Cavalcade of Whimsy: NFL Combine
From John Ross, to Mitchell Trubisky, to Myles Garrett, to the two prospects you now need to know, the NFL combine version of the Cavalcade of Whimsy.
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Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault …
Like Teez Tabor, I think “I’m the best overall player in the draft.” Also like Tabor, I’m really, really, really slow.
”He’s so fast, he makes fast people look not fast.”
In case you missed NFL combine history …
Fast is fast. It doesn’t matter if Washington WR John Ross ran a 4.22, or a 4.25, or a 4.3, he was supposed to come into the Combine as one of the fastest prospects in the upcoming draft, and he ripped the doors off his 40.
But forgetting that Brandt and a few others hand-timed Ross at a tick slower than Chris Johnson’s legendary 4.24, and blowing off that the NFL Network’s Ross vs. CJ2K comparison showed that Johnson’s run was faster, doesn’t Johnson get the win because he was able to do it without injuring himself? Don’t you have to stick the landing?
Ross, apparently, cramped up just before the run, and wasn’t able to do drills after because his leg wasn’t quite right. Considering durability is the knock on the Washington star going into the draft, and considering he got hurt by simply running in a straight line, shouldn’t the 4.22 be sort of blown off from a football standpoint?
Of course everyone wants a playmaker with his speed who can take the top off a defense – when he’s actually able to stay on the field.
You want Ross in the first round? Sure, but in a draft loaded with great prospects at least 50 deep, he’s a luxury item. You take Ross. The guy I’ll take just after him will probably do more week-in-and-week-out.
And with that, I’ve just guaranteed the karma of my fantasy teams being lit up like a Christmas tree every time I face him.
Gimmicky Rapid-Fire Combine Blurb
– Speaking of flying, if you didn’t see the second group of defensive backs run the 40 on Monday, and if you like this stuff even a little bit, go out of your way to go back and watch an epic series of blazers.
– I finally figured out why I like the NFL combine and sit transfixed to it each and every year, beyond any professional duty. It’s football stuff without the guilt. Other than those of us who watched every second of the thing, no one’s brain is getting destroyed running the 40 or doing the 3-cone drill.
– I can’t unring that bell. Half-expecting another Chris Jones moment during every 40.
– The concept of CTE or concussions, apparently, doesn’t exist in the coverage. With that in mind …
– When are NFL types going to realize that playing a long time in college is a negative? So what if Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooker started for one year? They have more tread on the tires.
– Of course Myles Garrett is athletic, and of course the other stars look the part, too. My sister could figure out who the first round types are, and she likes Maroon 5.
Think of the combine this way – the goal is expose the weak. There are always the ones who freakishly stand out, but as long as the numbers are okay and within range, fine. Whatever – if you can play, you can play. But if you’re a slow defensive back or receiver in this loaded draft at each position, two words: special teams.
– If the tape of Joe Mixon didn’t come out, would he have been allowed to workout at the combine?
In a league with Tyreek Hill, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, among others, who have questionable issues in their past – to be way-too-polite about it – the idea of the NFL making some sort of statement by not inviting Mixon or Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly is ridiculous if there’s nothing else beyond this.
No matter what you think about them, they’re going to get drafted – they’re not being banned from the NFL. If they’re in your league, they’re in your league. All you’re doing, NFL, is kicking the controversy can down the road to your draft day coverage.
– Don’t get so caught up in the mock drafts we all do when it comes to the combine. Instead, a lot of the scouting done now applies to getting some of these guys a few years from now. Remember, in three years, most of the prospects in Indy will either be civilians looking for jobs, or will be on teams different from those who drafted them.
– If you need the combine to figure out which players are good NFL prospects, you’re probably not a good NFL talent evaluator.
Inspired, I now demand that the column be called the Cavalcade of the Whimsical
I despise the name Peter. Peter Rabbit. Peter Cottontail. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater.
I heard it all as a kid, arguing to the point of a second grade fight over the concept that I 1) had a wife and 2) couldn’t keep her.
Peter Gibbons is one for our side, but the dual-phallically named Peter O’Toole has never helped the cause.
I also don’t really like the name Pete, so I won’t really dog the North Carolina quarterback too much for wanting everyone to call him Mitchell Trubisky instead of Mitch.
But in terms of the moment, really? That’s what you want the buzz to be about when you’re auditioning to be the franchise guy drafted in the top three?
If he was going from Mitchell to Mitch, cool.
Mitch is the man, as in, “dude, you see how many naked chicken chalupas Mitch powered down?”
Mitchell sounds like he went hunting for endangered species with the Trump brothers.
Of course, it doesn’t matter what he’s called if he produces – and everyone has great things to say about him – but hopefully he’s not JaMarcus Trubisky, or Mitch Trabisky, as one NFL Network graphic had it.
I could have shoulders like O.J. Howard, but then I’d have to be that guy who wears sleeveless shirts and grunts in the gym. Or goes to the gym. Or wears a shirt.
Who else had the smarts to figure out that Martellus Bennett was going to be a fantasy long-play this year? (Yes, I’m talking smack after finishing dead last.)
The NFL is okay at tight end in terms of actual football players who do football things, but if you play fantasy and didn’t have Travis Kelce – or paid too much for that Rob Gronkowski muffler – no one needs to tell you how barren the position is when it comes to big-time playmakers.
That’s about to change.
The quarterbacks will get the most ink, the defensive linemen and safeties will go early, and there are way, way, way too many good receivers and corners to take one early, but the tight end class proved in Indy that it’s something special.
Now we’ll all get to see just how good O.J. Howard is when he gets the ball thrown his way on a regular basis to that 4.5 speed.
Ole Miss star Evan Engram is like a big wide receiver, and he looked the part with a 4.42 40. Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges showed freakish skills to go along with his terrific college production. Miami’s David Njoku, South Alabama’s Gerald Everette, FIU’s Jonnu Smith, and on and on and on – the position is loaded with future targets, and that doesn’t even include the injured Jake Butt.
And now, as the college guy trying to help break through the glut of NFL scouting poppycock being thrown at you in a tools match the tape match the player sort of way …
America, reintroduce yourself to Chris Godwin
You want your big-time value pick after the first 50 are gone? Here’s your wide receiver – Penn State QB Chris Godwin.
It’s as if the sports world sort of blew off the nine-catch, 187-yard, two score Rose Bowl performance, the 16.6-yard average for the season, and the 11 touchdown grabs in a fantastic year that went beyond the numbers.
The Penn State junior came out early in a year loaded with good receiver prospects, looking like a late second-rounder to mid-range third-rounder with good college production, but he’s been flying under the radar from those looking for something splashier.
The 6-1, 209-pounder cranked up 19 reps, ran a – for this year’s group – blazing 4.42, and was ultra-quick, proving that there’s phenomenal value outside of the top receiver prospects.
America, introduce yourself to Haason Reddick
You didn’t watch a whole lot of Temple football, and that’s okay.
Reddick flew under the radar, as a former walk-on who was okay over his first few seasons, and then he cranked it up in 2016 with 65 tackles along with a team-leading 10.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss, showing off speed, explosion, and consistent playmaking ability in game after game. But there’s not supposed to be a perfect fit at the next level.
At 6-1 and 237 pounds, he’s not a defensive end, and he wasn’t considered to be an outside linebacker – and now that all changed.
Rising up the charts throughout the offseason process, Reddick went from being a mid-round flier who could shine on special teams, to a fringe first-rounder, to a must-have force after running a blazing 4.52 40 and jumping out of the stadium.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item (because there aren’t enough of them) …
The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Giving away an island as something positive
Underrated: Mike Mayock & Deion Sanders
2) Overrated: Patrick Mahomes, Davis Webb & Nathan Peterman
Underrated: Brad Kaaya, Joshua Dobbs, and if he doesn’t go No. 1, DeShone Kizer
3) Overrated: Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams & Wayne Gallman
Underrated: Jeremy McNichols, Donnel Humphrey & Marlon Mack
4) Overrated: All the projected first round receivers in a deep, deep, deep class
Underrated: Zay Jones, Josh Malone & Stacy Coley
5) Overrated: Free agent defensive backs
Underrated: Picking up a DB or three in the mid-rounds of this loaded draft
Sorry if this column sucked, I wasn’t my fault …
Unlike North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer, according to Rich Eisen, I don’t have “New England Patriot written all over” me.