The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine is one of my favorite days of the year. For the first time, we get to see the best talent in the upcoming draft class compete to give us an up close and personal look at each of these prospects. Having gone through the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl, the Combine demonstrates pure athleticism in a variety of drills including the 40 yards dash, bench press, etc. Which players won’t take advantage of this opportunity and fail to raise their draft stock the most during the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine?
- Zach Banner – Right Tackle (USC)
Personally, I am a big fan of Zach Banner. I believe he can be an All-Pro tackle at the next level and reminds me of Bryant McKinnie. At 6’8″, 361, I highly doubt Banner is going to run very fast and may not eclipse the 5.0 – 40 yard dash time. He isn’t the smoothest tackle either and could struggle in the movement drills. I will say he has the makings to be an excellent right tackle but teams could get fooled this upcoming weekend.
- Ben Boulware – Inside Linebacker (Clemson)
Call him what you want but Boulware has that Chris Borland feel to him. He isn’t going to run fast or blow you away with his speed but he is highly instinctive and always finds his way to the football. Borland ran a 4.83 – 40 time and seems to be the range Boulware will run in. I expect him to be a productive pro but teams could shy away because of his 40 time. This happens far too often with linebackers as Vontaze Burfict is the epitome of this running a 5.09 time and going undrafted to eventually becoming a star in the pros.
- Dalvin Cook – Running Back (Florida State)
Cook is among some of the first round possible running back options for teams to select. Teams are probably expecting him to run a blazing 40 yard dash time after being known for his home run ability in college but teams are highly mistaken. I think Dalvin Cook is a very polished runner but he doesn’t have the blinding speed that Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles did coming out of college. The best case scenario for Cook would be to become an Edgerrin James type of guy but that’s if everything goes well for him. Cook had fumbling issues and college and multiple run-ins with the law. In my mind, Cook struggles too much with pass protection and patience cutting outside the tackles far too often to warrant a first round pick. For teams expecting a fast 40 time, I’m projecting him to be in the 4.5 range.
- Brad Kaaya – Quarterback (Miami)
Scouts love guys who are accurate and poses big time arms; Kaaya has neither. Kaaya was forced to declare for the draft after being in danger of being replaced at Miami. We saw how teams knocked Teddy Bridgewater for the same kind of concerns a few years ago. Kaaya falls into similar territory. I expect a 3rd to 5th round selection for the Miami signal caller.
- Desmond King – Cornerback (Iowa)
I think after a terrible showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl, it’s time for people to realize that King has to transition to safety. His best case scenario is he turns into a Malcolm Jenkins type of player. He’s not a corner and those scouts that are still holding out that hope will probably be disappointed. He looked very stiff in the movement drills at the Senior Bowl so I’m not expecting a different result at the Combine.
- Jabrill Peppers – Safety (Michigan)
I like Jabrill Peppers but he is in for a brutal week. First of all, I’m not even sure he has a set position in the NFL. Truthfully his best spot might be as a weakside linebacker in a 4-3 similar to what Deone Bucannon or Mark Barron has become. Teams have been enamored with the type of athlete Peppers is adding versatility in the return game but I’m not so sure he’s all that fast. I expect him to be in the 4.5 range but other teams may be expecting much more to solidify a first round pick.
- Cam Robinson – Left Tackle (Alabama)
I’m leaning towards making Robinson my highest rated tackle but I am concerned. Former Alabama offensive lineman such as D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack have really struggled in the pros. When you watch his games he also tends to have a bit of a lazy streak in him and doesn’t really ever progress to the second layer of the defense. Robinson’s pure tools are probably the best in the class but I’m not sure he will be able to showcase his excellent hand technique in the movement drills.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – Wide Receiver (USC)
News flash; JuJu Smith Schuster isn’t even the best receiver on his own collegiate team (Darreus Rogers is better). USC has a long track record of wide receiver busts. Want me to name a few? How about Nelson Agholor, Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, Damien Williams, Patrick Turner, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith, and Mike Williams have all been selected in the top 3 rounds since 2005. All of them are considered NFL failures. As for Smith-Schuster, He is a tall possession receiver who probably won’t run very fast. I expect a 4.7 type of 40 time that could scare off a bunch teams.
- Mike Williams – Wide Receiver (Clemson)
Everyone seems to be falling for Mike Williams but there are some concerns. His pure straight line speed probably won’t be as great as people seem to think. I could be wrong but I am predicting him to run in the 4.6 range. Williams lives off the deep ball and really only separates from corners because of his elite height (6’3″). I’m not so sure that will work nearly as well in the NFL. Beware if he doesn’t run that fast.
- Tim Williams – Outside Linebacker (Alabama)
Tim Williams is one of the elite pass rushers teams are coveting in the draft. The Alabama has a quick get off but he is really undersized to be a 3-4 outside linebacker at 6’3″, 236. Of course, his height is fine, it’s more about maintaining his weight. Will he get swallowed up by the monster NFL tackles? Williams better show that he is a special kind of athlete or he could find himself in the 3rd round.