INDIANAPOLIS – On-field draft prospect workouts continued into the weekend here at the NFL Scouting Combine, and here are my thoughts on several quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers who went through drills at Lucas Oil Stadium:
• Really nice day of athletic testing for TE Noah Fant from Iowa. Not only did Fant run in the low 4.5's, he also had a 39.5-inch vertical jump as well as a 4.22 20-yard shuttlethat ranked second best in the group. Where Fant had a little trouble during the workout was the adjustment of his hands. He didn't catch the ball as cleanly as he would haveliked and he was late another time in missing a pass. I still believe he will be selected after his college teammate T.J.Hockenson in this draft.
• Keep an eye on TE Kahale Warring from San Diego State. Dane Brugler was giving me his back story of not playing football until his senior year of high school, which sounds crazy. Warring has played all different sports in his life,including water polo. I really liked what I saw from him, not only his 4.68 40-yard dash but the way he caught the ball. I thought he had one of the best reps when it came to the gauntlet drill. His path was dead straight with not a hint of weave. His hands were in position and quick throughout the drill.
• It was no surprise that WR D.K. Metcalf from Mississippi was going to run fast. I spoke with a club that had him in the 4.36 range. Coming into the Combine I was interested in is what his 20-yard shuttle time would be. His tape shows that straight-line speed, but with his added weight I was curious if it would affect his change of direction and it did. Metcalf had a 4.55 in the 20-yard shuttle and a 7.38 in the three-cone drill, which were both near the bottom for the group. As far as catching the ball in the drills, I saw a couple of reps where he caught the back of the ball. It appeared that he was slightly late getting his hands in position.
• If you listen to The Draft Show, Dane Brugler gave you a name that not many people were talking about: WR Darius Slayton from Auburn. Brugler had me sit down and study Slayton's tape. I'm glad he did. Slayton is impressive catching the ball, but the explosiveness in which he does it is even more eye opening. At 6-1, 190 pounds, he is not a small guy. His 4.41 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical jump is rare for the position. During the drills, Slayton was outstanding adjusting his hands to snatch the ball over his head when the pass was offline.
• WR Riley Ridley from Georgia is not as fast as his brother, and unlike Calvin, he tends to fight the ball more. It might have just been a case of the nerves, but he didn't catch the ball as cleanly in these drills as I thought he might. There are games where you see him really snatch the ball and make things happen, but it was a little hit and miss during the workout.
• When I use to sit at the line timing 40's for the Green Bay Packers and later the Philadelphia Eagles, I could generally tell if it was going to be an impressive run by the player in how their start looked. As good as D.K. Metcalf's start appeared, I thought WR Andy Isabella from UMass was the most impressive. Isabella was at full speed in the first three steps of the run and I knew it was going to be a serious time. I knew he had the quickness because you see it on tape, but I had no idea that he had that type of overall speed. In a crowded group of wideouts, I still have him in the third round, but if the Cowboys want him they'd likely have to take him at No. 58.
• If you ask me which quarterback I was most impressed with throwing the ball during the drills, my guy would be Jarrett Stidham from Auburn. I thought overall as a group, the quarterbacks were 50-50 at best when it came to how they looked. Nerves might have been a factor, or the fact that they're throwing to receivers they've never worked with, but it was an up-and-down day for a lot of the guys with the exception of Stidham. I saw a guy that looked poised and was mechanically on his game. There was nice ball placement, meaning the receivers didn't have to work. His throws were on the mark and his touch was outstanding. I was really impressed with how well he threw the deep ball three opportunities in a row. I wouldn't have hat he was going to be the best of the quarterbacks, but that was the case.
• The first player I'm going to sit down and study when I get home is WR Miles Boykin from Notre Dame. His testing numbers were outstanding, but listening to Dane Brugler on The Draft Show, it appears that in his evaluation Boykin doesn't play as fast as his numbers would indicate. I generally trust Brugler's evaluation, but I need to see this for myself. A 43.5-inch vertical jump is rare for any position, so I'm curious to see if this translates to his play.