The 2017 NFL Draft process kicks into high gear over the next the next few days when the entire league convenes to Indianapolis for the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. It is the first time NFL teams can get up close and personal with the draft prospects, seeing who they are as a person and nailing down each players’ measurables. It is an important piece in the pre-draft process that should not be discounted or overrated. It is an important piece, but one of many pieces that make up the entire draft evaluation.
So with the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine upon us, let’s take a look at what we should watch for over the next four days of on-field drills and athletic testing. Here are the players at each position group I expect to really shine at the NFL Combine this weekend.
Star: Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Patrick Mahomes has the best physical skills of all the quarterbacks in the draft class. He has a rocket for an arm, so he should impress in the on-field passing drills. He also is a good athlete who should test well in the athletic portions of the week.
Honorable Mention: Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
Mitch Trubisky could be one of the best performers at the NFL Combine, showing off his athleticism. He has a very strong arm, along with the athleticism to run fast in the 40-yard dash. He may not be Mahomes, but Trubisky can really do some damage this weekend with his ability.
Star: Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Dalvin Cook may be the best athlete of all the running backs in the 2017 draft class. He has blazing speed along with strong legs, which should test well in the two athletic jumping tests. He could put on a real show.
Honorable Mention: Marlon Mack, South Florida
Marlon Mack may not be a household name, but he has some freakish speed that makes him a homerun threat when he has the ball in hands. He should have one of the fastest 40-yard dash times in the position group.
Star: John Ross, Washington
John Ross may be the fastest the player at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine at any position. He should be around 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash and possibly even under it.
Honorable Mention: Kermit Whitfield, Florida State
Kermit Whitfield will be right with John Ross in the 40-yard dash. Whitfield does not have great receiver skills, but he does have great speed to be a returner and a big play receiver.
Star: David Njoku, Miami (FL)
David Njoku is the best athlete among the tight ends in the 2017 NFL Draft. He should rank high among group in all of the athletic skill-based exams, potentially testing better than a lot of the receivers.
Honorable Mention: Evan Engram, Ole Miss
Evan Engram is just behind Njoku as an athlete. Engram has the size of a bigger wide receiver, with the athleticism to perform better than a lot of his peers.
Star: Antonio Garcia, Troy
Antonio Garcia is a former high school basketball player with good athleticism for a man his size. He should perform well in the athletic testing.
Honorable Mention: Garett Bolles, Utah
Garett Bolles has really good quickness and athleticism for an offensive lineman. He will flash this athleticism during his portion of the Combine.
Star: Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Myles Garrett will be a must-watch prospect for Browns fans given his status as the favorite for the No. 1 pick. He is one of the best athletes in the draft with freakish athleticism for a man his size.
Honorable Mention: Malik McDowell, Michigan State
Malik McDowell has the size, length and athleticism that are rare in a defensive lineman. He should be one of the players who runs like a player who is 50 pounds lighter.
Star: Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
Zach Cunningham is a player who has coverage skills because of his smooth movement skills and athleticism. He should test well in the athletic testing.
Honorable Mention: Jayon Brown, UCLA
Jayon Brown may not have the size of a prototypical linebacker, but he makes up for it with his athleticism. He moves well in space, giving him a great chance to impress at the NFL Combine.
Star: Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Adoree’ Jackson is a playmaker when the ball is in his hand, after playing receiver earlier in his career. He is an athlete who should show out for the NFL evaluators at the NFL Combine.
Honorable Mention: Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
Marshon Lattimore has blazing speed along with great ball skills to make big plays for the defense. He should be fast in the 40-yard dash and perform well in the on-field drills.
Star: Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Obi Melifonwu has elite size for the safety position, but he pairs that size with good athleticism for a man his size. He should be a standout in the safety position group.
Honorable Mention: Budda Baker, Washington
Budda Baker is a former high school sprinter, who should run well in the 40-yard dash. He also has explosive jumping ability, which should bode well for the athletic jumping tests.
*Positions for each player based on NFL.com position group designation