The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is one of the major steps in the Draft process. All 32 teams get to untangle each and every one of these players. Teams get to work players through an interview process, psychological exam, and medical procedures to get to know the draft prospects a little better. However, for the viewer at home, we really only get to see the ins and outs of the on-field workouts.
Teams value the on-field workouts a ton. Some teams value speed more than others. Some teams look for certain measurables and times based on the size of players. Therefore, what players could expect to see their draft stock increase over the combine workouts?
5. Kalen Ballage – HB – Arizona State
Every gm is going to watch Kalen Ballage and ask their scout how in the world this guy isn’t higher on their draft board. The 6-foot-3, 230 pound, running back is going to run really fast. He was by far the best pure athlete of any running back at the Senior Bowl. You could also make the argument he was the best skill position player of any player down in Mobile.
His collegiate stats won’t blow you away either. He never rushed for more than 669 yards in a season. Ballage has always shown flashes like his 7 touchdown game in 2016 but for whatever reason just hasn’t put it all together. Maybe it’s worth looking into considering the program just hired that clown Herm Edwards. In what is an extremely deep running back class, Ballage’s athleticism could be the difference that pushes him in the middle rounds.
4. Andrew Brown – DL – Virginia
One of the biggest tools I look for when scouting defensive lineman is that 10-yard split. It turns out that lesson worked last year when Carl Lawson and Trey Hendrickson both turned out pretty darn good as rookies taken in the middle rounds. Brown was a five-star recruit that just didn’t play well for whatever reason. The 6-foot-4 defensive end didn’t really show much at the Senior Bowl either but he was the first one off the ball on a consistent basis during the game.
Teams are going to have to do a lot of work on Brown, possibly in the interview phase as well. He was active hands but 3.5 sacks just aren’t cutting it. The Virginia product has great hand work but for whatever reason doesn’t have high sack production. If he gets off the ball quickly in on-field work, he could leapfrog up the draft board.
3. Tremaine Edmunds – LB – Virginia Tech
Linebackers that can run are something that is in high demand in today’s NFL. Safeties like Eric Reid, Mark Barron, and Deone Buchannon have been turned into linebackers that can cover specific matchups for NFL teams. Edmunds is a guy who can really run who will come in that mold of a Ryan Shazier type of player.
Edmunds, 6-foot-5, 250, also comes from a football family. His dad, Ferrell, was a two-time Pro Bowl tight end from Miami. His brother Trey is a running back from the Saints and Terrell was a safety on his collegiate team. Good bloodlines are always a positive thing. Long, rangy, and fast. That sounds like a good combo to shoot up boards and possibly into a top 15 range.
2. Courtland Sutton – WR – SMU
In a horrible receiver class, Sutton can really shoot up draft boards. Height, weight, speed demons can work their way into the top 10. Remember when I told you that Corey Davis and John Ross weren’t that good? Sutton at 6-foot-4, 220, has a chance to run in the 4.45 range. If he runs into the 4.5 or 4.6 range, you can pretty much wipe this segment out. The route running may be the more intriguing thing to watch here. Both Mike Williams and Laquon Treadwell couldn’t run routes despite good size. I’m wary here but receivers are coveted.
1. Lamar Jackson – QB – Louisville
Jackson is going to run very fast. Some team will convince themselves they can turn Jackson into a franchise quarterback but that probably isn’t true. Jackson has never completed 60 percent of his throws during his three-years at Louisville and really should be a receiver. Depending on how dynamic Jackson proves to be in the workouts, there will be a team that convinces themselves that Jackson is a taller version of Michael Vick.
2018 is filled with a ton of quarterbacks this year. Jackson just isn’t a quarterback but his workout will be filled with a ton of buzz.