Ohio State NFL Combine review 2016

Another NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone, and this one had a distinct Ohio State flavor.

The 14 Buckeyes in Indianapolis got to meet NFL scouts and personnel and compete against their peers for the right to be picked in the next draft. IMG_1220

Some random thoughts on numbers they posted and reaction to some scouting reports I have seen follow. 

Ezekiel Elliott, 6-0, 225 (position rank)

  • 40: 4.47 (tied for 5th among RBs)
  • Vertical: 32.5
  • Broad jump: 9-10 (t-14th RBs)

Elliott weighed in right about where he was listed at Ohio State, and that 40 time would seem to be a pretty good one for a guy who has already proven he has breakaway speed on game days.

Braxton Miller, 6-1, 201

  • 40: 4.5 (11th)
  • Bench: 17 (t-5th)
  • Vertical: 35
  • Broad jump: 123
  • 3-cone: 6.65 (3rd)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.07 (t-1st WRs)

Miller removed any doubts about his height (a conversation we’ve been having since he was in high school) and he seems to think 201 or so is a good weight for him. I’m not surprised he had a good but not great 40 as his game was always about quickness more than pure straight-line speed. The former is better to have if you can only pick one. Not surprisingly, he tested well in drills measuring shorter distance speed and agility.

Scouting reports about having tantalizing ability yet enough rawness to his game to have questions seem to be right on the money, too. Some guys with those questions might be walking a tightrope in the NFL as far as making the stupidly small rosters, but he is so talented I think there will always be a spot for him.

It might hurt Miller’s wallet if he slides to the later first round or even early second before he is drafted, but it might also not be terrible for him to go into a situation with slightly lower expectations than if he were a top 20 pick. While I think he has the potential to be a star, he’s going to need proper coaching and good quarterback play to be utilized well, especially early on. I’m dubious about how many places he can actually find that in the NFL.

Jalin Marshall, 5-10, 200

  • 40: 4.6
  • Bench: 16 (10th)
  • Vertical: 37.5 (6th)
  • Broad jump: 10’5” (11th)
  • 3-cone: 6. (7th)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.13 (t-4th WRs)

Seems like mixed results to me. A solid 200 pounds is good but that height might be a problem for people wondering how many roles he can fill in the NFL. I think I’m higher on Marshall’s raw ability than some other folks might be, and showing up among the top performers at multiple spots would bear out his overall talent. But somewhat like Miller, I wonder about finding the right fit. Best-case scenario this guy could be a Steve Smith-type of player, but will he get time to blossom? Good news for him is the roles of slot receivers seems to have no end in sight, but that’s also going to be a position where there is a lot of competition as offenses continue to evolve.

Michael Thomas, 6-3, 212

  • 40: 4.57
  • Bench: 18 (t-3rd)
  • Vertical: 35
  • Broad jump: 10’6” (t-9th)
  • 3-cone: 6.8
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.13 (t-4th)

I thought his evaluation on NFL.com was a bit pessimistic as far as effort and helping out his quarterbacks, but that could explain why he had some periods of time when he would disappear. A better 40-yard dash might have pushed him into some conversations earlier in the draft, but overall he probably played to expectations for a guy who just gets things done on film.

Nick Vannett, 6-6, 257

  • Bench: 17 (t-8th)
  • Vertical: 30.5 (8th)
  • Broad jump: 9’3” (t-10th)
  • 3-cone: 7.05 (7th)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.2 (t-2nd)

No questions about this guy’s size for the league, and he proved to be solidly athletic overall. If not a star, he seems like someone who could carve out a long career as the No. 2 tight end on teams that use them extensively.

Joey Bosa, 6-5, 269

  • 40: 4.86 (t-14th)
  • Bench: 24
  • Vertical: 32
  • Broad jump: 10’ (t-5th)
  • 3-cone: 6.89 (2nd)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.21 (t-2nd)

Good speed for his size and outstanding agility? Yeah, that sounds about right. Since I don’t see him as a serious candidate to play 3-4 outside linebacker (I loved Ryan Kerrigan at Purdue but don’t agree with comparisons to him), I would imagine Bosa will put on a significant amount of weight now that the combine is over. It would not surprise me if he was aiming to show up as lean and light as possible in Indy to put up numbers that would quell any doubts about his upside (doubts I find unfounded). I see him as an extra athletic hand-in-the-dirt guy who will be very productive early downs and can be used in a variety of exotic ways on passing downs.

Darron Lee, 6-1, 232

  • 40: 4.47 (1st)
  • Bench: 17
  • Vertical: 35.5 (5th)
  • Broad jump: 11’1” (1st)
  • 3-cone: 7.12 (9th)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.2 (t-3rd)

We already knew he was fast, but that’s still an impressive 40 time. He removed any doubts about his weight or his explosiveness and flexibility, so for Lee it’s still really about getting drafted on potential and then continuing to hone that outstanding athletic ability to prove some GM right. Seeing Ryan Shazier’s success in the NFL should remove any doubt Lee can be a star, especially because I think Lee is better at adapting to and playing within a scheme.

Eli Apple, 6-1, 199

  • 40: 4.4 (6th)
  • Bench: 13

Legit height and 40-yard dash to go along with two years of tape in a man-press schemed? Check and check.

Vonn Bell, 5-11, 199

  • Bench: 16 (t-7th)

I’m surprised at the NFL.com evaluation questioning his physicality. Bell always struck me as a striker with good instincts despite his size. He might end up being a steal. Also found comparisons to Kurt Coleman ironic considering Coleman is similar in size (a bit smaller I think but I didn’t double check) but had a puzzling slide on draft day that would be even more surprising for Bell.

Tyvis Powell, 6-3, 211

  • 40: 4.46 (2nd)
  • Bench: 15 (t-11th)
  • Vertical: 34.5 (9th)
  • Broad jump: 10’ (t-10th)
  • 3-cone: 7.03 (4th)
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.25 (t-5th)

Seems like Powell was among the big winners at the combine. Not only did he confirm he’s got legit size for the position, he also ran one of the fastest 40s and posted strong numbers in every major drill. Is he fluid enough to play man coverage? Not sure, but in the right scheme he could play for a long time even if he never develops into a star. (As an aside, I wonder if he is someone the Bengals could target as they have a bunch of pending free agents in the secondary and love guys with impressive measurables.)

Joshua Perry, 6-4, 254

  • 40: 4.68 (8th)
  • Bench: 20 (12th)
  • Vertical: 33.5 (t-11th)
  • Broad jump: 10’4” (4th)

If looking for a long-term best buy, it’s hard to imagine someone better than Joshua Perry. He came in at an ideal height and weight to be scheme diverse. Anyone who has talked to him had to come away feeling like he will be a strong locker room presence, and those tangibles just strengthen his case for being a non-splashy draft day pick who will make an organization happy for a very long time.

Adolphus Washington, 6-3, 301

  • 40: 5.17
  • Bench: 16 (t-7th)
  • Vertical: 27
  • Broad jump: 9’3”
  • 3-cone: 8.06
  • 20-yard shuttle: 4.79

Washington went through quite a body transformation from the end of his high school career to now, and it will be interesting to see where an NFL coach slots him as far as position. Does his frame limit what he can do? I like his strength and quickness inside, but he rarely showed the explosion at the 3-technique that Michael Bennett did before him even though Washington has a lot of athleticism for his size. The comparison to Wallace Gilberry by NFL.com is interesting, but Gilberry is listed at 30 pounds lighter.

Taylor Decker, 6-7, 310

  • 40: 5.23
  • Bench: 20
  • Broad jump: 9’3″
  • 3-cone: 4.76

I probably expected Decker to check in more competitively from an athletic standpoint. Might be hard for anyone to see him as anything but a right tackle now. He still has a lot of great tape, and like Perry a great reputation off the field, though.

Cardale Jones, 6-5, 253

  • 40: 4.81 (was injured running)
  • Vertical: 36.0 (t-1st)

Tough weekend for Jones. Not sure if he really needed to impress on the field, but it wouldn’t have hurt to demonstrate what kind of athleticism he has at that size. What he was able to show teams on the chalkboard was probably always going to be the most important part of the combine for Jones anyway.

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