The NFL Scouting Combine recently wrapped up in Indianapolis, sending teams back to their respective film rooms to see if what transpired at the Underwear Olympics translates to the football field. With so much time before any meaningful on-field action, we’ll go ahead and assemble our All-Combine Team exclusively from what these prospects accomplished in their Under Armour and let the scouts worry about if it translates or not.
QUARTERBACK – Marcus Mariota, Oregon
It’s been a while since the big-name quarterbacks actually threw at the Combine, but Mariota made his mark before they even put a football in his hand. His 4.52 40 (with a 1.57 10-yard split) topped the position, and both times ranked among the top 10 percent of all quarterbacks at the Combine in the past 10 years. Mariota’s marks of 10’1” in the broad jump, 4.11 seconds in the short shuttle and a 36” vertical jump all placed within the top three at his position this year as well as in the top 10 percent of all Combine QBs in the past decade. That his footwork looked to be improving and he made all the requisite NFL throws in the on-field drills is a bonus.
RUNNING BACK – Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
While Abdullah’s 4.60 40 time wasn’t necessarily blazing, he posted the best marks among all running backs in the vertical jump (42.5”), broad jump (10’10”), 3-cone drill (6.79 seconds) and short shuttle (3.95 seconds). All three times were also among the top 10 percent recorded by all Combine running backs over the past 10 years. The 3-cone and short shuttle scores speak to Abdullah’s ability to change direction, while his vertical and broad jumps demonstrate his explosiveness.
RUNNING BACK – David Johnson, Northern Iowa
Johnson’s 4.50 40 time ranked fourth among all running backs and was particularly impressive given that at 6’0”, 224 pounds he’s among the bigger non-fullbacks in the group. Johnson also showed out in the bench press (25 reps at 225 pounds, fourth among RBs) and 3-cone drill (6.82 seconds, second only to Abdullah) and posted elite marks in the vertical (41.5”) and broad (10’7”) jumps. Big and explosive with decent speed, Johnson can expect multiple teams to dig into his game film to see just how he might transition to the NFL.
WIDE RECEIVER – Chris Conley, Georgia
Only two receivers posted 40 times faster than Conley’s 4.35, and both—UAB’s J.J. Nelson and Miami’s Phillip Dorsett—are at least three inches shorter and 28 pounds lighter than the 6’2”, 213 pound Conley. That makes his 45” vertical and 11’7” broad jumps—both best among Combine wide receivers—that much more impressive as well. Conley came into the Combine as a likely Day Three option, but his remarkable athleticism might convince teams he has more upside than a late-round pick and bump his draft stock accordingly.
WIDE RECEIVER – Kevin White, West Virginia
White arrived in Indy as a probable first-round pick, but after blazing a 4.35 40 and posting above-average marks in just about every other drill he may have pushed himself to the top of the wide receiver leader board. Not that Alabama’s Amari Cooper did anything wrong—his 3.98 short shuttle was certainly impressive—but White’s demonstration of speed suggests his ceiling may be just a shade higher than Cooper’s.
WIDE RECEIVER – Kenny Bell, Nebraska
Flying under the Cooper/White radar, hidden behind Conley’s Combine gem, overshadowed by Dorial Green-Beckham’s interview intrigue, Bell had himself an outstanding showing in Indy. His 4.42 40 ranked among the top five wide receivers at the Combine, and his 41’5” vertical, 10’9” broad jump, and 6.66 short shuttle all place him among the top 10 percent of all wideouts to compete at the Combine in the last decade. Those numbers might elevate Bell from late-round flier to an early Day Three selection with more anticipated upside.
TIGHT END – MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
This class of tight ends underwhelmed in Indy, opening the door for probable Day Three pick Pruitt to improve his draft stock. Pruitt paced the position with a 4.58 40 and a 38” vertical and was top-four in broad jump (9’10”), short shuttle (4.37) and 3-cone (7.25). At 6’2” he’s a little shorter than prototypical NFL tight ends, but his athleticism should move him up in a class that’s light on potential contributors.
KICKER – Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame
Only one kicker participated in any of the measured tests at the Combine: the 6’1”, 236-pound Brindza, who recorded 14 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. That was more than two running backs, six receivers, seven defensive backs and as many as one defensive lineman who shall go unnamed so as to save him from embarassment. But he might want to hit the weight room—hard.