With the 2019 NFL scouting combine just about in the books, let's highlight some of the prospects who helped themselves the most, beginning with a look on offense:
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray
He aced the weigh-in, relatively speaking, at 5-10 1/8 and 207 pounds with 9 ½” hands. He seemed to also say the right things in his media interview, save for a bizarre comment about Bryce Harper’s contract. Of course, what matters most is how he answers for his size, dual-sport and experience concerns to teams, and multiple reports suggest that more than a few teams expect Murray to be the first overall pick. We’re not reporting it, mind you, but it’s out there everywhere as eyes turn next week to Oklahoma’s pro day, where Murray will run and throw after not doing any combine workouts.
Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson
One of the freakier physical specimens in Indianapolis last week, Jackson stands 6-foot-7, weighs 249 pounds and leads all quarterbacks in leaping ability (34.5”, 120”.). Wait, you want your quarterback to throw, not leap? Jackson has an absolute Howitzer, which was on display — good and bad — during on-field workouts, where Steve Smith asked Jackson to take something off his throws in the WR gauntlet drill. After the Buffalo Bills traded up to select Josh Allen at No. 7 overall, they might want to insure that pick by plucking a similar prospect from their own backyard on Day 3 … unless Jackson’s combine ensures he’ll no longer last that long.
Penn State RB Miles Sanders
An absolute testing dude, Sanders ran a solid 4.49 40 but was spectacular in the three-cone drill (RB-best 6.89 seconds) and short shuttle (4.19). He also posted a 36” vertical and 124” standing jump. That Sanders was raising money for his high school football program by persuading people to pledge money for each inch he jumped in the vertical, and he finished sixth at the position, is just a bonus. Unlike Justice Hill, Dexter Williams and a few other RB standouts, Sanders’ tape is also outstanding. It (and his combine) wasn’t Saquon Barkley special, but we had a Nittany Lion ranked No. 1 among RBs entering the combine and nothing Sanders did last week changes that.
Alabama RB Damien Harris
While his teammate and most sites’ RB1, Josh Jacobs, sat out all of the workouts with a groin injury, Harris proved he has some translatable athleticism after producing a lot of tape with a little wow factor in Tuscaloosa. His 37” vertical and 127” broad jumps at 5-foot-10 and 216 pounds should eliminate concerns about a lack of explosion after an efficiency dip a year ago. His smooth on-field workouts, especially in the receiving game, should have teams excited about the prospect of not one but two feature NFL backs coming out of Bama this spring.
Notre Dame WR Myles Boykin
Hopefully you’ve heard and seen what D.K. Metcalf has done by now; it’s absurd. It was also not entirely unexpected, unlike Boykin’s dominance in Indy. After a so-so senior season at Notre Dame, where a lot of his production as a one-year starter came in two games, Boykin measured in at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds before blowing away the field with his three-cone and 20-yard shuttle times and tying Emanuel Hall with a 43.5” vertical. Back to the tape indeed because Boykin tested like someone who should dominate every time he steps on the field, not in spurts during his final season.
Ohio State WR Terry McLaurin
Yes, teammate Parris Campbell bested McLaurin for the top 40-yard dash among wideouts, but if we’re picking nits, they can’t be found in the 4.3s. McLaurin (4.35 speed) also jumped out of Lucas Oil Stadium (37.5”, 125”) and continued the route-running clinic he first set out to run during the pre-draft process at the Senior Bowl. In a draft class defined at the WR position by its size and depth in the middle rounds, McLaurin could turn into a gem.
LSU TE Foster Moreau
Breeze through the TE testing numbers and you’ll pretty much see Hawkeyes atop every list at 1-2 with Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. Not unexpected for what could be the first pair of TEs from the same school to go Round 1 in the modern era. Moreau, though, never had more than 25 catches or 300 receiving yards with the Tigers and enters the league with a block-first reputation. After showing well in receiving drills at the Senior Bowl, all he did was run a respectable 4.6 at 6-foot-4 and 253 pounds, post 36 ½" and 121” jumps and lead all tight ends in the shuttle runs. If only we could think of any other LSU pass catcher who was underused before exploding in the NFL...
San Diego State TE Kahale Warring
Warring, the first prospect whom Greg Gabriel wrote after we completed our 2019 NFL Draft Guide, tested like he was aware of this fact and really wanted to make us look silly. The 6-foot-5, 252-pounder finished in the top 5 in virtually every drill, including an impressive 36.5” vertical and 4.25 three-cone drill. With only one year of high school football experience, he’s a late-bloomer with a yoked-up physique and big-time two-way potential.
Texas A&M C Erik McCoy
While North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury, another ascendant Combine prospect, was turning heads Thursday, McCoy seemingly was flying under the radar. But he’s officially on ours after blazing a sub-4.9 40 at 303 pounds, in addition to 29 bench-press reps and a 4.62 20-yard shuttle. That kind of strength and agility should endear McCoy to teams running any NFL blocking scheme, but he could be a devastating blocker in space for the zone clubs.
Washington State OT Andre Dillard
We’ve focused a lot on testing numbers here, and I’m no O-line coach, but the fluidity and top fundamentals of Dillard getting into pass sets was obvious even to this novice. Throw in explosive results on the three cone (7.44) and broad jump (118”), where he led the field, and would it be all that surprising if he were a top-10 selection? Let's just hope it would be with the right O-line coach, as Dillard has terrific traits and flashes outstanding technique but could be a future Pro Bowler if he lands in the right spot.