By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
Ok, so the first thing I learned at the NFL Combine is that they call Wide Receivers… Wide Outs. Frankly, I’m not sure why. They all SAY the words “wide receiver” when talking about them, but the official literature calls them “wide outs.”
The second thing I learned is that you have to be really (REALLY) quiet at the workouts in Lucas Oil Stadium. ZERO tolerance for noise, clapping, anything that might distract the players from having their best results. With over 6,000 fans in attendance, the stadium workers were kept pretty busy policing the crowd.
All-in-all, it was an amazing experience for me today to see first-hand what these young men were going through. While the TV gives you an up-close perspective, the sights and sounds of being in that stadium must be experienced in person.
Today it was all about Quarterbacks, Tight Ends, and Wide Outs. Let’s take a look at who the top performers were in each category.
After the impressive showing of TEs at last year’s combine, along with the high-quality NFL performance of guys drafted like Dallas Goeddert and Mike Gesicki, this category is getting a much closer look this year.
The top expected performers, Noah Fant (Iowa), TJ Hockenson (Iowa) and Irv Smith Jr (Alabama), did not disappoint. However, there were a few guys looking to move up in the ranks that had very successful days.
Top TE Performers
Noah Fant (Iowa) 40-yard dash 4.50, Vertical jump 39.5″ and Broad jump 127″
TJ Hockenson (Iowa) 40-yard dash 4.70, Vertical jump 37.5″ and Broad jump 123″
Caleb Wilson (UCLA) 40-yard dash 4.56, Vertical jump 29″ and Broad jump 113″
Josh Oliver (San Jose State) 40-yard dash 4.63, Vertical jump 34″ and Broad jump 117″
Irv Smith (Alabama) 40-yard dash 4.63, Vertical jump 32.5″ and Broad jump 110″
Foster Moreau (LSU) 40-yard dash 4.66, Vertical jump 36.5″ and Broad jump 121″
Iowa TE Noah Fant was the biggest winner among tight ends, leading all combine participants in 40-time (4.50), broad jump (10’7), vertical jump (39 1/2″) & 3-cone (6.81).
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 2, 2019
This is where my Ohio State Buckeye fandom comes into my writing, but in my defense, the measurements back that up.
Paris Campbell led all comers with his blazing speed in the 40-yard dash. Teammates Terry McLaurin and Johnny Dixon looked pretty darn good as well.
A couple of guys who’s draft stock is definitely rising would be N’Keal Harry and Hakeem Butler. And D K Metcalf is looking as good on the field as he does in the gym… shirtless. These guys did not disappoint today and put on a great show of athleticism.
— 😈SunDevilEmily😈 (@sundevilemily) March 2, 2019
Top WO Performers
Paris Campbell (tOSU) 40-yard dash 4.31 Vertical jump 40″ Broad jump 135″
Miles Boykin (Notre Dame) 40-yard dash 4.42 Vertical jump 43.5″ Broad jump 140″
N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) 40-yard dash 4.53 Vertical jump 38.5″ Broad jump 122″
Andy Isabella (Massachusetts) 40-yard dash 4.31 Vertical jump 36.5″ Broad jump 121″
Mecole Hardman (Georgia) 40-yard dash 4.33 Vertical jump 36.5″ Broad jump 119″
D.K. Metcalf (Mississippi) 40-yard dash 4.33 Vertical jump 40.5″ Broad jump 134″
Terry McLaurin (tOSU) 40-yard dash 4.35 Vertical jump 37.5″ Broad jump 125″
The tricky thing about the workouts and drills for these receivers is that the quarterbacks were very involved. And that means it’s hard to really evaluate each drill because it’s not just about the receiver catching the ball, it’s also about the quarterback throwing it in the right spot.
Basically, QBs are trained to work on plays and then incorporate their receivers tendencies to complete the pass and move the chains. In today’s drills, these guys had never played together before. The QBs were asked to throw a slant route and, while their normal process might be to see where the receiver was and make sure they could catch the ball. But as far as their Combine evaluation was concerned, they had to just prove they could put the ball in the right place and hope the receiver caught it.
The wide outs did catch most of the passes, which is good for them, but at the same time, if the QB adjusted in any way for their speed or field position, it might count against them. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how that works but, frankly, I think the QBs will do better at this on their own pro days, where they can show their best stuff on their home turf.
With all that being said, front-runner Kyler Murray didn’t work out today or throw to receivers. Word on the street is that he put some weight on to bulk up his body and perhaps just hasn’t adjusted his athleticism to handle it quite yet. I’m sure he’ll be looking good by his pro day.
And tOSU record setter Dwayne Haskins was battling cramps and couldn’t finish all the activities.
Ohio St QB Dwayne Haskins, who ended up running an unofficial 40 of 5.04, was battling leg cramps prior to running, I’m told. He’d been timed in the 4.8s during training in California and will run again at his Pro Day.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 2, 2019
Top QB Performers
Trace McSorley (Penn State) 40-yard dash 4.57 Vertical jump 33″ Broad jump 9’7″
Tyree Jackson (Buffalo) 40-yard dash 4.59 Vertical jump 34.5″ Broad jump 10’0″
Easton Stick (North Dakota State) 40-yard dash 4.62 Vertical jump 33.5″ Broad jump 9’10”
Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State) 40-yard dash 4.64 Vertical jump 29.5″ Broad jump 9’7″
Drew Lock (Missouri) 40-yard dash 4.69 Vertical jump 31″ Broad jump 9’4″
Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt) 40-yard dash 4.91 Vertical jump 29.5″ Broad jump 8’10”
Talk NFL Combine with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8