Myles Garrett dominates Sunday's combine
This draft class is loaded at edge and linebacker, and not surprisingly a number of top prospects had excellent workouts on Sunday. Here’s a look at some of the most notable performances from the second-to-last day of action in Indianapolis:
Myles Garrett, Edge, Texas A&M
A top producer in each of the last three seasons, everyone knew Garrett would put together an impressive combine workout heading into Sunday, and he didn’t fail to impress. While his 4.64 40-yard dash was outstanding, considering he measured 6-foot-5 and 272 pounds Saturday, it was his 1.63 10-yard split that was particularly eye-popping, as it was the top mark of the day for his position group. His day didn’t end there, as he also benched 33 reps at 225 pounds, jumped a 41-inch vertical as well as a 10-8 broad jump. While it is generally advisable to caution against counting athleticism more than once for a player (off film and the workout), the reality is that Garrett was almost certain to be taken first overall by Cleveland, so Sunday’s performance only solidified his status as the best overall prospect in this draft class.
Jordan Willis, Edge, Kansas State
While Willis has put up huge grades all season with his ability to get up field off the edge in a flash to rack up pressures, the level of athleticism he showed Sunday was shocking. He had a 1.54 10-yard split on his way to an outstanding 4.53 40 time, and also posted a 39-inch vertical. He also showed well in drills, as he looked more fluid than he did on film when changing directions. His workout warrants another look at his film, as he had the look of a high first-round pick as opposed to that of a day-two selection as he did throughout the season.
Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
Cunningham’s draft stock may have gotten a boost Saturday when top ILB prospect Reuben Foster from Alabama was asked to leave the combine early after an argument at the hospital during medical checks. Regardless of how Foster’s actions potentially hurt him, Cunningham proved Sunday that he is worthy of a first-round selection. His 4.67 40, 35-inch vertical and 10-5 broad jump were all excellent numbers, and he was one of the best linebackers in position drills. He looked smooth and comfortable in transition, displaying the natural athleticism needed to play all three downs at the NFL level. While his 21 missed tackles in 2016 are certainly caused for concern, he also ranked fourth in FBS in run stop percentage, and displayed outstanding physicality in all three phases of defense.
Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
Like Willis, McMillan’s performance warrants another look at his film. When breaking down his play at Ohio State, he struggled at times in coverage, and did not appear to be at an athletic level needed to play all three downs. However, he may have erased some of those fears on Sunday afternoon, as he posted a 4.61 40 on his first run. His 33-inch vertical represents a solid effort as well, and although his positional work wasn’t at the level of Cunningham, he certainly helped himself. While some teams are likely to rely on the film and be unphased by his time, others may feel more at ease as a result of his fast time, which could put him into late first- or early second-round consideration.
Tyus Bowser, Edge, Houston
Bowser turned a lot of heads during his strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl in January, and continued his forward momentum Sunday. He ran a 4.66 40, jumped a vertical of 37.5 inches and a broad of 10-7 to go with a bench of 21 reps at 225 pounds. His ability to explode off the ball and turn the edge was very apparent in positional drills as well, and matches what we saw on film this year during his six games of action. As more NFL people begin to delve into his 2016 film he will continue to rise, and could possibly end up being selected early on day two.
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Much was made of Peppers’ 4.47 40 as verifying him as an elite athlete, but it is important to keep in mind that while he had the top time of the day, he was running with linebackers and not defensive backs, which is his most likely NFL position. Yes, his time compares favorably to other top safeties from the past, namely Earl Thomas, who posted a 4.50 at his combine in 2010, but his workout in general doesn’t quite measure up to the super-elite status as an athlete he was billed to have (his 35.5-inch vertical was bested by a number of other prospects). This is important for him because of both the depth of the entire class, and the fact there is clearly still serious concerns as to what position he’ll play on defense (or offense) at the next level. With his number Sunday unlikely to be significantly better than a number of top safeties yet to work out, he may find himself still on the board at the end of day one unless, he is able to stand out above the competition during position drills Monday.