Tuesday marked the second day of the NFL Scouting Combine, and the arrival of the offensive line and running back position groups.
These are two very good position groups with good talent at the top and great depth, and the New York Giants will likely be interested in the offensive tackles in particular. Fortunately for the Giants, the tackles wasted little time in impressing.
Top tackles checking boxes
Most of the time one of the top tackles in a draft class gets a disappointing measurement at the Combine. Usually it’s shorter than ideal arms, we have to spend time talking about how it doesn’t really matter — that they still had really good tape despite not being able to scratch their ankles while standing up straight.
This year, each of the top four tackles passed the NFL’s commonly held thresholds with flying colors.
Andrew Thomas: 6-foot 5 1/8 inches, 315 pounds, 36 1/8 inch arms, 10 1⁄4 inch hands
Jedrick Wills Jr.: 6-foot 4 1⁄4 inches, 312 pounds, 34 1⁄4 inch arms, 10-inch hands
Tristan Wirfs: 6-foot 4 7/8 inches, 320 pounds, 34-inch arms, 10 1⁄4 inch hands
Mekhi Becton: 6-foot 7 3/8 inches, 364 pounds, 35 5/8 inch arms, 10 3⁄4 inch hands
How big is too big?
Speaking of Mekhi Becton, he is, in the words of my generation, “An absolute unit.” For reference, he is six pounds shy of being twice the size of Arizona RB J.J. Taylor, who weighed in at 185 pounds.
Chatting with Joe before our podcast there have been a few times where we knew we were going to be talking about Becton, we each said that we thought Louisville’s listing of him at 370 pounds was inflated. He doesn’t look 370 and there is just no way a guy that big can move like Becton does on the field.
Yeah, we were wrong.
But we still have to ask: Is he too big? He obviously carries his weight remarkably well and has an utterly massive frame. But still, how will his movement stack up with the rest of the draft class? How well can he bend and sit into his stance. Can he maintain leverage throughout a long rep or for the course of the game. How much wear and tear will carrying and maintaining that much mass have on his joints over the course of a season and his rookie contract?
(It’s also worth noting that Becton has been working with Duke Manyweather, which a definite vote in his favor in my book.)
Then there’s South Carolina State OT Alex Taylor. Even in a place like the NFL scouting combine, Taylor will stand out in a crowd.
Measuring in at 6-foot 8 3/8 inches, 308 pounds, with 36 1/8 inch arms and 11 1⁄4 inch catchers’ mitts... erm... I mean hands.
How is it possible for someone over 300 pounds to also be described as “lanky”? Taylor has fantastic length and will likely be drafted for his measurables alone, and that gets even more likely if he tests well. Personally, I’m more interested to see how he does in the position drills and whether or not he can bend his knees, sink his hips, and play with good leverage despite his height.
AJ Dillon confirms stoutness
Dillon has quietly become a mock-draft darling. He hasn’t been considered in the first two days that I have seen, but he pops up again and again on the third day for a lot of teams.
I’ve seen him mocked to the Giants (as a betwee-the-tackles thunder to go with Saquon Barkley’s lightning), Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, and more.
More than anything it’s his size that gets people’s attention. Measuring in at 6-feet, 3/8 inches and 247 pounds, he has the thickness normally reserved for fullbacks. And, I’m calling it now, we will definitely see a comparison pic with Taylor (5-foot-5, 185 pounds) and Dillon (6-foot, 247). Remember the pictures of Simone Biles and NBA players from the last Olympics? Sports media loves those kinds of contrasts.
That might be fun, but I’m more interested to see if Dillon can test well enough to dispel the ideas that his frame makes him a fullback.
Other Backs to watch
If we’re looking for other running backs to keep an eye on, and we should be, how about TCU’s Sewo Olonilua and Utah’s Zach Moss.
Olonilua measured in as the tallest RB on the property at 6-foot 2 5/8 inches, and the second-heaviest at 232 pounds. He moves well on the field with good patience and vision to find creases and power to run through arm tackles. He could see a stock boost if he runs well and shows good agility at his size.
And while Invictus accused me of not being a fan of Moss, I very much am. He has fantastic contact ballance, and at 5-foot 9 3/8 inches and 223 pounds, his center of gravity is low enough to make use of that balance. He has a good enough burst to make his 40-yard dash and jumps interesting as well.