The NFL Combine is not the determining factor in how a player’s NFL career will turn out. Just ask Tom Brady, or Alfred Morris, for that matter. It does impact the way other NFL teams feel about their draft boards, which can have ripple effects across the league. That’s particularly true for the Redskins, who have the 15th-overall pick in the draft and know the player they choose, should they stay put, will be the result of variables that began at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Now that the NFL Combine is complete, many players improved their draft stock based on some eye-popping performances in Indianapolis, whether that came on the bench press, the 40-yard dash or skill drills. Here’s who made a good impression last week and threw a wrinkle into draft evaluations.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Let’s start with the obvious. The Ole Miss wide receiver already wowed many with his Instagram photo standing beside teammate A.J. Brown the week prior, which showed off his miniscule body fat. Then he made it count with a 4.33 40-yard dash, 27 bench reps and a 40.5-inch vertical jump. He made many teams reconsider their need for a wide receiver in the Top 10.
Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
After an impressive media session with reporters the day before his testing, Sweat took all that good favor and funneled it into a record-setting performance, running a 4.41 40-yard dash, the fastest time for a defensive lineman since 2003. At 260 pounds, that’s freaky fast, and supplemented by 21 reps on the bench press and a seven-second three cone drill. He didn’t even break a…sweat.
Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks told Redskins.com last week that upgrading the Redskins’ offensive weapons should be a priority. Fant could be on the radar, especially after outpacing his position group in the 40-yard dash with a 4.50 time. He hit 20 reps on the bench press and had the highest vertical jump (39.5 inches) and broad jump (127 inches) of the tight ends.
Emmanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
Hall had the best broad jump in the Combine, at 141 inches, and impressed further with a 43.5 vertical jump, tied for tops among wide receivers, and a 4.39 40-yard dash. While he missed most of last season with a groin injury, those numbers certainly dispel any lingering concerns for the second-team All-SEC playmaker.
Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
Aside from the viral moment of Redskins strength coach Chad Englehart slapping Oliver’s torso before his bench press, which maxed at 32 reps, Oliver put out some concerns over his one- or three-technique size, weighing in at 287 pounds and standing at 6-foot-2. His 36-inch vertical and 120-inch broad jump also impressed.
Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
After measuring in a shade below six feet tall, a top candidate for a slot position in the NFL, Campbell flashed elite speed running a 4.31 40-yard dash that tied for first among all receivers. He then jumped out of the gym with a 40-inch vertical, and posted the fastest short-shuttle time of 4.03. Campbell checked off all boxes in Indy that could garner him a first-round selection.
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
After posting the fastest 40-yard dash time of a collegiate prospect over 300-pounds since 2003 at 4.87, Williams' agent told him to not run his second attempt. He didn't listen, and posted a 4.83 his second run. Williams, a potential top-five selection in this year's draft, credits his freakish 40-time not to his preparation and training at Alabama, but to Oreos, who Williams said that's "all I ate" the morning of his historic run.
Garrett Bradbury, OL, NC State
N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury is emerging as potentially the winner at the event, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.92 seconds -- the best time of any of offensive linemen -- a day after finishing second among his position group with 34 bench press reps. Bradbury, the Rimington Award winner given to the college football's top center also showed elite balance, footwork, and speed that is sky-rocketing up draft boards.
Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
Rapp decided not to run the 40 though he take part in other on-field drills, turning in the best short-shuttle time for all safeties at 3.99 seconds. After already making a big statement by being measured earlier in the week at 5-foot, 11 3/4 inches and 208 pounds, compared to his UW listing of 6-feet, 202 pounds, Rapp helped soothe any concerns of his size by showing quick-twitch movements in his lower body during drills, while displaying sure hands in interception drills.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
After stealing the show after being measured above 5-foot-10 (a victory in itself), Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy Winner did not participate in on-field drills. He does plan however to throw at his Pro Day at the University of Oklahoma on March 14.