INDIANAPOLIS– At long last the NFL world – including the Dallas Cowboys -- got to see these highly-anticipated quarterback workouts from the NFL Combine.
It's been a long time coming, but we finally have something new to talk about since January, when North Dakota State standout Carson Wentz performed in the Senior Bowl. This year's quarterbacks worked out with the wide receivers at Lucas Oil Stadium, and there were quite a few takeaways.
Here are my notes:
- What was clear watching these top quarterbacks throw in drills was that Wentz was further along in his mechanics than Cal's Jared Goff and Memphis' Paxton Lynch. What I mean by further along is that Wentz's footwork on these drops is much more consistent in relation to how he is delivering the ball. Wentz has taken more snaps under center and you can tell by a mile that he looks far more comfortable performing that way under pressure. Goff and Lynch should be better on their Pro Days and individual workouts for teams.
- I have studied more than 30 wide receivers in the draft, and I had a strong feeling that either Notre Dame's Will Fuller or TCU's Colby Listenbee was going to be the fastest of the group, and it wasn't a shock to see both of them going in the 4.3s. Where I was surprised was in watching Ohio State speedster Braxton Miller. I was thinking that Miller would clock in likely mid-to-high 4.4s, so when it was 4.53 -- I have to say I was surprised. Look for Miller to run better on his Pro Day on March 11.
- Of those potential mid-draft quarterbacks, I liked what I saw from Arkansas signal-caller Brandon Allen and Mississippi State' Dak Prescott. I thought they both handled the situation well. They looked comfortable and threw the ball that way. Their mechanics and ball placement looked on point. The receivers they were working with didn't appear to have to work for the ball as much as some of the other quarterbacks working -- like Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and Michigan State's Connor Cook.
- It was nice to see Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard have a nice day during the workout. He improved his 40 time from the 4.52 the scouts had on him in the fall by clocking a 4.49. During the workout he did a nice job of catching the ball in his hands -- didn't fight it at all. He showed quickness in the routes, and I really like how he was able to snatch it on the move, which is a trait that he showed on tape. Draft experts have pegged him as a slot player, but I think he is much more than that. I could see him not only working inside but on the outside as well. He is just so comfortable wherever you play him. He is not restricted at all.
- Just when you've felt like you have a decent grasp on these draft prospects, a guy like Tennessee wide receiver Marquez North shows up. At 6-2, 223 with 4.48-second 40-yard dash, he opened a few eyes during the workout. I don't know much about his story, other than the fact that he was a highly-recruited player for the Vols, and -- after a promising start to his career -- his numbers steadily declined. In 2015, he only had six receptions in seven games due to injuries. I liked what I saw from him catching the ball in the drills on Saturday. He looked very natural and at times effortless. My plan is to go back and take a peek at his 2013 and 2014 seasons to see the type of player he could potentially be.