2018 NFL Combine: Day 2 Winners and Losers

Mar 3, 2018 at 6:04 PM


Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Combine saw quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends take the field. Though a few big-name prospects showed well, it was a pair of lesser-known prospects that really stood out on the last day of offensive drills.

However, the day was capped off by the stories of two prospects that are, unfortunately, headed in opposite directions. One who will take the field tomorrow in defensive drills with a ton of momentum on his side despite a major physical limitation, and the other who was sent home today because of a potentially serious health concern.

Winners


Mike Gesicki - TE, Penn St. - (6'5", 247)
For the second straight day, a former Nittany Lion stood out among his peers by putting up eye-opening numbers at the NFL combine. The former New Jersey high school basketball and volleyball star posted a positional best vertical jump of 41.5" and tied for first among all tight ends by running a 4.54 40-time. By comparison, Jimmy Graham (6'6", 250 at his combine) ran a 4.56 and had a vertical jump of 38.5'. With his off-the-charts testing and overall solid performance in on-field drills today, Gesicki might have moved to the top of the tight end list and possibly locked himself into the 1st round come April. One obvious landing place could be New England to either pair with Rob Gronkowski or replace him should "Gronk" decide to retire, as is rumored.

D.J. Chark - WR, LSU (6'3", 199)
Building on an already solid post-season (one of the stars of January's Senior Bowl), Chark had a fantastic day on Saturday, running fast (4.34), jumping high (40" vertical), showing smooth route-running ability and displaying great hands. With his unique combination of size, speed, and pass-catching ability, Chark is making a strong case to be considered one of the top 3 receivers in the draft. Though his college numbers don't jump off the page, it's important to consider that the QB play at LSU over the last decade or so has been abysmal. The question that evaluators must ask and answer is: Does Chark have the tools to develop into a prolific NFL receiver much like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have after their relatively pedestrian years at Baton Rouge?

Hayden Hurst - TE, South Carolina (6'4", 250)
Hurst didn't test nearly as well as Gesicki but had a very solid day overall. Currently listed as the top tight end according to NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock, Hurst tied for the 3rd-fastest 40-time with a 4.67 and looked very smooth throughout the drills. Since he is more of a complete tight end than Gesicki right now, he probably did just enough to hold on to his top ranking. At the very least, he likely sowed up a spot on the 2nd day of the draft.

Josh Allen - QB, Wyoming (6'5", 237)
One of the more polarizing prospects in this draft class, Josh Allen not only showed off his huge arm today but also managed to display enough touch and accuracy to make scouts sit up and take notice. The issue with Allen, of course, is whether or not his unique physical gifts can translate to consistent QB play when it actually matters, and not just in shorts and a t-shirt. Compared to the other throwers in attendance today, however, Allen stood apart with his excellent footwork and ability to drive the ball downfield with consistent accuracy. Speaking of accuracy, Allen's collegiate struggles in this area (a career completion percentage of 56.2%) have been a constant source of criticism from experts and fans alike. However, it's important to note that the man who owns the 5th overall pick in this draft, GM John Elway of the Denver Broncos, had a professional career completion percentage of 56.9 and never hit the 60% mark until his 11th year in the league (63.2% in 1993). Point being, the Hall of Fame QB and 2X Super Bowl winner might have a very different perspective on this whole business of accuracy than the rest of us.

Shaquem Griffin - LB, UCF (6'0", 227)
In one of the feel-good stories of this or any year, Central Florida's Griffin posted 20 reps on the bench. Normally, 20 reps on the bench for any position would not be considered headline news, but due to a prenatal condition, Griffen was born without a left hand. Seeing him perform at such a high level on the field during the 2017 season and today in the weight room using a prosthetic on his left arm to pump out 20 reps, has been incredibly inspirational to watch. Regardless of what happens tomorrow during the on-field drills, he's already proven to be a winner.

Losers


Lamar Jackson - QB, Louisville (6'2", 216)
Despite Jackson being one of my favorite collegiate players over the last few years, I have to add him to the top of the "loser" list today. He had a golden opportunity to really shine in two areas, and he failed in both. First, for whatever reason, he chose not to run his 40, which of course would've not only demonstrated his greatest physical asset (blazing football speed), but likely would've set him apart from just about every QB in every draft class since Michael Vick. Secondly, he had the chance to show scouts, executives and fans alike how much he has progressed as a QB since the end of the 2017 college season. Instead, he looked very unsure of himself, struggled with his footwork, and often looked as though he was aiming his throws instead of just letting it rip. With a more balanced performance, he had the chance to make a case for being a 1st round quarterback. After today's performance, however, one can see why rumors of some teams wanting him to work out as a WR were swirling around Lucas Oil Stadium this week.

Courtland Sutton - WR, SMU (6'4", 218)
Much like Jackson, Sutton had the chance to solidify a higher spot in the draft with a great workout, but he wasn't able to deliver today. His official 40 time of 4.54 wasn't bad, especially for a 6'4" receiver. However, he seemed to be fighting the ball throughout the day in general and during the gauntlet drill specifically. Sutton had a real opportunity to close the gap between himself and the perceived top WR in this draft, Alabama's Calvin Ridley, but seems to have fallen short with a so-so workout. Meanwhile, WR prospects like Chark, Notre Dame's Equanimeous St. Brown, Maryland's D.J. Moore, and Texas A&M's Christian Kirk all had big days, possibly passing Sutton on some teams' draft boards.

Maurice Hurst - DL, Michigan (6'1', 292)
Considering what happened to him today, it feels cruel to add Hurst to this list. That said, the harsh reality is that the NFL combine is a big job interview, and Hurst was sent home because of a heart condition that was discovered during the medical check. The good news is that he will undergo further testing this week and hopefully, receive a more positive diagnosis. Ideally, Hurst will be fine in the long run and ready to play in the season opener for some team.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers OTAs: Day 2 breakdown

By Rohan Chakravarthi
May 24

The San Francisco 49ers had their second organized team activities(OTAs) day on Tuesday, which was the first day open to the media. All eyes were on quarterback Trey Lance, who has faced unnecessary scrutiny since the beginning of the offseason, as it was the first time that he was seen on the 49ers' field in a practice capacity since then. Here's a breakdown of Tuesday's practice: Trey Lance does Trey Lance things Fresh off a number of rumors, Trey Lance came out onto the practice field and dazzled during 7-on-7s, completing 15 of 17 passes during



49ers Notebook: Brock Purdy's draft surprise, Tariq Castro-Fields on his NFL readiness, and more

By Kirk Larrabee
May 12

Rookie minicamp gets underway Friday for 49ers drafted players and undrafted free agents, but before those players take the field, they were hit with a number of questions from reporters during pre-camp media sessions on Thursday. Among the players to speak with reporters on Thursday were wide receiver and third-round pick Danny Gray (SMU), offensive lineman and fourth-round pick Spencer Burford (UT-San Antonio), cornerback and sixth-round pick Tariq Castro-Fields (Penn State), quarterback and seventh-round pick Brock Purdy (Iowa State), and undrafted offensive linemen Jason Poe (Mercer) and Dohnovan West (Arizona State). 49ers WebZone already discussed what Gray said



I'm not worried about 49ers' Trey Lance...and you shouldn't be either

By Marc Adams
May 20

San Francisco 49ers fans are fed up, and rightfully so, at the way the team's young quarterback Trey Lance is being treated in the media. For months now, there have been rumors and statements, mostly from national media types, designating Lance a bust, or suggesting the 49ers are concerned about him. As you'll recall, Lance only played ten quarters of football last season. Can ten quarters really tell us anything? Of course not. Especially when it comes to NFL rookies trying to play QB. It's baffling that this agenda is being pushed. But the ferocity at which it keeps coming is disturbing. Either the 49ers are allowing it because they believe it somehow gives them a competitive advantage, or they're pushing it to keep Jimmy Garopollo a hot commodity on the trade



49ers finalize 2022 preseason schedule with dates and times

By David Bonilla
May 20

The San Francisco 49ers finalized their preseason schedule, announcing the dates and times for all three exhibition games, along with the broadcast information. San Francisco will open the preseason with their only home game of August, hosting the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium. Then, they will travel to play the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans. The 49ers will likely leave early for Minnesota. The two teams hope to hold joint practices together ahead of the August 20 matchup. Date Opponent Local Time Pacific


Featured

More by Alex Pedregon

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone