IDP Corner: Post Combine 2019
For defensive players I think the combine was a blast this year. Last year we had the excitement of Shaquem Griffin running at insane speeds for a linebacker, which overshadowed what I thought was a rather interesting group of Defensive Backs. This year the Defensive End Montaze Sweat made us all do just that when he clocked an official 4.41 second 40 yard dash time.
Today I’ll be going over who I was watching coming into the combine and a couple of guys who caught my eye during. And just a reminder this again is not a top 10 list or anything of that nature, this is me, taking a look at specific players for their potential fantasy value before going into the NFL draft, most of whom I thought could have changed their stars in the combine, for better or for worse. As such there are plenty of guys who did great and will be drafted well and could even be fantasy studs in years to come, guys like Quinnen Williams (DT), Devin White (LB), and Devin Bush (LB) all had great showings, which was expected of them, and did not likely change much of how they are going to be drafted both in the NFL draft and fantasy this year. Let’s get to it.
Nick Bosa, Ohio State: His performance at the combine certainly didn’t hurt his draft stock and it should have reassured any team that was interested in him but, had concerns of his season long core muscle injury. Quinnen Williams made a big splash and could end up picked ahead of Bosa depending on what ends up happening with the Cardinals’ pick. Montaze Sweat had probably the most impactful combine visit this year but, I don’t see him getting drafted before Bosa or Williams. All in all, if your dynasty league starts DLs and even more so if there is adjusted scoring for DL players, then these three along with Brian Burns should be high on your list for players to grab.
Jachai Polite, Florida: Polite started off the day showing he has the expected level of quickness that we all thought he had, unfortunately he then went out with a hamstring issue. Florida’s pro day is March 27th so hopefully he has healed by then and can get a look at what he can do during field drills. As far as fantasy relevance, team and opportunity will matter more unless he does something special at his pro day.
Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, and Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Lawrence put up a great 40 time that then resulted in a quad injury (Clemson’s pro day is March 14, so hopefully we can see more then). Wilkins looked decent, nothing bad, but not “Stand Out” level either, at least in my book. Clelin Ferrell as a result looked really good, he looked committed to each drill not like he was trying to rush through them or be the fastest when doing something the best was more important. With so much DL talent coming into this year’s draft there is going to be plenty of later round gems hanging around and any of these 3 guys could end up in such a position.
Now for some additional eye catching guys from the DL field:
Trysten Hill, UCF: A one game starter this past season (in his interviews he said it was due to coaching/scheme change this past season) Hill started the day a little rough in execution, but once he got out of his head he was moving clean and crisp and looking fast enough to not disappoint. As I just mentioned he could end up getting drafted later and be a wonderful value to a team in a year or two.
Rashan Gary, Michigan: I think in his mind Gary showed up to the combine to try to beat everyone. Normally I would think about this in a negative light… “oh he thinks he’s better than everyone else” and that’s not what I mean, it was more of a chip on his shoulder, “man everyone has been talking about Bosa but, I’m here and I’m going to work hard so that everyone is talking about me by the end of the combine” sorta thing. While maybe not everyone is talking about him, plenty of people are cuz he was putting up effort in every drill and I think this will go a long way in his draft stock. As far as fantasy you may want to throw an end of rookie draft pick at Gary or see if he is available after the draft because I think people will focus on other players and forget about him on draft day.
Montaze Sweat, Mississippi State: Sweat was already a stand out prospect coming into the combine but, his record setting DL 40 time (4.41) certainly made a statement. The rest of his performance on Sunday has likely put him in to the 3rd DL off the board come draft day. Brian Burns made a mark too. With the 3rd best 40 time, 8th best vertical jump, 2nd best broad jump and 7th best 3 cone drill, not Earth shattering but, he moved himself by looking like every field drill was second nature to him. Expect Sweat to get over drafted by a round or two too early in your rookie draft because of this hype, expect Burns to be kicking around with Rashan Gary at the end of the same rookie draft.
*a side note* I got livid towards the end of the Monday broadcast for the combine, the NFL network aired what amounted to about one third of the drills for Safeties as they did for any other group that went this weekend. So that in addition to what you will see is a calamity of injuries has resulted on some slim notes here for the DBs.
Deionte Thompson, Alabama: After a weight room injury resulted in torn ligament, Thompson had to drop out of the combine in favor of surgery. His current rehab schedule has him trying to hit the April 2nd Alabama pro day, so we’ll see what he looks like then.
Andraez “Greedy” Williams, LSU: He rand a 4.37 time in the 40 yard dash and then ended up having to stop due to cramping, so we’ll hopefully see more on the LSU March 22nd pro day.
Nasir Adderley, Delaware: On Sunday he announced that he would he would not be working out due to a high ankle sprain from in season. Delaware also has a March 22nd pro day.
Some additional eye catching guys from the DB group:
Zedrick Woods, Mississippi: In addition to having the fastest 40 time for the combine this year (4.29), Woods looked quick and crisp in all his drills. I’m not expecting that this will jump him up draft charts dramatically but, he certainly looked better than his scouting reports. As far as fantasy goes, if he shows some signs of life at the beginning of the season I’ll be adding him to my team.
D’cota Dixon, Wisconsin: The concept of players that can transition between Safety and Linebacker during the course of the game I think is rather appealing. Dixon is a player that has that type of potential. He has plenty of growing to do once he lands on a team but, we could be seeing his name more often once he gets his league legs under him.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida: CG-J was looking good at everything. He was one of those guys who just went out and did the drill, no flash, not bologna, just went out and worked. If he finds his way to a team that will build him up I think there is a good chance he’ll be relevant in the NFL and in fantasy sooner rather than years down the road.
Josh Allen, Kentucky: A little lackluster in what I was hoping to see out of Allen, he didn’t do anything to knock him out of a top 10 selection in the NFL draft, that said he didn’t do anything that made teams reconsider Bosa or Williams as first or second defensive players off the board. Allen could end up being fantasy relevant this year if he lands with the right team in the right situation.
Joe Giles-Harris, Duke: The knock on his speed seems legitimate. Through drills he didn’t sand out much in my memory. I’m sure he’ll get drafted but, I don’t think he is the diamond in the rough I was hoping to find from a later round guy.
T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin: During his interviews he mentioned a rolled ankle was why he only did the bench press at the combine. Wisconsin’s pro day is March 14th so we’ll see then if he’s got more to him other than being a hard worker.
And now the only LB that I thought was important to bring up because from my perspective he’s been given not enough coverage:
Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington: After a solid 4.56 time in the 40, Burr-Kirven when and had himself a solid day of field drills. Not only did he look good in all of the drills, he looked natural, like he belonged there, and explosive. While plenty of other LBs looked good Sunday afternoon, there is a reason he is the only LB I’ve added on from my original pre combine list, I think he is being undervalued due to his size and some team is going to get a great deal as a result when they draft him. In fantasy, I’d suggest trying to grab him late in your rookie draft (thinking of a 4 round draft, if you have a more rounds than that, then maybe no later than 5th round) but, I expect some preseason fireworks and it might be hard to add him to your roster as the season kicks up.
Thanks for joining me on my thoughts about players who I first had my eye on and then other players who grabbed my eye in the combine. Be on the look out for some follow up analysis of the snaps to stats information I posted back in February in the coming weeks, and I’ll be back with a post NFL draft article as well.