Cole’s Corner: A Look Into the Draft – Ideal Landing Spots for Combine’s Best Performances
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As of Monday, the NFL Combine came to a close. As most every year brings, prospects both helped and hurt their draft stocks. With exciting performances from every position group, these are the guys who brought their best to Indianapolis and where they could end up going.
Derrick Henry, Running Back, Alabama
It’s safe to say Henry was the day one winner. Scouts were extremely concerned that the 6’3” running back wouldn’t be able to keep up at the next level, yet a 4.54 40 time (which may seem “average” to some) erased those concerns. Henry finished third in the broad jump at 10’10” and he recorded a 37” vertical. Also, Henry didn’t drop a single pass in the receiving drills. That only showed he’s grown as a pass catcher, something many didn’t believe he did well during his time in Tuscaloosa. First and foremost, Henry showed that he’s an athlete, and a world class one at that. He’s erased most of his concerns, and if anything, Henry bumped himself right into first round conversation and there are a lot of late first round teams who could pull the trigger on him. Teams like Denver, Houston, and maybe even Indianapolis who picks as high as 18 overall could select him, but ultimately, Henry in Dallas is the ideal situation.
Since the loss of Demarco Murray, it’s been more than evident that the ‘Boys need a running back and Henry has even said he’d wish to play in Dallas because he feels like “it has a great organization.” This is a dream pair for other reasons though, as putting a proven athlete like Henry behind a proven offensive line like the one the Cowboys have is sure to put points on the board and maybe even stats in the record books.
Dallas Cowboys (No. 34 overall)
Carson Wentz, Quarterback, North Dakota State
Wentz’ combine was rather quiet, as it went expectedly. He finished with a 4.77 40 time, 9’10” broad jump, and he managed to make some spectacular throws in passing drills. Wentz’ combine performance wasn’t a game changer necessarily, but it solidified his draft status. It proved to scouts and personnel that he belongs in top-5 conversations. Obviously, a lot of team’s will be looking at Wentz in the first round. Cleveland, Dallas, San Francisco, and even Los Angeles at 15 would consider Wentz if he falls to them, but the Browns would be the most sensible to select him.
It’s really the perfect match. Wentz is a kid who was all-academic honors in his time at NDSU. He’s smart, he’s athletic, driven, ready to compete, but most importantly, he wants to have. Wentz has said before that the most important thing to him is having fun playing the sport he loves. If he doesn’t sound the franchise quarterback Cleveland has been looking for, I don’t know who does. And more importantly, Wentz presents the whole package. He has a cannon on his right shoulder, he can extended plays, he can move the ball on the ground, and he has an innate clutch ability that’s hard to come by. It was a shame that Johnny Football never panned out in Cleveland, but Wentz seems like the guy who will make the Browns forget about their quarterback troubles, once and for all.
Cleveland Browns (No. 2 overall)
Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive End, Oklahoma State
Ogbah’s combine performance did nothing but turn heads. At 6’4”, 273 lbs., it was easy to assume he wasn’t anything beyond a 4-3 defensive end, but after posting 10’1” broad jump, 35” vertical, and a 4.62 40 time, he showed he has the athleticism to play a multitude of positions in an NFL defensive front.
Ogbah could definitely sneak into the first round, but his ideal suitor would honestly be the Cleveland Browns at the start of round two. Yes, players like Kevin Dodd from Clemson or Leonard Floyd from Georgia could be there, but the the value of the selection and Ogbah’s potential are massive. The team’s defense was atrocious last year and putting a big, young pass rusher in the mix could add a lot to a poor Browns’ defense.
Cleveland Browns (No. 32 overall)
Jalen Ramsey, Safety, Florida State
Ramsey is a good player, but has been rather quiet throughout the draft process. Then, the combine happened. After running a 4.42 40 time, repping 225 pounds 14 times on bench, and the best vertical and broad jump of any defensive backs, Ramsey proved he’s the best defender in this draft class. Surely, there are a ton of teams looking at Ramsey. The obvious selection would be San Diego at the third overall pick, but Tennessee has become a surprisingly sensible selection.
Yes, the Titans certainly needs to build a great offense around Marcus Mariota and the selection of Laremy Tunsil would be smart. But after releasing Michael Griffin, Tennessee only has three safeties on their roster. If the Titans are willing to wait on a tackle till the second round or later, the addition of Ramsey would be a safe one, as he could be a cornerstone or that defense and team for years to come.
Tennessee Titans (No. 1 overall)
Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback, Florida
Hargreaves’ most important moment of the combine didn’t come in any drills, but at the weigh-in. Hargreaves alleviated any concerns about his size when he measure at just above 5’10” (5’10 ½” to be exact), lifting the question marks on just how tall the cornerback was. He was also phenomenal in defensive back drills. His footwork looked tight, and although his change of direction abilities were a little loose, he caught every ball thrown his way. When draft day comes at the end of April, Hargreaves will most likely be hearing his name called in the top-10. Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, and even some teams outside the top-10, like Oakland, New Orleans, and Los Angeles could take a look at him, but Baltimore is probably the first (and last team) who will look at him heavily come draft day.
The Ravens’ secondary is mediocre as a whole, and more importantly, they don’t have an all-pro defensive back on their defense. Hargreaves could be their answer, as he’s someone who plays with excitement, having the potential to add a spark to any team’s defense.
Baltimore Ravens (No. 6 overall)
Jason Spriggs, Offensive Tackle, Indiana
Spriggs has been a polarizing prospect. He’s incredibly athletic, but a lot of teams were left with mixed reviews after seeing technicality issues with his play at the left tackle position. After a strong showing at the combine, things might change for a lot of teams. After posting a sub-four 40 time, as well as 30+ reps on bench press, Spriggs proved his athleticism, and that he may even be the most athletic tackle in this year’s class. He may have even sprung into first round conversation. A lot of teams like Carolina, Seattle could take a stab at him at the end of round one, but the Chiefs look like a great fit for him.
Spriggs’ athleticism has proven that he can play in fast-paced, zone blocking scheme offense like the one in KC. Spriggs could come into a rotation that could be losing Donald Stephenson and Jeff Allen, also potentially losing Eric Fisher a year from now when his contract expires. It’d be nice to see Spriggs’ work out his technical issues in Kansas City and become a key fixture in the Chiefs’ o-line.
Kansas City Chiefs (No. 28 overall)