Five most impressive B1G performers at combine
With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, there were plenty of B1G players that got a nice boost.
Here are the five players who turned in the most impressive combine performances:
Jason Spriggs, Indiana OT — Arguably the best combine performance from any offensive lineman came from the Indiana senior. Scouts who did their homework on Spriggs already knew he was a workout warrior, but what he did in Indianapolis took that notion to another level. He finished first among offensive linemen with a 4.94-second 40-yard dash and a 9’7’’ broad jump, and he took second with a 4.44-second 20-yard shuttle.
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Just for good measure, Spriggs had a 31.5’’ vertical jump (third place) and he threw down 31 bench press reps (fourth place). He came into the weekend with a borderline first-round, early second-round projection. He still might not be an immediate starter and there are questions if he’s a left or right tackle. But after a showing like that, don’t be surprised if a contender takes a flier on the freakish Spriggs in the first round.
Darron Lee, Ohio State LB — There’s been some debate about Lee’s 40-yard dash time, which was officially ruled a blistering 4.43 seconds. Whatever it was, the Buckeye sophomore showed that he has scary explosiveness for a linebacker. His 11’1’’ broad jump was the best among linebackers and good for third overall. It was almost unfair to group Lee with the linebackers, because he was quicker than a lot of the receivers in Indy.
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Many already had him pegged as a first-round pick coming into the weekend, but seeing Lee move like that despite the fact that he’s up to 230 pounds was a welcome sight. The likelihood of him getting out of the first round certainly went way down. The argument for Lee as a top-15 pick gained some serious momentum.
Mike Thomas, Ohio State WR — This selection is relative. There were plenty of receivers who posted better 40-yard dash times and had better overall performances. Thomas made this list because he exceeded expectations in all of the speed/explosiveness drills. A 4.57 40-yard dash, a 4.13 20-yard shuttle and a 10’6’’ broad jump coupled with his 6-3, 212-pound frame was huge. All of that came after Thomas was measured with 32 1/8’’ arms and 10 1/2’’ hands. His hands, by the way, were the biggest among receivers at the combine.
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In a league in which Odell Beckham’s one-handed catches are dominating highlight reels, Thomas has all the physical traits that the NFL looks for in a big-play receiver. He might not go ahead of Laquon Treadwell or Corey Coleman, but Thomas definitely narrowed any supposed gap between that group and likely made himself some money.
Sean Davis, Maryland DB — To play both safety and cornerback successfully at a Power Five school, you have to be a first-class athlete. Davis proved to be exactly that in Indy. His 4.46 40 turned heads, as did his 21 bench press reps, which was good for second place among defensive backs. For those questioning whether or not Davis has the agility to play corner, he had a better three-cone drill than any CB prospect.
He also finished in the top 10 among DBs in the 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and broad jump. The concern with Davis is that he’s more of a tweener. His mid-round projection explains that. But Davis showed that he has the physical abilities to play both positions at the next level. That, coupled with his size and strength, could help move him into the Day 2 conversation.
Anthony Brown, Purdue CB — Brown turned in the best 40 of any B1G player. His 4.35 ranked fifth among all players in Indy, and it was good for fifth on the B1G’s all-time list. That’s impressive stuff. Also impressive was the fact that Brown put up 19 bench press reps, which was good for third among defensive backs. It’s rare to see a DB score that high in both of those metrics.
Brown still has questions about his “handsy” approach and whether or not he’s savvy enough to handle NFL receivers. Those will keep him in the Day 3 picture. But those types of things can be coached at the next level. Purdue’s streak of 18 years of having a player drafted likely will depend entirely on Brown, who was the only Boilermaker invited to Indy. If his combine performance was any indication, Brown will extend the streak to 19.