On-field testing officially kicked off on Friday from the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Offensive linemen, running backs and specialists will hit the field first for timing and testing drills Friday. On Saturday, it will be quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, followed by defensive linemen and linebackers Sunday. The defensive backs will wrap up on-field workouts Monday.
Plenty of attention annually surrounds the 40-yard dash, and players who clock in faster – or slower – than expected receive some media buzz. The event’s record time was most recently set by receiver John Ross, who ran the 40 in 4.22 seconds at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.
NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah doesn’t believe that Ross’ record “is in serious danger” this week, but he did make predictions on who the five fastest draft-eligible athletes will be. His projections included four wide receivers and a cornerback. Jeremiah topped his list with Ohio State CB Kendall Scheffield, writing the following:
Sheffield has legit track accolades from his time at Ohio State. In fact, he set the school indoor record a year ago in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.663 seconds. He can roll! When I studied him on tape, he showed the ability to recover in a hurry whenever he was caught out of position. I expect him to run the 40 in the low 4.3s.
UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella also received accolades from Jeremiah:
Isabella is the name that comes up the most when polling NFL scouts about which player will run the fastest here at the combine. He won the 100-meter dash in the 2015 Ohio High School Athletic Association Regional Track Meet with a time of 10.51 seconds, besting current Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward (10.68) in the event. Ward ripped off a 4.32 40 here in Indianapolis last year, which tied for the fastest time among cornerbacks. Isabella should land in that range, with some chance he could crack 4.30. I'll go on record and make my prediction: 4.35.
Ohio State WR Parris Campbell, Georgia WR Mecole Hardman and Mississippi WR D.K. Metcalf, who garnered attention for his physical measurements Thursday, were the other three athletes that Jeremiah expects to be speedy.
View NFL Scouting Combine drills with offensive lineman, runnings backs, special teams and place kickers on Friday.
Bears beat writer ranks Vikings 7th-best of Chicago’s 2019 opponents
After Chicago finished 12-4 under Head Coach Matt Nagy, the Bears will face a tough schedule for the 2019 campaign.
Matt Eurich, who covers the Bears for 247Sports, on Thursday ranked Chicago’s opponents from “worst to best” for the upcoming season. He placed the Vikings seventh on the list, around the middle of the road. Eurich wrote:
Chicago did not have a lot to play for in Week 17 but still went into Minnesota and beat the Vikings by a score of 24-10. The Bears swept the season series against Minnesota, but the Vikings stand to improve this offseason. Minnesota’s defense still has all the tools to be one of the NFL’s best and that could give Chicago trouble this season.
As an NFC North rival, the Vikings will of course face the Bears twice in 2019, once on the road and once at U.S. Bank Stadium. If history repeats itself, the official 2019 schedule likely will be released in April.
Eurich opined the Vikings to be stronger opponents than the Eagles, Broncos, Redskins, Giants, Lions and Raiders. Tabbed ahead of the Vikings were the Cowboys, Rams, Packers, Chargers, Saints and – topping the list – the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs.
Eurich defended his choice to slate the Packers fourth from the top:
_Some may scoff at the Packers being this high on the list, but they will remain a tough team to beat as long as Aaron Rodgers is under center. The Bears defeated the Packers in Week 15 for the first time since Thanksgiving night back in 2015. The Packers enter this offseason with a lot of needs on both sides of the ball but also have a lot of money to spend in free agency. The team has a chance to get stronger with a solid run in free agency and the draft. _
Vikings team physician honored
Longtime team physician Sheldon Burns, MD, was recognized Thursday in Indianapolis by the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society.
Burns accepted the 2019 Jerry “Hawk” Rhea Award for Outstanding Team Physician and received an extra shout-out via Twitter from Vikings Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman.