Top prospects in this May’s draft have completed the week-long event that they have been preparing for all off season. With only their pro-days and individual workouts between now and draft day, it’s time to analyze and over-analyze this crop of football players.
Every year you hear about top names not participating in the combine position drills. This year that group was led by Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, and Jadeveon Clowney. People will overreact to their decisions by questioning their passion and work ethic, but come May, those three names will be off the board early.
One guy who seemed to earn a little respect back by deciding to participate in full was Alabama quarterback, AJ McCarron. McCarron garnered tons of criticism by declining his invitation to the Senior Bowl in January. Many believed that decision was a result of McCarron not having enough confidence in his skill set to compete with other top Seniors. He shut up his critics by participating and doing well in all throwing drills. He is still not a top two round talent, but he helped himself out this week.
The running back that stood out to me most was Washington running back, Bishop Sankey.
He had the seventh fastest 40 yard dash time at 4.49. That is not burner speed, but it is enough to be successful at the next level. He was second in bench press reps with 26, and was the fastest in the 20 yard shuttle and three cone drill. Aside from his incredible workout results, he was very smooth in the position drills. He showed natural running ability and great hands out of the backfield.
This year’s depth at wide receiver is unlike any other draft in a long time. There are guys who could be instant starters all the way through the first three rounds. So when I say Odell Beckham Jr. dominated at his position during the week, that goes a long way. Beckham had the softest hands of all the wide outs in Indianapolis. He posted a very good 40 time at 4.43. He has locked up a spot in the middle of round one in my book.
All the hype was on Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson, but I believe Taylor Lewan out shined him on Saturday. Lewan showed surprising athleticism. With a 40 time of 4.87, he posted a better number than many tight ends. He was towards the top of the group in every workout during the week and really impressed in the position drills. If he can show he has matured off the field, he could be a great catch for a team in the first round.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle, Aaron Donald, stole the show on Monday. At almost 300 lbs, he showed more athleticism and fluidity than guys fifty pounds lighter. He impressed during workouts with great natural moving ability and explosiveness. Donald has a great all around game and is moving up boards quickly. He is continuing to have one of the more exciting off seasons in recent memory.
Other notables: QB Blake Bortles, WR Brandin Cooks, DL Scott Crichton, LB Jordan Tripp, CB Kyle Fuller.