Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


2018 NFL Combine: Day 1 Winners and Losers

Mar 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM


Day 1 of the 2018 NFL combine is in the books, and as in all things, there were winners and losers. How much, if at all, will today's performances impact a prospect's draft status remains to be seen. However, it's clear that some prospects (and teams) were able to shine brighter than others today.

Winners


Saquon Barkley, RB - Penn St.
Barkley was easily the star of the show today. The former Penn State phenom was already a lock as a top-5 pick, but at 6'0", 233 pounds, he ran an official 40-time of 4.40 time (second only to the much smaller Nyheim Hines), had a vertical jump of 41", and tied Nick Chubb for the most bench presses at 29, proving that he is a generational running back talent. Though Barkley is still not the favorite to go No. 1 overall in April, he definitely gave the Cleveland Browns something to think about.

Brian O'Neill, OT - Pittsburgh
The 6'7" former high school WR ran a blazing 40-time of 4.82, which was best among all offensive lineman this year and the best official time for a lineman since the 2013 combine. O'Neill also looked very smooth in the on-field drills, likely shoring up a spot in the back half of the 1st round.

Kolton Miller, OT - UCLA
At 6'8", 309 pounds, the Roseville native had a fantastic showing today. He started his day by setting a combine record for offensive lineman with a broad jump of 10 feet, 1 inch, then easily ripped off a sub 5.0 in the 40 (4.95). In addition to posting great combine event numbers, he also impressed in on-field drills and likely moved past Orlando Brown Jr. (more on him later) on the list of top offensive tackles in the 2018 draft.

Will Hernandez, OG - UTEP
Along with the strength he showed on tape and in the weight room, the mauling guard from Texas El Paso showed great movement skills and seemed to have solidified himself as the 2nd-best guard in the draft behind Notre Dame's Quentin Nelson. It's even possible that he moved into the top 20 with his performance, proving that he's a versatile interior lineman (zone-blocking schemes as well as power run teams).

San Francisco 49ers
By virtue of winning today's coin toss, the 49ers jumped one spot ahead of the Oakland Raiders in the first round. With both teams likely looking to upgrade their secondary or linebacking corps, moving ahead of Oakland to the 9th overall selection is not insignificant.

Losers


Orlando Brown, OT - Oklahoma
If Barkley was the star of today's show, Brown was easily its goat. From the historically bad numbers he put up (a 5.85 40-time, 14 reps on the bench press, and a vertical jump of 19.5" -- all worsts for his position) to being scolded by a coach on the field during a drill, he struggled as much as anyone that I've seen at a combine. Already viewed by many as a borderline 1st rounder, his performance today will likely cause him to slip to the 2nd round or possibly later, as teams rightfully question his athleticism and commitment. Luckily for Brown, he will have another shot to make up for today's debacle at his pro day on March 14th, but it's difficult seeing him regaining enough momentum to jump back into the 1st round discussion.

Billy Price, OL - Ohio State
Price is only on this list because he never made it to the on-field drills. A pectoral injury during the bench press yesterday caused him to miss today's events altogether. His injury should not prevent him from starting the NFL season, but he did miss out on the opportunity to solidify himself as the top center in the draft and possibly secure a spot in the late 1st round.

Ronald Jones, RB - USC
Like Price, an injury caused Jones to miss his chance to show what he could do in front of NFL scouts. With Barkley setting the bar as the draft's top RB, Jones had the opportunity to close the gap on other prospects like LSU's Derrius Guice and the two RBs from Georgia, Sony Michel and Chubb. However, a hamstring strain on his first attempt at the 40-yard dash caused him to pull up leaving him with an official time of 4.65 and ending his day at the combine.

Oakland Raiders
Not even having former Raiders player and coach, Rod Woodson, do the coin toss was enough to jump ahead of the 49ers in the draft order. As a capper to a disappointing 2017 season, the Raiders, who many considered to be Super Bowl contenders going into the year, will now pick one slot behind their Bay Area rivals in the 1st round of the 2018 NFL draft.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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