This years NFL Combine begins today in Indianapolis with kickers, special teams players, offensive lineman and tight ends arriving at Lucas Oil Stadium. Over 300 prospects will participate in this years combine with the rest of the positions arriving February 18th thru the 20th, with all events wrapping up on Monday February 23rd.
Players participating in the combine will go through numerous activities; including physical exams, team interviews, media interviews, a meeting with the NFLPA, psychological testing, bench presses, as well as on field workouts (40 yard dash, etc.). Depending on how a player performs on the field as well as in an interview, his draft stock could be impacted dramatically both positively and negatively.
This years draft class is expected to be another good one with top players like Leonard Williams of USC, Jameis Winston of Florida St. and Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. The wide receiver position is expected to be very deep again this year, with Amari Cooper, Kevin White and Devante Parker leading the list of pass catchers. Off-field concerns will be probably be a popular area of conversations among NFL teams as a couple of the highly ranked players will have to earn the trust of teams that are interested in them. Leading the way in off-field issues is none other than Jameis Winston, who just so happens to be projected by most as the #1 overall pick in this years draft. Whether it be stealing crab legs, alleged rape or other off-field issues, Winston seems to have many red flags. Despite these red flags he may still be the top player on many draft boards.
Below are my top 3 players at QB, RB and WR.
1. Jameis Winston, FSU – Red flags aside, he still is the most NFL ready QB in this draft. Has the potential to be a franchise quarterback if he can stay out of trouble.
2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon – Heisman trophy winners haven’t faired well in the past when it comes to the NFL but I think Mariota may be able to find the some success. I think may Russell Wilson type success, maybe minus the Super Bowl appearences but a good game manager who can both throw and run.
3. Brett Hundley, UCLA –Has really good size for the quarterback position. Has a strong arm and has the ability to escape the pocket when under pressure. He will participate in all positionals drills at the combine and given his physical tools he should impress.
1. Melvin Gordon,Wisconsin – This position was very tough to pick because I feel there are 4 guys who have the argument to be #1. With that said I think Gordon is the best of the group. At 6-1 207 he can be a very physical runner and also has very good speed and quickness. He can be a playmaker in the NFL in open space.
2. Tevin Coleman, Indiana – I think most people have Gurley top 2, but I like Coleman in this spot. He has excellent speed and the makeup of a prototypical running back. He can be a homerun hitter when he sees open space.
3. Todd Gurley, Georgia – Durability concerns are why I have him at #3. That may be saying something though that even with those concerns he is still 3#. Gurley may have the best all around game of the three, as well as the best size and speed combination which makes him very hard to tackle both between the hashes and in the open. Without the injuries he is the clear #1.
1. Amari Cooper, Alabama – Has all the tools to be an eilte wide receiver in the NFL. Excellent size and top end speed, as well seperation skills and route running. Is a playmaker with the ball in his hands.
2. Kevin White, WVU – Has excellent size, uses his body very well to get seperation and go up and get the ball. Draws comparisons to AJ Green. Top end speed is what most people will be looking for at the combine when he runs the 40 yd dash. Has the potential to be a playmaker in the NFL, and may have the most upside of the receivers.
3. Devante Parker, Louisville – Has good size but needs to bulk up some to be able to out physical defenders. Good height for his position and speed is above average. Can be a playmaker in space but may struggle with seperation until he gets stronger.
Obviosuly we still have some time until the draft but these are my top 3 at this time. I’ll revisit them after the combine and as we get closer to the draft I’ll have my first round projections.