Winners and losers from the 2016 NFL scouting combine
Even though NFL combine week is often downplayed, the results matter in the eyes of NFL teams, and it’s important to see if a player’s athleticism will match his play. Game speed is still king among evaluation, but anything that comes up in the workouts that doesn’t match the tape is reason to further evaluate — whether it’s a positive or negative for the player.
With that said, the NFL combine is the most recent development in the long evaluation process, so which players left the best — and the worst — impressions with NFL teams?
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
This one was expected, as Spriggs looked athletic on tape and during Senior Bowl week, so it’s no surprise that he came out looking good. At 6-6, 301 pounds, Spriggs posted the top 40 time among offensive linemen at 4.94, while also leading the group in the broad jump and ranking second in the 20-yard shuttle. After Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley and Jack Conklin, the offensive tackle position has a few other options and Spriggs vaulted himself into the conversation with a strong week.
William Jackson III, CB, Houston
Our Sam Monson was pleased to see Jackson show off his movement skills, as the six-footer ran the third-best 40 time among defensive backs at 4.37 while backing up his impressive tape with a strong all-around workout. Few corners have the size and movement skills that Jackson possesses, and while we expected him to have a strong day, the sub-4.4 40 time at six feet tall is a first-round combination.
Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
One of the best all-around performances of the week, Doctson tested and worked out well. His 4.50 40-yard dash time tied for 11th among wide receivers, but it was his vertical and broad jumps, in which he finished first and second respectively, that got him noticed. Throw in strong showings in both agility drills, the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle, and Doctson showed the movement skills of a top flight wide receiver. When factoring in his 6-2 frame and the ball skills and catch radius that he’s shown on film, Doctson has a lot of momentum coming out of the combine.
Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
Weighing in at 244 pounds at 6-6, Floyd has an intriguing body type for the NFL and his lower body power was on display as he ranked in the top three in both the vertical and broad jumps. His 4.60 40 time was fifth among the linebackers, and the only remaining question is where does he best fit in the NFL?
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Given Spence’s off-field issues, his on-field work was supposed to do the talking, but it was a disappointing week. It’s a wide open race to be the No. 2 edge defender off the board behind former teammate Joey Bosa, and after a strong week at the Senior Bowl, Spence was right in that mix. The draft class is lacking in explosive edge players and many expected Spence to rise to the top, but a disappointing 4.80 40 and mediocre efforts in other events are making it difficult for teams to justify Spence given the off-field issues.
De’Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi State
Wilson’s 4.85 40 time was the worst in recent memory by a wide receiver and his broad and vertical jumps weren’t much better. Wilson was productive at Mississippi State, but that combine workout was one of the worst you’ll see by a wide receiver.
Darian Thompson, FS, Boise State
A good prospect on tape, Thompson came to Indianapolis to prove that he has the range to become a free safety at the next level, but his 4.69 40 that ranked third-worst among defensive backs will not elicit confidence from NFL teams. The NFL is lacking in recently-developed, high-end safeties, and Thompson has as good a chance as any to buck that trend. However, a subpar effort in all movement drills have raised a lot of concerns about his game.
Scooby Wright III, LB, Arizona
While Wright doesn’t show great speed on film, running in the 4.75 to 4.80 range would have gone a long way toward easing the perception of his athletic limitations. Instead, he ran a 4.90, and that number will have many teams ignoring his instincts and ability to make plays in the run game that may be better than any linebacker in the class. Wright’s 2014 production was impressive before a 2015 injury-riddled campaign, but the 4.90 will be difficult to overcome.