Combine testing can have a significant impact on where prospects are selected. It’s an opportunity for relatively unknown guys to potentially put themselves on the map by putting on a show in their underwear.
“Workout warriors” is what we know them by. Players like Byron Jones and Obi Melifonwu experienced a meteoric rise leading up to the draft due to their freakish athleticism.
Here are four prospects that should either raise or solidy their draft stock with Combine testing:
4. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The athleticism of the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner is a big part of what makes him so deadly. He’s able to extend plays with his legs and make defenders look silly in the open field.
During Louisville’s annual spring testing week in 2017, Lamar Jackson put up a 4.34 40 yard dash. If he’s able to put up a 4.4 40 time or better, Jackson should easily go in the 1st round.
Take what you want out of this video of Jackson throwing a football 95 yards downfield.
3. Josh Sweat, EDGE, Florida State
Sweat was a 5-star and top 10 overall recruit back in the 2015 recruiting class. He put up insane numbers at Nike’s 2014 The Opening, as a 6’4″, 240 lb, 17 year old defensive end: 4.46 40 yard dash (!), 4.0 20 yard shuttle, and a 38.3″ vertical. He also showcased tremendous strength, with a 47 ft kneeling powerball throw.
Sweat is a 1st round talent. He’s gone through a huge knee injury as a high school senior and that may have sapped a bit of his athleticism. But even if you were to water down his numbers a decent amount, his numbers are still extremely impressive. If his medicals check out better than expected, a good Combine performance could push Sweat into the back end of the 1st round.
2. Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
In high school, Jefferson was a 5-star recruit, and one of the most highly touted recruits in the nation. He posted a ridiuclous 4.39 4o yard dash, 4.19 20 yard shuttle, and just under a 40″ vertical Nike’s The Opening in 2014. Just this past month, Jefferson’s trainer posted a clip of the 6’3″, 240 lb linebacker posting a 40″ vertical jump in training for the Combine:
— Bobby Stroupe (@bobbystroupe) February 20, 2018
Jefferson has been seen as a fringe 1st rounder. If he’s able to put up the numbers we expect of him, there is no doubt in my mind that he will go in the top round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Saquon Barkley is a terrifying athlete. He’s very well built wwith great size and bulk and breakaway speed to pull away from the second and third levels.
This past summer, Barkley’s status as a rare athlete was confirmed. His feats included a 4.33 40 yard-dash, benching 30 reps at 225 lbs, squatting 5 reps at 525 lbs, and a program best 405 pound power clean. Barkley also achieved a 38″ vertical jump and 10’10” broad jump. If he gets even close to the bench press, 40, and jumps, Barkley should become a lock to be a top 5 selection.