The NFL Combine was disappointing for the top RBs in the draft class, but the overall depth at the position continued to impress.
This NFL draft class is rather deep at RB. There are a lot more guys with draftable grades than in a typical season. After the NFL combine, there is going to be some questions about the quality of the top of the draft, but the overall depth remains solid.
One player who helped his cause was Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols. He was faster than expected and posted good numbers in every event. He’s been an underrated prospect at this point, but his combine numbers will cause draft pundits to take a 2nd look at his game tape.
I’m not sure anyone had a worse combine than Dalvin Cook. Cook is widely thought of as first- or second-best RB in the draft, or at least he was before arriving in Indianapolis. Cook tested poorly in every event. For a position that requires explosiveness, Cook showed that he isn’t an explosive athlete.
Samaje Perine didn’t do himself any favors with his 4.65 second 40 yard dash. His short shuttle and three cone drills weren’t great either. At 233 pounds, Perine still looked powerful posting very good results in the broad jump, vertical jump, and bench press. His overall results looked more like those of a fullback than a RB.
Leonard Fournette’s day started poorly. The 240 pound running back’s game is based on explosiveness, but his vertical jump was extremely disappointing. His 28.5 inch vertical is below that of any early-round RB in the last 20 years.
Fournette redeemed himself with a 40-time of 4.51. He’s clearly no “slow plodder.” Now he’s going to have to fight the perception that he’s just a straight-line athlete. Fournette could now drop further than expected, and might come into play for the Seahawks.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the large number of runners who didn’t participate in most of the drills. D’Onta Foreman went home early after discovering he had a stress fracture in his foot during the medical evaluations. Learned Fournette called it quits after just two events. James Connor, Corey Clement and many others didn’t participate at all.
With so many incomplete athletic profiles, we’ll have to wait until Pro Days to get a full idea of how this RB class looks from an athletic standpoint. For now, it appears that the class’s depth will be overshadowed by the lack of high-end talent.