What an exciting day of action at the 2018 NFL Combine! We witnessed some truly exceptional (and some not so exceptional) workouts from the OL and RB groups. Unfortunately, there were also a few injuries to some of the big-name players that prevented them from participating.
Here are some of the top stories that I picked up while watching Friday’s athletic testing at the Combine.
Top tackle prospect Orlando Brown turns in abysmal performance
T Orlando Brown (6’8, 345) from Oklahoma, widely viewed as a first-round pick and perhaps even the top tackle prospect in the 2018 draft class, turned a historically bad Combine performance in several of the on-field workouts. Brown had the slowest 40-yd dash time at 5.85 seconds, the fewest bench reps at 14, a downright abysmal vertical jump of 19.5 inches, and a very poor broad jump at 82.0 inches. This workout will undoubtedly hurt his stock, but in a weak tackle class, it’s hard to say how much.
UCLA T Kolton Miller is the most impressive athlete on the OL
Speaking of tackles who had their stock affected by their on-field workouts, UCLA T Kolton Miller (6’9, 310) had arguably the most impressive athletic performance of the entire OL group. He broke a Combine record for OL in the broad jump with 121.0 inches, and was among the top performers in the 40-yd dash (4.95) and vertical jump (31.5 inches). Don’t be surprised if Miller starts getting first-round buzz in this weak tackle class.
C/G James Daniels, G Will Hernandez, and T Desmond Harrison impress
In terms of guys the Falcons might have their eyes on, three OL stood out to me: C/G James Daniels (who the team met with Wednesday), G Will Hernandez, and T Desmond Harrison. Daniels didn’t run the 40-yd dash due to a lingering injury, but he moved fluidly and looked like the most polished player in the drills. Hernandez is a very big guard, but he tested well for his size and looks agile enough to play in the ZBS. Desmond Harrison is a player I haven’t watched, but he was one of the best athletes in the OL group. There are serious character concerns there, but as a Day 3 project at T, he could be interesting.
Top G Quenton Nelson sits out 40-yd dash with strained hamstring
I was excited to see Nelson work out today—and he did partake in drills and a the jumps—but he strained his hamstring during warm-ups and did not participate in the 40-yard dash. We’ll have to wait until his Pro Day to get his 10-yd split and 40 time.
C/G Billy Price suffers partially torn pectoral muscle during bench press
This was one of the sadder notes from the Combine today. C/G Billy Price, a fringe first-round player on the interior, suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle during his bench press testing. According to reports, Price believes that he’ll be ready for training camp, but he wasn’t able to participate in any athletic testing—and likely won’t be able to before the draft. That could adversely affect his stock.
RB Saquon Barkley, RB Derrius Guice, and RB Nick Chubb are all crazy athletes
In case you needed Combine testing to tell you just how stacked this RB class is, Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, and Nick Chubb all had phenomenal workouts today. Saquon, in particular, ran a 4.40 in the 40 and jumped 41 inches. The Falcons aren’t likely to be in contention to draft any of these guys, but the presence of these stars at the top could help other guys fall to Atlanta later on.
Nyheim Hines is the fastest RB at the Combine
The fastest player at the Combine thus far is NC State’s Nyheim Hines—who the Falcons were rumored to have interest in a few weeks back. He posted a 4.38 40-yard dash, making him an elite athlete at RB. He’s got great hands and could be an interesting change-of-pace back for Atlanta, and he also has potential as a punt/kick returner.
RB Ronald Jones tweaks hamstring during 40-yard dash
Another of the crazy talented crop of RBs in this class, Ronald Jones unfortunately appeared to tweak his hamstring during his first 40-yard dash attempt. I’d disregard the 4.66 time he posted—Jones is much faster than that on tape. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to participate in any of the other drills either. We’ll have to wait to see his true athletic ability at his Pro Day.
What are your thoughts on the first day on on-field testing at the Combine? Any players that stood out to you? Any prospects that you think helped and/or hurt their stock with their performance today?