The “underwear olympics” has just wrapped up in Indianapolis and as always some players made themselves a lot of money, while others may have cost themselves some. Below I’ll give you my winner and loser from each day of the NFL combine.
Day 1 winner: Aviante Collins OL, TCU
Collins has to be the big winner from day one as he showcased his crazy athleticism. At 295 pounds, Collins ran a 4.81 forty and produced 34 reps on the bench press, ranking him first and second respectively amongst lineman in those events. Collins’ blistering forty time was top five all time for a lineman and puts him in great company with players like Terron Armstead and Lane Johnson. Speed and strength help at every position in the NFL and Collins showed he has an abundance of both.
Day 1 loser: Wayne Gallman RB, Clemson
With a skinny frame and a stacked RB class to compete with, Gallman needed a good day to cement his status as one of the top ten running backs in the class. Gallman did not test well with a mediocre 4.6 forty, 120 inch broad jump, and very poor 29.5 inch vertical. Gallman didn’t show the big time speed needed for a smaller running back and his low numbers on the vertical and broad jump call his lower body explosion into question. Overall Gallman did not do himself any favors at the combine.
Day 2 winner: Evan Engram TE, Ole Miss
Obviously John Ross could have very easily won this after breaking Chris Johnson’s record in the forty. However, everyone already knew Ross was fast and he was likely to be a first rounder with any time under 4.35. Engram, on the other hand, might have raised his draft stock by a round or more. At 6 foot 3, 234 pounds, he ran faster than all but four wide receivers with a 4.42 forty, as well as finishing within the top six tight ends in the vertical, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and 20 yard shuttle. Engram also showed natural hands and good footwork in the position specific drills to aid his draft stock even further.
Day 2 Winner: Chris Godwin WR, Penn. State
Day two had enough great performances that I felt like I had to put two winners. Godwin outdid nearly all expectations with his performance at the combine, especially in the forty. On tape, Godwin reminds me an awful lot of Alshon Jeffery as a big bodied receiver who excels with the ball in the air, making contested catches. Any time under 4.6 would have been solid enough for Godwin to maintain his draft stock. After running a 4.42, good for fifth out of all receivers, Godwin may have propelled himself from a third or fourth round pick to a second rounder. Godwin’s solid performances in the vertical, broad jump and shuttle helped his case as well.
Day 2 loser: Cooper Kupp WR, Eastern Washington
Kupp needed to test at least ok at the combine to quell concerns about his ability to separate at the next level, and unfortunately that did not happen. Kupp ran a very slow 4.62 forty, jumped a poor 31 inch vertical as well as a short broad jump. Kupp simply did not show much explosiveness, which scouts needed to see to determine whether he can really play, coming from the FCS level. Kupp will need a good performance at his pro day to prove he can be more than a plodding possession receiver at the next level.
Day 3 Winner: Haason Reddick DL, Temple
Reddick worked out as a defensive end but is likely a linebacker in the NFL. Reddick absolutely exploded at the combine, with a positional best 4.52 forty, behind only Jabrill Peppers on the day, as well as the top broad jump and a very strong 36.5 inch vertical. Reddick showed a very rare blend of size, speed, explosiveness and quickness which will make him extremely appealing to plenty of teams in the back half of the first round.
Day 3 loser: Zach Cunningham LB, Vanderbilt
Cunningham is very skinny for a linebacker and at only 234 pounds he had to show he was an explosive athlete capable of bursting through holes and making plays in space to offset his struggles shedding blockers in the NFL. Unfortunately, he only ran a mediocre 4.67 forty, which didn’t do much to quell the fears of NFL decision makers. To make things worse, Cunningham didn’t look particularly athletic or natural in the positional drills, another red flag that calls his athleticism into question.
Day 4 Winner: Obi Melifonwu S, UCONN
At 6 foot 4 and 224 pounds, Melifonwu is absolutely huge for a safety. With that size, average numbers for the position would’ve been great, yet instead Melifonwu put up some of the best numbers for any player at any position. He ran a great 4.40 forty, with an insane 44 inch vertical and an 11’9” broad jump. Add in the fact that he looked surprisingly smooth and fluid in the positional drills and you’ve got a player who made himself a lot of money.
Day 4 loser: Teez Tabor/ Quincy Wilson CB, Florida
The pair of Florida cornerbacks are my co-losers for the day. Tabor, at only 6 foot, ran a very poor 4.62 forty with extremely low vertical and broad jumps as well. Tabor also looked extremely tight in the on field positional drills. Wilson, on the other hand, had a slightly better day than Tabor but still underwhelmed. Wilson ran an ok 4.54 forty with a low vertical and an extremely poor broad jump. In a regular year, performances like these probably would not have hurt them too much, but unfortunately for them this year is anything but normal when it comes to the cornerbacks. With such a stacked class their poor performances could’ve cost them quite a few draft slots.