance at the Combine, it’d be a shock if he doesn’t get selected on Day 1 of the draft. His 40-yard dash was just 0.02 seconds off Devin White‘s, while he beat White in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. It’s also worth noting that Bush measured in at 5-foot-11, just one inch shorter than White. They’re closer than they were pre-Combine.
Devin White (LSU)
While Devin Bush may have raised his stock even more than White, he likely locked himself in as a top-15 selection with his 4.42-second 40-yard dash and 39.5-inch vertical jump. He was the top linebacker going in and it’s unlikely that’s changed based on his performance.
Joe Giles-Harris (Duke)
It’s not a particularly deep linebacker class this year, so guys like Giles-Harris had plenty of room to improve his draft stock, but after finishing bottom-six in 40-time, bench press, vertical jump, and broad jump, Giles-Harris called it a day and didn’t partake in the 3-cone drill or 20-yard shuttle.
David Long (Michigan)
He may be one of the shorter cornerbacks at just under 5-foot-11, but that didn’t hold him back at the Combine. He tied for the eighth-fastest 40-time (4.45 seconds) and the fifth-highest vertical jump (39.5 inches), but those were just icing on the cake, as he demolished the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. His 3-cone time of 6.45 seconds was a full 0.25 seconds faster than any other defensive back and his 20-yard shuttle was 0.09 seconds faster than the closest prospect.
Greedy Williams (LSU)
He only took part in one drill, but that was enough to practically lock him into the top-15 players drafted. He ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, which was the second-fastest time among defensive backs. To do that with his size (6-foot-2) will be extremely appealing for cornerback-needy teams.
Montre Hartage (Northwestern)
To be one of the lighter cornerbacks at 190 pounds, it was a surprise to see Hartage run just a 4.68-second 40-yard dash. It was the second-slowest time among cornerbacks. Not just that, but he finished with just nine reps on the bench press (fourth-fewest) and a 34.5-inch vertical jump (4th-shortest).
Ryan Pulley (Arkansas)
There wasn’t any positives to take away from Pulley’s performance, as he was at the bottom of the barrel for both vertical jump and broad jump, then did not participate in the 3-cone drill or 20-yard shuttle. He’s 209 pounds, so we didn’t expect a crazy fast 40-time, but his 11 reps on the bench press were the seventh-fewest among cornerbacks.
Juan Thornhill (Virginia)
He skipped over the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, but Thornhill did enough damage early-on that it wasn’t necessary. His 4.42-second 40-time is excellent, while his 21 reps on the bench were the second-most among safeties. But he really shined in the explosiveness drills, as his 44-inch vertical jump and 141-inch broad jump were both the highest of the entire event.
Marvell Tell (USC)
He’s not considered a high-round pick, but Tell definitely improved his stock at the Combine. His wingspan was a massive 80 inches, while no other safety measured in over 78 inches. His 42-inch vertical and 136-inch broad jump were only behind Juan Thornhill (who set the high-marks for the Combine). He also went on to finish with the best 3-cone drill at 6.63 seconds and the second-best 20-yard shuttle at 4.01 seconds.
Mike Bell (Fresno State)
He measured in as the tallest safety at 6-foot-3, but that’s all he had going for him. His 4.83-second 40-time was the slowest at the position, as was his 20-yard shuttle at 4.46 seconds. Not just that, either, as his bench press and vertical jump were second-worst among safeties.
Mark McLaurin (Mississippi State)
He was never viewed as one of the more athletic safeties, but finishing near the bottom in the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle was not expected. He also posted just 12 reps on the bench press, so strength is also a concern. Not having much speed or strength is not a good combination for a safety, so McLaurin’s stock took a pretty big hit.