The 2018 NFL Combine wrapped up on Monday with the CBs and safeties going through the gauntlet of athletic testing. There were some surprises from both groups, including some relatively unknown players posting the fastest 40-yard dash times. Luckily, the injury bug was fairly inactive today, but there were still some noteworthy performances to check in on.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest headlines from Monday’s Combine workouts.
CBs Denzel Ward, Donte Jackson, and Parry Nickerson run blazing fast 40s
There was a 3-way tie atop the standings for the fastest CB in the 2018 Combine class, with Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, LSU’s Donte Jackson, and Tulane’s Parry Nickerson all clocking 4.32 40-yard dashes. Ward is already one of the draft’s top CBs, but Jackson and Nickerson certainly turned some heads with their impressive workouts.
CB Jaire Alexander impresses in the drills
Jaire Alexander had been getting some late first round hype prior to the NFL Combine, but his testing today may have vaulted him into the conversation for the top overall CB in the class. Alexander looked like the smoothest CB in the positional drills and was competitive with the other top prospects in his athletic testing. Keep an eye on his name as a draft riser from now until May.
CB Tarvarus McFadden disappoints
I remember back when Tarvarus McFadden was getting first-round hype, but that seems so long ago now. McFadden didn’t help his stock on Monday when he ran the second-slowest 40-yard time among all CBs at 4.67 and generally looked stiff in the positional drills. There are still traits that make McFadden an NFL-caliber player—he’s got great size at 6’2, 198—but his testing likely confirms a relatively scheme-specific role.
CBs Duke Dawson, Taron Johnson, Michael Joseph, Nick Nelson, and Isaac Yiadom look interesting for the Falcons
Among the CBs that tested today, a few stood out to me as favorites. Some late Day 2 prospects that the Falcons could pursue are Duke Dawson, Nick Nelson, and Isaac Yiadom. Later on in the draft, guys like Taron Johnson and Michael Joseph could be intriguing developmental options. All of them looked capable in the drills and testing—it’ll just depend on who falls and just how highly the Falcons value the position in the draft.
S Derwin James posts freakish numbers
Derwin James was already in contention to be the best safety in the 2018 draft class, but his impressive Combine performance may have several teams seriously considering him in the top-10. The 6’1, 215 lb James posted a 4.48 40-yard dash, a ridiculous 40” vertical, and an impressive 11’ broad jump. He’s not quite as fast as I expected, but James looks like a freakish athlete with perennial Pro Bowl potential.
Troy Apke hits the fastest 40-yd time for the safeties
A relatively unknown safety prospect, Troy Apke burst onto the scene and actually posted the fastest 40-yard dash for all safeties at a blazing 4.34—only .02 behind the draft’s fastest CBs. I haven’t watched his tape, but the 6’2, 198 Apke has certainly generated some interest for himself among NFL teams looking for a developmental safety prospect.
Safeties Quin Blanding, Terrell Edmunds, DeShon Elliott, and Kameron Kelly all look like potential options for the Falcons
There are a lot of interesting potential safety candidates out there for the Falcons. It’s not a huge need for the team—unless you don’t like Ricardo Allen—but they could stand to fill out the depth behind their starters. Quin Blanding and DeShon Elliott could be intriguing SS prospects, while Terrell Edmunds looks like a future starter at FS. Kameron Kelly is a jack-of-all-trades player that could be an ideal fit as a rotational 3rd safety. All have values somewhere between late Day 2 and early Day 3.
We hope you’ve enjoyed The Falcoholic’s coverage of the 2018 NFL Combine. We’ll continue to deliver you takes throughout the week, and we’ll look forward to seeing you again next year!
What were some of your thoughts after Monday’s workouts? Any players that impressed or disappointed you? Who are some prospects that you’re interested in for the Falcons?