The quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends took the field on Saturday, and while we knew we were in for a show, we didn’t know how good it was going to be.
The story of the day is the dethroning of Chris Johnson as the “Fastest Man In The NFL”, when Washington receiver John Ross blew past Johnson’s 4.24-second 40-yard dash record. But there were other terrific performances, and Ross wasn’t the only prospect to set a record Saturday.
We know the New York Giants were paying attention to the tight ends, but how did the rest of the positions do?
DeShaun Watson (Clemson) - We already knew that Watson is a great athlete. He helped himself today by making everything look easy when it came to delivering the ball to the receivers. He had been out of the conversation for top quarterback, but he might have re-entered that discussion.
Brad Kaaya (Miami) - When it came to looking good as a pro style quarterback, Kaaya aced the test. He has plenty of experience in a pro style system, and it showed. His feet were clean and mechanics smooth making “NFL” throws. His issues come when the pocket gets dirty and he is under pressure, so the combine plays to his strengths.
Big Winner - John Ross (Washington)
Ross’ day ended early thanks to a calf cramp, but after putting up a record-breaking time in the 40-yard dash, that doesn’t matter. He started strong with great numbers in the broad and vertical jumps, then stole the show with a 4.22 second 40 yard dash. He also reportedly blew teams away in meetings. There are some decision makers who think he has vaulted into the top 10 of the draft.
Charles Godwin (Penn State) - Godwin came on strong for Penn State towards the end of the season and carried that momentum through to Indy. He ran faster than anticipated, and and showed good hands in the receiver drills.
Zay Jones (ECU) - Jones has been in Cooper Kupp’s shadow throughout the draft process so far. He emerged as a player in his own right today. He had some of the best numbers of any receiver and was impressive in drills.
Carlos Henderson (Louisiana Tech) - Henderson came into the combine as an “under the radar” prospect. However, after running faster than expected and looking smooth and natural in drills, His is a name everyone should remember.
Krishawn Hogan (Marian) - One of the biggest receivers in the building, Hogan is a small school player who took advantage of his opportunity. His workout was impressive and he showed that he could hang with the bigger-school prospects.
Kenny Golladay (Northern Illinois) - Called a “triangle” player by Mike Mayock, Golladay certainly possesses an intriguing blend of height, weight, and speed. Measuring in as one of the bigger receivers, he sowed an impressive burst off the line and out of his breaks. That is a good trait for a big receiver.
Curtis Samuel (Ohio State) - A running back / wide receiver hybrid for Ohio State, teams might not have known quite what to make of Samuel. After a 4.31 second 40, he should be drafted as a play-maker who can threaten defenses from all over the field.
Travin Dural (LSU) - Speed was supposed to be Dural’s stock in trade, but his workout seemed to fall flat after turning a 4.6 forty yard dash. His long strides would likely eat up field in a game, but as he was already handicapped by poor quarterback play, he doesn’t have much film to fall back on.
Corey Davis (WMU) - Davis was in the conversation for the top wide receiver in the draft. However, an ankle injury has kept him from working out with the rest of the receivers. In his absence, John Ross set a new record for the 40 yard dash. And in the process of stealing the show, Ross may have leapfrogged both Davis and Williams in the minds of general managers at the top of the draft.
Big Winner - Evan Engram (Ole Miss)
Engram did it all today. Not only was he at the top of the class as far as measureables are concerned (his 4.42-second 40-yard dash speaks for itself), but he was excellent in the positional drills. Smooth and effortless running routes and showed natural hands catching the ball. He is under-sized, but for the team that likes to attack match-ups, Engram will be a weapon.
Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech) - Arguably the best athlete at the combine, many wondered whether Hodges would come in heavier than 240 pounds. He showed up at nearly 260 pounds, still turned in a 4.57-second 40, 39-inch vertical, and a combine record 11’2” broad jump. Hodges looked uncomfortable blocking out of a three-point stance, but he showed natural hands as a receiver.
George Kittle (Iowa) - Kittle isn’t widely known, but he had a strong showing. Likely a hybrid or H-back tight end at the next level, he showed surprising athleticism both in measureable events and position drills.
Adam Shaheen (Ashland) - This was Shaheen’s introduction to many outside of the NFL. He showed off the athleticism that has scouts buzzing, while also looking surprisingly polished as a receiver, rarely fighting the ball.
In a tight end class this good, nobody really hurt themselves. It would have been nice, however, to see Jordan Leggett (Clemson) and Eric Saubert (Drake) run the 40, instead of waiting for their Pro Days.