NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko
The NFL Combine is over and we now have two months to wait until the actual draft. Free agency starts March 13th and everyhing will likely change after that, with teams filling some of their biggest needs.
On to our 15 thoughts this week.
1) Dontari Poe came away as one of the big winners of the NFL Combine. It’s impressive to see a 345 pound man run a sub 5.00 forty yard dash and bench press 225 lbs. 44 times. While Poe demonstrated elite athleticism, I’m still weary of a team taking Poe too high in the draft.
As of right now I see Poe coming into play at pick #8 and for each pick after that. While Poe put on a show during the combine, he doesn’t have that same impact on the field. Watching film on Poe I see a player whose motor is not always running and someone who should have been much more productive. At 345 pounds, one of the strongest humans alive and playing against sub-par offensive lines, I didn’t see the production I would have liked to.
That doesn’t mean Poe won’t be great in the NFL, it’s just something that teams must take into account, especially that high in the draft.
2) If Poe was the winner among the defensive players at the combine, the winner among the offensive players was Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill. Hill was able to post a 4.30 unofficial 40 time, which was the second fastest unofficial hand time at the combine. He was also the also won the broad jump and finished in the top five of the vertical. One more thing that is alarming to me is that Hill had by far the worst short shuttle drill at 4.48 seconds. That shows an inability to change direction and get in and our of breaks quickly.
Like Poe, Hill also has a lot of questions that must be answered before I pick him in the first round. Hill comes from an offense at Georgia Tech where throwing the ball was an afterthought. Hill only managed to catch 28 balls this year for a 29.2 average, meaning that each pass he caught was deep down the field.
After watching Hill throughout the year he is extremely raw as a WR, he doesn’t have experience running many routes, he has inconsistent hands and at this point in time is a one trick pony. With that being said Hill’s combination of size and speed will attract teams at the end of the first round and will likely be off the board by the middle of round two.
3) Andrew Luck gets talked about ad nuseum on just about any NFL Draft show and it does get annoying at times. However, one thing that I feel gets truly overlooked with Luck is his athleticism. Luck showed at the combine that not only is he the most polished pocket passer to enter the draft since Peyton Manning, but he is also one of the top athletes at the position to enter the draft.
Luck was able to post a 4.59 40 time, which is indentical to that of Cam Newton who is widely regarded as a “running” QB. Luck also posted a 36″ vertical jump and 10’4″ broad jumps; all extraordinary numbers for a QB. When you combine his passing ability with that athleticism and ability to move out of the pocket and throw on the run. You have the best QB prosepct in the past 14 years.
4) One of the most interesting players in this year’s draft in my opinion is Rutger’s WR Mohamed Sanu. Sanu is not your typical WR. He stands 6’1 1/2″ 211 lbs and runs a 4.6 forty. A 4.6 forty yard time for a WR usually means a mid to late round pick, because they will be unable to separate in the NFL; that’s not the case with Sanu.
Sanu’s game is built on being a possession WR in the short and intermediate passing levels. Sanu is able to create separation in the middle of the field, with his strength, long arms, body positioning and quickness off the line. Sanu runs the “underneath” routes including the slant, better than anyone in the draft. While Sanu didn’t run fast at the combine he looked like one of the most natural pass catchers and looked great running the routes.
For teams looking for an outside the numbers, take the top off the defense WR, Sanu isn’t your guy. If you’re looking for a tough, physical, not afraid to go across the middle and reliable possession WR, look no further than Sanu.
5) If you have been listening to the NEPD Radio podcast this week, Michael Brockers was discussed at length with Josh Norris. Brockers is someone who was prematurely crowned the number one DT in this draft and undeservedly so. Brockers is a player who not many people expected to enter the draft. He was under the radar all year long since no one projected him to be in the draft this year and he played on arguably the best defense in the country at LSU.
When Brockers entered the draft on one of the last days to do, so he created a buzz in the NFL Draft community. Everyone saw his size, his frame and that he played for LSU. This immediately vaulted him up to the top of the DT class and in the discussion for a top ten pick. While Brockers has a very high ceiling and could turn out to be a great player, I think it’s unfair to call him the best DT in the draft based on what he might become. He was another player who was under-productive in college.
It was proven at the combine that he is not the most athletic tackle for his size and his pass rushing ability is non-exsistant. I actually think Brockers best fit is as a 5-Technique in the 3-4, with his size and long arms. While I like Brockers as a prospect and wouldn’t mind seeing the Patriots draft him at the end of the first round, there are better DT available and crowning Brockers was premature.