NFL Scouting Combine

10 players who impressed at 2018 Combine

Posted Mar 6, 2018

Tim Twentyman takes a look at 10 prospects who improved their draft stock at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis is over, and NFL talent evaluators have another piece of the puzzle in their overall evaluation process leading up to the NFL Draft next month.

The game film is still the ultimate evaluator, but players can show out at the Combine and help their stock. Players can also force the evaluators back to the tape with a poor performance in Indianapolis.

Here’s a look at 10 players who had a good week at the Combine:

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Barkley was expected to come into the Combine and impress. He did exactly that. He measured in at 6-foot and 233 pounds, and ran the 40 in 4.40 seconds with 29 bench press reps and a vertical jump of 41.0 inches. He’s big, fast and explosive, which is pretty much everything a team would want from a workhorse running back. His Combine put him in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick.

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Allen probably has the strongest arm of any quarterback coming into the draft since Jamarcus Russell. The big question mark surrounding him was his accuracy. During on-field drills, Allen (6-5, 237) was very accurate in the throwing sessions, and was easily the most impressive of the quarterbacks who threw. He also showed off some athletic traits that teams will like with a 40 time of 4.75 seconds and a vertical of 33.5, which led all quarterbacks.

Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida

Griffin was one of the best stories to come out of the Combine. He lost his left hand due to a prenatal condition when he was four years old, but he's never let that limit him. He was the American Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 with 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks as an outside linebacker. A late invite to the Combine, Griffin turned it on its head when he ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds at 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds. It was the fastest time by a linebacker since 2003. He also put up 20 reps on the bench using a prosthetic to grip the bar. I bet teams are heading back to their respective cities and throwing on more tape of Griffin after his Combine performance. He really helped his draft stock.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

This is a very talented and deep group of running backs, and some natural separation was going to happen at the Combine. Chubb really helped himself with his performance. His 40 time of 4.52 was impressive for a 227-pounder. He tied Barkley with 29 bench press reps, and was second among running backs in the broad jump (10’8”) and fourth in the vertical (38.5).

Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio

Davenport checked off all the physical boxes here at the Combine. He measured in at 6-6 (6’5-6/8) and 264 pounds, which is terrific size for a down 4-3 edge rusher. He ran the 40 in 4.58 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.6 seconds. The 10-yard split is important for defensive linemen because it measures their get off at the snap. Davenport’s split was tied with NC State’s Bradley Chubb (the top rusher in class), and fourth best among all defensive linemen. Davenport is a bit raw, which is why he draws comparisons to Ziggy Ansah coming out.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

Gesicki put on an athletic showcase. The 6-foot-5, 247-pound tight end ran the 40 in 4.54 and had a vertical of 41.5 inches and a 10’9’’ broad jump. Those numbers equal out to him being a tall, fast and an explosive jumper. He certainly put himself into the conversation to be the first tight end off the board.    

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

Measuring 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds, Edmunds torched the 40 in 4.54 seconds and looked extremely smooth in drills. He can swing his hips and change direction almost like a defensive back. He can play off the ball as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, and then rush the quarterback in sub packages because of his size and athleticism. He had a good Combine showing off his versatility.  

Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama

The run-stuffing defensive tackle showed he’s also an athlete, and could have some untapped pass-rushing prowess in his game. He measured in at 6-foot-2 and 311 pounds, and ran a 4.95-second 40. Payne also ripped off 27 reps on the bench, and moved very well in position drills.  

Will Hernandez, G, UTEP

Hernandez checked in at 6-foot-2 and 327 pounds, and was terrific in positional workouts that showed his terrific footwork and the quickness he possesses for his size. He clocked a solid 5.15 seconds in the 40, and put up 37 reps on the bench. He’s firmly putting himself in the conversation to be a Day 1 pick in next month’s draft.

Derwin James, S, Florida State

James (6-3, 215) and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick (6-1, 201) are considered the top two safeties in the draft. Both could go in the Top 10. Fitzpatrick is expected to be the first safety off the board, but James proved to be the more explosive athlete at the Combine. His 40-inch vertical and 11-foot broad jump are off the charts for a man 215 pounds. His 21 reps on the bench were the fourth most among all DBs. He ran the 40 in 4.47-seconds, which nearly matched Fitzpatrick’s 4.46.