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Old 02-14-2019, 08:00 PM   #1
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Default Fran Duffy Takes A Look At The Draft

starting with the O Line

Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Offensive Line

Fran Duffy


While many people have focused on the strength of the defensive line class in the upcoming NFL Draft, this offensive line group is pretty impressive as well. Whether you’re looking for quick-footed tackles, road-grading guards, athletic centers, or anything in between, there are options on the table. Let’s take a look at who I am most excited to see in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Top Pick
This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
Jawaan Taylor, Florida
This may come as a shock to some, but after studying Taylor from this year’s film I was really impressed with what he brings to the table. A big-bodied kid with an impressive frame, Taylor has light, easy feet; is a natural athlete; displays impressive power to displace defenders one-on-one in the run game; and is strong as an ox when holding his ground in pass protection. Will he light up the track? Probably not, but his film was very intriguing. There are things to work on from a technical side with both his feet and with his hands, but my guess is that most coaches will view that as correctable. Taylor is the real deal.
Workout Warrior
This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Andre Dillard, Washington State
Dillard was my favorite pure tackle in the senior class heading into the Senior Bowl, and nothing has changed for me in that regard. The three-year starter at left tackle for the Cougars has solid size and pretty good length for the position, but his feet and natural ease of movement are what impress me most on film. On a recent episode of Daniel Jeremiah’s Move the Sticks podcast, there was a discussion about how Dillard could run very well in Indianapolis, and I can definitely see that coming to fruition.
Dillard can get a bit better with his hands, but athletically the tools are there for him to be a good starting tackle for his future NFL team. Another player who I expect to test well across the board is Tytus Howard from Alabama State. Howard is a natural athlete as well as a former high school quarterback who made the switch to tackle from tight end as a college sophomore. Chuma Edoga from USC impressed me with his athleticism in person at the Senior Bowl as well, and I expect him to look good in drills for the same reason.
Trust The Tape
This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Considering his size (6-4, 338 pounds), Ford is a pretty graceful athlete. However, I don’t believe he’ll look like one of the top testers at this event. Instead of focusing on that, however, focus on this. Ford started every game this season at right tackle for the best offensive line in college football after starting a handful of games last year inside at left guard. He’s a trained killer in the trenches with raw power and vice-grip hands on contact. Ford is hard to move in pass protection. He’s not going to win a lot of foot races, but this kid can play, and I think he will line up at guard in the NFL. People may remember an Oklahoma lineman by the name of Orlando Brown posted a legendary poor workout in Indianapolis last year. I don’t think Ford will be on that level, but I’m not expecting an outstanding day for the big man in the athletic testing portion of the event.
Stopwatch Shocker
This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
Dru Samia, Oklahoma
Samia came into the season flying under the radar, as scouts graded him as a mid-to-late-round selection and didn’t expect much from him athletically. Turning on the film, I saw one of the best athletes in the country among offensive linemen. This is directly from my notes on the senior four-year starter: “Easy out of his stance. Has light feet and is always under control. Rarely on the ground. Looks very smooth laterally. Releases as a puller quickly and has the range to reach defenders in space with the change of direction and ease of movement to react on the fly. Gets the second level in a hurry and should transition well to a zone scheme in the NFL.” I expect Samia to be one of the better testers along the offensive line at the Combine.

Will Kill The Drills
This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
Jonah Williams, Alabama
The key for Williams at this event will be his arm length. It will honestly be one of the most pivotal measurements of any prospect at any position all week and could shape the scope of the first round of the draft. Regardless, Williams is a stud on film. He’s got good feet, uses his hands very well, looks comfortable with everything he’s asked to do, and should excel in this kind of environment. Whether he’s a tackle or a guard in the NFL (I think he could play either at a high level), Williams should be a first-round pick.
Most To Prove
This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia
The senior left tackle was getting first-round buzz in media circles back in the fall, and while that shine has worn off a bit, he’s still a talented player. The big thing he’ll have to prove to teams in Indianapolis is his long-term durability. Cajuste pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to an ankle injury and has a history of knee injuries on his résumé as well. If he can prove that those ailments are a thing of the past and not a harbinger of the future, that should solidify his Day 2 status in the upcoming NFL Draft as a potential starter at left tackle down the road. Another player I’d throw into the mix here is San Diego State left tackle Tyler Roemer, who declared for the draft as a redshirt sophomore after being suspended by the Aztecs. He was eventually dismissed from the team at the end of the 2018 campaign.
Most Productive College Player
This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
The senior captain started a school-record 54 games along the offensive line for the Badgers over his four-year career, and his versatility is what makes it most impressive. Deiter racked up 24 starts at left guard (including 13 as a senior), 16 at center, and 14 at left tackle. I happen to like Deiter best inside at guard, but the ability to play any position up front will do wonders for his stock moving forward. A tough, versatile technician with deceptive athleticism, I think he’ll be a second-day pick and a Day 1 starter on the inside for his future NFL team.
Best Pro Comparison
Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
McCoy is a junior who declared for the draft but was eligible for the Senior Bowl since he graduated early and performed well in Mobile, Alabama. That’s also how it played out on film, where McCoy showed an impressive blend of size, movement, and technique as he consistently put himself in position to execute his assignment every week against quality competition in the SEC. He reminds me of Ryan Kelly out of Alabama, who was a first-round pick for the Indianapolis Colts just three years ago. I don’t think McCoy is that level of prospect, but the way he’s built and the way he moves really reminded me of the Pro Bowl pivot, who has turned into a real nice player in Indy.

Best Story
Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
Tytus Howard, Alabama State
Howard was a high school quarterback out of Monroeville, Alabama, who was destined to play tight end in college. He arrived on campus as a 230-pound prospect and redshirted his first year there as he adjusted to his new position. Turnover in the coaching staff resulted in a change in thinking, however, and the new coaches asked Howard how he felt about moving to the offensive line. As a redshirt freshman, Howard played up front at just 255 pounds. The following year, he got up close to 270 pounds. Howard was over 290 pounds by his redshirt junior year and looked like a legitimate NFL prospect. He came in around 315 in Training Camp, and then at the Senior Bowl last month he weighed in at 322 pounds.
Guess what? That athleticism that had coaches thinking he’d be a college tight end still shows up on film, as Howard carries that weight well, looks very natural on the move, and should be one of the most impressive physical specimens at the Combine as a player who has completely transformed his body over the course of his career.
Small-School Standout
This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
Josh Miles, Morgan State
In January at the East-West Shrine Game, Miles was one of a handful of small-school linemen whop stole the show. A college tackle who many anticipate will make the transition inside to guard, Miles is an athletic kid with impressive feet and tools to work with. Can he shine in the athletic testing portion of the week? If he can, while continuing to build off what he did in St. Petersburg after starting three years at Morgan, he could be in the mid-round discussion.
Philly Connection
This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
Ethan Greenidge, Villanova
I watched Greenidge back in October, and honestly, I was pretty impressed with him on film. He’s every bit of 6-5, 325 pounds, and looks the part in person after seeing him at the Shrine Game, but moves very naturally at that size. The New York native has a basketball background, which shows up on the football field with how he moves laterally as well as in reverse. Greenidge’s versatility, having played both tackle spots throughout his career with the Wildcats, will help him moving forward as well, as he figures to be a Day 3 selection.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:30 PM   #2
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Next up, WR

Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Wide Receiver

Fran Duffy


What had been a somewhat lackluster class at the wide receiver position was given a huge shot in the arm with the influx of underclassmen talent. Now there’s plenty of talent on the board and, depending on what teams are looking for, there are players who fit every mold at the position.
Top Pick
This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
What’s the upside for D.K. Metcalf? Julio Jones. Josh Gordon. Mike Evans.

Think of big, physical, explosive threats on the outside who have potential to win at all three levels of the field and be a dynamic playmaker for an offense as a wideout who can consistently run past, through, or around corners.
What’s the downside for Metcalf? Laquon Treadwell. Kevin White. Breshad Perriman.
Think of big, physical, explosive threats on the outside who were questioned because of their route-running abilities coming out of college and their ability to transition to the NFL. Metcalf is extremely gifted. There’s no question about it. He was tearing up the competition in the SEC before his season-ending neck injury in October. He’s a physical marvel, reportedly listed at 6-4, 230 pounds, should test like an absolute freak show, and had some of the best highlights of the year by any wide receiver.
He also ran a very limited route tree with the Rebels, and his success rate in contested situations wasn’t as high as you’d think considering his frame. There are better players in this receiver class, guys who are ready to step onto an NFL field right now, line up, and play winning football. But there is no better "prospect" at the position than Metcalf with all of his physical gifts.


Workout Warrior
This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
Brown has the ability to be special, and a big part of that is due to his speed and quickness. A fluid route runner who flies in and out of breaks with ease, Brown was one of the best deep threats in college football the last two seasons and is a proven threat to stretch defenses both vertically and horizontally.
Similar to former Eagles star DeSean Jackson, Brown has instant speed, and he should light up the track in Indianapolis. I expect him to test well across the board. Brown isn’t the only guy who I expect to light up the track, however. Parris Campbell from Ohio State is a speedster who should test well across the board. Nyqwan Murray from Florida State has impressive speed and quickness on film, enough so that I was shocked he wasn’t at any of the major all-star games. Darius Slayton from Auburn, Mecole Hardman from Georgia and Emanuel Hall from Missouri form a trio of explosive options from the SEC and are all guys I’d expect to get close to the 4.3 range in the 40.

Diontae Johnson from Toledo is generating a lot of buzz for his speed and was a big-time return man in the MAC, while Alex Wesley from Northern Colorado is a track guy who I expect to really boost his stock.
Want a real sleeper, though? Ashton Dulin from D-II school Malone. Dulin was a three-year starter there and actually led the entire country (meaning all levels of competition) in all-purpose yards per game at the wide receiver position. Dulin, who ran hurdles at Malone, could put himself on the radar at the event.
Trust The Tape
This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State

He wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl and, I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of fear in the pit of my stomach that he was going to be left off the Combine list. Johnson is one of my favorite receivers in the class. He’s not going to wow you with his size (6-1, 204 pounds) or his speed (which has been reported in the mid-4.5s in the 40-yard dash), but Johnson is a quality route runner, one of the best in this class, and is very consistent at the catch point.
One of the best players during the week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game, Johnson should transition well as a starter in the NFL. I think Johnson plays faster than many believe he will time, but even if he has a mediocre day of testing, I’m still going to be high on him. I’m going to throw Deebo Samuel in here as well. I don’t think Samuel will test quite as fast as some may think, but I’m not going to get hung up on it. The guy plays fast and is built to play at the next level.
Stopwatch Shocker
This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
Andy Isabella, UMass

An extremely undersized (5-8, 186 pounds), but very productive wideout for the Minutemen in three years as a starter in a pro-style offense, Isabella caught a lot of steam on the back half of his senior season. A finalist for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver, Isabella has the build of a typical slot and has the look of it on film with the quickness and savvy as a route runner to create separation. Isabella’s game isn’t just based off short-area quickness, however, and I think he’ll surprise people with how well he runs. On film, the Mayfield, Ohio native boasted the ability to get to top speed pretty quickly, and he had multiple gears to work with on vertical routes. I think he’ll run better than most expect, although questions will remain about his body type.
Will Kill The Drills
This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.
Riley Ridley, Georgia
The younger brother of 2018 first-round pick Calvin Ridley, Riley also is an impressive technician as a route runner, showing good savvy and snap at the top of breaks to create room for himself to work. He rarely fights the football, something that did plague the elder Ridley at times, so when the receivers take the field, I expect this kid to shine. Is he going to run in the low 4.4s? That’s unlikely based off film study, but he’s got pretty good size (listed at 6-2, 200 pounds), and with his technical refinement and reliable hands I think he’ll show up well in drills like the vaunted Gauntlet.


Most To Prove
This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
Honestly, I’m cheating a bit here, but this will apply to all of the big boys at this position. I’m singling out Brown here, but this goes for N’Keal Harry from Arizona State, Kelvin Harmon from N.C. State, Tyre Brady from Marshall, JJ Arcega-Whiteside from Stanford, Hakeem Butler from Iowa State, and all of the other guys who will measure in at least 6-2 and 220 pounds. Can they separate themselves athletically? A handful of bigger wideouts were selected much later in the draft, primarily due to a lack of athleticism and the ability to separate. That will be what they need to show on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Most Productive College Player
This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
Deebo Samuel, South Carolina
Samuel’s résumé has a boatload of accolades on it. He led the team in every major receiving category as a senior in 2018 on his way to first-team All-SEC as both an all-purpose player and as a return man. He finished his junior season tied for the team lead with six total touchdowns ... despite playing just three games before breaking his leg. He led the team in catches and yards as a sophomore as a co-Team MVP in 2016. He was the Practice Player of the Week at the wide receiver position at the Senior Bowl. One hundred forty-eight catches in his career may not seem like a ton, but when you factor in the injury-shortened junior year it’s a pretty good number and, let’s be honest, he’s one of the best receivers in this class. I’m a big fan of Deebo Samuel, who consistently finds his way into the end zone.
Best Pro Comparison

Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech
Wesley is a really intriguing player because he’s listed at 6-5, 200 pounds, but he is a movement receiver. Wesley has a freaky wingspan, supreme ball skills, and better quickness in and out of cuts than you’d expect for a guy his size. Can he effectively get off press coverage in the NFL? Can he improve as a route runner? Can he get bigger and stronger? He’s exceptionally intriguing outside the numbers, and so many of his positives and negatives remind me of Josh Reynolds, a former Texas A&M receiver who was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and turned into a solid contributor for them this year. I think Wesley’s ceiling is a bit higher, but I see their skill sets as being extremely similar.
Best Story
Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.

David Sills, West Virginia
David Sills has one of the most interesting backstories of any prospect since I’ve started following the draft. There’s definitely not enough space for me to get to it in this piece, so read the feature I wrote before the Senior Bowl instead.

Small-School Standout
This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.

Keelan Doss, UC Davis
No receiver at the Combine has more career receptions than Keelan Doss, who reeled in a whopping 321 passes as a three-year starter for the Aggies. Standing at 6-2, 207 pounds with really long 33-inch arms, Doss impresses on the hoof with his frame and really looks the part going up and playing the ball in the air. The FCS All-American turned heads at the Senior Bowl, and I expect him to do the same in Indy, where he’ll be competing with a lot of other big-bodied wideouts looking to set themselves apart from the competition. Don’t plan on Doss backing down from the challenge.
Philly Connection
This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
Kelvin Harmon, N.C. State

Viewed by most as one of the top receivers in the class, Harmon was born in Liberia but moved to America when he was 4 years old, and he grew up in Palmyra, New Jersey, literally just over the bridge from Northeast Philadelphia. At 6-3, 214 pounds, Harmon needs to prove at the Combine how fast he is, but he’s big, strong, and great at the catch point. He’s one of the best jump-ball guys in this draft, but is he athletic enough to be a starting receiver in the league? That’s the question he’ll look to answer in Indianapolis.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:46 PM   #3
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Running back





Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Running Back

Fran Duffy


A record 135 underclassmen declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, and over 20 of them were running backs, helping to fill a group that will look to prove itself at the NFL Scouting Combine in a couple of weeks. Here’s who you need to keep a close eye on at the running back position in Indianapolis.
Top Pick
This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
Josh Jacobs, Alabama
I could have gone another way here, but his upside is very high. It could be argued that Jacobs isn’t even the best back on his own team as we stand here today – I believe that honor goes to Damien Harris, who started ahead of Jacobs for the Tide. Jacobs can impact the game as a runner, as a receiver, and as a special teams maven. He displays natural power and short-area burst with the ball in his hands. The one concern I do have about him is that he can be a bit indecisive at times approaching the line of scrimmage, but with his ceiling, it’s hard not to have him as the top dog at running back in this class. I expect him to go off the board anywhere in the first two rounds.

Workout Warrior
This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
The junior, who has scored more touchdowns than anyone in college football over the last two years, has been a dynamic player for Lane Kiffin. A large reason for that is his athleticism. Singletary has LeSean McCoy-esque lateral agility, speed to burn in the open field, and the ability to make defenders look silly one-on-one in space. His physical tools should put him in position to test extremely well on the turf in Lucas Oil Stadium, and he should be a Day 2 selection in April.
Trust The Tape

This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
David Montgomery, Iowa State
My guess is that Montgomery won’t burn up the track at the Combine, but that’s OK. I’m not expecting him to thrive in Indy. The junior runner’s strength isn’t his straight-line burst, but rather his contact balance and lateral agility. Montgomery excelled at making the first man miss at the college level and, in ways similar to Kareem Hunt coming out of Toledo (who also did not work out well), I think he’ll be able to do that well entering the league. Montgomery is one of my favorite backs in this draft. I’d throw Mike Weber from Ohio State into this category as well as a player who may not light up the stopwatch but is just a good, solid football player.
Stopwatch Shocker
This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.

Miles Sanders, Penn State
It’s not easy stepping in for one of the best to ever do it, but Sanders had to do that this year for the Nittany Lions as he tried to replace Saquon Barkley.
The junior held his own in that regard, rushing for over 1,000 yards on his way to being named second-team All-Big Ten. No one will mistake Sanders for Saquon from an athletic standpoint. In fact, that’s one area where I have a bit of a question for Sanders transitioning to the NFL – is he athletic enough to set himself apart and consistently make that first man miss? If you’ve been following the Combine in recent years, however, one thing has consistently been true – Penn State players always test like freak shows. Whether it’s been Barkley, Mike Gesicki, or Troy Apke last year, or Chris Godwin the year before that, PSU has shown out in this event. This is a stab in the dark, but I bet Sanders, who ran relays at Woodland Hills high school in Pittsburgh (another omen for success), tests better than most expect.
Will Kill The Drills
This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

Damien Harris, Alabama
Harris grades out as the best player in this class at the running back position in my eyes, but he doesn’t have true explosive speed in the open field and isn’t the kind of dynamic athlete in space like Jacobs or Singletary. My guess is that he’ll have a solid athletic workout, with nothing eye-opening, but that won’t change my mind about him. One area where he does stand out, however, is with his feet. He’s got outstanding feet to navigate through traffic, and that will show up in the bag drills. Harris also boasts great vision, is a strong pass protector, has very few negative runs on film, and has plenty of tread on the tires despite starting 40 games for the Crimson Tide over his career. I’ll take this kid on my team any day, and I think he’ll end up being a second-round choice in a couple of months.
Most To Prove
This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
Dexter Williams, Notre Dame

Williams has plenty of talent, and I expect him to run well at this event, as he was one of the best big-play backs in football when he was on the field this year. Therein lies the rub, however, as the senior only started eight games this season – the only eight of his career, as he was suspended for four games to start the campaign. Williams will have tough questions to answer for his time in South Bend. He was also nicked up throughout his career as well, something else that will get tested during the medical check. If he aces those tests away from the field, it wouldn’t shock me at all if he snuck into the latter part of the third round of April’s Draft.

Most Productive College Player
This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
Myles Gaskin, Washington

Only one player in the storied history of the Pac-12 Conference has racked up over 1,000 yards rushing in four separate years, and that’s Myles Gaskin. The diminutive senior (5-9, 190 pounds) was consistently productive for the Huskies and head coach Chris Peterson, impacting games as both a runner and as a receiver. The question with him, however, is if he is big enough to last in the NFL. Or, more importantly, is he athletic enough to overcome his lack of size? That second question is something he’ll look to answer on the field in these tests, but throughout his career, Gaskin was a playmaker for one of the best teams in the nation.
Best Pro Comparison
Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M
Williams started 38 games in his career for the Aggies, and he was a tough guy to bring down ever since he stepped on campus. Standing at just 5-9 but weighing in at 200 pounds, Williams is short but stout, and his patience as a runner really stood out to me on film. The Houston native is a classic "small back who runs big," as he’s not afraid to hit plays downhill between the tackles and be a factor on contact despite his frame.

Watching him play reminded me of a former NFL runner who played for a handful of teams, but Eagles fans may remember him most for his days with the New York Giants, and that’s Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw stood at 5-9, 198 pounds coming out of Marshall in 2007 and made his hay in the league as a competitive downhill runner who fought for every inch he got with the ball in his hands, and that’s how I see Williams.
Best Story
Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
One of the true wild cards of this draft class, Anderson has Top 45 ability but the medical record of an undrafted free agent.

Anderson was a second-team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore in 2017, which was his lone healthy year on campus when he ran for nearly 1,200 yards despite only starting in the second half of the year. He has big-time potential, but it was nearly taken away right when he got to Norman, Oklahoma. On his first collegiate carry, Anderson broke his fibula and tore a ligament in his ankle in his left leg, a serious injury that forced him to miss all of 2015. The following Training Camp, in August 2016, he suffered a neck injury, reportedly a fracture of his C5 vertebrae, and he had to wear a neck brace for three months. 2017 came and went, as he helped lead the Sooners to the College Football Playoff along with Baker Mayfield, and things were looking up for Anderson entering his junior season. Then, a knee injury derailed his final year on campus back in September.
If healthy, Anderson is one of the best backs in this class, but three season-ending injuries in four years are tough to move past, but credit the player for forging through the adversity as he tries to reach his dream of playing in the NFL.
Small-School Standout
This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
Jalin Moore, Appalachian State

There were a couple of small-school running backs left off the Combine list (Wesley Hills from Slippery Rock and Bruce Anderson from North Dakota State come to mind first), and while Moore comes from FBS level competition he’s still flying under the radar. Not only is Moore expected to test very well, and his short-area burst and flashes of power are impressive on film. I think he’ll fit best for "gap" schemes (such as Power, Counter, and Trap) at the next level, where that long speed and physicality will serve him well downhill. There are questions about whether or not Moore can be a viable third-down option at the next level, but he shouldn’t have any problems sticking in the league.
Philly Connection
This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Both Alabama running backs were coached by former Eagles personnel exec Joe Pannunzio. Dexter Williams backed up Eagles running back Josh Adams in South Bend. Hills grew up just southeast of Philly in Wildwood, New Jersey, but how about we go with the kid who played his home games at Lincoln Financial Field in Armstead from Temple, who was at the Senior Bowl last month. This is a rock-solid player who has been making an impact on North Broad Street since his sophomore season and who has even moonlighted as a defensive player in some subpackages for the Owls. A physical, competitive downhill runner, Armstead has a well-rounded skill set that translates well to the next level.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:52 PM   #4
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Quarterback

Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Quarterback

Fran Duffy


Free Agency may be just around the corner, but all eyes will be on the 2019 NFL Draft class over the next couple of weeks as hundreds of prospects descend upon Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine beginning February 26. Leading up to the event, I will do a position-by-position preview of the top names you need to know. Who will shine? Who won’t? Which players have special rooting interests for Eagles fans in general? Let’s cover it all, starting with the quarterbacks.
Top Pick
This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
Daniel Jones, Duke
This quarterback class won’t set the world on fire, but I think there’s still plenty of talent for needy teams to cultivate. I like Jones the most of the bunch based off the work I’ve done so far. The junior isn’t a legendary arm talent, and he’s not a phenomenal athlete who will consistently make plays outside of structure by breaking the pocket, but he’s got complete control of that offense, is very accurate, poised, and smart with the football. He brings a lot to the table from a leadership standpoint as well, something that will sit well with NFL teams. I like this kid a lot, and even though he’s not flashy, I think he'll be a first-round pick in April.

Workout Warrior
This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
At the moment of this writing, I don’t have the faintest idea of what Murray will do in Indianapolis. Tony Pauline recently went on the Journey to the Draft podcast and reported that some insiders think he won’t even make himself available for official weigh-ins, which would be unheard of. Regardless, Murray is a phenomenal athlete and one of the biggest freak shows at the entire event, no matter the position. He has instant speed and, based off what he looks like on film, could break 4.40 seconds in the 40-yard dash -- again, if he decides to run. If he does go through the full gamut of athletic testing, Murray should post a legendary workout at the quarterback position.


Trust The Tape
This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins was used often in the zone read run game with the Buckeyes, but I’m not sure that will be a strength of his game in the NFL. Haskins has below-average size but is not overly explosive or twitchy. I expect him to have a solid workout, but I don’t think he’ll look special in any one area on the stopwatch. Don’t let that affect your thoughts on the sophomore signal-caller, however. He thrives in the quick passing game and is a timing and rhythm passer who showed great flashes in his first year as a starter. Haskins has a lot of work to do, and he’s a projection because of a small sample size of starts, but there’s starting-level NFL talent there.
Stopwatch Shocker

This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.
Drew Lock, Missouri
Lock arguably has the strongest arm in this class and can make every throw in the book. He was a productive starter for the Tigers in the SEC and helped that Missouri squad wade through some serious adversity in his time on campus. What people may forget about Lock, however, is that he was an all-state hoops player in high school. The senior had offers from Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wichita State coming out of high school to play basketball, and his athleticism will surprise you considering his size (6-4, 225 pounds). Lock could shock some people at this event with how well he tests.
Will Kill The Drills
This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Jackson isn’t a perfect prospect, far from it, but this is a really big kid (a legit 6-7) with a huge arm, and he will impress people when he throws in front of them for the first time. The ball comes out easy, though you don’t always know exactly where it will end up. The way he moves at his size will catch a lot of people’s eyes. A three-year starter who declared for the draft, Jackson participated at the Senior Bowl in order to improve his stock, but on film he is a developmental starter with potential down the road. Every team will grade that differently, but it wouldn’t shock me if he went on the second day of the draft considering his tools.

Most To Prove
This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
When he arrived on campus as a transfer from Baylor and former five-star recruit, Stidham was seen as a potential lightning rod who could push the Tigers over the hump for another run at a national title. That, unfortunately for the Auburn faithful, did not come to pass, as he struggled to put up the kind of numbers and operate the offense as consistently as his predecessors did before him for numerous reasons. There’s no denying his talent. He can throw it with the best of them. He’s coming from an offense that is about as dissimilar as what he’ll see in the NFL, so how will he do at the board in meetings with teams at night? Will he show an understanding of defenses schematically? If he can prove that he’s not a project from the mental side of things, then a coaching staff could think that he has what it takes to make the jump into the NFL as a starter sooner rather than later. Stidham is young and talented, but there’s a lot of projection there. Just how much is what teams will find out in Indianapolis.
Most Productive College Player
This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
Will Grier, West Virginia

Grier finished his career as the active leader in passing yards per game (305.6), averaging an exorbitant 9.1 yards per pass attempt (only nine quarterbacks drafted in the last decade have bested that mark and five of them were first-round picks). The senior threw 37 touchdowns in his final year on campus, leading Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers offense as one of the top attacks in college football. What will Grier’s transition be like to the NFL? Well, he’ll have to become acclimated to a more pro-style system and learn to work from under center, but with his touch and above-average arm strength, he’ll get the chance to stick around and be developed early in his career.
Best Pro Comparison
Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
Brett Rypien, Boise State
I enjoyed studying Rypien late in the fall in preparation for the East-West Shrine Game. An undersized passer who excels from the pocket thanks to his poise, timing, and touch, the senior doesn’t have a huge arm, but I like the way he plays the position. There are physical limitations here, but I think he will stick in the league for a while as a backup quarterback who will eventually earn a shot at a starting job. Going through my notes on him, I found that I wrote a lot of the same positives (and negatives) about Cody Kessler when he came out of USC in 2016, and the two are built very similarly as well.

Best Story
Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
Gardner Minshew, Washington State
A year ago, no one outside of the biggest college football fans knew who Minshew was. He had started seven games in two seasons for an ECU team that had struggled for most of his time on campus. After nearly walking on to be a backup at Alabama, Minshew decided at the last minute to take an offer from Mike Leach at Washington State to compete to become the starter, and the rest is history. The senior, known famously for his legendary facial hair, went on to be the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top passer. Minshew is very unassuming in person, but he’s a smart, efficient quarterback who will be a coach when his playing days are done.


Small-School Standout
This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.
Easton Stick, North Dakota State
Carson Wentz’s backup with the Bison, Easton Stick stepped in and continued NDSU’s storied run once the Eagles took his predecessor No. 2 overall back in 2016. Now the all-time winningest quarterback in FCS history (49-3) as a four-year starter, Stick may not have the tools that Wentz did coming out of that program, but he sure has the pedigree to match. Watching Stick, he has full control of a pro-style offense, which will serve him well in nightly meetings with teams in Indy, and his poise and toughness in the pocket really shined. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the entire class. I’d throw Brett Rypien from Boise State into this group as well, along with Jackson from Buffalo, as they are the only non-Power 5 passers at the event.
Philly Connection

This is the player with a special tie to the City of Brotherly Love or to the Eagles who you should keep a close eye on in Indianapolis.
Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Shurmur graduated from La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, just outside of Philadelphia. A four-year starter for the Commodores, he has a bit of an elongated throwing motion, which may be a result of his decorated high school swimming career, but this is a smart, accurate passer who makes good decisions, displays solid poise in the pocket, and comes from a football family. If you haven’t pieced it together, Shurmur’s father Pat is currently the head coach of the New York Giants and spent two tenures as an assistant coach with the Eagles.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:00 AM   #5
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Thanks, good read to throw in with all the other reports you see and gives a couple of names worth looking up
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:06 AM   #6
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I respect Duffy's opinion.
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:13 PM   #7
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This QB Tytus Howard, Alabama State
Howard was a high school quarterback out of Monroeville, Alabama, who was destined to play tight end in college. He arrived on campus as a 230-pound prospect and redshirted his first year there as he adjusted to his new position. Turnover in the coaching staff resulted in a change in thinking, however, and the new coaches asked Howard how he felt about moving to the offensive line. As a redshirt freshman, Howard played up front at just 255 pounds. The following year, he got up close to 270 pounds. Howard was over 290 pounds by his redshirt junior year and looked like a legitimate NFL prospect. He came in around 315 in Training Camp, and then at the Senior Bowl last month he weighed in at 322 pounds.
Guess what? That athleticism that had coaches thinking he’d be a college tight end still shows up on film, as Howard carries that weight well, looks very natural on the move, and should be one of the most impressive physical specimens at the Combine as a player who has completely transformed his body over the course of his career sounds a lot like Lane Johnson doesn't he?

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The kid sounds like a Johnson clone doesn't he? Maybe a Jason Peters also with the TE skills too. He also sounds like he's long gone by the time we pick LOL.

I'm most interested in how Pryor progresses between year 1 and 2. I think that he's going to be a real stud for us this year and could end up starting. Our O line should be very strong again this year. There's some talk about letting Wiz go or trading him again. I don't know about that one because I still think that he's underrated. I'd like to see a center drafted at some point, especially since Kecle is talking retirement. Then again he might just want some more money. I watch a ton of college football but didn't see any RBs that jumped off the board at me but there are a lot of good ones. I just hope Douglas finds one for us because I think that's our number 1 need this year. The real surprise this past year was Love from Stanford. His junior year the kid was a beast. He played on a battered leg that he could barely walk on and kept coming back week after week and carried the team on his back. It sure must have taken it's toll on him because last season he did nothing and just looked like a average back at best. He was a preseason Heisman candidate that might not even get drafted unless one of the California teams gives him a late pick. Very strange.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:35 PM   #8
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In the back of my mind I still wonder if they don't see Seamalu as the center if Kelce ever goes.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:33 AM   #9
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Tight Ends





Fran Duffy's Combine Preview: Tight End

Fran Duffy


While the Eagles may have the best one-two punch in the NFL at the tight end position with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, there’s still an opportunity to add more depth through the draft, especially when you consider that this class is full of interesting prospects. There will be intriguing options for teams looking for tight ends every day in this draft, and my guess is more than a couple of draftable prospects will not be selected at all. Here are my thoughts on some of the names you need to know.
Top Pick
This is the player who I feel is at the top of the class coming into the event.
T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Hockenson first popped up on my radar over the summer. I was studying his teammate Noah Fant, who was previously billed as a potential first-round pick despite not being an every-down player for the Hawkeyes. Instead, it was Hockenson, a 6-5, 250-pound bulldog, who lined up everywhere for Kirk Ferentz and did nothing but compete and outwork the man across from him. Fast forward a few months later, and Hockenson was once again the lead dog on the depth chart for Iowa, and he went on to win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. An extremely well-rounded player with no real holes in his game, Hockenson should transition very quickly as an early starter for his future NFL team. He may not have Travis Kelce/Rob Gronkowski upside athletically, but he will be a good player for a long time.

Workout Warrior
This is the player who I expect to see perform best in the athletic testing portion of the workout.
Noah Fant, Iowa
Coming into the year, Fant was viewed by many as the top player in the country at the position. This kid is an absolute freak show of an athlete, and he should be one of the best testers in the history of the Combine at the tight end spot. Fant flies out of his stance, is extremely fluid in and out of breaks, and has excellent flashes on film. It should be noted that Fant was never an every-down player or every-week starter for Iowa. There are questions about Fant as a blocker, but there’s no question he can impact all three levels of the field as a pass catcher at the next level. This class isn’t just about Fant though because there are several really impressive athletes. Hockenson will test very well, as will Irv Smith Jr. from Alabama (who I absolutely love on film), Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M, Dawson Knox from Ole Miss, and Alizé Mack from Notre Dame.
Trust The Tape

This is the player who I don’t expect to test off the charts and is a better football player than he is an athlete. With that in mind, don’t drop him down the board with a subpar workout!
Kaden Smith, Stanford
A one-year starter for David Shaw and the Cardinal, Smith has exemplary size at 6-5 and nearly 260 pounds, has strong hands, and is a very reliable blocker at the point of attack. He plays the ball pretty well in the air and has proven to be consistent at the catch point. He even averaged 15 yards per reception over his college career, an outstanding number. Smith isn’t, however, a game-breaking athlete. He’s not going to line up out wide and be viewed as a mismatch player in the NFL. He’s not going to be a real threat with the ball in his hands. I’m perfectly fine with all of that. I think he will be a rock-solid pro.
Stopwatch Shocker
This is the player who I expect to see test better than most in the media believe they will perform based off of current projections.

Josh Oliver, San Jose State
Oliver has pretty good size and length for the position and had a productive career for the Spartans as a three-year starter. I was impressed with his ball skills and hands at the catch point on film. He’s not currently viewed as a plus athlete, but I think he’ll test better than many people think. The senior needs further refinement in other areas of his game – route running and releases off the line, specifically, but this is a big kid with good movement skills who is strong at the catch point. You can win with that.

Will Kill The Drills
This is the player who may or may not be a great athlete, but he will look the best in the position-specific drills after the athletic portion of the workout.

Isaac Nauta, Georgia
Off the hoof, the junior Bulldog won’t impress you. He’s 6-4 and under 250 pounds. He’s not a blazer down the seam, and isn’t super twitchy, but this kid is a football player. Nauta is a solid all-around blocker, is competitive in everything he does, and when I say he catches everything I mean he catches EVERYTHING. By my charts, the junior allowed just one catchable pass to hit the ground this season, and while he was maybe the fifth weapon in a loaded offense, that’s still impressive. Nauta needs to improve as a route runner, and I’m anxious to see how he looks at the Combine after training for the last few weeks, but he should look good in position drills.
Most To Prove
This is the player who has the most to prove away from the field, whether it’s during the interview process, medical examinations, or even the weigh-ins.
Dawson Knox, Ole Miss

Knox may be the least-productive skill-position player that I’ve ever really, really liked on film. A two-year starter for the Rebels, Knox caught just 39 passes in three years and never reached the end zone, which is silly to think about considering the fact that Ole Miss was a heavy passing team. At 6-4, 260 pounds, the junior has pretty good size, is an impressive athlete, and has intriguing upside because he lined up all over the field and was used in every way imaginable as a blocker and pass catcher. The traits are there, but the production was not, so teams will be looking to get to the bottom of why.
Most Productive College Player
This is the player who produced at the highest level, either in his final year in college or throughout his entire career.
Caleb Wilson, UCLA
No college tight end at the Combine has more career catches than Wilson, an undersized junior who declared for the draft quickly after the season ended. With 141 career receptions at an impressive 14.7 yards per catch, the former high school quarterback appears to be on the upswing. He did miss a large chunk of the 2017 season due to injury, but that makes his production even more impressive. The transfer from USC will need a strong workout to put himself in the Day 2 discussion.

Best Pro Comparison
Comparing draft prospects to NFL players is tough, but here’s a player with the easiest picture to paint when looking at their NFL future through my eyes.
Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
A one-year starter for Jimbo Fisher this year at A&M, Sternberger stands at 6-4, 250 pounds and is an impressive athlete for the position. An easy mover who gets in and out of breaks with ease, I especially enjoyed studying him on vertical routes. The junior, who transferred from Kansas with a stop at a junior college in between, reminded me a lot of Zach Ertz while running some of his double moves, including a corner-post route that Ertz has nearly perfected during his time in the NFL. Is Sternberger to the level of Ertz right now? Of course not. But stylistically they’re similar. Sternberger will have questions about his blocking, like Ertz did, coming out of college. Physically, they’re almost identical, and I think his upside matches.
Best Story

Let’s face it, all of these players have great stories to tell, but which guy has taken the most unbelievable journey to get to this point in their career? Here’s the one that has caught my eyes (and ears) the most.
Jalen Hurd, Baylor
Most people have Hurd listed as a wide receiver, including the folks at National Football Scouting who put together the Combine. Some analysts have him listed as a running back. I think he may be best suited at tight end. Listed at the Senior Bowl at just under 6-5 and 227 pounds, Hurd was garnering comparisons to Adrian Peterson early in his career as a freshman at Tennessee. When he left the Volunteers in 2016, he was the second-leading ball carrier in the history of their storied program. Hurd transferred to Baylor, sat out a year, and moved to slot receiver this year for head coach Matt Rhule. Hurd has shown that he can play running back north of 240 pounds and can put on more weight. I wonder if Hurd could transition to a Trey Burton-esque role in the NFL. Regardless of what position he plays, his winding journey is certainly an interesting plot to follow.
Small-School Standout
This is the player who comes from a lower level of competition (outside of the Power 5 conferences) but still has a very bright future in the NFL.

Keenen Brown, Texas State
Brown could have gone back for a sixth year of eligibility, but he decided to come out instead. A transfer from Oklahoma State, he’ll look to push himself into the mid-to-late rounds with a good athletic performance. At 6-3, 250 pounds, Brown’s upside has been questioned and he hasn’t been super productive throughout his college career (just 57 catches for under 12 yards per reception), but he’s a fine player in his own right.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoDakIggle View Post
In the back of my mind I still wonder if they don't see Seamalu as the center if Kelce ever goes.
I'm sure that's the plan but man what a drop in talent there!!!
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