Top Storylines to Watch for at the NFL Combine
By: Andrew Carlisle
The NFL season concluded with the New England Patriots being crowned Super Bowl Champions for the sixth time in 18 years. Enough with that, NFL draft season is in full swing, with early declarations, and the Senior Bowl concluding last month all eyes are focused on the NFL Combine fastly approaching. The 2019 NFL Draft has many intriguing storylines that will be discussed thoroughly throughout the next few months. The NFL Combine will be a perfect place to see all of the draft prospects take form.
It seems as though every year now, everyone is talking quarterbacks, quarterbacks, and more quarterbacks. The top tier of the position among this group are undoubtedly former Ohio State gun-slinger Dwayne Haskins, and the electrifying Heisman Trophy Winner, Kyler Murray. These two should battle it out for the top spot at the combine and well throughout the pre-draft process.
After Haskins and Murray, tier two appears to contain Missouri’s Drew Lock, and Duke’s Daniel Jones. These two have received first round hype thus far after impressing scouts at the senior bowl. Both will likely stay in the first round conversation throughout the draft process unless medical or off-field issues become a concern.
After these four, there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. North Dakota State’s Easton Stick, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson should all be in the mix in the middle to late rounds. However, no one should expect a big jump in terms of draft position after the top 4 of Haskins, Murray, Lock, and Jones.
Who will go number 1?
The other discussion that often dominates draft season is: Who is going number 1? Right now the Arizona Cardinals have many different options. There are 3 defensive lineman who are likely worthy of the pick in Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen, and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams. Any of the three would provide the Cardinals with a scary pass-rushing duo opposite of Chandler Jones.
The Cardinals also have to face the reality that seems to come around every year, and that is taking a quarterback with the first pick. Newly appointed head coach Kliff Kingsbury has raved about Oklahoma's Kyler Murray since the beginning of the offseason, and has even said that he would take the quarterback first overall if given the chance.
He now has that chance, and if he decides to pull the trigger on that selection, last year's first round pick Josh Rosen would certainly be on the trading block. This could interest teams like the Redskins, Dolphins, and Jaguars who are desperate for consistent quarterback play.
Who will dominate the combine?
We see this every year, and it's always exciting. There is always a few players who come into the combine and shine, improving their draft stock and showing off their insane athletic ability. We’ve seen players like Byron Jones, Haason Reddick, and Dontari Poe destroy the combine drills and solidify themselves as first round selections.
This year look for Ed Oliver to solidify himself as a top-five pick with an especially strong performance in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle. I also expect former Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell to lead the pack and cement his second round draft stock with a good showing in the 40-yard dash as that event has become a big deal even outside of football. Lastly, I expect D.K. Metcalf, the wide receiver out of Mississippi, to back up his image in the picture floated around Twitter a few weeks back and lead the receiver group in bench press reps.
This year’s combine should give us a good indication of what to expect in late April, and should be fun and interesting to follow