The workout portion of the Combine begins today as running backs, offensive linemen and special teams players take the field
The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine has been going strong for the past few days, but it’s about to get rolling as the on-field workouts start with offensive linemen, running backs, and specialists on Friday. This is the first group to hit the field this year in the first step to getting the full athletic profile for these prospects.
2019 NFL Combine
Location: Indianapolis, IN | Lucas Oil Stadium
Time: 9 a.m. ET
Channel: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL.com
Positions: Running backs, offensive linemen, special teams
Before we get into who is going to be participating, let’s take a look at what matters. This below graph was shared by Brian Burke, now of ESPN. It shows the correlation between single event results and the Approximate Value (Pro Football Reference’s attempt to measure seasons by a single metric) over the first three years of a career.
For offensive linemen, we can see the 40-yard dash matters for linemen, more so for tackles. It’s not as meaningful for guars, but it still has the strongest correlation. It might also be a surprise the broad jump also shows correlation for tackles thanks to the explosion and burst needed for that event.
Now let’s look at the results from offensive linemen drafted by Dave Gettleman during his stints with the Giants and Carolina Panthers. We’ll use percentile ranks for each event, showing where each prospect ranked among tested players at the same position.
Before Will Hernandez, Gettleman was big on size and arm length. Last year Hernandez was just in the ninth percentile of height (mean he was only taller than nine percent of tested offensive linemen) and in the fifth percentile of arm length. Neither of those measurements mattered much since Hernandez saw almost immediate success as a rookie. It helped that he was a good overall athlete, falling in the 66th percentile of SPARQ, which is a composite testing score that incorporates all combine testing.
It’s also interesting to note all of Gettleman’s selections at least came into the league as guards. Some did play a little tackle in college or in the NFL (Moton did both), but all were listed as guards during the draft process.
- Jonah Williams (Alabama)
- Jawaan Taylor (Florida) [Prospect Profile]
- Cody Ford (Oklahoma)
- David Edwards (Wisconsin) [Prospect Profile]
- Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia) [Prospect Profile]
Check out his full write-ups here.
Other prospects to watch:
Almost everyone. Whether the Giants grab their starter at right tackle in free agency and/or re-sign Jamon Brown to play right guard, there will still be roster spots open for at least depth all across the line. The Giants have 10 draft picks, at least one of them is going to be an offensive lineman. If there are specific names to watch, keep an eye on these five.
- Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
- Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
- Elgton Jenkins, iOL, Mississippi State
- Beau Benzschawel, iOL, Wisconsin
- Oli Udoh, OT, Elon
Going back to the above chart, running backs show high correlation with weight and the 40, which gives credence to weight-adjusted 40 times and metrics that combine them like Speed Score, first invented by Bill Barnwell (again now of ESPN) while he was at Football Outsiders. The 3-cone is also a useful drill that helps show agility and bend.
Gettleman’s past two drafts have featured significant investment at the position — Christian McCaffrey ninth overall in Carolina and Saquon Barkley second overall last season for the Giants. It’s that investment that makes it unlikely there is any draft capital spent at the position this season, though if there is it is going to be late. That means it may be more predictive to look at Gettleman’s other running back draft picks, none selected before pick 174.
The measurements are kind of all over the place, though none of the three had a 40-time below the 60th percentile, around a 4.53. But again, weight adjusting is important. All of Gettleman’s drafted backs were good at the vertical jump and all but Barkley (didn’t participate) and Cameron Artis-Payne excelled at the 3-cone.
- Joshua Jacobs (Alabama)
- David Montgomery (Iowa State)
- Devin Singletary (FAU)
- Elijah Holyfield (Georgia)
- Damien Harris (Alabama)
Full breakdown here.
Other prospects to watch:
As noted above, the selection and investment in Saquon Barkley put running back far down the list of needs for the Giants. But even with Wayne Gallman on the roster — and underused — the Giants could want some kind of committee to spell Barkley to keep him fresh late in games and the season.
An interesting prospect could be Tony Pollard of Memphis. Pollard is one of the few backs in this class with legitimate receiving skills and production, something Pat Shurmur has stated he wants in running backs. In his senior season in Memphis, Pollard had 78 rushing attempts for 552 yards and six touchdowns along with 63 targets, 39 receptions, 458 yards, and three touchdowns. A lot of that receiving production — 48 targets, 27 receptions, and 290 yards — came from the slot.
Adding him to the Giants could allow the team to run formations with two running backs on the field and change up the look between two backs in the backfield or having Pollard or Barkley out wide or in the slot. It would be a way to add another dimension to the offense while adding to both the run and pass offense.
With Aldrick Rosas coming off a Pro Bowl season and the Giants coming off the second-best punt value per Football Outsiders with Riley Dixon, the Giants appear set with specialists. Three punters and three kickers will work out in Indy.