Seven B1G prospects that helped themselves the most at the combine
The NFL Scouting Combine does not determine one’s NFL career. A stellar weekend in Indianapolis doesn’t guarantee success, and vice versa.
But it obviously can allow guys to rise up or down draft boards, depending on how they perform.
These seven B1G players should be going in the right direction after their weekend performances.
1. Chris Godwin, Penn State WR
We all saw that Godwin developed into one of the nation’s top jump-ball receivers in an underrated final two seasons at Penn State. But what he did at the combine showed that he’s much more athletic than his initial fringe-Day 2 projection.
Godwin’s 40-yard dash time of 4.42 was significantly faster than many expected. On top of that, the former Penn State star had the best 20-yard shuttle of all the receivers and he was second among wideouts with 19 bench press reps. Godwin also dominated the often-overlooked gauntlet drill.
It’s always a good sign when these kind of comments are made after a workout:
— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) March 4, 2017
2. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State WR
Anybody that paid any attention to Ohio State in 2016 knew that Samuel was fast. It didn’t take the combine for that notion to get solidified. So it says a lot that he still surpassed expectations.
Samuel tied the B1G combine record with a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. Unfortunately for him, it came right after John Ross’ record-setting 40. And also unfortunate for Samuel, former Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick beat that record with a 4.28-second 40-yard dash on Monday.
It was still quite the feat:
Curtis Samuel with the 4.31 😤😮pic.twitter.com/GrqP66FDbI
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) March 4, 2017
Besides the 40, Samuel might’ve convinced some doubters that he belonged with the receivers. The former Ohio State star hit 18 bench press reps and he recorded a 37-inch vertical.
He might lack size and a lot of his touches came didn’t come in pro-style fashion, but Samuel’s combine performance coupled with his first-team All-American season should help him move up draft boards.
3. George Kittle, Iowa TE
Kittle should’ve never been in the back-end of the Day-3 conversation to begin with. Someone with his speed, hands and blocking at the tight end position should’ve at least been closer to a Round 4 projection. After watching Kittle at the combine, teams might’ve put himself in that slot.
The former Hawkeye recorded the third-best 40-yard dash time in an especially quick tight ends group. His 4.52 was barely behind O.J. Howard’s 4.51, which says a lot about Kittle’s athleticism. Kittle also recorded an impressive 132 inches in the broad jump (third among tight ends) and he had a 35-inch vertical.
Once more teams put on Kittle’s blocking film and piece that together with his combine performance, his stock will continue to rise.
One consistency throughout Iowa TE George Kittle's tape? Physicality. Watch as he completely erases #42 here.https://t.co/Ppi4JaJZnG
— Rob Donaldson (@RobDFB) August 9, 2016
4. T.J. Watt, Wisconsin LB
A month ago, J.J. Watt said that his brother, T.J., was much more advanced at this stage of his career than he was. The younger Watt might’ve proved his brother right over the weekend.
Take a look at their combine numbers:
|COMBINE DRILLS||J.J. WATT (2011)||T.J. WATT (2017)|
Yes, they’re different players at different positions. But anyone who ignored T.J. Watt in 2016 or had any assumption that he was only getting hype because of his last name should’ve gotten a wakeup call on Sunday.
He finished first among linebackers in the 20-yard shuttle, he tied Jabrill Peppers for first in the broad jump, he finished second in the vertical jump and he finished second in the three-cone drill. That’s some serious explosion.
That was after he measured at 6-4 1/2, 252 pounds with 11-inch hands, 33 1/8-inch arms and a 78 7/8-inch wingspan.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 3, 2017
If you wanted to just focus on his breakout 2016 season and the combine, T.J. Watt’s stock would already be first-round worthy. Add in the fact that he’s the brother of arguably the best defensive player on the planet — who was also a late bloomer — and you have a first-round prospect.
5. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State LB
McMillan almost felt like a senior coming into the combine. He had three years worth of film, and while he was extremely productive, he was often overshadowed by other playmaking Ohio State defenders.
But the combine served as a nice reminder of what the former five-star recruit was capable of.
The former Buckeye ran a solid 4.61 in the 40, which was behind only Peppers (a safety) and LSU’s Duke Riley among the linebackers. McMillan also benched 23 reps, which was tied for fifth. For a guy weighing in at 240 pounds, McMillan looked plenty athletic.
Raekwon McMillan running a good 4.61 on his first run pic.twitter.com/DahajKZqYq
— BuckeyesNews (@BuckeyesNews) March 5, 2017
Given his experience, don’t be surprised if McMillan pops up at the back end of the first round of a few post-combine mock drafts.
6. Gareon Conley, Ohio State CB
Conley is the forgotten man when it comes to Ohio State defensive back prospects. With Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore projected as top-10 picks, Conley was slotted by many as a Day-2 guy entering the combine.
Well, Conley might’ve put himself a lot closer to his former teammates with his performance on Monday.
He turned in an impressive 4.44-second 40-yard dash. He also impressed in the position drills. Draft analysts were already moving him into the top 15 before he even finished his workout.
I think Gareon Conley is a top 15 player. His coverage mechanics are very, very good.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 6, 2017
Conley looks like a top 15 pick today
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 6, 2017
It’s easy to forget that Conley was the only one of those three Buckeye defensive backs that started multiple years. And it’s also easy to forget that Conley was one of the top cover corners in all of college football the last two seasons.
He has the size — he measured in at 6-0, 195 pounds — and experience to play immediately at the next level. Perhaps Conley’s standout combine numbers will push him firmly into the first-round conversation.
7. Jalen Myrick, Minnesota CB
Talk about ending the weekend with an exclamation point. Myrick did just that by breaking the B1G combine record with a 4.28-second 40-yard dash.
In case you missed it, don’t blink:
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 6, 2017
How good of a mark was that? Well, Myrick beat the record of 4.31 seconds — one that Samuel tied — convincingly and tied for the fourth-fastest time among all prospects in the last decade. That’s certainly going to turn some heads.
Say what you want about the importance of the 40-yard dash, but with a Day-3 guy like Myrick, something like that can certainly make a big difference. At the very least, he’s going to get another look by teams that might not have had him on their boards.
You can’t ask for much more than that.