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NFL Combine Day 5: Speed results, big arms lead the day but details even more important

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By: Jared Mueller

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft could see a big uptick in receivers going early due to Saturday’s performance

The NFL Combine didn’t culminate in the on-field drills on Saturday but the league built them up as the climax of the event despite more players performing Sunday afternoon.

For this writer, Saturday brought the end of my yearly Combine trip. Over a decade of covering the event with different start and stop times for a variety of reasons. This year, with the running backs and wide receivers (most important for the Cleveland Browns) going on Saturday night, along with quarterbacks, I headed home.


The details matter so much more with those two position groups for me and the television view gives me far more access to that than being in the stands. If I were there to focus on quarterbacks, I would have stayed.

Instead, I was blessed to get home, have my dog go crazy and spend some relaxing time taking notes alongside my wife and my dog in the comforts of my home. It also helped because Indianapolis tried to eliminate me this year with the up-and-down weather, sinus congestion and limited information being spread around to excite me.

On to the field and the showcase put on by the NFL draft prospects:

  • Before the wide receivers put on their amazing performances in the 40-yard dash, we had 11 players who ran it in under 4.4 seconds. Nine (9!) receivers joined that group:

Xavier Worthy – 4.21 – New Combine Record
Brian Thomas Jr. – 4.33
Adonai Mitchell – 4.34
Devontez Walker – 4.36
Jacob Cowing – 4.38
Roman Wilson – 4.39
Ladd McConkey – 4.39
Anthony Gould – 4.39
Xavier Legette – 4.39

  • You’ll notice that the list doesn’t include the top three receivers in this year’s draft as Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers chose not to run while Rome Odunze ran a 4.45
  • Speaking of Odunze, you saw his competitive nature as he really wanted to get a specific time on the 3-cone drill despite having the fourth fastest among the receiver group:

  • The linebacker group had just three prospects run the 3-cone and just nine receivers did the agility-based drill with Ricky Pearsall topping the list at 6.64 seconds
  • Pearsall and Odunze were in the top three in the short shuttle drill, the other agility test
  • An impressive six receivers jumped 40 inches or higher in the vertical test, showing off their explosive ability with Malike Washington and Jalen Coker leading the way with 42.5” verts
  • The other explosion-based drill, the broad jump, had four prospects leap 11 feet or more led by Adonai Mitchell at 11’4”
  • With his scores so high in a couple of the drills, Mitchell had the highest Relative Athletic Score of all the receivers this year:

  • While fans and media love to see these kinds of performances, for NFL teams most of them are expected. Where teams tend to pause is when what they see on film doesn’t match up
  • Florida State’s Keon Coleman is a great example of that as he had the slowest 40-yard dash time but looked fast in games. His speed during the gauntlet drill proved he has great play speed:

  • Another player whose 40-yard dash time stood out in a bad way was RB Audric Estime
  • While we loved hearing him sing and talk about his mother being an inspiration, Estime’s 4.71 was far off from what was expected.
  • The Notre Dame product was expected to run especially as he tested in the top four in both explosion-based tests. His film also showed breakaway speed:

  • Teams will have to figure out how to deal with the poor testing in comparison to the film with Estime but the Browns could benefit if it drops him down a little in the draft
  • Other players found attention for other reasons as this video I shot while watching on TV is well over 100K views:

  • That was shared by Laube and his family so they are obviously excited
  • Older fans and, perhaps team representatives, may not love it but the player is having fun
  • The quarterbacks also were on the field. With Cleveland not looking to add a rookie, most likely, I spent far less time focusing on them
  • There were some cool big throws including the bomb from Joe Milton and the quarterbacks, in general, looked good
  • An interesting note on JJ McCarthy was that he didn’t look good at all throwing left which has long been an issue for Mitch Trubisky as well
  • Combining those two QB names in a search on social media will see many people comparing the two after last night
  • Overall, and the reason I went home, the more important things are the drills that aren’t specifically time, like the gauntlet drills shown above related to Coleman’s speed
  • You saw what has made Blake Corum so special as a running back as he was running the bag drills
  • Trey Benson showed off his overall talent and, likely, first back-off-the-board ability throughout the event
  • Isaac Guerendo had a great performance working out but showed the lack of college reps in some of the drills
  • The running backs group showed once again that it is deep but, outside of Benson possibly, lacks that true top-level back we’ve seen in past years
  • You saw different receivers like Xavier Legette, one of the heavier guys, show off his ability to still move really well in the drills. Others, like Troy Franklin, had issues
  • Xavier Worthy broke the NFL Combine record but the concern for him was never speed it was consistency with his route and hands
  • Worthy and Franklin are two of only four receivers with hands under 8.7 inches which can explain some of the concerns
  • To be fair, Ladd McConkey is tied for the smallest hands at 8.58” and catching the ball isn’t a big concern for the Georgia product
  • Worthy was compared to former Browns speedster Travis Benjamin before the event which hits for a variety of reasons now

Sunday, the offensive line takes the field. Another group where the TV angles for the drills are far more important than the 40-yard dash. It will also be interesting to see how many run the 3-cone and shuttle drills this year.

Originally posted on Dawgs By Nature – All Posts