Workout warriors see their draft stock rise during the 2017 NFL Combine. No further games are being played on the field, but no player can hide behind shady team programs when the measurements are taken. Height, weight, hand size, 40 time, bench, shuttles, and more allow team front offices to see what types of athletes are behind the players they see on film. While the film weighs heavier in most grades, there are certain indicators that can hurt a players stock.
Additionally, medical reports and interviews make up a significant portion of the combine. The Alabama Crimson Tide continue to have more than their fair share of damaged players coming out of Nick Saban’s grindhouse as Jonathan Allen (shoulder, arthritis) and Cam Robinson (shoulder, labrum) have been tagged with worse than expected diagnosis.
There is something to be said for just taking the best athlete available. Athletic ability, after all, is a precursor to being able to compete at the highest level of football. The best athletes in college often are used all over the field precisely for their ability to create mismatches regardless of where they line up on the field. It is why you will see defenders run the ball or play some receiver. And, why receivers might return kicks and even play some deep safety when a Hail Mary is expected.
No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
The best player in this draft happens to be the best athlete. Garrett’s ability to bend around the corner is ridiculous and can cause an offense to game plan specifically to attempt to reduce his impact. Despite the Mary Kay Cabot report that the Browns are seriously considering Mitch Trubisky with the first overall pick, Garrett is the answer. Write it on the card in ink. Today.
No. 12 Jabrill Peppers, LB-S, Michigan
While some question the position he will play in the NFL, none question his athletic ability. His strength, speed, and quickness are all elite. His movements on tape make the players around him appear to be moving in slow motion. He pops.
Malik Hooker, S, the Ohio State
O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
Last video of the day. Jabrill Peppers' 3.9 20 yard shuttle up close and personal pic.twitter.com/sgoepnw6p4
— Stack Sports (@StackSports) February 7, 2017
No. 33 Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
Reddick has been a running back, defensive back, linebacker, and edge rusher. When his coaches state he did it all for them, they are being truthful. He also has an incredible motor; never giving up on a play. Coupled with his speed and explosiveness, he is the perfect style of linebacker for today’s hybrid defenses. Pairing both Reddick and Peppers together could allow Gregg Williams to adjust the defense to the offensive formations without exchanging personnel on the field.
David Njoku, TE, Miami
No. 52 Adoree Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson finally learned how to leverage his athleticism into creating turnovers and touchdowns. His ridiculous speed and quickness had allowed him to be a good player in years past, but he became a key defender for the Trojans once he utilized those for game-breaking plays. He did have a propensity to trust his makeup speed too much at times, but there Jackson has the potential to be a special corner.
Derek Rivers, DE, YSU
Each of these players would cause headaches for opposing coaches to try to match up with them on the field. Their speed, quickness, and ability would leave Gregg Williams giddy on draft day. The more the 2017 NFL Draft comes into focus, the easier the realization is that the defensive side has a stronger group of players. That is evident when looking directly at the most athletic players.
Who do you got?