Lots of unknowns leading into Indianapolis
The NFL Combine. It’s an event that can turn proverbial bust John Ross into a top-10 pick and make Drew Brees look like he was better suited for a life selling insurance.
Prospects get their physical and mental abilities tested, some more accurately than others. From a fan’s prospective, there are also some questions that need to be answered.
Who is the top QB?
Naturally, the premier NFL position is given the biggest spotlight at the NFL Combine. Carson Wentz’s combine performance was part of the reason he vaulted into discussion for the top overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
In this year’s draft, there are a few things to watch regarding the quarterback position. For months Dwayne Haskins has been the top prospect for many experts. However, questions have begun to arise about Haskins’ arm strength and ability to push the ball downfield.
Think Teddy Bridgewater in the way he throws and manipulates the pocket. The combine will give everyone an idea on how strong his arm actually is. Of course, there won’t be 300-pound linemen bearing down on him, but Haskins can prove he has the zip necessary to succeed at the next level.
Kyler Murray has been in the news lately for officially choosing football as his sport to pursue a professional career in, picking the NFL over Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics.
Lamar Jackson is the obvious comparison to Murray. However, Murray appears to be a more polished passer. The knock on Murray is his size. Say what you want about Brees and Russell Wilson succeeding as undersized quarterbacks, but Murray is about 3 inches and 30 pounds lighter than those guys. That matters when Murray is getting mauled by professional athletes every week. If he goes out and lays a complete egg in the passing drills, skeptics about his rumored 5-foot-8-inch, 185-pound frame will get even louder.
Will Grier has a lot to gain in this combine. After watching some tape of Grier, he reminds me of Baker Mayfield. His size, throwing-motion and attitude are all comparable to Mayfield’s. Off-field concerns and a lack of competition on the defensive side of the ball in the Big 12 are areas of concern for teams. If Grier can put on a good performance, he can put himself back into the first-round conversation.
How’s Nick Bosa doing?
Nick Bosa has been slotted as going No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals in almost every single mock draft out there right now. The crazy part is nobody has seen Bosa play since mid-September. Bosa suffered an injury against Texas Christian University, and when he was told he was looking at a late-season return he dropped out of Ohio State completely to focus on the draft. It will be cool to see Bosa back on a football field. Scouts will be watching to see if he has kept himself fit and still has the same explosiveness that has made him the draft’s current top prospect.
Will an elite CB prospect please stand up?
Cornerback appears to be a thin position going into the 2019 NFL Draft. After being blessed with the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward in the last three drafts, teams are searching for a lockdown corner.
Louisiana State’s Greedy Williams, who may just have the best cornerback name in history, is the frontrunner for the draft’s best corner. He’s got the size, he’s got the speed and he’s got the ball-skills. However, he has a serious case of “tackle-itis”. Tackle-itis is a word made up for players who either don’t like to or are poor at tackling.
In the ever-changing NFL, where almost every running back can make plays out of the backfield, cornerbacks are getting asked to tackle more and more.
Deandre Baker from Georgia is the other prospect with his name in the running for the draft’s best corner. Baker’s speed is what has teams concerned. In college, opposing receivers would consistently gain separation on deep balls when going against Baker, but the combine offers a chance for him to knock the notion.
A good showing at the combine by Williams or Baker could help them move up draft boards, but for now the draft is without an elite cornerback prospect.