As the NFL Combine is finally here, the dynasty offseason is officially in full-swing. Big boards are beginning to form, and owners are typically starting to form ideas for their rookie draft strategies. There are several questions heading into this week’s combine as an enormous number of players seem to be hot topics among the dynasty community. Enjoy this *Insert classic SportsCenter voice* what-to-watch-for piece on some of the best four days of the year.
Kyler Murray – Oklahoma
- Hand size: There is a real possibility Murray’s hands are measured to be some of the smallest we have seen in a decade. Should his hand size be below nine inches, his draft stock will most definitely take a drastic hit.
- Consistent with accuracy: There is no question he is an electric prospect, showing lightning-fast speed in and out of the pocket. Murray displays natural arm talent but there are questions concerning his ability to consistently place the football where it needs to be.
Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State
- Ball Placement: Haskins possesses the highest upside as a pure passer, but his tape showed ball placement struggles from time to time, so during drills where the quarterbacks throw speed-outs to the receivers, ensure that Haskins is able to place the football at chest-level and out in front of his target.
Daniel Jones – Duke
- Does he stand out? This seems like a simple, yet complex question at the same time. Jones’ main concern from his college tape is that he looks like nothing more than a high-end backup quarterback. Should he show zip on his passes, hit on multiple deep balls, and throw accurate passes to receivers in which he has little-to-no chemistry.
Brett Rypien – Boise State
- Arm strength: Rypien is one of the most intriguing signal-callers in the 2019 class, so his combine performance will speak volumes as to how highly the NFL will value him. No matter the drill, watch how well he is able to sling the rock, and if he is able to overcome some of his issues facing the blitz, Rypien has a strong chance to become a hidden gem in this down-year at quarterback.
David Montgomery – Iowa State
- 40 Yard Dash: The biggest questions surrounding the former Cyclone is his all-around speed. He shows a great combination of strength and shiftiness, but he lacks a top gear that would allow him to pull away from defenders. This is purely a value watch. Should Montgomery be able to run faster than a 4.65, his stock will likely remain inside the top six picks in all rookie draft formats. If the absurd happens and he runs anything worse than a 4.70, say thank you for the discount and select Montgomery regardless.
Benny Snell – Kentucky
- Three Cone Drill: Snell is a powerful, straight-line runner who does well when provided with a wide hole to run through. His tape consistently shows a lack of shiftiness and a struggle to evade defenders in the open field. The combine will not change his running style, but if Snell is able to move more quickly than that of a snail, pun intended (credit to @tacitassassain13), his stock should rise in a severely underrated running back class.
Devin Singletary – Florida Atlantic
- Pass catching: Singletary is one of the most intriguing talents in the entire 2019 class, regardless of position. Accounting for a ridiculous 66 touchdowns over the past three seasons, the offense was centered around him and showed he could successfully carry a workload with no issues. Having caught only six passes in his final season under offensive guru Lane Kiffin, questions remain as to whether or not he will be comfortable catching passes out of the backfield at the next level.
Darrell Henderson – Memphis
- Three cone drill: Henderson has some of the best burst from any runner in the 2019 class, but if asked to evade a defender using agility, he will likely purposely ignore it. On tape, his cutting ability is relatively non-existent, so if he is able to nail a sub-seven second three cone time, Henderson’s stock will rise to the top-half of the first round in the majority of rookie drafts, which would be a Ronald Jones-like mistake.
Dexter Williams – Notre Dame
- Pass catching/hands: Williams is a high-upside prospect who is not on many radars at this time. He is a thick runner with a great frame who is able to take any given carry to the house. He struggled to feel comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield and was mainly used as a first and second down runner. He is a day three prospect who could provide excellent value in the third round of rookie drafts if he is able to catch the football cleanly at the combine.
Trayveon Williams – Texas A&M
- Does he do anything exceptionally? The Texas A&M product is a solid overall player who will carve out a role in the NFL, regardless of offensive system. He does everything well but does have any elite trait to his game. His best trait is his ability to work as a receiver out of the backfield, but athletically, Williams will likely not stand out among his peers. Should his three cone drill be in the range of 6.80, 40 yard dash settle around 4.47, or vertical jump hit over 38 inches, Williams will rise on all draft boards and be a fantastic value in the second round of rookie drafts. If none of those things happen, we are looking at the next Paul Perkins.
N’Keal Harry – Arizona State
- 40 Yard Dash: Harry’s biggest concern on tape is his inability to run past defenders and create separation downfield. Having produced as the go-to receiver for the past three seasons, Harry is a contested catch monster and will win almost all jump-ball scenarios. This works hand-in-hand as all of his targets are contested thanks to his somewhat slow play speed. If he Laquon Treadwell’s-his 40 time (This is not my comparison for Harry), his stock will most definitely fall. Over/under time to influence his stock: 4.60.
- Deep Route Running: When running short-area routes such as hitches, slants, or shallow-ins, which all require him to break inside, Harry shows great quickness and ability to snap off and create separation. On the flip side, Harry can find trouble when asked to quickly snap off a post route or deep-out. Should he be able to prove otherwise this week, he will solidify himself as a sure-fire top-three rookie pick.
Hakeem Butler – Iowa State
- The Gauntlet: Does he look coordinated? It’s pretty simple. Butler has the size to play above the rim with ease, but at 6’6” it is difficult to play fluidly and keep those long limbs in rhythm. The gauntlet is my favorite drill at the combine because it forces the receivers to involve every aspect of their games. Watch if Butler follows the straight line and does not fall off. This resembles running shallow drag routes across the middle of the field. Can he keep a straight line while watching for the ball to come his way?
Marquise Brown – Oklahoma
- Weight: While in college, Brown was listed at 168 pounds, which may have been a bit generous. The number of receivers who have found significant success in the NFL who weighed less than 170 pounds is able to be counted on one hand. If Brown weighs in around 180 pounds, expect his stock to skyrocket into the mid-first round of dynasty rookie drafts.
- Strength: Brown is a speedster who will be a weapon for any NFL offense, but he often struggles to beat press coverage using releases other than speed. Should he be able to display a good showing at the bench press, Brown will prove to be a safer, more all-around prospect.
Andy Isabella – Massachusetts
- Hands: Isabella is a high-ceiling player who will run a blazing 40-yard dash and check all the athletic boxes at the combine. The biggest question regarding his skillset is his inability to catch the ball in front of his body. At the Senior Bowl, Isabella continued to allow the ball the creep into his chest and struggled to only use his hands. Should he be able to improve his catching ability, he would vault from a Keke Coutee-level prospect to a TY Hilton-level player.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside – Stanford
- 40 Yard Dash: Whiteside is a promising prospect who will immediately be a factor in the red zone for his NFL team. His play style is extremely reminiscent of Auden Tate, who was plagued by his incredibly slow speed at last year’s combine. Neither of the two players were as slow, or will be as slow, as DeRunnya Wilson (RIP), but a slow time from Arcega-Whiteside will plummet his NFL draft stock and likely force him into the late third round of rookie drafts.
Alize Mack – Notre Dame
- Consistency catching the ball: Mack is an athletic standout who is an underrated player in this year’s tight end group. He possesses a large amount of potential that could break out after a couple years learning his NFL system. He will test well athletically, but should Mack be able to show consistency in his pass-catching chops, he will be an intriguing target in the late rounds of rookie drafts.
Dawson Knox – Ole Miss
- Athleticism: Knox was quietly an important piece in the loaded Ole Miss offense over the past couple seasons. Knox is a converted quarterback who is surprisingly one of the most all-around tight ends in the 2019 class. He shows some dog in the blocking game and an ability to catch the ball away from his frame. If Knox is able to dial in a sub-4.75 40-yard dash time, he has a chance to be the highest riser from now until draft day, where he has potential to be taken in the third round of the NFL draft.
Isaac Nauta – Georgia
- Everything: This is not a knock on Nauta by any means. The list of previous five-star tight end recruits has a phenomenal track record of finding success in the NFL, and Nauta is the next guy who comes in with that tag. He is a well-kept secret thanks to the surplus of NFL running backs being produced by the Bulldogs, so if he has an overall good showing this week, his stock will rise and could finish as one of the best tight ends from this class and make a quick impact at the next level.
Ashton Dulin – Malone
- Can he hang with high-end talent? I am still convinced this a Madden-created player from a fake university, but Dulin is an analytics sweetheart who earned a combine invite after dominating during school. Even with an out-of-this-world showing, Dulin should still be targeted in the third round of rookie drafts, at the earliest.
Tyree Jackson – Buffalo
- Mechanics: Jackson is filled with upside and could be a hidden gem for the NFL team who drafts him, but struggles with his throwing motion and footwork. While watching his college tape, every part of the play is choppy until he unleashes a 60-yard strike to a one-yard window. Jackson needs to tighten his release and clean his footwork in order to boost both his NFL and rookie draft stock, and if he lands with a team with an older starting quarterback, he could be a splash play two years down the road. The Los Angeles Chargers would be a prime landing spot for the small school star because obviously, Philip Rivers has the best mechanics in the league.
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