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2018 NFL Draft Scouting Notes: Combine Edition

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Combine has always been a favorite of mine; I mean, I have always had a love for the draft, but there’s something about the Combine that has always captured my attention.

This year’s was no different, there were many stories and headlines, and I don’t want to mislead you, I was not in attendance. I hope to be next year, but I was not physically there for this year’s event. I do have a couple friends that were there and we talked but I mainly watched and listened from home. So, with that said, here are my thoughts on the offensive side of the 2018 Combine.

Quarterbacks

Not much changed my opinion on any of the top QBs. Sam Darnold remains my number 1, but his turnovers scare me. I think Mayfield is probably my number 2 right now, but his maturity (for lake of a better word) and I guess personality, worry me. I only scout off film and for QBs, makeup and leadership are unbelievably important. Off strictly film, I love him; I think he’s a winner, first round talent and has an ‘it’ factor that is hard to describe. Rosen is my number 3 right now. He’s clearly the best passer in this class, I absolutely love his arm....why is he 3rd you ask? Well, durability.... his injuries in the past scare the hell out of me. If he hadn’t missed 9 games in the past 2 seasons, he would be my clear cut number 1. He’s got a truly gifted arm and I have no concerns with his character. Josh Allen is my number 4; everyone sees it, his arm is unreal. I am a scout geek, so I don’t mean to be dramatic, but his arm takes my breath away. Once in a generation arm strength; the accuracy concerns though are legit and that does not make me feel good. I struggle with my 5th rated guy; but for now it’s Lamar Jackson. I think he’s one of the most electric and exciting playmakers in this draft and clearly a talented QB. My main concern is simply the durability of his style of pay and his frame. He’s not 6-5 250 like Cam Newton....I don’t think he will last long if he’s going to be a mobile QB. Now, with that said, I do think his game can be successful in the NFL and it can be adjusted to protect him more, but his overall durability plus his accuracy issues keep me from even thinking about him in the first 2 rounds.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley is a monster. He tore it up at that the Combine and now I would not be surprised at all the see him as the number 1 overall pick. Sony Michel is still my number 2 guy; he didn’t wow anyone at the Combine but his tape is solid and I have no doubts about what he is. Derrius Guice is my number 3 guy, I do have concerns over his durability but his numbers were solid and going back over some of his film I am starting to really warm up to him being a first round pick. I never thought he wasn’t good, just his injury concerns scared me. If he checks out medically, he’s a first round back. Outside of those three, I have a lot of different ‘flavors’ that all have high potential to be special backs in the NFL. Rashaad Penny looked awesome and his tape backs that up, Royce Freeman ran very well, Mark Walton is intriguing despite the slow 40 time and I am still very high and Kerryon Johnson and Ronald Jones. Kalen Ballage and Josh Adams really intrigue me too. I can’t say this enough, this RB class is special.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

There is a lot to like about this WR class but at the top end I don’t see a clear cut number 1, dominant type guy. Calvin Ridley is my number 1 guy, I think his route runner really is what separates him, but he’s also a smooth athlete with great quickness. I just have doubts about his ability to really turn into that number 1 guy. D.J. Moore is a guy who will certainly be in the spotlight after this Combine; I really don’t care too much about what he ran or did, his tape is good. He’s a solid player and a good playmaker; I have a strong 2nd round grade ton him. Anthony Miller is another good route runner with great quickness; Michael Gallup is an underrated receiver who really stands out in film to me. He’s got great hands, toughness and is just a really good football player. Cedrick Wilson is another underrated guy. He does everything good, not great. He’s pretty quick, tough runner, and a playmaker on film. I would love his value in the 3rd/4th/5th round. Christian Kirk posted some good numbers but I still think he’s a early 2nd round player. He’s another guy that is very talented but I have concerns on if he will turn into a true number 1 guy. My last guy I want to touch on is Jordan Lasley; he did not post the best numbers, but Laley’s tape is intriguing. He’s a playmaker, certainly has potential and could be solid value later in the draft.

NCAA Football:  New Mexico Bowl-Marshall vs Colorado State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End

I do not have a favorite TE in this class. Mike Gesicki really jumped out at the Combine showing great athleticism and is now getting a ton of hype. I certainly won’t lie to you, when I first watched Mike Gesicki‘s tape, I wasn’t impressed. He’s certainly an athletic guy and that showed at the Combine. I don’t dislike the prospect at all, don’t get me wrong, I just didn’t see a high round pick. I still think he’s a receiving threat and a good on at that; just don’t ask him to block anyone. Hayden Hurst is probably one of the better blockers while still posing a receiving threat. Dallas Goedert is a fun player to watch who can block and catch; problem with him is he’s just good at both, not great. I am currently going through some TE film and one guy to watch is Miss. St. Jordan Thomas. He’s a solid all around TE with good blocking skills and can catch the ball. He’s very underrated.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

O-Line

Quentin Nelson is a man among boys; one of the best players in this draft. Will Hernandez has great run game blocking skills and potential to become even better. He’s a solid 1st/2nd round player who’s raw right now but already has some good film which makes me think he will become even better. Wyatt Teller had an ‘ok’ year this year but I think he’s a plug and play type guy with a long NFL career ahead of him. I am a real fan of him. I really feel bad for Billy Price; I wish him a speedy recovery, but I still have a high grade on him and think he will turn out a solid pro. Cole Madison from Washington St. really intrigues me; I liked his film and I need to do more homework on him but he screams out value pick in the middle rounds of this draft. Other guys: James Daniels is a first rounder, Mike McGlinchey is the top OT (by a lot), Brian O’Neil and Kolton Miller did not impress me..They are crazy athletic but simply looked small and (I thought this from their film) both need to get stronger and more physical. Tyrell Crosby will be a high second round pick and I think he’s another plug & play type guy.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Arkansas vs Virginia Tech Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll get a defensive Combine notes article hopefully tomorrow. Again, I love the Combine but the truth is in the tape. Game tape is supreme; Combine is for checking off boxes and re-watching game film. I hope this has been a fun read on a quick overview of the offensive side of this draft class.