Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


Stock Report from Day One of the NFL Scouting Combine

Feb 25, 2020 at 11:43 AM0


Draft season technically kicks off when the all-star games come around (or when your favorite team is eliminated from playoff contention), but it kicks into high gear with the start of the NFL Scouting Combine. As the week progresses, we will take a look at players who may have made positive or negative impressions on teams by the end of each day. While players were arriving at the combine through the weekend, none of them had much of a chance to raise their draft stock until quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends were weighed and measured yesterday. We will run through each position group from yesterday and discuss players who stood out in one way or another during measurements. Because of a scheduling change that has moved position drills to evenings, the daily stock reports will post one day after the actual events.

QUARTERBACK

STOCK UP:

Jacob Eason and Justin Herbert are two very tall quarterbacks (both about 6'6") who helped alleviate common concerns about tall quarterbacks having elongated throwing motions, which telegraph their passes to defenders. Both quarterbacks measured at 32 7/8 inches in arm length, protecting them against being depicted as being "long-armed," which is only a bad thing for quarterbacks.

Tua Tagovailoa measured at exactly 6 feet, which would have been a concern a few years ago, when the standard minimum height for quarterbacks hovered between 6'1" and 6'2". The success of Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray (the most accurate deep passer in the NFL last season), as well as the more open nature of NFL offenses has relaxed that standard. Tagovailoa should receive a bump for his hand size. As a shorter quarterback, it would have been fair for teams to expect his hands to be smaller than average, but his 10 inch throwing hand is larger than average, and significantly above standard. The largest remaining concern for him will be the medical checkup on his surgically repaired hip.

STOCK DOWN:

Joe Burrow already made light of his substandard hand measurement (his hand measured 9 inches even, and the expected minimum is 9 1/4 inches), and I can't see the slight deficiency keeping him from going first overall. Teams are likely to watch some film of Burrow in bad weather games to see if he had issues gripping a wet ball, just to check all the blocks, but he's still clearly the man. Additionally, he can increase his hand size measurement through flexibility and strength training exercises, as Jared Goff did in 2016 (his hands measure 9 inches at the combine and 9 1/8 inches at his pro day). Goff was still selected first overall in 2016.

Jake Fromm's poor hand measurement (under 9 inches) is more of a concern, because he is already getting knocked for his limited arm strength. Small hands and a weaker arm can limit the teams interested in drafting him to optimal system and climate fits.

WIDE RECEIVER

STOCK UP:

Brandon Aiyuk is a YAC beast who appears to play big at the catch point, and that impression was reinforced with his 34 1/2-inch arms and 80 inch wingspan measurement yesterday, indicating that his shorter height shouldn't limit his catch radius.

Jalen Reagor, a WR who I could see Kyle Shanahan falling in LOVE with, also helped himself with his arm size. Because of his height, Reagor could be seen by teams as being limited to aligning in the slot, but his arm measurement of 31 3/8 inches is adequate. It won't excite anyone, but it should indicate that he'll have an adequate reach (and tremendous speed/acceleration/quickness) to play outside. By comparison, 49ers WR Trent Taylor is a pure slot receiver, and his arms measured 28 3/4 inches at the combine. Additionally, Reagor weighed in at 206 pounds, showing that his physical play in college should translate well to the NFL.

Alabama speed demon Henry Ruggs III looked like a smaller receiver among a position group loaded with physical specimens, but a height/weight combination of 5'11"/188 should allow him to align anywhere on the field, and his hand measurement of 10 1/8 inches is a definite plus.

Denzel Mims from Oregon has arguably displayed the largest functional catch radius in the draft, which was reinforced with his measured arm length of 33 7/8 inches.

Tee Higgins measured in as every inch of the beast he appeared to be while playing at Clemson. At 6'3 5/8", 216 pounds, with 34 1/8-inch arms, he simply needs to run well to strengthen the growing argument that he's a Day One prospect.

STOCK DOWN:

KJ Hamler is a speedy receiver with great lateral agility and acceleration. Unfortunately, measuring in at 5'8 5/8" and 178 pounds, with 30 3/4-inch arms is likely to cause teams to view him solely as a slot receiver, decreasing his versatility and subsequently lowering his draft stock. He could be a mid-late round value piece the 49ers could add if they don't select Reagor on Day Two.

Laviska Shenault already has injury concerns affecting his draft stock, but his athleticism and big play ability have kept him in the Day Two conversation, with a chance to move into the first round. Another substantial knock on Shenault was his tendency to drop catchable passes. That tendency was frequently attributed to concentration issues (which are easily correctable), but his hand size coming in at just 9 inches could cause teams to wonder if his hand size plays into his drops, which would be more of a lasting concern than a few lapses in concentration.

Chase Claypool bulked up to 238 pounds, which makes it unlikely that he will display the movement skills to impress teams at WR, making him look like more of a prospect at TE (more on that later).

TIGHT END

STOCK UP:

Chase Claypool (See? Told you), the giant WR From Notre Dame who filled out his 6'4 2/8", 80-inch wingspan frame to almost 240 pounds, looks like a move TE in a draft class that doesn't look particularly loaded with talented TEs. With a very talented WR class looking to push potential stars into later rounds, projecting as a TE could move Claypool up significantly in the draft.

Cole Kmet from Notre Dame helped strengthen his claim as the best in-line TE in the class with impressive measurements across the board. At 6'5 3/4", 262 pounds, with 33-inch arms, he certainly seems physically capable of blocking defenders on the edge and presenting a large target to his QB.

Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam is one of the better TEs in the class, and he displayed impressive arm length at 34 1/8 inches, along with 10 1/4-inch hands. Less-regaled Stephen Sullivan, from LSU, took home the Stretch Armstrong award with 35 3/8-inch arms and an 85-inch wingspan.

STOCK DOWN:

Stanford's Colby Parkinson is a giant human being at 6'7 2/8" in height, and he plays well above his head, making use of his frame to secure contested catches and to high point throws. His arm measurement of 33 1/4 inches is not small, by any means, but it's a little disappointing for a player of his stature. Body-proportionate arm length would grant him arms that were closer to 35 or more inches in length, which would really make him a nightmare to defend in the red zone and down the seam. His arm length shouldn't damage his stock a lot, but it's a disappointment for anyone (like me) hoping to be wowed by his measurements.

Mitchell Wilcox, from South Florida, is an athletic move TE. His 32 2/8-inch arms are among the smallest in the class, and that could cause teams to go back to the film to see how often he elects to body catches when he's in traffic.

Those are my impressions from Monday at the combine. See you tomorrow for some quick analysis of measurements for offensive linemen, running backs, and special teamers!

Next: Day 2 of the NFL Scouting Combine
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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