INDIANAPOLIS – Our time at the NFL Combine is winding to a close, but the workouts are still going strong.
A grand total of 330 kids are here in Indianapolis, and it takes a while for everyone to run the gauntlet – from medical tests, to interviews, to on-field work. Our crew will be back in Texas by Sunday morning, but the work continues here until Monday.
Saturday brought plenty of intrigue, though, as the wide receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends got their chance to shine. Here were my top impressions from an eventful day on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- As impressive as Washington WR John Ross’ record-breaking 40-yard dash run of 4.22 was — it was disappointing that it cost him an opportunity to complete the remainder of the workout. Ross is the third-best receiver on my board and I was looking forward to him competing to see if he could gain ground on Corey Davis and Mike Williams, but it wasn’t meant to be.
- I knew that Penn State WR Chris Godwin and East Carolina WR Zay Jones could catch the ball, but I really wasn’t sure how well they would run. On tape, Godwin plays with some separation but not like you see from other receivers, such as West Virginia’s Shelton Gibson. On the other side, Jones doesn’t run the types of routes where you see him separate, either. But what was actually impressive about Godwin and Jones during their workout was their 40-yard dash times. Godwin clocked in at 4.42 and Smith at 4.45. If you would have bet me before the Combine I would have said both would have been in the high 4.5s.
- The quarterback that looked the most comfortable throwing the ball during these drills was not one of the top guys, but a guy that is likely to get drafted on the third day – Pittsburgh’s Nate Peterman. It was clear that Peterman played in an offensive scheme where he had to take snaps from underneath center. Since the other quarterbacks played their college ball mainly in shotgun, their footwork wasn’t as sharp. If you watched the Combine drills you would have seen that all the throws are conducted with a drop and not from the gun. Peterman took advantage of that opportunity with some accurate throws.
- This is a freakish athletic group of tight ends, led by Alabama’s O.J. Howard. As good as this group is running 40’s and vertical jumping, they’re far from looking comfortable getting in a three-point stance and firing off the ball. I did not see one guy, including Howard, who looked impressive when they had to drive the bag. There was just no power or snap. It was an old fashioned pillow fight to be honest and that was disappointing.
- First question that Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers was asked today was “What position do you play?” With a straight face he said “What do I look like?” For the record, Peppers thinks he’s a safety. Peppers made a deal with the Combine to work out with the linebackers on Sunday and then stay overnight to workout with the defensive backs on Monday, so he will get an opportunity at both spots. Teams have also talked to Peppers about playing offense as well, and he is open to doing whatever is asked of him when drafted.