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O'HARA: 2017 All-Combine team

Somewhere between the first pick in the first round of the NFL draft on April 27 and the last pick on April 29 we'll find how much impact performing in the 2017 Combine had on where this year's prospects ultimately are drafted.

On its own, this year's Combine produced some memorable performances.

No player ever ran faster at the Combine than wide receiver John Ross of Washington did last week. Ross was timed in 4.22 seconds for the 40-yard dash, breaking the previous best 40 time of 4.24, set in 2008 by running back Chris Johnson, who played at East Carolina.

No big man performed better all-around this year than 272-pound defensive end Myles Garrett of Texas A&M. He ran and jumped like a man 50 pounds lighter and cemented his status as the player most likely to be drafted first overall.

And nobody generated more curiosity about what position he might play in the NFL than Jabrill Peppers, the multi-talented, multi-position star from the University of Michigan. He was part of a 14-player contingent of Wolverines who descended on the Combine as if it was one of head coach Jim Harbaugh's spring satellite camps.

In a Combine year when quarterbacks do not dominate the top of the draft, performances made the headlines. There were plenty to choose from in compiling the following 2017 All-Combine team.

There were no hard and fast rules in picking the team, except the choices were limited to players who went into the Combine likely to be first-round picks or made a case to rise to the first round based on their Combine performance.

There is one player each on the offensive and defensive lines, no fullback and no special teams players (kickers, punters, long snappers and return men).

With each position, there's a fantasy projection on what impact he would have if he were to be drafted by the Lions. That includes Garrett, who'll be long gone by the time the Lions make their pick at No. 21 in the first round.

Here is my 2017 All-Combine team. As always, feel free to disagree.

**Defensive line


Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: The easiest choice of any position. Garrett was the top prospect going into the Combine, and he came out No. 1. In fact, he almost soared through the roof with a 41-inch vertical jump. Combined with a 4.64 40 and 33 reps in the bench press, it was an all-decade performance.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: He has the elite pass-rush skills to plant Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on his nameplate before he has time to unload the ball for a Hail Mary.

Wide receiver

John Ross, Washington: He set the Combine 40-yard record as a wide receiver with legitimate track speed, not a track athlete converting to football.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion:  A terrific option for Matthew Stafford – the pump and go turns into pump and gone. A bonus is more room inside for Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and others to maneuver.

Running back

Leonard Fournette, LSU: His Combine numbers speak for themselves – a 4.51 time in the 40 for a 240-pound back, with documented production in the powerful SEC.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: The running game gets better. So does the passing game, especially play-action with Fournette an ever-present threat. Arm tackles won't bring Fournette down – unless it's three or four players and six or eight arms.

**Offensive line


Garett Bolles, Utah: He had the best Combine of the top OL prospects. An injury limited Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk to the bench press only. Bolles outperformed Alabama's Cam Robinson in the 40 and agility drill. Guard Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky gets some consideration, especially with a good 40 time and 34 reps in the bench press. When in doubt, go with the tackle.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: Depending on what happens in free agency, Bolles could be either an opening-day starter or a development player – much like Riley Reiff was as a rookie in 2012. It's a good insurance pick.

Tight end

O.J. Howard, Alabama: A better 40 time and more reps in the bench press let him depart Indy as the No. 1 prospect in a good group of tight ends. David Njoku of Miami (Fla.) and Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech also get mention.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: Any tight end the Lions would take at No. 21 would have to survive the wails of the critics. One person who wouldn't be unhappy is Matthew Stafford. As colleague Tim Twentyman has written, Stafford has excelled throwing in sets with two tight ends. Paired with Eric Ebron, the Lions would have twin tight end threats.



Haason Reddick, Temple: He was listed as a defensive end but really is a linebacker. He ran, jumped and did drills at a level worth of a first-round pick. No linebacker helped himself more.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: With projections of him at defensive end, he could be a pass-rush linebacker with Temple alum Tahir Whitehead remaining at middle linebacker in what I'd call "The Temple of Doom" defense.


Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State: This position group 40 looked like it was the finals of the NCAA indoor 60-meter dash, and Lattimore's 4.36 was among the best.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: Lined up opposite Darius Slay – who ran a 4.36 40 in 2013 – it would give the Lions a pair of cornerbacks with size, speed and range. Throw at them at your peril.


Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut: What Melifonwu did at 6-4, 224 was amazing – 4.40 in the 40, 44-inch vertical jump, 11 feet, 9 inches in the standing broad jump. Regardless of where he's drafted – second round or lower, most likely – he was a Combine star. Don't expect him to be drafted ahead of Jamal Adams, the consensus projection to be the first safety off the board, Malik Hooker, Jabrill Peppers and possibly Budda Baker.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: He can run and cover. And after Sunday home games, he could skip over to Little Caesar's Arena and cover small forwards for the Pistons.


Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina: He was measured at 6-2, which is generally regarded as the minimum height standard. That was the development of the Combine for quarterbacks.

Fantasy – if he's a Lion: He won't be. Dream elsewhere.

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