The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is one of my favorite days of the year. For the first time, we get to see the best talent in the upcoming draft class compete to give us an up close and personal look at each of these prospects. Having gone through the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, the Combine demonstrates pure athleticism in a variety of drills including the 40 yards dash, bench press, etc. Which player can take advantage of this opportunity and raise their draft stock the most during the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine?
- Garrett Bolles – Left Tackle (Utah)
It is no secret that this draft class stinks in regard to the offensive line. Garrett Bolles will win the week in terms of pure athleticism. The former Utah product is by far the most athletic tackle prospect I have seen thus far and can pull and move to the 2nd level of the defense with ease. Personally, I’m against drafting Bolles who will be 25 by the start of the season. Someone will fall for this guy early who plays with a real mean streak. The biggest challenge for Bolles might actually be in the interview room questioning his age and troubled past.
- Myles Garrett – Edge Rusher (Texas A&M)
Garrett is the most talented player in this draft and should be considered a once in a generation type of player. Garrett reminds me of a bigger version of Von Miller. At 6’5″, 265, if Garrett can run anywhere close to Miller’s 40 time of 4.49 back in 2011, he will probably become a lock for the Browns at 1. He probably isn’t as twitchy of an athlete as Jadeveon Clowney but he is more powerful and skilled.
- Charles Harris – Pass Rusher (Missouri)
Harris is a player who is getting overlooked for all the wrong reasons. His Missouri team went just 4-8 this past season but that didn’t stop him from getting big sack production. Harris reeled in 9 sacks in 2016 and 7 sacks in 2015. He did not even start playing football until his junior year in high school which should show how athletic he must be. I am expecting his 10 yard split to be fantastic as he might have the quickest releases off the ball of any pass rusher in the draft.
- Adoree Jackson – Cornerback (USC)
Jackson is a track star and will likely put on a show in Indianapolis. Jackson is a two-time Pac 12 champion in the long jump and vertical jump. He also ran a 10.38 100-meter time for USC during the spring. Jackson is one of my top rated corners without all the athleticism. He could really shoot up draft boards.
- Patrick Mahomes – Quarterback (Texas Tech)
One of these teams desperate for a quarterback is going to fall in love with Pat Mahomes. In terms of pure arm strength, Mahomes probably tops the list. My problem with Mahomes is he often times tries to play hero ball and refuses to read the defense and take what’s given to him. Mahomes is incredibly raw but some team will fall for his athletic traits with the ability to roll out of the pocket. He has a chance to run in the 4.7 range too.
- Christian McCaffrey – Running Back (Stanford)
It’s a passing league and McCaffrey’s skill set fits the mold of today’s NFL. I expect him to run a lot faster than people expect maybe in the 4.4 range. McCaffrey is also a terrific route runner for the position and will likely shine above the rest in that aspect.
- Obi Melifonwu – Safety (Connecticut)
A few years ago a UConn defensive back by the name of Byron Jones stole the show and broke the record for the broad jump. This year, Melifonwu comes into the draft process with the same kind of traits. He is a much bigger in the box type of safety but I expect him to test off the charts.
- David Njoku – Tight End (Miami)
Njoku is a one year wonder of sorts but he is crazy athletic. He sort of resembles a faster version of Eric Ebron. I expect Njoku to run much faster than people expect, maybe in the 4.5 or 4.6 range. Njoku might be the most explosive tight end available averaging 17.2 yards per catch during his final collegiate season at Miami.
- Haason Reddick – Linebacker (Temple)
Haason Reddick was the big winner during the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He went from a mid-round pick to a possible first round pick in just one week. Reddick started off his collegiate career as a walk-on cornerback and transitioned to defensive end in college. Now he is expected to become a linebacker in the NFL who is very scheme versatile. At 6’2″, 237, I expect him to glide through the drills with ease and continue the momentum he had from the Senior Bowl.
- John Ross – Wide Receiver (Washington)
My comparison for Ross is DeSean Jackson. It’s possible that Ross is actually faster than Jackson as I expect him to run in the same range as Jackson’s 2008 – 40 yard dash time of 4.35. He is undersized but he can really take the top off the defense and has soft hands. This year’s receiving corp is not too deep so there is no reason Ross couldn’t be the first one off the board with a good showing. Ross’ medicals could come into play as well as he has had major surgery on both knees.