5 takeaways from combine QB workouts
The quarterback position isn’t one that normally fluctuates with combine performance, but outliers on either end of the spectrum can still give teams pause. Here are five guys who showed me something — whether encouraging or disappointing — in Indy:
- Jared Goff’s hands are small, but he’s still accurate
The concerns about Goff’s slight frame have been out there for months now, but he added another red flag on Thursday when his hands measured in at 9 inches. That is a popular cutoff point for hand size in the NFL and it doesn’t give you confidence that his fumbling issues (23 career at Cal) will be solved anytime soon. When Goff actually had to throw the ball at the combine though, the hand size issue got put on the back burner. His ball placement was on point in drill after drill and he showed why he finished 2015 as PFF’s highest graded college quarterback.
- Christian Hackenberg’s hands are small and he’s still inaccurate
Hackenberg’s hands were also 9 inches despite him having otherwise prototypical size. But unlike Goff, Hackenberg’s hand size might actually affect his ability to throw accurately. Hackenberg egregiously missed on back-to-back post routes against air at one point — a feat you’ll almost never see at the combine. The Penn State QB was our 119th in accuracy percentage (64.0) in the FBS this past season and 87th overall in our grading.
- Jeff Driskel is athletic enough to play wide receiver
If you had predicted Jeff Driskel as the most athletic quarterback in this year’s draft class, you have a keen eye. After pacing all QBs with a 4.56 40-yard dash and a 10-foot-two-inch broad jump, Driskel blew away a mediocre field. Now scouts will have to decide if that athleticism, combined with a much improved senior season, is worth taking a mid-round flyer on. Driskel was a mess in 2014 at Florida, finishing with a -4.7 overall quarterback and a 67.2 accuracy percentage. After transferring to Lousiana Tech this past season Driskel improved by leaps and bounds to a +26.3 overall grade and a 71.6 accuracy percentage.
- Trevone Boykin is not athletic enough to play wide receiver
After much consternation earlier this year about Boykin switching positions, few teams will have him on their board as a receiver after running a 4.77 40 and posting a 32-inch vertical. That’s a good thing. Boykin has more than enough ability to get a fair shake at quarterback. His ball placement is a bit of an issue, but Boykin consistently flashed talent throwing the ball downfield. He was PFF’s seventh-highest graded quarterback last year and fourth most accurate quarterback on throws 20+ yards down the field (53.7 percent)
- Carson Wentz is no Cam Newton, but that won’t matter
There was some buzz about Wentz’ athleticism being comparable to that of the current MVP’s heading into the combine. While his numbers can go head-to-head with some of the tight ends in attendance, they were not all-world like Newton’s. He posted a 4.77 40-yard dash, 6.86 3-cone, 30.5-inch vertical, and nine-foot-10-inch broad jump — solid enough numbers that it wouldn’t change anything if you already envisioned him as a top-five pick. We don’t have any hard and fast numbers from his FCS games just yet (we’re working on it), but our top analysts thought enough of him to put him at No. 4 on our initial draft board.