College all-star games: check.
Scouting Combine: check.
All that’s left is the pro day full of inconsistent times and measurements so the majority of the evaluation is already on the table outside of the specific workouts that some are saving for the pro day.
Analysts and scouts have a variety of ways when evaluating the combine process and what it entails. Some put a hefty amount of emphasis on particular workouts regarding position as others just write down the number and don’t look at it ever again. The majority will (should) use the combine to accentuate a certain aspect found on film to only complement with what has already been written down.
In the 2017 combine, most of the participants that were expected to do well in certain areas of testing did. Some actually improved in some areas that will send a fair share of evaluators back to the film room to see what was missed on tape (See: Raekown McMillan running a 4.61).
Though, not everybody can be great. And some failed to reach the lofty expectation they were given.
Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple – No other prospect has increased their stock more than Reddick has this offseason. With an impressive Senior Bowl week, Reddick was expected to have a nice day in Indianapolis and, boy, did he? Viewed as an athletic chess piece on tape at linebacker, Reddick answered the call running a 4.52 40-yard dash, jumping a 36.5-inch vertical and finishing with an 11-foot broad jump.
Obi Melifonwu, Safety, Connecticut – Men with a 6-foot-4 and 220 pound frame usually don’t bust out a 4.40 40-yard dash or a 44-inch vertical. Though his long legs can be his biggest enemy in athletic drills, Melifonwu made it work. He showed the ability to flip his hips and show burst and acceleration. Knocking at the door of the first round after a solid week in Mobile, Melifonwu is now knocking it down.
John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington – I was tipped off earlier in the week that Ross would break the 40-yard dash record (Chris Johnson, 2008, 4.24). As Ross’ 4.22 took form, it didn’t surprise many draft followers as he was expected to fly. He is in the “Stock Up” category because he may have been teetering with a top 20 pick but it is almost certain he will be the second or third receiver taken in the draft assuming that is within the top 20 picks.
Carl Lawson, Defensive End, Auburn – Even though Lawson put up some impressive numbers in his three-year playing career at Auburn, we have yet to see what he really could be spending too much time on the bench with injuries. Lawson proved he is an impressive athlete running a 4.67 40 at 261 pounds with plus upper body strength throwing up 35 reps on the bench press. Health is Lawson’s biggest concern but his tape and athletic traits scream late first round.
Zay Jones, Wide Receiver, East Carolina – If it isn’t for Reddick stealing the top spot, Jones has also made huge strides during the entirety of the draft season. Now viewed as a top five receiver in a talented group, Jones executed well in Indianapolis. After running an impressive 4.45 in the dash, he was a cool customer in the gauntlet drill among other receiver drills. Jones will be a top half pick in the second round but don’t be surprised if a team falls in love with him within the final few picks of the first round.
Jordan Willis, Defensive End, Kansas State – Talking to a few sources in Mobile, it was stated that Willis was going to be a top 50 pick after an impressive week and a productive career. Though he is strictly a speed rusher and doesn’t show any flashy pass rush moves, there are now noticeable traits to work with. Willis had an incredible 10-yard spilt (1.54 – better than Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Von Miller) to complement with his above average 40-time at 4.53. Willis finished the weekend with a 39-inch vertical, a 6.85 3-cone and a 4.28 short shuttle.
Fabian Moreau, Cornerback, UCLA – As a whole, the defensive back group was overly impressive as expected. So any player that can somewhat penetrate the current rankings or shine in a talented group, has earned the right to be recognized. Moreau ran an outstanding 4.35 40 which ranked fourth this weekend regardless of position. A fluid mover in drills showing translatable change of direction skills, Moreau also jumped 38-inches in the vertical and 11 feet in the broad jump.
Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama – Foster missed a big opportunity to solidify a top 10 selection and with Reddick having such a big offseason, Foster’s status is in jeopardy based on draft projection. News broke a week or so ago that Foster has some shoulder issues and only to top that off, Foster was in the news again for an altercation with a medical staff member. Foster was told to leave Indianapolis.
Cooper Kupp, Wide Receiver, Eastern Washington – Depending on who you asked at the Senior Bowl, Kupp either had a great week or just a ho-hum five-day stretch with glimpses of positive things. Running a 4.62 will keep teams away from drafting the productive Eastern Washington receiver early though he plays with a higher threshold of game speed compared to that time. Kupp may now officially just be another guy at slot receiver.
Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida – A potential versatile weapon in the defensive backfield, Tabor is an intriguing prospect that has yet to have a game of bad tape. Though he plays with adequate speed on film along with decent strength, Tabor clocked in with a pedestrian 40-time of 4.63 and racked the bench press bar after only nine reps. Somebody can do the research for me, but not many defensive backs get picked in the first round with a 4.6 testing time. Some murmurs out there that teams aren’t sold on his personality as he may be hard to handle at the next level.
Jonathan Allen, Defensive Line, Alabama – His tape says otherwise, but based on his on the field drills and recent news on his injury status, Allen’s top three to five pick status may be over. Allen potentially faces a threat of arthritis issues at only 22 years old.
Check out our full coverage of the Scouting Combine by position.