clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 Scouting Combine preview

New, comments

A Seahawk-centric look at the players of intrigue at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine begins today with the first of four groups (offensive line and running backs) arrived and taking preliminary medical exams, and doing team interviews.

Wednesday: Group 1 moves on to the weigh-in, further medical exams, and lots of media interviews…meanwhile, the 2nd Group (quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends) arrives and starts their process.

Thursday: Group 1 will perform their bench press test, Group 2 will weigh-in, and Group 3 (defensive line and linebackers) will just arrive.

Friday: is the busiest day with Group 1 performing all field tests, Group 2 performing bench, Group 3 at weigh-in, and Group 4 (all defensive backs) arriving.

Saturday: Group 2 performs all field tests, Group 3 at bench, Group 4 at weigh-in.

Sunday: Group 3 performs all field tests, Group 4 at bench.

Monday: Group 4 performs all field tests.

Offensive Line:

This will be our first look at quite a few of the underclass OL weigh-ins (Tunsil, Stanley, Conklin, Coleman, Ifedi), as well as a few Seniors that skipped Sr Bowl (Decker, R.Kelly).

If you’re looking to draft an OT this year, you’re probably looking for 34” arms. After all-star games, the list of 34’s stands at: Jason Spriggs, Vadal Alexander, Le’Raven Clark, John Theus, Fahn Cooper, Brandon Shell, Stephane Nembot, Dominique Robertson, Pearce Slater. Of that group, really only Spriggs is looking like a potential first rounder. And the combine will be his to steal. He should make money this week.

My other guesses for who will make money this week: Shon Coleman, Joe Dahl, Jack Conklin, Connor McGovern. Basically, they’re all guys I’ve written about all year, and I’ve followed them all year because, on tape, they look like they have above-average athleticism for their position(s). Well, to be fair, I’ve assumed Conklin was average athletically (he’d run like a 5.20 forty but do well in agility drills), but recently Jack came out and said he thought he could hit near a 5.00-flat forty. If he does that, it would absolutely solidify him as a 1st round pick.

Dahl also, in an interview with Draftbreakdown earlier this year, said he thought he could hit a 5.00-flat forty. Anything under 5.00 for an OL is exceptional, but All-pro OT’s can oftentimes even run up to 5.15, and so that’s a good bar to set. Dahl has a high school basketball background, so it won’t surprise me if he tests well in most facets.

I’ve recently read that people think Coleman is unathletic. I just don’t know what people are looking at. This is what I’m looking at (#72 at right tackle): https://youtu.be/rcTjX1ReEaA?t=421

The requirement for OG forty times fluctuate a lot between teams; some like a guard more athletic than their OT (mostly in ZBS), some like the OG heavier and therefore slower. And then Centers are often significantly less athletic than the rest of the line.

This year we actually have a very nice group of Centers to study. We’ve got a pretty wide range of sizes, with Jack Allen built more like a Ryan Kalil at 6’2”/297, to the very tall Centers in Max Tuerk/Graham Glasgow that are pushing 6’5” like a Max Unger type.  I think Nick Martin shows up as the most athletic on tape (Tuerk is very athletic as well, but I don’t think he’ll be recovered enough from injury to test), so I’ll be looking to see if that will be confirmed/denied this week. But mostly, I think interviews are more important than athleticism when evaluating Centers. The best combine interview at Center should be Ryan Kelly.

I gave you some 40 yard dash standards to watch for earlier, but really that number is less important than the 10-yard split of the OL’s forty. I look for times in the 1.7’s. The other important OL test to watch is the broad jump.

The sleeper name to watch at OT is Halapo Vaitai. I’ve been tracking down as much TCU tape as I could find over the last few weeks, and I’ve really liked what I’ve found. If he measures up at all, he’d be a nice value pick.

Running Back:

At this time last year, I was tweeting about how the 40 times for the entire RB class seemed wrong. They all seemed way too slow. Since that time, I have been told there was in fact something flawed in the timing system. Thomas Rawls, for one, ran a 4.65 at the combine, then cranked it up to a 4.46 at his pro day. Moving two-tenths like that is insane (unless the initial time was tainted…and it was). Hopefully we don’t see a repeat of that this year. Unlike with the OL, a RB 40 time is crucial for Seahawk specifications.

Excluding Spencer Ware who tested coming off a bad hamstring, pretty much all other Seahawk RB have been 4.4 guys. Rawls-4.46, CMike-4.43, Turbo-4.44, Marshawn-4.46.

Another crucial spec for Seattle is simply the RB’s size. Seahawks have a strong track-record of looking for guys weighing 210-220lbs. Generally, they have looked at heights between 5’10”-5’11”, but Rawls came in at 5’9”/215. We also saw them use Fred Jackson last year, who stands 6’1”/215. One interesting development to monitor was the Hawks’ preseason use of Rod Smith, who was the biggest RB we’ve seen Seattle experiment with at 6’3”/231. I’m sure Seattle intended to stash Smith on the practice squad, but ultimately they kept Rawls at 215 lbs on the active over the 231-lb Smith.

Based only on in-season reported height/weight marks, I counted 17 RB at the combine that could potentially meet/exceed Seattle’s size requirements. That’s a pretty good number of guys. But the RB’s that stand out the most look to be: Kenneth Dixon-5’10”/215, Paul Perkins-5’11”/210, Alex Collins-5’11”/215, Jonathan Williams-5’10”/219, CJ Prosise-6’0”/220, Kenyan Drake-6’0”/210, Keith Marshall-5’11”/212, and possibly Peyton Barber-5’11”/225.

Dixon recently came out and said he would surprise people at the combine. I mean, I won’t be that surprised.

Quarterback:

I think Seattle will be fairly interested in this year’s class of QB’s. Tarvaris Jackson has come out on record saying he’d like to test the FA market, and really, I think it’s a good class for Seattle to finally home-grow Russell’s new backup on-the-cheap.

The one challenge with QB in the draft: lack of data on what Seattle likes. PCJS have only ever drafted one QB since they’ve been here, and he was a freak…short by height with massive hands (10 ¼”) and RB speed (4.55). Just to give a few more data points:

TJack- 6’2”/226, 4.68 forty, 9 3/8” hand

BJ Daniels- 5’11”/222, 4.63 forty

Phillip Sims- 6’1”/227, 4.95 forty

We still don’t have enough hand-size reference points, but I would think the common league standard of 9 1’2” is probably a good target (especially for a backup). It would seem Seattle likes a nice, stout 220lb QB. And a 4.70 forty wouldn’t hurt.

We’ve actually seen size measurements on most of this group from the three all-star games. Exceptions include: Connor Cook, Jared Goff, Christian Hackenberg, Cardale Jones, Paxton Lynch. Most of the missing weigh-in’s are for guys that project as day 1-2 picks, which makes them of less interest for Seattle, I would presume.

But there are some day-3 QB’s we should watch:

Vernon Adams appears to be too small, both by weight and hand-size, at 5’11”/195, 8 ¾” hands; but, then again, maybe that thought spread across the league creates a void which allows him to fall to Seattle.

I really liked Brandon Allen at the Sr Bowl, and in tape study, but his hands measured 8 ½”.

Josh Woodrum- 6’3”/234, 9 1/8” hands. This is a guy that reminds me a little bit of Matt Hasselbeck, both on and off the field.

Jeff Driskel- very traditional QB size at 6’4”/230, 9 ¾” hands, but he should run fairly well. He registered 323 yards rushing (3.51ypc) with 5 rushing TD’s this year for La-Tech.

Matt Johnson was not invited to the combine, but from his NFLPA weigh-in, at 6’0”/218, and 9 5/8” hands; he seems within range.

Tight End:

I really don’t have a good feel for this TE class, nor how high Seattle feels their need is for a TE. Jerell Adams and Tyler Higbee look the most athletic on tape. David Morgan is a great blocker, but runs like an old man whose feet are stuck in a couple paint cans. Nick Vannett and Beau Sandland seem like good, well-rounded TE but with limited tape/production. Temarrick Hemingway is a small-school wild-card with great length. Stephen Anderson and Thomas Duarte are a couple of Pac12 big WR being packaged as TE’s.

I think Higbee emerges as the guy that improves his stock the most this week, but I’m most curious about the two small-school guys: Sandland and Hemingway.

Wide Receiver:

This is probably the single position group that I think the invite committee whiffed on the most players. I think they could have skipped D’haquille Williams, Roger Lewis and they snubbed Mike Thomas, Jaydon Mickens, Paul McRoberts, and more.

I’m curious to see who from this group takes the fastest 40 time for the entire combine. My guess is it’s between Corey Coleman, Kolby Listenbee, Will Fuller, and Braxton Miller. If it was a 100-yard dash, Listenbee might win it. He’s not the fastest off the line, but his top gear is probably the best in the country.  I’m not really interested in drafting from this group, however.

I’m more interested in a value WR pick in the mid-rounds. I’d be looking to find a guy in the 3rd-4th that can give you a well-rounded game with some size, some speed, and of course some great hands. If any of Rashard Higgins, Tajae Sharpe, Ricardo Louis, Trevor Davis can hit 4.4 speed, with good jumps; that’s a nice place to start.

HOWEVER…the guy that will make the most money this week at WR is Charone Peake. I’ve been talking about him all year…I’m not saying anything more…just watch.

Defensive Line:

I don’t remember off-hand if the combine always plans the same position groups to field-test on the same days of the week every year, but this year we’ve certainly ended up with the main event dropping on Sunday: Defensive Line testing.

Important to note that I’m saying “Defensive Line” intentionally.  The combine is listing both DT and DE under the greater label of “DL”. I don’t know if that means Joey Bosa will test alphabetically right before Vernon Butler, or if they will do some kind of DT/DE separation.

What I do know is that there are so many standout players on Sunday that should test well that it is difficult to know where to start. Of the known names, I think Sheldon Rankins and Noah Spence will potentially impress the most athletically at DT and DE, respectively. I would also expect Deforest Buckner, Joey Bosa, Jonathan Bullard, Kenny Clark, Vernon Butler, Austin Johnson to test very well.

Of the lesser-known names, I’m pretty curious to see what Giorgio Newberry, Joel Heath, and Victor Ochi will do. At this point, I don’t have many DL that I’ve eliminated from my list. I have my preliminary top 5, I have about 5 names I don’t know at all that I’m open to be surprised by, and then I’m looking for how the middle round guys will shake out.

Other potential standouts: Jihad Ward, Bronson Kaufusi, Dadi Nicholas, Matt Judon. Judon, especially, looks pretty SPARQy on the limited tape I’ve seen.

Linebacker:

I haven’t been in love with this class of LB’s. As such, I probably haven’t studied them as much as I should have. Or maybe, I was so in tune with what TYPE of LB to look for that I only studied the handful of guys that seemed to qualify.

Regardless, after the top-end guys (that are all hurt and probably come off the board before Seattle drafts), I really only focus on two names: Travis Feeney and Montese Overton.

These are both a very similar type of player. Both 6’3”/225-ish, and play a mix of standup, off-the-line LB, and can also put their hand in the dirt and rush the passer on 3rd down. Both of these guys have been rumored to run in the 4.3’s, but I’d fully expect them to be somewhere in the 4.4’s official, laser timed. Basically, this is the class of guys (plus futures contract signee Josh Shirley) that I’d look to as a replacement to Bruce Irvin and/or Mike Morgan.

Watch Feeney trail this play from Mike Thomas:

There might be a name or two that should also be on that list (like a Kyler Fackrell, Joe Schobert, or CJ Johnson), but Feeney and Overton are the two that I have found the most evidence to suggest they will fit all of the requirements.

Cornerback:

Having already seen many of these Corners weigh-in for all-star games, it’s already been a bit of a disappointing class. We’re currently hoping the underclassmen can help salvage it. Here’s where you start: 5’11” (but really 6’0”), 190 lbs, and 32” arms.

Senior Bowl gave us Deiondre Hall and James Bradberry…but both are then eliminated by their performance. Shrine Game and NFLPA Game gave us no viable candidates.

Names you hope qualify: Eli Apple (though a bit pricey), William Jackson (also might end up too pricey), Artie Burns, Keivarae Russell, Daryl Worley, Ryan Smith, Xavien Howard.

Burns and Russell could stand to make the most money this week if they can hit some of the marks they’ve been rumored to hit in training. Russell is a GREAT interview with inconsistent 2015 tape, Burns has pretty nice 2015 tape but isn’t a great interview.

Worley is a good interview, he had great production this year, but his tape is inconsistent. Kind of a frustrating kid. But if you believe Coach Carroll can coach up a corner, this might be the guy that best fits the combination of size, intangibles, and draft price. (Worley is #7 on WVU, generally at RCB.)

The wildcard at CB is if one of the 5’11” guys also has 32” arms. In theory, Seattle needs more of a slot CB to replace JLane next year, and they could do it with someone with a Walter Thurmond build. Two potentials: Kevon Seymour and Brandon Williams.

Safety:

Safety, like TE, is a position I don’t have a great feel for in terms of how Seattle sees their need. Kam is a weird situation.  I could see them spike a pick on a Safety in the 2nd round, or I could see them not pick one at all.

I think it’s been well-covered already that Miles Killebrew might SPARQ out of his mind next Monday. But I hate his tape. I’m a “hard pass” on him at this point.

I really like Tyvis Powell and Keanu Neal from an intangibles standpoint. With the right testing and the right draft value, I’m very cool bringing them in. Deon Bush is solid as well.

Karl Joseph is a phenomenal football player, but I doubt he’s recovered from injury enough to test yet. I’m curious where people see him. He hits like a strong safety, but he’s built more like a free safety. Could be a player like Bob Sanders in the league.

Justin Simmons will be an interesting case. A) He’ll surprise people with his weigh-in. B) He’ll win interviews. C) If he wins the field tests, he could make the most money this week.

But, more than likely, the guy that makes the most money this week is Sean Davis. Already weighed-in at the Sr Bowl as 6’1”/201lbs, Davis should run in the low 4.4’s, broad jump around 10’6”, with a decent bench total. I am exceedingly anxious to see his SPARQ score.

https://youtu.be/SKxGqFV-Xho?t=251