By Justin Partlow
Manziel Combine Interview:
After the combine ended, it became time to talk about who were the winners and losers. The real story was really getting a chance to evaluate, confirm, or even raise suspicions on players in comparison to game tape. After evaluating the players, the drills and even the different aspects of the combine, I’ve come up with four takeaways from the combine.
Jadeveon Clowney is a freak of nature athlete
While this might just seem common knowledge, just watching Clowney run that 40 time confirmed what was seen on film with Clowney. When Jadeveon wants to play at the high level all the time, he can be an absolute all-pro potential player. Seeing someone at his height and weight, it was just almost as if I couldn’t do anything, but stay in awe watching the Clowney 40 time and what he did. The measureables Clowney showed were unbelievable and without a doubt in my mind, Clowney can very well end up as the best player from this class even if he isn’t the #1 overall pick.
The Cornerback class is deep with talent
While the main focus at times was how impressive the WR class was, the real surprising and impressive aspect of the combine was how deep the cornerback class was. We saw during the combine that guys who were not as well know, who were able to grab some attention such as Phillip Gaines from Rice. As well we saw the small school CB’s like Pierre Desir continue to improve and shine. What I noticed through it all was that after looking at my own personal rankings and then seeing the combine results, the class will be very deep and teams will be able to get good talent throughout the draft. Look for teams to be very patient and smart with both the WR class and the CB class after seeing the talent that was there.
Donte Moncrief was the most impressive WR
While the main talk at first was the impressive measurables of Kelvin Benjamin, and rightfully so, the best and most impressive WR to me was Donte Moncrief. Moncrief was a legitimate talent last year at Ole Miss and even this year as well. It seemed as if that Moncrief had unnecessary weight on his frame this year and that led to him not being as explosive as he showed on film before. Moncrief seemed to be a changed man on the turf field, and posted a very impressive 40 time and looked very good in the position drills. His stock was seemingly on the rise, but after the combine, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more teams go back and look at his film and compare it between the past two years.
The battle for the #1 OT slot will be ever changing
Coming into the combine, I had rated Greg Robinson ahead of Jake Matthews as the #1 OT as I saw someone who provided a mauler mentality and a moldable piece of clay in the pass protection game. I liked Matthews, but wanted to see just more out of him and felt Robinson projected to being a better player. Watching the combine though, Robinson and Matthews went back and forth to prove who was better. We all knew Robinson was the better athlete and he displayed it with his 40 time and his agility in mirror drills. Matthews though made his strengths very well known with his technique and impressive refinement that he currently possesses. It’ll be interesting over the new few weeks as to how teams will rate the OT class, as there are two very good OT’s, but it comes down to projections and risk vs investment.
As we’ve seen this week, the combine is still an effective tool but also needs to be used with caution. The combine proved that the draft class is deep overall, but the strength of certain positions will be more prevalent than others throughout the draft. Look for teams to target those positions and exploit the depth, while targeting other positions early on,