NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
In my previous post, I gave you some of my thoughts on what I saw from the offensive players at the Combine. Now it is time to turn the page and look at some of the defensive players that stood out.
As I stated in my post on the offense, I did not catch the Combine live and power watched it over the last couple of nights. It actually is a good way to watch it. It was nice to be able to condense a 7 hour show down to just a couple of hours. Real quick before I get into these defensive notes, I forgot to mention one more player that caught my eye on offense, Guard Isaac Seumalo out of Oregon State. Now onto the defensive players.
What a group. There is a lot of talent to be had in later rounds because of it. I expect the Patriots will draft one just because of the value. We all know the bigger names, but a few that caught my attention in the drills and from their testing were Chris Jones and Joel Heath. I was high on Chris Jones going into the Combine (#57 on my big board) but I think with this performance, he may have moved himself out of the range for the Patriots. Heath on the other hand is not a guy that I have focused on. I do not remember him sticking out when watching some of the other Michigan State defenders, but I need to go back and watch him because his measurables and testing were really good.
Another group where some guys solidified my thoughts on them (Fackrell, Nassib, and Kaufusi) or surprised me and are going to make me go back and recheck. Charles Tapper had one of the better combines in my opinion. His size and athleticism really stood out. His was misused at Oklahoma, but he reminds me a bit of Owamagbe Odigizuwa from last year. Diggy was more polished, but physically they are similar. Stephen Weatherly(DE/LB) out of Vanderbilt is a guy I know nothing about, but he checked a lot of boxes from a physical and athletic standpoint. Alex McCallister out of Florida is an enigma from a physical standpoint. He is tall but skinny, has big hands, but shorter arms. His tests were okay and he has some okay tape. I need to do some more on him to see what exactly he is and where he fits.
Besides Weatherly, who I mentioned above, a few other guys stood out to me. First, Joshua Perry out of Ohio State. Physically he is a perfect fit for the Patriots system and he tested really well. His tape shows he can do a lot of things, but in my opinion, he does run a bit hot and cold from an effort standpoint. The physical and athletic traits are there and I am not even sure he will make it to the Patriots. The same goes for his teammate, Darron Lee. I had him as a first rounder before the Combine, and with his performance, he could end up somewhere in the middle of the first round. I thought Joe Schobert looked good in the drills and I was surprised by Shilique Calhoun’s agility test scores. I did not see that when watching his tape. Two guys I need to watch are Travis Feeney out of Washington and BJ Goodson from Clemson.
My dream of William Jackson making it to 60 is all but gone after his performance. I think he has a real shot of going Round 1 now. I thought Cyrus Jones looked really smooth in the drills. Two guys that caught my attention that I don’t know a whole lot about are Brandon Williams and Ryan Smith. A guy who I am higher on than most, Xavien Howard, had an up and down day I thought. He didn’t test as well as I thought he would, but he looked good in the drills.
This is a group that I have not done much film work on at all, so this was my first exposure to a lot of them. Sean Davis is a guy I did a report on early in the process and liked him at Corner. With how he tested out, I think he has all the physical and athletic tools to do so, he just needs more time and coaching. Two small school guys-Miles Killebrew and Deandre Houston-Carson caught my attention and I really hope I can find tape of these guys. Finally, Boston’s own Justin Simmons tested really well and I look forward to watching his tape to see if it matches up with his Combine performance.
That wraps up my review of the Combine. I will be getting back to the usual Scouting Reports very soon. We are quickly running out of time to get through all these players. Let me know your thoughts on the guys I mentioned or maybe some that caught your attention.