It’s combine week, which means some combine-related posts, of course.
This particular post looks at the 2017 Seahawks draft class and reviews how they did at the combine. The results find that some of the players tested extremely well, including their popular seventh round pick (who may have been the second or third best player of his group and then sorta played like it as a rookie), and that others tested very poorly. So does that mean we can predict some things based on this year’s results? Maybe. There are some tests that clearly matter. Except when they don’t.
That’s this post and this is the intro to it. Here is the body of it:
Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State (35th overall)
4.85 40-yard dash, 28.5” vert, 23 reps on the bench, 9’4 broad jump
One of the reasons that the team was so high on McDowell is that he has a unique physical profile that compares favorably to some of the greatest defensive tackles in the league. I wrote about him last year before the draft when Seattle reportedly met with him, and some of the comps that came up in that article were: Mario Williams, Ezekiel Ansah, Stephon Tuitt, Dominique Easley, Sharrif Floyd, and Nick Fairley. A bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good and all physically gifted.
He was the fastest defensive tackle at the combine.
My closest combine comp to Malik McDowell might be former Jags DT John Henderson. 10 seasons, 2 pro bowls, dominant at times.— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) July 23, 2017
Ethan Pocic, OL, LSU (58th overall)
5.15 40-yard dash, 27” vert, 26 reps, 8’11 broad
As far as centers go, he was the fastest, could jump the highest, do the most reps on the bench, and had the longest broad of any at the combine. He was also the first of that group to get drafted, followed by Vikings’ Pat Elflein in round three, who had a solid season in Minnesota. As far as the rest of the OL, only Cam Robinson, Ben Braden (undrafted), Taylor Moton, Dion Dawkins, Forrest Lamp, and Jermaine Eluemunor compare favorably to Pocic in size and speed.
Ethan Pocic starts his LSU Pro Day presser: “I feel I had solid numbers at Combine, so I’m sticking with those."— Ron Higgins (@RonHigg) April 5, 2017
Shaquill Griffin, CB, UCF (90th overall)
4.38 40-yard dash, 38.5” vert, 17 reps, 11’ broad, 6.87 3-cone, 4.14 short shuttle
Griffin was the seventh-fastest player at the combine in 2017. Among the three corners who were faster were Marshon Lattimore — who went 11th overall and was incredible as a rookie — and Fabian Moreau, who went 81st and had one of the better combines in recent memory. Griffin tested incredibly well, just like McDowell and Pocic. A lot of eyes will be watching his brother Shaquem this year.
Delano Hill, S, Michigan (95th overall)
4.47 40-yard dash, 33.5” vert, 17 reps, 9’7 broad
For those listed as free safeties at the combine last year, only Budda Baker was faster, though Malik Hooker didn’t test. Hill had a higher vertical than Budda, but there were several safeties ahead of them both. Hill’s three-cone and shuttle times were the worst among the free safety group. Expand that out to strong safeties and Hill’s numbers become even more diluted in a pool that includes Obi Melifonwu (maybe one of the best combines in history), Jabrill Peppers, Jamal Adams, and Montae Nicholson. This is not at all the last time we’ll talk about the safeties group.
Nazair Jones, DT, UNC (102nd overall)
5.11 40-yard dash, 24.5” vert, 8’5 broad, 7.93 3-cone, 4.63 shuttle
Jones actually had one of the worst combines among the defensive tackles. He seems fast to run a 5.11 at 304 lbs, but Eddie Vanderdoes ran a 4.99 at 305. Charles Walker ran a 4.96 at 310. Malik’s numbers were much better. He had he second-worst vertical among defensive tackles. He was the slowest in the three-cone and only two DTs had a worse broad jump. And still Jones was one of the brighter standouts in Seattle’s rookie class.
#UNC defensive tackle Nazair Jones competing at the #NFL combine today. https://t.co/QFu1SaJ1LE— Ross Martin (@RossMartin_IC) March 5, 2017
Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan (106th overall)
4.45 40-yard dash, 36” vert, 17 reps, 10’4 broad
Receiver is perhaps the hardest position to stand out in at the combine. There’s just so many of them and they’re mostly all athletically gifted. Darboh did not stand out in a huge way at the combine except for being a bigger receiver to run a decent time. His numbers were fine and the Seahawks picked him because they liked the tape and his combine performance was enough to push him to day two.
#Michigan WR Amara Darboh quietly put together an impressive combine.— Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) March 5, 2017
Broad Jump: 10'3
Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado (111th overall)
4.6 40-yard dash, 32.5” vert, 17 reps, 9’9 broad, 7.11 3-cone, 4.36 shuttle
Thompson did fairly bad at the combine last year, testing arguably the worst in the safety group. His 40 lagged well behind many of his peers and his 3-cone was the only in that group higher than 7 seconds. Still Thompson got drafted by Seattle at the top of the fourth round, then he had a completely anonymous rookie season.
Mike Tyson, DB, Cincinnati (187th overall)
4.56 40-yard dash, 33” vert, 17 reps, 9’10 broad
Nothing really stands out about Tyson’s combine, but he perhaps did enough to convince the Seahawks that he was versatile enough to play cornerback.
Justin Senior, OT, Mississippi State (210th overall)
5.55 40-yard dash, 23” vert, 8’2 broad
He was the sixth-heaviest person at the combine at 331 lbs and his numbers basically reflected that. He and Tyson did not make the team.
David Moore, WR, East Central (226th overall)
No combine invite. 4.42 40-yard dash at pro day.
If he had been at the combine and ran that time at his 219 lbs weight, Moore would’ve been one of the fastest receivers at that size. That combo compares favorably to two guys really: Robert Davis, a sixth round pick of Washington’s and ... Darboh.
Chris Carson, RB, Oklahoma State (249th overall)
4.58 40-yard dash, 37” vert, 23 reps, 10’10 broad
Only three backs had a higher vert at the combine last year: Aaron Jones, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara. Jones and McCaffrey, only by a half-inch. Only Kamara had a better broad jump than Carson, and only by one inch. Carson was a “steal” but by combine metrics, he should have gone much, much earlier.
Here's what I wrote about Seahawks RB Chris Carson - my #11 rated rookie RB - before the 2017 Combine: pic.twitter.com/qrMXywUKbD— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) August 16, 2017