Prior to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah assembled his annual list of top 50 draft-eligible athletes.
Following four days of on-field testing and timing drills in addition to bench-press sessions, media sessions, interviews and medical exams in Indianapolis, Jeremiah updated his evaluations and released his “Top 50 3.0” list this week.
So, which athletes made the biggest jump in the rankings following their combine performances?
Four players improved at least 10 spots in Jeremiah’s list, including N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury, who went from 35 to 22. Jeremiah wrote:
Bradbury is a slightly undersized player with excellent quickness, balance and awareness. He is a very clean player, rarely falling off blocks or getting caught out of position. In pass protection, he has quick hands and can easily slide mirror while displaying excellent knee bend. He will stutter back a little bit versus power rushers before settling down. He is very aware. In the run game, he uses his quickness to consistently reach and cut off defenders. He takes good angles up to the second level, and he can adjust in space. He isn't a mauler, but he stays attached to his assignment. Overall, Bradbury will be a steady, reliable starter, and I see very minimal risk.
Florida State’s Brian Burns improved 12 spots from 36 to 24. He was described by Jeremiah as a “tall, skinny edge rusher with excellent length and athleticism.”
As a pass rusher, [Burns] has an explosive get-off, and the ability to bend/wrap at the top of his rush. He also has an explosive inside counter move.
As a run defender, he lacks the girth and strength to consistently hold the point of attack, but he plays with excellent effort on the back side. Overall, Burns needs to get stronger, but his upside is sky high because of his length and speed.
Notre Dame defensive tackle Jerry Tillery went from 45 to 34 on the list. Jeremiah said that Tillery “isn’t going to fit every team, but he shows some flashes, similar to DeForest Buckner.”
Jeremiah previously didn’t include Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy on his top 50, but he slated the center at No. 40 after the combine, saying that McCoy has “ideal size, quickness and power for an interior lineman.”
Worth noting is that Jeremiah’s top five players have not changed: Ohio State DE/OLB Nick Bosa, Alabama DT Quinnen Williams, Kentucky DE/OLB Josh Allen, Clemson DT Christian Wilkins and Iowa TE T.J. Hockenson.
Brooks’ post-combine position rankings show biggest changes among DBs
In similar fashion to Jeremiah, NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks released updated pre-draft rankings following the combine. Brooks’ rankings are broken down by position.
Quarterbacks, defensive tackles and linebackers did not show any change on Brooks’ list; the biggest shakeups were among the cornerbacks and the safeties.
Brooks kept LSU’s Greedy Williams and Washington’s Byron Murphy, both sophomores, as his top two cornerbacks in this year’s draft class, but he improved Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin from No. 5 to No. 3. He slid Georgia’s Deandre Baker from No. 3 to No. 4 and Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen from No. 4 to No. 5.
Brooks wrote the following of Ya-Sin, who tied for second among cornerbacks in the bench press with 18 reps of 225 pounds:
Ya-Sin is a blue-collar player on the island with a combination of toughness, technique and tackling ability that makes an ideal fit in any defense. Plus, he brings some versatility as a potential slot defender in sub-packages.
For the safeties, only Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram remained in his top spot. Brooks bumped up Delaware’s Nasir Adderley and Washington’s Taylor Rapp one spot to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, and he moved Alabama’s Deionte Thompson from No. 2 to No. 4. Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, previously not rated by Brooks, was listed as the fifth-best safety in this year’s class.
Brooks said the safety group is “well-stocked with high-I.Q. playmakers bringing instincts and ball skills.” He wrote of Abram:
Abram is a heavy hitter with a knack for getting to the ball. He is an enforcer between the hashes, but exhibits the requisite ball skills and instincts to play in the deep middle, as well. With Abram also flashing blitzing ability and run-stopping skills as a box defender, he is an intriguing puzzle piece to add to a defense.
Click here to see Brooks’ updated rankings in their entirety.