Before you read this, you should know that there were other impressive standouts at the combine and this certainly isn’t everybody that stood out in Indy, but these were the players who I felt really turned heads. I’m really starting to get excited now that free agency is beginning to kick off and the combine has passed. We’re really going to hit the stride of the offseason within the next month. This is an exciting time, especially if you’re team is looking to improve.
This year’s draft will be dominated by defenders, especially along the defensive line. There were several other defensive linemen I could have included on this list but didn’t because I wanted some variety in my picks. So, even though the focus and talk will be all about the quarterbacks until the draft, this will be the year of the defensive line. It’ll be a nice change of pace.
Devin Bush, LB Michigan
What Bush lacks in size he makes up for in speed and agility. The 5-11, 234 lbs. linebacker was the second fastest linebacker at the combine, finishing the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds. Only one running back ran faster than Bush at the combine. Bush led all linebackers in the vertical jump (40.5 inches) and finished tied for third in the broad jump (124 inches). He also put up 21 reps on the bench press. Bush blew scouts away with his athletic numbers, which will translate into solid play on Sundays.
Devin White, LB LSU
The future first-round selection was the fastest linebacker at the combine. He ran the 40 in just 4.42 seconds. On the bench press his success was more limited because of his build and play style, but he still finished with 22 reps. White finished tied for the second best vertical among linebacker with 39.5 inches. He also beat out a bunch of other top linebackers in the 20-yard shuttle, including Devin Bush.
D.K. Metcalf, WR Ole Miss
Well this was pretty obvious. Metcalf is an absolute physical freak. The receiver measures in at 6-3 and 228 lbs. He ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.33 seconds, put up 27 reps on the bench press, has a 40.5 inch vertical, a 134 inch broad jump, and he carries under two percent body fat. He put up the third fastest 40 time by a receiver, tied for first in the bench press, tied for third in the vertical, and finished fifth in the broad jump. For a player of his size and build, those numbers are just ridiculous.
Drew Lock, QB Missouri
There are some questions surrounding Lock’s accuracy and consistency, but to me he looks like the best pure passer in the whole draft. Dwayne Haskins might have more potential and Kyler Murray might be more explosive, but Lock looks ready to take the field. He had great passing drills during the combine that eased the minds of scouts and will continue to elevate his draft stock.
Justice Hill, RB Oklahoma St.
In a year where the running back class isn’t as stacked, a player like Hill doesn’t really have a set place he’ll be drafted. That’s why having a good combine was important for him and boy did he deliver. The 5-10, 198 lbs. back turned in the fastest time of all players at his position in the 40-yard dash with a 4.40. Hill put up 21 reps on the bench press, which was also a win for him. His 40 inch vertical and 130 inch broad jump were also the best among the backs. Great speed and athleticism will distinguish players when very few standout as head and shoulders above the rest.
Montez Sweat, EDGE Mississippi St.
He set a record for the fastest recorded 40-time of a player at his position, since times started being officially recorded. Sweat ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 second, almost a full tenth of a second better than the next fastest EDGE rusher. At 6-6, 260 lbs. that speed is absolutely crazy. How good was his time though? Well, only eight defensive backs total were able to match his speed or beat it. That means he outran 46 defensive backs! Sweat also finished tied for sixth in the vertical jump (36 inches) fourth in the broad jump (125 inches), tied for third in the three-cone drill (7.00 seconds), and fourth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.29).
Noah Fant, TE Iowa
Fant has a chance to be a first-round pick, but he could fall into the second round. However, his combine numbers will help his case for being an earlier selection. The 6-4, 249 lbs. tight end finished with a 40 time of 4.50, put up 20 reps on the bench press, has a 39.5 inch vertical, and jumped 127 inches in the broad. He led all tight ends in the 40-yard dash, vertical, and broad jumps. For a player of his size, the kind of speed and explosiveness is excellent.
Parris Campbell, WR Ohio St.
Why are all of Ohio State’s players so fast? The whole group of former Buckeyes destroyed the 40-yard dash, and of them, no one was faster than Campbell. Campbell finished tied with the third best time in the 40 with a 4.31. He tied with Andy Isabella for the fastest run by a wide receiver, and Isabella is 17 lbs. lighter than Campbell! Campbell also finished fifth in the vertical (40 inches), tied for third in the broad jump (135 inches), and tied for the fastest 20-yard shuttle time (4.03 seconds) among receivers.
Quinnen Williams, DL Alabama
Williams is 6-3 and weighs 303 lbs., but he ran the 40 in 4.83 seconds. That was the sixth fastest time by a defensive lineman, but it was exceptional because of how big Williams is. Of the linemen who finished in front of him, the heaviest was only 286 lbs. That kind of speed with Williams size and strength is part of the reason why he’s one of the most talented players in this year’s draft.
Rashan Gary, DL Michigan
Quarterbacks beware, Michigan’s 6-4, 277 lbs. lineman runs a 4.58 forty. Only one quarterback, Trace McSorley, has a faster time, meaning Gary can chase down any of the QBs who ran at the combine. Best of luck dealing with that. That 40 time was the fastest among the defensive linemen and Gary also finished with the best vertical (38 inches) and the second best broad jump (120 inches) among the group.