The 10 freakiest athletes in this year's draft class
When it comes to draft status, athleticism is king. NFL teams would rather try to teach guys like Margus Hunt and Moritz Boehringer how to play football than take unathletic yet productive college players. No players in this class have those projectable physical attributes quite like the 10 players below.
There isn’t a more explosive player in the entire draft class than Melifonwu, and I’m not sure it’s close. Clocking in at 224 pounds, Melifonwu had the second-longest broad jump in combine history at 11’9” and the fourth-highest vertical at 44 inches. Oh and he also ran a 4.40 40-yard dash. I’m guessing a good deal of the U.S. population wouldn’t survive getting tackled by Melifonwu at full speed.
Garret’s 41-inch vertical at 272 pounds is the single freakiest measurable of any player in the entire draft class. Of the other five players with 40-plus-inch verticals at this year’s combine, the average weight was 208 pounds, with only Melifonwu tipping the scales over 220 pounds. Put simply, Garrett can do things no other human being can.
Ross may have only done three drills at the combine, but he posted lights-out numbers in all of them. He had an 11’1” broad jump, a 37-inch vertical, and of course the record-breaking 4.22 40-yard dash. Add those numbers up and you get the best deep-threat prospect in years.
Up until now we’ve dealt solely with explosive numbers like jumps and sprints. It’s the change-of-direction drills, though, where King is literally the king. The Washington corner back had the quickest 3-cone (6.56 seconds) and short shuttle (3.89 seconds) of any player at the combine. That’s bananas for a 6-3, 200-pound corner.
5. Jason Thompson, S, Utah
Marcus Williams is probably the Utah safety you were expecting to see on this list, but at Utah’s pro day it was Thompson who stole the show. He turned in a blazing 6.57-second 3-cone, 4.01 short shuttle, 4.45-second 40, 20 bench reps, a 39 ½-inch vertical, and an 11’1” broad jump. Those numbers are all elite for the position. They’ve yet to translate to football though as Thompson played all of 53 snaps the past two seasons.
John Ross may have the eye-popping 40, but Davis has the all-around numbers. At 219 pounds, Davis ran a 4.44 40, 6.82 3-cone, did 19 reps on the bench, had a 41-inch vertical, and a 11’4” broad jump. All of those numbers are superb, especially considering his weight. Coming out of Georgia State, he’s raw as can be, but you can’t teach the athleticism he has.
257-pounders aren’t supposed to put up numbers that would be considered fantastic for a wide receiver, but that’s precisely what Hodges did. His 4.57 40 is crazy for his size, though his 39-inch vertical and 11’2” broad jump are even crazier. If Hodges flipped over to the other side of the ball tomorrow and wanted to rush the passer, he’d likely still get drafted on those measurable alone.
There could be a handful of tight ends on this list, but Njoku and Hodges are the clear leaders. Their testing numbers are almost identical — both have the measurable of wide receivers despite being tight ends. All you need to know about Njoku’s freaky athleticism is that he was the national high-school high-jump champion at 220 pounds. That shouldn’t be possible.
9. Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA
This year’s cornerback class has some of the freakiest in recent memory. The fact that Moreau with his 4.35 40-yard dash and 11’4” broad jump isn’t the highest-rated corner on this list should be evidence enough. Moreau also turned in an excellent 38-inch vertical all while weighing a stout 206 pounds.
Is he an edge defender or a linebacker? Not sure it matters with how freakish Reddick’s abilities are. At 237 pounds he can run a 4.52 40 and broad jump at 11’1”. Both those numbers were tops among all defensive linemen and linebackers in Indianapolis.