As much as we all love to watch the combine drills, they shouldn’t matter too much to your favorite NFL team. If that team’s personnel office is filled with smart people, they have their draft boards fairly well-defined, and they’re using the combine to probe prospects from a personality perspective in interviews, and from a medical perspective with the checkups.
Still, there are those players who bump their stock up with specific performances, and the meter can go down just as quickly. With that in mind, here’s a mock draft that takes into account not only performances on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium, but what happened in the interview rooms, and what might have had scouts going back to look at a bit more tape.
Rumors are flying thick and fast both ways about Arizona’s interest in selecting Murray first overall and trading Josh Rosen. We know that Kliff Kingsbury loves Murray and that Murray would be an ideal fit for what Kingsbury wants to do. Most likely, this will come down to what kind of compensation the Cardinals could get for Rosen If it’s higher than a third-round pick, look for Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim to do some dealing.
With all the talk about freakish performances among defensive linemen at the combine, sometimes it’s best not to overthink things. The 49ers need an elite edge rusher, Bosa qualifies in every sense, and he will take San Francisco’s defense to a new level in conjunction with DeForest Buckner.
There are those who wonder just how Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan has held on to his job, and the lack of talent along the defensive line is one of the reasons why. Williams had an exceptional combine, and when you put that with his game tape, he’s the very definition of a safe pick who will also be highly effective.
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have a lot of work to do with their three first-round picks, and job one is to establish some kind of consistent edge presence. A true speed merchant to the quarterback with the potential for a ton of tackles for loss and forced fumbles as well as some coverage ability, Allen could be the pace-setter for a rebuilt Oakland defense.
The Buccaneers defense was subpar in most categories in 2018, and while the secondary was the primary issue, the linebacker rotation could be facing a big hit if Kwon Alexander ends up somewhere else in free agency. Even if Alexander comes back at a reduced price after his torn ACL, this is a team in need of players who can define a defense. White blew up the combine with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and good showings in all the drills, and his tape shows the very definition of a modern linebacker.
Most believe that the Giants will go quarterback or offensive line here, but if there’s one thing we know about general manager Dave Gettleman, it’s that he’s generally on point to do something unpredictable. This recent tidbit about Gettleman in the fray for Josh Rosen makes a lot of sense, and if the Giants have their quarterback problem relatively solved, it would make a ton of sense to give defensive coordinator James Bettcher a true wrecking ball for his multiple fronts. Oliver would truly shine as a three-tech tackle, but Bettcher would place him to succeed everywhere from nose to end.
There’s one problem when projecting Dwayne Haskins to Jacksonville: New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo requires a relatively mobile quarterback for his ideal passing game, and Haskins shows serious warts when asked to adjust from pressure and throw on the move. Lock isn’t as well-developed from a quarterback perspective, but he is terrific on the move and he can make any throw the Jaguars’ new offense might require.
Sweat made himself more money than anybody else at the combine, D.K. Metcalf included. Running a 4.41 40-yard dash at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds will have NFL evaluators going back to his tape to see if the athleticism that allowed him to blow up the combine drills shows up on tape. It does, and under the right circumstances, Sweat could become a thoroughly unblockable pass rusher from the edge and inside. The Lions will need his skills with Ezekiel Ansah most likely on the move.