The 2015 Scouting Combine is almost here. The New York Giants will be in attendance as always, and we here at Big Blue View will get you prepared for everything that's coming your way. It's the last big piece of the puzzle in terms of the scouting outlook for a lot of these players. After that come school pro days, and then before you know it, the 2015 NFL Draft.
Now the Combine won't be the end all, be all in terms of evaluations, but any better than expected (or worse than expected) outcomes will send GMs and scouts back to the film room to figure out what's going on with a prospect. The Combine can break ties between two prospects as well. Fair or not, the combine will effect every prospect in some way, so let's take a closer look at it:
You can find every single participant in a sortable table right here: NFL Combine Participants.
You'll find that quite a few of these players have been examined in our ongoing 'Prospect Profiles' series.
Let's take a look at some of the drills that the Combine has to offer:
The Interview: This isn't really a drill, but regardless, it's not only an event, it is THE event. This is the first time teams get to meet with some players and the impression that they make will be a lasting one. Recent draft picks Rueben Randle, Justin Pugh, David Wilson, Odell Beckham all met with the Giants at the combine and made lasting impressions. Pugh showed the Giants his intelligence and stressed his versatility, Wilson blew them away before even saying anything by showing up in a suit, and Odell Beckham (as per 'Finding Giants') convinced them of his intelligence and passion for the game.
It's also a chance for those players with character or other concerns to prove themselves. Marcus Mariota will get a chance to display his knowledge of what a pro-style offense means to him. Jameis Winston can clear the air on any of the buzz surrounding him.
40-yard dash: Measures straight line speed over a distance. Not very important for non-skill position players, but coming from the 40-yard dash is the "10-yard split." That is the time it takes to travel the first 10 yards of the event and gives a measurement as to the player's explosion and first step. Very important for defensive and offensive linemen. Dontari Poe had a 10-yard split of 1.7 at 330 pounds, which is decent for a linebacker.
Jadeveon Clowney had a 40-yard dash of 4.53 and Aaron Donald had one of 4.68, both extreme times and while they were destined to go early anyway, this just was the topping on the cake.
Bench press: Fairly simple, it measures upper body strength. Moreso it shows if you have stayed in good condition over the offseason. Poor numbers here possibly indicate not working hard enough. Damontre Moore was a clear example of this and a big reason why he fell all the way to the middle of the third round.
Vertical and Broad jump: Another measurement of explosion and lower body strength. Also important for wide receivers and defensive backs to show off their leaping ability. Who were the linebackers who dominated the vertical jump last year? Ryan Shazier jumped 42 inches and Khalil Mack jumped 40 inches. Insane but their explosion on film matched the numbers that they put up.
3-cone drill: Essentially a change of direction drill. Most important for skill position players. Shows off lateral agility and ability to accelerate out of a turn. One of the drills that translates best on the field. A good score in the 3 cone is often a marker for a high draft pick. This is one of my favorite drills and it's apparently a favorite of the Giants as well of late.
2014: Odell Beckham ranked sixth among all WRs.
2013: Justin Pugh ranked sixth among all OL.
2012: David Wilson ranked 10th among all RBs
20/60-yard shuttles: Shows the ability to come to a complete stop and accelerate. Obviously important for any position and a good score here is indicative of explosion and body control. As you can see, explosion is a big factor here and one that the NFL is keen to see. Two of the Giants' most explosive players as of late shined in these drills. David Wilson was third among all RBs in the 20-yard shuttle, and fourth in the 60-yard shuttle. Odell Beckham was third among ALL PLAYERS in the 20-yard shuttle, and fourth in the 60-yard shuttle.
Position-specific drills: Each position has specific drills that test for many different attributes. Change of direction and hip swing for defensive backs, hands skills for wide receivers during the "gauntlet," kick slide drills for the offensive linemen, power for the defensive linemen in hitting bag drills and accuracy for quarterbacks in throwing drills.
The NFL Combine will be broadcast on NFL Network from Feb. 17-23. Here is the position-by-position workout schedule:
Friday, Feb. 20: Tight Ends, Offensive Linemen, Special Teams
Saturday, Feb.21: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers
Sunday, Feb. 22: Defensive Line, Linebackers
Monday, Feb. 23: Defensive Backs
The NFL Combine traditionally takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis.
We essentially went over why this is so important, so instead, let's go over five prospects I think will benefit the most from this experience, and five who might be hurt.
IXI's Top 5 Projected Performers
1) Jameis Winston, QB Florida State - There's a lot of...well...stuff that swirling around Jameis Winston. I'm not going to comment on any of it surrounding Winston because I have no idea what did or didn't happen. I do think that Winston is a smart individual, however, and I think he's going to project that "alpha-male" vibe that teams look for, setting himself in position to being the first overall pick.
2) Phillip Dorsett, WR Miami - The combine was made for Dorsett, who has the potential to break the current combine record for the 40 yard dash held by Chris Johnson at 4.24. He's a blur on the field, and his measurables should shine. It's what got scouts to scramble back on Dri Archer and Jerick McKinnon. Dorsett has better film than both, so he could be in for a huge rise.
3) T.J. Clemmings, OT Pittsburgh - Clemmings has definitely had a "stock down" after his mediocre Senior Bowl, but he could more than make up for it at the Combine. Noted as one of the most athletic linemen in the draft, if Clemmings can have a day similar to Terron Armstead or Lane Johnson, he could easily be a top 15 pick.
4) Shane Ray, OLB/DE Missouri - I could've honestly gone with either Ray or Vic Beasley here. I expect both to dominate the short shuttle and 40-yard dashes. Both are elite level athletes that have the best burst in the country. Despite questions about fit, both will dazzle with their explosive capabilities.
5) Danielle Hunter, DE LSU - You've probably already seen Raptor's profile on Hunter (in case you haven't, here it is!). The man is built like a Greek God, and is an athletic specimen. His tape is up and down, but he's a disruptive player who could really help his stock by showing up at this event.
IXI's Bottom 5 Projected Performers
Now I want to start off by saying that these are just predictions, and I could be wrong. However, just based on what I see on film, there are some players who I think just won't look all that great in tights when compared to their colleagues. It's not necessarily a slight on their football capabilities, so we have to remember to separate the two.
1) Brandon Scherff, OL Iowa - Scherff is an excellent football player. I'm just not sure how athletic he is. I don't think he'll do poorly, per say, but I do think that there will be a lot of better looking offensive tackles out there, like the aforementioned Clemmings, Ereck Flowers, and Andrus Peat. That might push public opinion towards the "Scherff is a guard" idea, and would make him lose value as a tackle.
2) Denzel Perryman, ILB Miami - Like Scherff, Perryman is a very good football player but I'm unsure of how he'll perform at the Combine. He makes his living off instincts and violent hits, both of which don't really work at the Combine. He'll measure out shorter than the LB ideal, and when compared to his colleagues like Eric Kendricks, Benardrick McKinney, and Shaq Thompson, the hunch is he might end up looking a bit slow as well.
3) Eddie Goldman, DT Florida State - I think Goldman is a very strong prospect. He reminds me of a faster Timmy Jernigan with better length. However, his size lends himself towards being more of a 3 technique than a 1 technique, and he seems to have a bit more of a fleshy midsection than you'd like. I don't see him as a freakish athlete either, so his standing could suffer a little.
4) Devin Funchess, WR/TE Michigan - Funchess has trouble with drops. That's his biggest weakness and if he drops any at the combine, it will probably reaffirm that and hurt him. He is mitigated by the fact that he's performing with the other tight ends, so he'll definitely look better than them in the running drills, but the blocking and lifting sections might be a bit tough for him.
5) Mike Davis, RB South Carolina - At the combine, it's all about speed. This year's running back class could be historically good, so there's a ton of competition. Mike Davis is a very balanced back that runs with power. He could find himself at a disadvantage when running against Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah, Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi, and T.J. Yeldon in terms of just pure speed and quickness.