NFL Draft: Six programs that should be pleased after the combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is over and many prospects from certain schools performed well. Here is a look at six programs who are buzzing after the event:
The Tigers sent 11 players to the combine, which should get the notice of every elite prospect nationally and many of them did well in Indianapolis. Five defensive linemen were among the group, led by Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence, who was limited after a minor leg injury sidelined him during the 40-yard dash. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen could also be one of the top players at his position to come off the board and Mark Fields turned in a good testing performance. Linebacker Tre Lamar is intriguing many teams and receiver Hunter Renfrow could be interesting because of his college production.
Farrell’s take: Clemson is on an Alabama level, so it’s no surprise to see so many highly regarded players impress at the combine, Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell are surefire round one guys and Lawrence and Mullen could slide in there as well. The level of talent coming out of Clemson is off the hook these days and it will only continue as they recruit at such a high level.
The Wolverines had an excellent showing at the combine. Defensive lineman Rashan Gary continued to show off his freak athleticism and showed teams that he could be an asset across the defensive line. His production numbers will remain a concern, but Gary proved he has special skills that could be utilized in almost any system.
Linebacker Devin Bush remains one of the top linebackers available and his numbers were excellent. Edge rusher Chase Winovich and defensive back David Long were two other standouts throughout the event and running back Karan Higdon went 4.49 in the 40. It was another solid year for Michigan players in Indianapolis.
Farrell’s take: I like what I see from the Michigan program as it has raised its recruiting game under Jim Harbaugh. Bush and Gary were among the most athletic players at their positions and Winovich showed off his endless motor. I was also impressed with Long and Higdon could be a steal in this draft. If Michigan keeps recruiting at this level and develops players, it will win that national title it covets.
Quarterback Drew Lock tested well and then looked good during the on-field drills, where he received rave reviews. He should emerge as one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft and could be in the discussion early in the first round, especially if Kyler Murray goes first to the Arizona Cardinals. Lock has a big arm, his completion percentage only went up during his time at Missouri and he put up huge numbers in the SEC. Receiver Emanuel Hall was also a workout warrior and proved he’s one of the elite athletes at the receiver position. Missouri sent six players to the combine and others in Indy have a chance to make a big impact in the league.
Farrell’s take: I really like what I saw from Lock and Hall at the combine and Missouri, as usual, will produce some NFL standouts. It is one of the more underrated programs for producing NFL talent and now it is branching out from just producing great defensive players to the offensive side of the ball.
Ten Ohio State players were at the combine, which should only help in recruiting, especially under first-year coach Ryan Day. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa could be the first player drafted if Arizona decides not to pursue Kyler Murray. Bosa more than backed up his reputation in Indianapolis as an elite edge rusher. Receiver Parris Campbell tested well and he could see his draft stock dramatically rise after running 4.31 in the 40-yard dash. Running back Mike Weber showed off speed as well. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins remains one of the top quarterbacks available and he should definitely stay as an early first-round selection. Those were some of the standouts, but the Buckeyes should see many more combine participants taken on draft night.
Farrell’s take: It’s no surprise that Ohio State continues to churn out talent and continues to develop first-rounders. It’s become commonplace in recent years. They have been recruiting at the same level as Alabama and Clemson and will continue to put players in round one which will only help recruiting. Day will keep things going for the Buckeyes and I expect next year and beyond will be just as impressive when it comes to the combine.
The Rebels were well-represented at the combine and there was no story bigger throughout the weekend than D.K. Metcalf, who looked like a million bucks and then performed great during testing to help him earn millions coming up in the draft. The former four-star could emerge as the No. 1 player at the position after his weekend in Indianapolis. A.J. Brown also did well and should stay in the first-round discussion, especially after his college production. Safety Zedrick Woods did nothing but help himself by running the fastest 40-yard dash at the entire combine - 4.29 seconds - on Monday. If there’s one concern, offensive tackle Greg Little looks to be sliding on draft boards.
Farrell’s take: Ole Miss, even with Little struggling, had a great showing at the combine and it speaks to its ability to not only recruit but develop talent. Brown is still my top receiver on the board and Metcalf will certainly go in round one. Woods was a real surprise and helped himself a lot, so I expect Ole Miss to be well-represented at the draft a few years after putting three first-rounders out there.
Linemen Ryan Bates, Kevin Givens and Connor McGovern all showed off their power on the bench press, edge rusher Shareef Miller ran well and showed off his athleticism, cornerback Amani Oruwariye tested well and running back Miles Sanders is an intriguing prospect at running back because he had good numbers and has a lot of tread left on the tires.
Quarterback Trace McSorley was asked to work out at defensive back too and declined as he works to prove he can excel as an NFL quarterback after setting records for the Nittany Lions. It was an overall solid showing by the entire Penn State group.
Farrell’s take: Penn State didn’t get as much attention as it should have at the combine, but the Nittany Lions represented very well. Sanders is shooting up the draft boards and the others only helped their stock overall. Penn State has been recruiting at a high level and this shows it.