IDP Corner: 2018 Post-Combine
While I have some complaints with the NFL stream constantly being more concerned with putting their cameras on their Network personalities over watching the field drills, it was an overall good time. Luckily for defense we do not see the primadonna actions of players waiting for their school’s pro-day as much as the offensive players do, so we have a pretty decent idea of who is worth paying attention to after this past weekend (and Monday). Both this and the pre-combine article I wrote are not about ranking players, but to show you who I had my eyes on, and who has perked my attention.
First let’s take a look at who I was watching:
Hercules Mata’afa – DT/DE – Washington State University: He ended up running with the DEs on Sunday, and actually produced a quicker than the average DE 40, and put up over the average bench reps. In short, he did well, didn’t do much wrong, but I still expect that he’ll be a 3rd to 5th round selection in the draft, and that will likely divine his fantasy usefulness for this year.
Marcus Davenport – DE – University of Texas at San Antonio: True to form, Davenport had a great 40 time and pedestrian 3 cone and shuttle times. Again, I’ll be watching where he lands, but right now my interest level for him is rather low.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – DE – University of Oklahoma: Okoronkwo ended up running with the LBs, I still think he’ll play better at DE, so as always – we’ll see what team he lands with. His speed was slow for LBs, and one of the strongest bench performances, most importantly he was clearly focused while out there. I’m still not drafting him, and will be looking for his in season production goes.
Nathan Shepard – DT – Fort Hays State University: Turning in very nice speed times in the 40, the 3 cone, and shuttle, Shepard increased his awareness for sure. It’s very likely he may go as high as the 3rd round, but I think it’s still likely he gets taken in the 4th. I personally am now much more likely to take him in the end round or so in my dynasty draft, if he gets with the right team that would decide this coin flip situation for me.
Arden Key – DE – Luisiana State University: He didn’t participate in the 40 or the bench press, fell a little short in both of the jumps, and true to form showed his slippery speed in the 3 cone and the shuttle. Given how many off the field questions there are circling him, you would think he would want to participate and try to impress coaches in all of the events, but he wasn’t the only player to do this so it’s not the biggest knock. That said I’m still avoiding him unless he falls to a late round in my drafts, which I don’t think he will given how high others have been on him.
Minkah Fitzpatrick – S – University of Alabama: While his performance did little to change how people have been looking at Fitzpatrick, Derwin James most likely has leapfrogged him in who will likely go first in the NFL draft. As far as fantasy goes, you’ll likely be targeting these two as the 1 and 2 Safety off your draft board.
Jaire Alexander – CB – University of Louisville: Straight up, he looked good, and did well. He may end up going in the 1st round of the NFL draft. Given that he’s a CB I’m still not looking to draft him in dynasty rookie drafts earlier than the later 3rd round.
Tarvarus McFadden – CB – Florida State University: McFadden had a rough combine. His speed was slow in the 40, and then watching him go through the field drills was tough to watch. He had to restart nearly every drill, each and every time he went. I don’t think I am drafting him in fantasy at all even if he lands on a team that will use him right away.
Kyzir White – S – West Virginia University: Neither really standing out or imploding in the combine, White’s fantasy future hinges how he is used on the team he is drafted by. Right now I’m cautious to even take him in the later rounds of my dynasty drafts.
Isaiah Oliver – CB – University of Colorado: With an ever so slightly slower than average 40 time, Oliver still did great in the field drills and I’ve held tight at considering him in the 3rd round of dynasty drafts.
Tegray Scales – ILB – Indiana University: Had the good type of an “okay” combine, I still think he can be grabbed as a late round fantasy pick.
Skai Moore – OLB- University of South Carolina: Had the bad type of “okay” combine, just kind of disappeared. I’m still waiting to see his in season play before thinking of adding him to my team.
Nick DeLuca – OLB – North Dakota State University: True to my pre-combine article, DeLuca was slightly better than Moore, and I’m still waiting until after the season starts before considering of acquiring him.
Rashaan Evans – LB – University of Alabama: He didn’t bench or do the 40, was a little low in the vertical jump, but was ok at the broad jump, and did well in the 3 cone and shuttle times. Overall there was nothing too negative about his combine to make me think he moved down any NFL team’s draft board, though Leighton Vander Esch likely jumped over him as the concensius #3 LB behind Tremaine Edmunds and Roquon Smith.
Leighton Vander Esch – LB – Boise State University: This dude tested the heck out of the combine, his measured drills and field drills went great. If he gets taken in the 1st round of the NFL draft, you may have to debate taking him in the 2nd round of your dynasty draft.
And next who also perked up my attention during the combine:
James Looney – DE – California: One of the heavier DEs in the combine this year, his measurables danced around the historical averages. What peaked my interest in Looney was that he moved much more fluidly than I expected for him and compared to many of the other DEs. I don’t think the combine resulted in Looney moving up or down teams draft charts, but I’ll surely be watching where he ends up.
Lorenzo Carter – LB – Georgia: Posting a nice quick 4.50 40, and solid jump numbers, Carter impressed me during his field drills, I don’t expect he changed his stars much in the actual draft, but he’s now on my list to watch where he lands and how he gets used, because I feel like he will eventually be fantasy relevant in his career.
Shaquem Griffin – LB – Central Florida: Earning an invite only after a solid senior bowl performance, Griffin arguably already drew plenty of attention after videos of him putting up 20 reps in the bench press (if you were not aware, he lost his left hand when he was 4 and used a prosthesis during his attempt) circulated on social media and eventually mainstream news. Then he ran a 4.38 40 yard dash (fastest ever by a linebacker in the combine), then twitter proceeded to blow up. Griffin has easily earned the most notoriety for any defensive player coming out of the combine this year. In the reality that is the draft he likely moved up a round, that said he is rather light for a LB and will likely start his career on special teams, unless he ends up with a defensive coordinator who know how to use his talents, it would be at this point that I would consider him fantasy relevant.
Malik Jefferson – LB – Texas: Possessing an NFL ready body, and an equally impressive body of stats last season on a less than stellar year for Texas last year. The most impressive thing in the combine were his 27 bench press reps, coupled with an above average 40 time and broad jump, he may have moved himself up out of his current 3rd round projections.
Holton Hill – CB – Texas: I’m not going to go over stats, they were… ok. Watching Hill go through the field drills was just rough. Maybe it was nerves, but he was stiff and had to restart many of the drills, to the point that maybe it didn’t affect his NFL draft positioning, but I’ve certainly moved him off of my radar for any dynasty rookie draft I’m in.
Davontae Harris – CB – Illinois State: Putting up the DB best 22 bench press reps, running a nice 40 time, ok cone and shuttle times, and ok-ish vertical and broad jumps, Harris moved through his field drills very smoothly. Usually we see Safety type players in the “Slot Corner” position, but I think he could have a shot at that type of role.
Troy Apke – S – Penn State: Simply put he put up solid numbers in all his measurable drills and did not do anything in the field drills that looked concerning. He likely moved up a couple teams draft boards, and definitely moved on to my radar to watch where he lands in the draft.
Be on the look out next month for NFL Draft analysis. In the meantime good luck in all your fantasy endeavors.