The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is behind us, and attention will now turn to the 2019 NFL Draft, which will kick off in Nashville on April 25.
Combine performances can play a role in a player's draft stock, and there's been plenty of buzz surrounding some of the top on-field résumés in Indianapolis.
NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter recently put together a 2019 NFL Scouting Combine Team with offense and defense (no specialists). The offense was highlighted in yesterday's Lunchbreak. Reuter also included "best team fits" for each player. Reuter wrote:
For my 2019 All-Combine Team, I selected the defensive players based both on their performances in the athletic tests and on-field positional workouts. I'm fortunate enough to be able to view the workouts from the Lucas Oil Stadium floor, so I give more weight to those drills than others who are putting together similar lists. The depth and varied use of the defensive linemen in this year's class caused me to break them into three categories: edge rushers, 3-4 defensive ends and defensive tackles.
Reuter tabbed Ben Banogu (Texas Christian) and Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) as the top edge rushers, followed by John Cominsky (Charleston) and Rashan Gary (Michigan) as the 3-4 defensive ends. At defensive tackle, he pegged Renell Wren (Arizona State) and Quinnen Williams (Alabama).
At linebacker, Reuter highlighted Devin Bush (Michigan), Devin White (LSU) and Justin Hollins (Oregon), whom he opined could be a good fit for the Vikings. He also included the Packers, 49ers and Buccaneers as possible fits for Hollins.
Some teams will project Hollins as an edge player, but I included him with the linebackers because he proved he was athletic enough to handle coverage responsibilities at the next level.
His combination of speed, agility (7.06 three-cone) and length (33 3/8-inch arms, 79 1/3-inch wingspan) gives him a great chance at succeeding off the ball. Between that length and his upper-body strength (25 reps on the bench press), he also has potential playing near the line, so there will be interest in his services come Friday night of draft weekend.
To round out his defense, Reuter chose cornerbacks Corey Ballentine (Washburn) and Byron Murphy (Washington) and safeties Darnell Savage (Maryland) and Juan Thornhill (Virginia).
To read Reuter's breakdown in its entirety and check out his offensive all-combine team, click here.
The MMQB spotlights combine participates who performed as advertised
Conor Orr of The Monday Morning Quarterback took a different approach to the combine's top performers.
Rather than zero in on the best numbers, Orr consulted with Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, a former longtime NFL scout, to assemble "a list of guys who did what they were supposed to do" at the combine – in other words, the players who performed as advertised.
Orr listed Sweat, DT Khalen Saunders (Western Illinois), Ballentine, WR Andy Isabella (Massachusetts) and WR Terry McLaurin (Ohio State), Thornhill and DB Isaiah Johnson (Houston).
Nagy pointed out that the combine gives some players a chance to answer questions that have surrounded them heading into the event. He wrote the following of Ballentine, whom he said did well at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine alike:
It's a little bit about the comparisons, but it's also like, ['What] are (small school guys like this) going to do on the big stage? Are they going to shrink? Is it too big for [them?'] He's proven it's not.
Nagy also said it gave athletes like McLaurin, who was "kind of overshadowed" by fellow Buckeyes receiver Parris Campbell, an opportunity to shine.
I think [McLaurin] was a guy who played gunner on punt team, played special teams. He's kind of a blue-collar guy. … I think Terry showed through the process what a great athlete he is and what a great kid he is. His attitude in Mobile was unbelievable.