NFL

Top eight takeaways from Saturday at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Huskies wide receiver John Ross gets interviewed by the NFL Network after running the 40 yard dash during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sport
Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

The second day of workouts at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis took place on Saturday with wide receivers proving themselves to be above the rest of those taking to the field.

Washington product John Ross set the new combine record with a 4.22 40-yard dash. Fellow wide receiver Zay Jones also did a whole bunch to improve his stock with a tremendous overall performance.

On the defensive side of the ball, Myles Garrett shored up his status as the No. 1 overall prospect. Meanwhile, Alabama’s Reuben Foster’s incident from Friday night was cleared up a bit more.

Here are your top-eight takeaways from Saturday’s NFL Combine action.

1. John Ross sets record, confirms status as first-round prospect 

Most of the talk about first-round receiving prospects leading up to the combine surrounded Mike Williams of Clemson and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. While both will still likely end up going on Day 1 in the draft, Washington product John Ross is the receiver that’s created the most buzz recently.

Ross put up an NFL Combine record 4.22 40-yard dash at the combine on Saturday, besting Chris Johnson’s mark of 4.24, which was set almost a decade ago in Indianapolis. While this won’t get Ross his own island courtesy of Adidas, it likely earned him a whole lot of cash.

Already seen as a burner, Ross put up nearly 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior for the Huskies last season. His on-field resume speaks for itself. From a scouting standpoint, everything that the 5-foot-11 receiver did on Saturday adds more credence to the idea that Ross will go in the first round this upcoming spring.

2. Reuben Foster drama intensifies 

It might be too much to ask in today’s America, but maybe we shouldn’t jump to conclusions so often. That’s only magnified when we’re talking about a young adult and his livelihood.

When news broke on Friday night that Foster was sent packing from the combine after an argument with a hospital worker, the first response was to conclude that he would fall down the draft boards big time. Some teams might take him off their draft board altogether. This, despite the fact that we really didn’t know exactly what had transpired.

That was cleared up a tad on Saturday with reports indicating that Foster grew impatient with the long line at the hospital, which created the confrontation.

It surely isn’t a good look. It shows immaturity on Foster’s part and will definitely be a part of a his conversations with teams throughout the remainder for he draft process. But let’s not overreact here. Foster’s weigh-in at the combine might actually cause more concern for teams than what seems to be an isolated incident.

Likely a top-five prospect heading into the combine, Foster’s weight is going to be an issue moving forward. He’s undersized for the middle linebacker position and will have to add weight. More than anything, that’s likely the biggest takeaway from what has been a bad week for the consensus No. 1 linebacker prospect in the draft.

3. Pat Mahomes impresses big time

Heading into the combine, there were three likely first-round picks at the quarterback position. That list included Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer. While all three will likely be in the mix when it comes to the first player selected at this position, Texas Tech product Pat Mahomes impressed the most in Indianapolis.

Mahomes’ throwing session at the annual dog-and-pony show was met with swift praise from those on hand. And the video speaks for itself.

The former Red Raider is coming off a 2016 campaign that saw him throw for 5,052 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. There was some concern over whether playing in a spread offense at Tech would be an issue for scouts. That can pretty much be thrown out the window.

If he impresses at Tech’s pro day and throughout the remainder of the draft process, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear Mahomes name called in the first round. He’s also drawn some interest from quarterback-needy teams in Indianapolis.

None of this means that Mahomes will be the first quarterback off the board. That’s still highly unlikely. But in a league where as many as eight teams need starting quarterbacks, he will surely be valued come draft time.

4. Zay Jones’ standout performance 

Gifted with a 6-foot-2, 202-pound frame, this East Carolina product was considered a potential late Day 2 pick in the upcoming NFL draft heading into the combine. Jones did nothing to hurt his stock with a tremendous performance in Indianapolis. In fact, there’s a scenario here that leads us to believe he will shoot up the draft board as the process continues to play out.

That right there is among the most impressive individual performances at the combine. Jones didn’t stop there, putting up a tremendous 4.45 40-yard dash, 133-inch broad jump and 11.17 60-yard shuttle. Those latter two performances placed him among the top-five at the wide receiver position.

In terms of the position-specific drills, Jones was equally impressive.

It will be interesting to see what this does for Jones’ stock moving forward. He was uber productive for East Carolina as a senior last season, putting up 158 receptions for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns. Now that he impressed in Indianapolis, the sky seems to be the limit here.

5. DeShone Kizer struggles

While San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch might have been impressed by his interview, this Notre Dame product struggled big time in drills on Saturday. He was erratic in the position-specific drills, continually showing a lack of accuracy.

The reviews themselves were about as bad as it gets with top NFL draft analysts grading his day’s performance as the worst of the pack.

One really has to wonder what this does for Kizer’s draft stock. Is he still an option to be the first quarterback off the board? If not, will the strong-armed quarterback fall out of the first round completely? He did very little to answer this on Saturday. Based on what we saw from the three other top-end quarterback prospects in Indy, that’s not a good thing.

6. Myles Garrett’s weight room dominance 

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This shoudn’t be considered a surprise. Garrett has been considered the top prospect throughout the entire 2017 NFL Draft process. All he did in Indianapolis this weekend was confirm that status.

The Texas A&M product was an absolute monster in the weight room, which caught the attention of a Browns team that boasts the top pick in the draft.

Coming off a three-year career with the Aggies that saw him record 31 sacks and 47 tackles for loss, the production is definitely there. Add in the game film and Garrett’s performance at the combine, and he’s a near lock to go No. 1 overall to the Browns. Though, we’re definitely going to want to see how he does in the drills on Sunday.

In a related piece of information, the drama Garrett set off last month by indicating he wanted the Cowboys to trade up for him can now be considered a thing of the past.

The EDGE rusher has decided to apologize to Cleveland for that off-handed remark. This seems to be a clear sign that Garrett will go No. 1 overall in the upcoming draft. His performance in Indy only lends credence to that idea.

7. Some ridiculous 40 times

John Ross will be getting most of the play as the NFL Scouting Combine continues into Sunday, but there were a whole heck of a lot of other prospects that absolutely dominated generic drills in Indianapolis.

Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel ran a blazing 4.31 40-yard dash. That likely would have been the biggest story of the day if it weren’t for Ross’ history-breaking dash. Samuel’s time comes in better than what we saw from Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller at the combine last year.

Meanwhile, Mississippi’s Evan Engram ran a 4.42 40-yard dash from the tight end position. To put that into perspective, it’s a better time than what Odell Beckham Jr. put up prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. Think about that for a second. In fact, only three receivers ran better 40 times than Engram.

Though, the most-surprising revelation of the day has to be Mitchell Trubisky’s 40 time. He finished fourth among quarterback in this category, just one-tenth of a second behind Deshaun Watson (more on him later).

At 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds, it is a surprise to see the North Carolina product fly like he did on the 40. He also finished ahead of all of the other top quarterback prospects with a tremendous 4.25 20-yard shuttle. To put that into perspective, Cam Newton ran a 4.19 back in 2011.

8. Deshaun Watson stands above the rest

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Watson is easily the most-accomplished quarterback of the class. A three-year starter for Clemson, Watson is coming off a 2016 season that saw him lead the Tigers to the national championship.

Though, the 6-foot-2, 221-pound signal caller had failed to separate himself from the pack heading into the combine in Indianapolis this week. That changed big time on Saturday with Watson putting up a dazzling display in front of the NFL’s 32 teams.

Those on hand in Indy were awed by Watson’s performance in the passing drill, as evidenced multiple NFL scouts concluding that he was by far the best of the bunch.

This is pretty big news for Watson, who has a chance to go as high as No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the upcoming draft. He is in the midst of a competition with Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer and Pat Mahomes to be the first quarterback off the board. Based on what we saw Saturday, Watson’s chances are looking good here.

About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi