Another NFL offseason has been kicked off by the conclusion of the annual underwear Olympics, and the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books.
Prospects were poked, prodded, insulted, and asked some really dumb questions. They also did their best to impress on the field. Some did just that, while others will be living with some regret.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers from the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
Stud: Justice Hill, running back, Oklahoma State
Because of his size (or lack thereof), the 5-foot-10, 198-pound former Cowboys star needed to show something special in the speed department this past week. He did just that, running the fastest 40 time among all running backs (4.4 seconds flat).
Here’s Justice Hill’s 40 yard dash — runs an unofficial 4.40. #OKState pic.twitter.com/kCdkUBZjiB
— Nate Feken (@TheGreat_Nate) March 1, 2019
Additionally, Hill showed plenty of strength putting up 225 pounds 21 times, and his jumps — 40 inch vertical and 10-foot-10 broad jump — were spectacular. A change-of-pace back at the next level, Hill showed he has the physique to be the lightning to another back’s thunder in the NFL.
Dud: Greg Little, offensive tackle, Ole Miss
This year’s offensive tackle class is a bit thin at the top, but many saw Little as a potential fringe first-round pick. Those perceptions may be changing after the Ole Miss left tackle’s combine performance. Little didn’t lift, ran very slow (5.33 seconds), showed very little explosion in his jumps and looked sloppy during field drills. Of all the top offensive linemen during Friday’s workouts, his stock appeared to take the biggest hit.
Stud: D.K. Metcalf, wide receiver, Ole Miss
One of this year’s biggest workout warriors, Metcalf’s performance was every bit as impressive as the pre-combine picture of him looking like a demigod that made the rounds was. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound freak of a receiver blazed a 4.33-second 40, put up 27 reps on the bench, leaped out of the gym and showed off an extremely rare height/weight/athleticism combination that will have teams drooling over his potential.
Of course, he comes with a couple red flags — he had two injuries in college and wasn’t as productive as many other top receivers. So, Metcalf’s potential will need to be balanced by those pesky facts.
Dud: Lil’Jordan Humphrey, wide receiver, Texas
Humphrey sure looks the part of a big-time receiver. And he’s coming off a tremendous 2018 campaign in which he caught 86 passes for 1,176 yard and nine touchdowns. Yet when it was time to show off on the field in Indianapolis, the former Longhorns star came crashing down to earth. Running a 4.75-second 40 (slowest among all receivers) was bad enough. But Humphrey managed just 13 reps on the bench and lacked explosion on his jumps. That’s a bad combination.
Stud: Noah Fant, tight end, Iowa
It’s a really good year to be looking for tight end help in the NFL Draft, and Fant may be the best of the bunch based on production and tape alone. Then he showed up to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine and blew the hinges off. The former Hawkeyes star blazed the track running a 4.5-second 40 at 6-foot-4 and 249 pounds.
Iowa TE Noah Fant ran a faster 40-yard dash than most RBs ?
?: NFL Network pic.twitter.com/PYfqC5GZXY
— ESPN (@espn) March 2, 2019
He also exploded for a 39.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-7 broad jump and ran a 6.81-second 3 cone drill. These numbers are all elite for his position, cementing Fant as a likely top-15 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Dud: Joe Giles-Harris, linebacker, Duke
There was a lot of positive buzz surrounding Giles-Harris coming into the week. The former Duke star had a solid Senior Bowl and had a chance to make some money with a solid combine. Following his performance on Sunday, all the buzz is negative. Giles-Harris, who is a bit undersized at 6-foot-2, 234 pounds, ran a very poor 40 (4.75 seconds). He also posted the worst vertical (29.5 inches) and tied for the worst broad jump (9-foot-3) among linebackers in Indianapolis. Those poor athletic testing numbers will doom him in the upcoming draft.
Stud: Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
As impressive as Metcalf’s combine was, he may have been overshadowed by Sweat, who absolutely stunned everyone the next day running a 4.41-second 40 at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds.
Montez Sweat is quickly becoming my top ranked WR in this class. ???pic.twitter.com/QrMf1vhi0X
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 3, 2019
Additionally, Sweat jumped well, looked good on the field and posted a highly respectable 7-second 3 cone drill. This is a young man who racked up 30 tackles for loss and 19 sacks the past two years at Mississippi State, too. He’s a sure-fire top-10 lock after his fantastic combine performance.
Dud: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Perhaps nobody had a worse combine than Polite. He showed up looking a bit on the thick side and ran a very poor 40 (4.84 seconds) for a smaller pass rusher. He then claimed injury and did not participate in any other drills. He also did not handle being criticized by the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers well.
The former Gators star came into Indy with plenty of positive buzz and a potential first-round grade. He left with his draft stock reportedly taking a “massive tumble.”
Stud: Devin White, linebacker, LSU
Already the consensus top inside linebacker in the 2019 NFL Draft, all White did during the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine was put a virtual blue check mark next to that analysis. The LSU product blazed the track posting the best 40 time of any linebacker (4.42 seconds). He also showed strength with 22 bench reps, leaped out of the gym posting the second-best vertical and was a natural during field drills. These traits, coupled with his instincts and dynamic read-and-react abilities in games will make him the first linebacker selected during the 2019 NFL Draft.
Dud: Zach Allen, defensive end, Boston College
One of the bigger defensive ends this weekend at the combine, Allen did nothing to separate himself from the pack. In fact, the former Eagles star defensive lineman looked more plodding than dynamic. Allen’s 5-second 40 certainly isn’t great. He also showed little explosion with a 32-inch vertical and 9-foot-4 broad jump, and his lack of agility showed big time with a 7.34-second 3 cone drill. All in all, Allen had a very poor combine that should put to rest any talk that he’s a potential first-round pick.
Stud: Juan Thornhill, safety, Virginia
After the combine performance Thornhill put together Monday, teams in need of a deep safety will have to go back and study this kid some more. Thornhill showed insane explosion with a 44-inch vertical, which was just one inch shy of the combine record.
Virginia's Juan Thornhill (@Juan_Thornhill) records the best vertical jump of the 2019 Combine with 44" (one inch short of the record) pic.twitter.com/UOcLwqxOP5
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) March 4, 2019
Thornhill also posted an 11-foot-9 broad jump (freaky explosion) and ran an unofficial 4.43-second 40. A ball hawk for the Cavaliers the past three years, this safety has hauled in 13 interceptions and broke up 26 passes. His production, combined with his athleticism, is a shiny lure.
Dud: DeAndre Baker, cornerback, Georgia
Baker is a bit undersized, at 5-foot-11 and 193 pounds. Greedy Williams has three inches onn him and is approximately the same weight. Both corners have been talked about as early first-round picks throughout the pre-draft process. Yet when it came time to show speed, only one produced it. Baker’s 4.52-second 40 ranked him in the bottom half of corners at the combine. That average speed, coupled with his lack of size, could hurt him come draft day.
Winner: Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma
All Murray had to do was prove he’s not a Hobbit. He did just that, measuring in at just a shade over 5-foot-10 and weighing in at 207 pounds. Afterward, the Heisman Trophy winner did the combine’s version of a mic drop, abstaining from any other testing other than his interviews. And based on the buzz coming out of Indy about the teams interested in drafting him, it seems he aced those, too.