They say there are two sides to every story, and after highlighting some of the more impressive combine showings on offense and defense, it says here these 10 prospects belong in the more dubious category following the conclusion of the 2019 NFL scouting combine.
Florida EDGE Jachai Polite
First, the good news: Polite measured over 0630 after concerns he’d be below 0620. That’s a positive. But the teams that wanted to see him measure taller than he was listed at Florida surely didn’t expect him to totally tank his workouts and interviews. Polite ran a snail-like 4.84 40-yard dash and jumped 32” — each worse than a bunch of offensive and defensive linemen — before suddenly tapping out with a groin injury. That came after he spent much of his media interview session complaining about teams that were “bashing” his game, and it sounds like his interviews with teams other than the Niners and Packers didn’t go much better.
Duke QB Daniel Jones
Believe it or not, Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock aren’t the only three quarterbacks in this class. In fact, Jones, as recently as last week, often was lumped into the mix of potential QB1s. It’s not that Jones did anything in Indy to hurt his stock — he actually tested out as an above-average athlete — but putting him side by side with these other three more intriguing prospects simply doesn’t do him any favors. And neither did his occasional bouts with inaccuracy during the throwing session, similar to at the Senior Bowl, and clearly inferior arm talent. All it takes is one team, and perhaps the Giants or Washington is it. But Jones clearly will emerge from the combine as the least-discussed big-name passer. Heck, that might not be bad.
North Carolina State WR Kelvin Harmon
Harmon’s game isn’t centered on speed, which is a good thing considering he clocked a 4.6 at 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds. Yes, he’s a big-bodied receiver, but that didn’t stop DK Metcalf, Hakeem Butler and N’Keal Harry from easily outrunning him. Harmon is a big-time blocker who beasts when the ball’s in the air and after the catch, but he’ll have a hard time shaking the “possession receiver” perception, much less fitting into Round 1 with that 40. Unfortunately, his three-cone, short shuttle and vertical all also came in below the numbers of most successful receivers in recent memory.
Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams
A 4.62 40 for a press-specialist corner ain’t it. Williams’ tremendous size (6-foot-4 and 211 pounds) is mitigated by his lack of speed, which might have man-cover teams viewing him more as a safety, if not finding ways to tailor their schemes for him. Because he’s King-sized and a lack of long speed is evident on tape, no one should act stunned about Williams’ workout, but it’s certainly not ideal.
Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary
You like the juice you see on Singletary’s tape? You were disappointed watching his 40-yard dash (4.66), three-cone (7.32) and 20-yard shuttle (4.4), which all were well below the athletic thresholds for the position. It’s not like Singletary is a big back, either, at 5-foot-7 and 207 pounds. Perhaps it was an off day and he shows out at Florida Atlantic’s pro day. Although our Greg Gabriel put a Round 5 grade on Singletary well before the combine, those analysts who had an early Day 2 projection on him — and there were plenty — will be making significant adjustments to their reports of someone who tested like a late-rounder.
Georgia CB Deandre Baker
The glass-half-full view: Baker is a football player, not a finesse corner, with a bulldog attitude and the talent to help as much in the run game and as a blitzer as a pure cover man. He showed well in positional drills, especially catching passes and transitioning smoothly. Half empty? A 4.53 40, while faster than Williams’, won’t cut it for the teams that want to mostly play man, and Baker is five inches shorter and nearly 20 pounds lighter than Williams. We had Baker as the CB1 entering the combine, but after Greedy Williams ran a 4.38, even with his tackling allergy, expect these two to be flipped.
Georgia TE Isaac Nauta
Not to pile on the Bulldogs — we didn’t include Elijah Holyfield, after all — but Nauta was a player who really excited us based on his film, appearing to illustrate a prospect only scratching the surface. But, at 6-foot-3 and 243 pounds, he ran his 40 like he was stuck in molasses (4.91), and his uninspired 28” vertical and 7.45 three-cone time raise an awful lot of concerns regarding his suddenness and explosion. (Like, what suddenness and explosion?). That lumbering 40 — the third-slowest among this year's tight ends, after only Stanford's Kaden Smith and Missouri's Kendall Blanton — suggests Nauta has very little receiving upside beyond the short and intermediate range. In a special TE class, that likely puts his draft range in the late rounds, unlike our original projection (Day 2).
Ole Miss OT Greg Little
The discrepancy between Little’s film at its best and his workouts in Indy (and we assume he was at his worst) are staggering. His lack of explosion, as evidenced by a 5.33 40-yard dash and 25” vertical — both among the worst at the combine — in some ways make the impenetrability he occasionally flashed vs. SEC competition all the more impressive. But then you look at Little’s work on the field in drills, where those who study and know waaaay more about OL play than I do seem almost equally concerned. Little now has an awful lot to do over the next seven weeks if our Round 1 projection in the mag is going to hold up.
Free-agent C, DL and WR markets
The centers blew up the combine to the chagrin of Matt Paradis, Mitch Morse and other capable veterans eyeing big paydays next week. With the success of plug-and-play centers in recent years, the Broncos and Chiefs might prefer someone like Chris Lindstrom or Garrett Bradbury in the first or second round. Ditto for pretty much any vet defensive tackle or pass rusher. The testing in Indy only validated what we already knew: This might be a once-a-decade crop preparing for the NFL. It’ll be a heck of a lot cheaper to draft one than pay for a second-tier guy like Henry Anderson or Muhammad Wilkerson. Even Grady Jarrett and Trey Flowers wouldn’t be hitting the market at an ideal time. How about burners like John Brown and Tyrell Williams hoping to cash in on multi-year deals? They’ll likely have suitors, but those suitors will know full well this is the fastest WR class ever clocked at the combine, with the middle rounds — where guaranteed dollars are little to none — looking like the sweet spot.
Cardinals QB Josh Rosen
Fans of Rosen should be hoping that Cardinals brass has already revealed their true intentions privately to the No. 10 overall pick a year ago. That’s because he’s been dragged by the Kyler Murray soap opera for nearly two months, and there’s no signs of it slowing down over the next two. Remember, one of the big knocks from some last year on Rosen were his intangibles. Can the Cardinals feel confident that, if this is merely a facade, Rosen’s confidence won’t be rattled, if not destroyed? Again, the smart thing would’ve been to discuss this candidly with Rosen — whether or not they intended on the loudest rumblings coming from Indy stating Kyler-to-Arizona is real (and spectacular). Murray’s dynamism is unmistakable, and whether he has Arizona completely enamored will continue to be the biggest draft story between now and April 25. Whether Rosen is ready for that, who knows.