The combine wraps up Monday with defensive backs, but the offensive players have already completed their evaluations. While there is some debate as to how much stock to put into the “underwear olympics” as some call it, it can still give us a baseline for how athletic each prospect is. It can also be used to break ties on similarly graded players.
So let’s take a look at some offensive players who helped themselves, and hurt themselves, the most.
TE Mike Gesicki, Penn State
One of the biggest questions I had going into the combine was who the best tight end was in this class. I had a couple of prospects grouped together and was hoping one of them would separate themselves from the pack at the combine. And that’s exactly what Gesicki did.
It started at the weigh-ins, then to the athletic testing and then the on-field drills but Gesicki crushed every aspect of the combine. He has good size at 6-foot-five and 247-pounds. But what impressed me the most about his measurables was his 34-inch arms and 10 ⅛ hands.
But where Gesicki wins is as an athlete. He was the top performer at the position in almost every athletic drill (he missed top performer on the bench press by one rep) and looked fluid on the field as well. His route running and good hands were unmatched and he should be considered tight end number one.
I still have concerns about his ability as a blocker, but Evan Engram couldn’t block and he was a first-round pick last year. But if his subpar blocking pushes him down to the second round, he could be a good compliment to Adam Shaheen as a move tight end.
OT Desmond Harrison, West Georgia
One of the biggest losers of the Senior Bowl turned into one of the biggest winners at the combine.
After showing up to the Senior Bowl at only 279 pounds, apparently due to the flu, he got his weight up to 292 pounds. While he still needs to add some bulk, at 6-foot-six with 34-inch arms he has the length and frame to pack on some muscle without losing athleticism.
And that athleticism is what is going to get him drafted. He was a top performer for offensive linemen in the athletic testing (and at his weight he needed to be). But what impressed me the most was his footwork in the on-field drills. He was smooth and under control the entire time. He was easily able to stick with “defenders” (who in this case are other offensive linemen acting as defenders) due to tremendous footwork.
He often beat lesser talent with this athleticism as opposed to technique, so he still has some things to work on. But it is nice to see the combine confirm what you see on tape.
In a weak tackle class, it would not surprise me to see a team take a flyer on the athletic Harrison on Day 2. But despite his great combine, I think he is better served as a fourth or fifth-round pick. He will be a project but if everything goes right, he has all the tools to be one of the better tackles in the league.
WR Antonio Callaway, Florida
If it weren’t for off-field issues, Callaway might have cemented himself as a first-round pick with his performance. He only competed in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump but he showed the explosiveness in those events that are evident when watching the tape.
However, he was most impressive in the on-field drills. He didn’t do any agility testing, but he should be explosive in and out of his cuts. He also demonstrated good hands catching everything thrown his way.
The Bears desperately need help at wide receiver so his route running ability coupled with 4.41 speed must have stood out to Ryan Pace and company.
Due to those off the field issues, his draft stock is difficult to predict. Some teams will have him completely off their boards while some will just knock him down a round or two. He could go anywhere from the second to completely undrafted. If the Bears think his talent outweighs the risk, he could be an intriguing late-round pick.
OL James Daniels, Iowa
Daniels is one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the country and it showed this past weekend. He didn’t run the 40-yard dash, but looked very fluid in the 20-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill which test agility.
The on-field drills just confirmed that he is a fluid athlete who can get to the second level with ease. While he’ll need to get stronger, his frame isn’t maxed out yet and should be able to add some good weight.
Daniels reminds me a lot of Cody Whitehair and their athletic testing at the combine was remarkably similar. Like Whitehair, Daniels can play guard and center so that would provide the Bears with a lot of flexibility on the line.
You can never go wrong drafting Iowa offensive linemen. And while I think he sneaks into the first round with this performance, the Bears would have to be ecstatic to see him there in the second round.
RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
The biggest thing for Chubb was the medical exams. And by all accounts, they went extremely well. We’ll never know how each team’s evaluation went but everything I heard he at least passed some team’s tests.
But it was the athletic testing that impressed me the most. I didn’t think Chubb was unathletic per se, but I didn’t expect him to be a top performer. He seems to have regained some of his pre-injury explosiveness, which should scare some NFL defensive coordinators.
The Bears probably won’t draft a running back (especially not high) unless that ridiculous Jordan Howard for Jarvis Landry trade actually happens. But Chubb could be the third running back drafted possibly as high as the early second.
RB Sony Michel, Georgia
While Chubb was more athletic than I expected, his teammate Sony Michel was less athletic than anticipated. As we’ve seen first hand with Howard, athletic testing is not the be all and end all for running backs. I still think he will be a solid pro but his shot at the first round is probably gone.
OL Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
If I had to choose the biggest loser of the combine it has to be Brown. He was considered by some to be the top offensive tackle in the class, but now he might be out of the first few rounds entirely.
For a guy his size, he didn’t need to be the most athletic lineman, he just couldn’t be the worst. Unfortunately for him, he was one of the least athletic offensive linemen in the history of the combine.
WR Auden Tate, Florida St.
I thought Tate was going to run faster than he did. While I was touting him as a sleeper and the number two wideout in the class, I will have to readjust my rankings. Tate won’t be moving too far down my board as I still think he can be a productive pro, but his upside is limited due to a lack of top-end speed.
Tate did look impressive in the on-field drills especially the gauntlet drill. He catches everything and can run good routes. Tate could still be a Bears target in the fourth round as a possession receiver and red-zone threat.
There were plenty of impressive offensive prospects at the combine, and it was hard to pick just a few. But the players above specifically caught my eye. If there was a player who impressed (or disappointed) you, let us know in the comments.
I’ll be on tomorrow’s podcast to discuss the combine in much more detail. And stay tuned for my defensive winners and losers coming soon!
Karen letizia says
Thanks for the breakdowns!! Very good article!