Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
Hernandez entered the combine with dominant game tape and an impressive Senior Bowl but the combine was the cherry on top. Hernandez muscled an impressive 37 lifts at 225lbs on the bench press and a respectable 5.15 in the 40 yard dash. Hernandez checks all the boxes and should be one of the first linemen called in the draft.
Anyone who needs a running back
This running back class may be the best in NFL history. We all know about Saquon Barkley and while we knew he would impress at the combine, it’s the lesser known names making waves. Nyheim Himes, Kallan Ballage, Rashaad Penny, and Nick Chubb all impressed on Friday morning by not only checking in at over 220lbs a piece, but running sub 4.5 40’s. These guys are all big, fast, and should be having teams giddy about the mid-round possibilities.
One of the most polarizing prospects in the draft, Josh Allen put on a show at the combine showing off his cannon for an arm. With everyone (rightly) concerned about his completion percentage while at Wyoming, Allen needed to display his freak physical abilities in a big way and he did.
Lamar Jackson is a winner this weekend for one simple reason: He made it clear that he’s a quarterback. NFL teams wanted Jackson to work out as a wide receiver and that caught the ire of a lot of people in the industry. Jackson has never played wide receiver and his peers don’t get asked to workout at other positions so why should he?
Every single “winner” that I have listed so far pales in comparison to Shaq Griffin. Griffin’s tape at UCF is spectacular which earned him the American Defensive Player of the Year award but that didn’t earn him an invite to the combine. He had to campaign his way in and once he got the nod, he literally took it and ran with it. Griffin posted the fastest 40 yard dash time ever recorded for a linebacker at a blistering 4.38. Add in 20 bench press reps and flawless individual drills and you have a combine “winner”. However, Shaq’s story is different. Griffin was born with an affliction that cost him the use of his left hand and he eventually had it amputated. If Griffin had two hands, he would be a first round pick in many people’s eyes. However, those people are wrong. If you watch Griffin’s tape, you will see that the hand doesn’t bother him. Griffin doesn’t want to be treated any different from his peers and so won’t I. Shaquem Griffin is worth a first round pick.
Remember how I said Saquon Barkley impressed at the combine? Orlando Brown did the exact opposite. His bench press numbers were putrid when he was only able to muster 14 reps which is tied for 3rd worst ever for offensive linemen. Now you have to accompany that with a 5.85 40 yard dash time (5th slowest since 2003), and his vertical jump at 19.5 inches (third worst ever). Maybe the worst of all was in the individual drills when he was yelled at by coaches for being lazy. Brown was projected as a first round pick coming into the weekend and that is in serious jeopardy now. While the combine doesn’t necessarily matter (see Tom Brady) you still have to look at these numbers and shudder.
I guess injuries would technically be a winner since they were prevalent but they don’t belong there. It started with top guys like Quenton Nelson and Ronald Jones III pulling their hamstrings and then you had guys like Tyquan Lewis being diagnosed with the flu even though he powered through it to complete his workout. It ended with LSU cornerback Donte Jackson pulling up at the end of his 40 yard dash even though he still posted a blistering 4.32.
The Florida State cornerback entered the day as a possible first or second round pick because of his premier length and production while in Tallahassee. Unfortunately, he ran a 4.67 40 yard dash and that was well below where he was expected to run. He still has his pro-day to make up for it but at the moment, he left teams with a bad taste in their mouth.
Mark Gorscak is the man who is standing next to the 40 yard dash line and whistles it dead if someone commits an infraction. On Monday morning, Gorscak incorrectly whistled Alabama cornerback Tony Brown (who also happens to be a track star) for a false start which drew the ire of Brown. Gorscak immediately backed off once Brown voiced his displeasure and that exchange lands Gorscak on the “Losers” list.