Combine Final Thoughts: The Offense Prospects

Combine Final Thoughts: The Offense Prospects. Fiu on the freakish receivers, Jameis vs. Marcus & the RBs.

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The Final Thoughts on the offensive players at the 2015 NFL Combine.


How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Quarterbacks

- You might be able to win a Super Bowl because you have Jameis Winston. You might be in quarterback purgatory with Marcus Mariota – that Andy Dalton/Ryan Tannehill world of being set at the position, but not good enough to expect him to carry you to a title.

- Nothing happened among the quarterbacks to truly change any preconceived notions. Jameis Winston threw well, Marcus Mariota was athletic, and there really isn’t a No. 3 option in this draft.

- Because everyone expected Mariota to be fast and athletic, his absolutely fantastic workout probably isn’t going to be appreciated enough – at least by the media.

- The 4.52 40 really was impressive.

- Andrew Luck ran a 4.59. Just saying.

- No, Mariota doesn’t have the arm to deliver the next-level fastball, but he might not really need that. No, he’s absolutely not Joe Montana, who proved that having touch and timing can be more than enough. The scouts couldn’t have asked for a better workout.

- Also, in terms of vocal leadership – the lack of which is a knock against Mariota – Montana wasn’t exactly Knute Rockne with the fire and brimstone speeches.

- And that’s the last time I use Joe Montana and Marcus Mariota in the same sentence ever again.

- If Winston had Mariota’s character background, he’d be the slam-dunk, no-brainer No. 1 overall pick, interceptions and all.

- And here’s the difference. The media might think of Jameis one way, but the players are different. Winston owns the room he’s in, even one as big as Lucas Oil Stadium. That was HIS combine when the quarterbacks were on the field. Mariota’s lead-by-example style will only go so far, and he knows that.

- Winston’s shoulder issue was glossed over a bit once he slung it better than anyone in Indy, but more needs to be talked about with that. Did he need a shot to make the weakness and problem go away so he could throw, or did he get it as part of the physical?

- All of the quarterbacks looked fine. If you’re good enough to be invited to this thing, you should be able to look good completing passes to elite wide receivers when no one is breathing down your neck.

- Brett Hundley is athletic, and he’s going to start for someone, but he just seems like a guy – nothing more. He just doesn’t command the attention to be considered a must-have prospect to build around.

- Bryce Petty could be the surprise coming out of this draft. It might take him a little while to learn the concept of a huddle, and he might have to get used to calling plays a certain way, but the guy can throw. He has the almost unteachable ability to simply be a pure passer.

- Brandon Bridge is worth developing, but he’s a project. The skills are there, and he looks the part, but he was too inconsistent. There was just enough in his workout to think that there could possibly be a payoff down the road.

- If Jameis flames out, there’s a chance this quarterback class is a complete and utter waste of time.

Running Backs

How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Running Backs

- Gut feeling: Jay Ajayi is the back many teams really want. Sometimes silence is deafening, and no one is talking about him – for a player of his caliber, there’s usually a reason for that. Watch for several GMs and scouts to want someone else to pay the first round price for the Todd Gurley knee and the Melvin Gordon will-a-Badger-back-ever-be-NFL-good concerns, and then hope to get Ajayi on the relative cheap in the second.

- NFL, don’t go against the trend that you already know works. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever to take any of these running backs in the first round – including Gordon or a healthy Gurley. This is a deep, deep, deep group of backs, so moneyball this. You can get two of this year’s excellent crop later on and work them both without having to pay first round retail.

- You take Gurley late in the first round. I’ll take my chances with T.J. Yeldon late in the third and Michael Dyer or Dee Hart or Josh Robinson or Thomas Rawls late to go along with a hungry and desperate journeyman.

- Gurley’s decision to not go through the physical and medical process is probably going to be overblown until he finally gets the all clear a few months from now. Is it a calculated risk that Gurley’s handlers don’t want him to be pulled and yanked too much, or, is there some sort of fear that there’s something wrong, even though Dr. James Andrews said everything is okay?

- Let’s stop right now with the Melvin Gordon/Jamaal Charles comparison. Charles tore off a 4.38 while Gordon came up with a 4.52. Yes, that extra burst means something, especially in Jam Chaz’s game.

- Gordon’s thicker and more muscular than he was at the Big Ten media sessions. He wasn’t wispy then by any stretch, but he wasn’t perceived as the power back he actually is.

- Forget the okay 40 time, though – he was smooth where he had to be.

- My favorite back at the combine was Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford. I’m not sure why he’s not given any credit for running with power; he’s strong enough for his size. In Indy, he was outstanding when he was on the move, looking as smooth as glass and a half-step faster than everyone else in the cone drills to go along with his great 40.

- There has to be a place in the NFL for a massive back with feet like Hawaii’s Joey Iosefa’s.

- The shelf might be around two years considering his style, but despite the painfully slow 40, I wouldn’t be stunned if for a little while, Minnesota’s David Cobb turned out to be the most effective of all the great Big Ten backs in this draft. Remember, New England and Seattle got to the Super Bowl with power runners. Cobb looks the part.

- There might be a slew of red flags, but Michael Dyer looked great. There’s too much talent to ignore.

- I wanted Ameer Abdullah and Duke Johnson to be faster. They’re going to be part of a rotation, but to be their size and play the game they play, they needed to be flashes of lightning.

- Like Jamaal Charles.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Wide Receivers
How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Tight Ends

- I’m convinced that if I keep working out, someday I’ll have the body of a Kevin White or DeVante Parker.

- Throw in Jaelen Strong, and the high-end of this year’s receiving class is the absolute truth. There’s size and speed to terrorize NFL secondaries for years. This was a central casting combine for star wideout prospects.

- Don’t overthink this – Amari Cooper is still the best wide receiver in the draft. It’s okay if you want to argue White’s skills and tools, and Parker certainly looked outstanding, but Cooper had a phenomenal weekend, too.

- America, why are you trying to shoehorn Devin Funchess into a wide receiver? Top NFL wide receivers don’t run a 4.7. Make him a tight end and enjoy.

- These tight ends were SLOW. Nick O’Leary just finished his 40 … wait for it … now.

- However, O’Leary – sans gloves – caught everything that was even remotely thrown his way. Just like a great basketball shooter whose range is the gym, O’Leary’s catching radius – short body type and all – appears to be the stadium.

- Maxx Williams looked head-and-shoulders better than every other tight end. Taking Funchess out of the equation, there’s Williams, and then a ten-mile gap to the No. 2 tight end.

- If you can listen quietly, you might hear the sound of Dorial Green-Beckham not destroying the combine as expected.

- DGB’s workout was really, really good, but it wasn’t truly freakish compared to some of the other top prospects. The leaping ability was just okay, and the 4.49 was good enough, but considering all the red flags, that’s a YP – your problem. If he turns into the next Kelvin Benjamin, I tip my hat.

- I want Tyler Lockett on my team. He’s not a No. 1 target, but he’s going to make some NFL quarterback very, very happy.

- While you’re going to be busy this week doing whatever it is you do, every single scout and GM will spend a significant part of the next few days diving into tape of UAB’s diminutive blazer J.J. Nelson – who caught EVERYTHING thrown his way – and the star of your 2015 NFL Combine, Georgia’s’ Chris Conley.

- The toughest calls in this draft might be the star Georgia Tech and UCF receivers. Yellow Jacket standout De’Andre Smelter needs to get healthy first, and Darren Waller has to learn how to catch, but these two have a world of upside. If I’m a GM, I need my scouts to tell me why I’m not taking a mid-round flier on a 6-6, 238-pound receiver like Waller who runs a 4.46. Meanwhile, UCF’s Rannell Hall and Breshad Perriman are quickly becoming the IT prospects. Hall blew out the vertical and broad jumps, while there was noticeable disappointment that Perriman didn’t run thanks to a bum hamstring.

Offensive Lineman

How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Offensive Tackles
How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Offensive Guards
How were each prospects workouts? Analyzing the Centers

- The best guards in this draft came into Indy thinking they were tackles.

- Iowa’s Brandon Scherff had better come up with a new wrinkle on his pro day, or he becomes a very high-end left guard instead of a top ten overall pick-caliber tackle.

- I know everyone is falling in love with Pitt’s T.J. Clemmings, but with the 37 reps and the way he moved for a 6-6, 329-pounder, Miami’s Ereck Flowers looked like the best tackle in the draft.

- Andrus Peat has suddenly turned into a possible top ten selection, but all top Stanford line prospects look the part. They don’t play up to expectations at the next level – you go ahead and take that chance and leave Flowers on the board for me.

- If you want to know what a perennial Pro Bowl center looks like, watch Cameron Erving’s workout.

- Kansas State’s B.J. Finney looks too much like a barrel, and he scoots more than he runs, but he was surprisingly athletic for a big center. He screams ten-year-quarterback-of-a-line.

- I wanted more out of Florida State’s Josue Matias. I thought he was going to come out of Indy as THE guard to take, but he couldn’t move a lick.

- If he’s ready to do everything a coaching staff asks of him, Texas A&M’s Jarvis Harrison showed that he might be the top pure guard in the draft – even if he goes in the middle rounds.

- With a little bit of patience, Florida tackle D.J. Humphries might be special. Think of it this way, his 40 was 0.13 slower than Jameis Winston’s.

- Without the helmet throwing part of the equation, Oregon’s Jake Fischer might be Kyle Turley in the right zone-blocking scheme. He has the attitude and the athleticism – his workout probably moved him up at least one round.

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