With the combine over and completed, we delve into the news and rumors from one of the busiest weeks of the NFL Offseason. This is the one week of the year where all teams are present for the next generation of NFL players. Everyone from scouts to owners will be in attendance to see not only see the next wave of talent but also to discuss business for on and off the field. Let’s dive into the biggest news and rumors of the week!
The NFL world was hit some disturbing news pertaining to top draft pick DT Jalen Carter out of Georgia. He has been charged with reckless driving and racing in connection with a crash that killed a teammate and member of Georgia’s recruiting staff. Jalen Carter did leave Indianapolis immediately and turned himself into law enforcement in Georgia. He posted bond and then returned to Indianapolis the following day to complete his interviews with prospective teams.
Both charges are misdemeanors, and he will most likely have to pay a fine and agree to any other terms of the court. As more details begin to emerge it will be easier to understand if this will affect his draft stock. As with most combine interviews with individual teams, they are typically ahead of the game when it comes to knowing all the facts. Ultimately, it appears that this will not affect his draft stock, but it will be something to watch going forward especially if more details come out that are negative.
The 6’4 244 lb prospect was the talk of the combine. The 13-game starter at Florida only posted a 6-7 record in Gainesville last season. He has the size, arm strength, and mobility to be a top QB in the league. His accuracy (53% in college) and his overall lack of starts seems to be the concern amongst the higher ups with the prospective franchises. It is reported that he took individual meetings with potentially 10 teams.
He has been mocked as low as the mid first round and as high as the #1 pick. That mid-first round mock has all but vanished. Richardson was the fastest QB in the 40 yard dash at 4.43 seconds and set the modern QB combine record with 40 ½ inch vertical jump. He also dazzled in the broad jump with a jump of 10 feet 9 inches. No prospect is perfect, but Richardson showed he is a pure athlete and made an impression with all the teams he visited with, which was reported to be in the double digits.
The Other Big 3 QBs
Bryce Young– Young did not throw or complete any combine activities. He will run and do all activities for the Alabama Pro Day. He did have his measurables taken and there was good and bad in it. His height came in at 5’10 which is not ideal for the position, but he came in at over 200 (204, to be exact). While the height is a concern, his Pro Day will be crucial so they can assess his draft stock at the Pro Day.
CJ Stroud– The Ohio State prospect had a decent combine. Reports are he had great interviews with all the teams he met with and most importantly, he had a great throwing session with his teammate Jaxson Smith-Njigba. However, in his media comments he did mention looking up to Micheal Vick and current Browns QB DeShaun Watson as his role models. This wasn’t taken well by the room seeing their past history of brush ups with the law. Don’t expect those comments to affect his draft status in any way.
Will Levis– The last of the big 4 in this year’s draft class, quietly had a nice combine but was overshadowed by the other quarterbacks in the class. Levis showed off his huge arm strength in the throwing session and, reportedly, had great interviews and white board sessions with multiple sessions. He is built like Josh Allen and it is assumed he wont make it past pick 10.
QB Carousel News
This is a big week for franchises to scout new talent from college but its also time for them to discuss bringing in current players/free agents from other teams with each other. We typically see some acceleration with free agents and trade candidates during this week. The first QB domino fell Monday morning with Derek Carr signing a 4-year deal with New Orleans. The 4-year deal is $100 Million guaranteed and has the potential to make him $150 Million total. This leaves the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Lamar Jackson and Daniel Jones left to make their contract decisions from their respective franchises. This is setting up to be wild offseason in the coming weeks.
NFL Draft Stock Up/Stock Down
Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
JSN looked great (and healthy) during the throwing session with his teammate and prospect CJ Stroud. JSN looks completely healed from his season-ending hamstring injury. Stroud and JSN made it look easy on the throwing session. Look for JSN to be an everyday starting slot receiver in this league.
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
What stood out with Achane at the combine? His speed. Achane ran the fastest 40 times of any RB this year with a time of 4.32. It was also the 4th fastest of all backs in the history of the NFL Combine. In an always crowded class of backs, Achane assuredly clinched his name as an early Day 2 selection in April’s draft.
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
After missing the end of the season at Georgia, Smith gave his own welcome back party in Indianapolis last weekend. Smith showed that promise he had coming out of high school as the #1 overall prospect in the country. He ran a 4.39 40-time and showed some unbelievable explosiveness with a 41 inch vertical leap. While a bit undersized for the position, Smith solidified himself as a first round draft pick.
DJ Turner, DB, Michigan
As you can see a pattern is brewing here, it’s all about speed for these defensive players. Turner was no different. Turner ran a blazing 4.26 40 yard dash (fastest among all prospects) and performed well in his broad jump and vertical leap. He is very undersized for the position but would most likely be a “slot corner” in the NFL. He also comes from an NFL defensive scheme in Ann Arbor that all coaches look for.
Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Levis didn’t exactly do anything to lower his stock, but he just wasn’t talked about as much as the other three sure fire first round picks. Levis did throw and he threw very well but he just hasn’t brought about the same buzz as the others. He will, without question, go in the first round but he might be the one of the big 4 to fall down the board early in round one.
Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU
After an underwhelming season in Baton Rouge, Boutte needed a strong combine and he didn’t exactly deliver. Already under sized for his position, he ran a 4.5 40-time and had a poor showing in the vertical and broad jumps. He does have the LSU Pro Day to hopefully improve his numbers.
Andrew Voorhees, OL, USC
Let’s clarify here for Voorhees, he had a great combine considering his circumstances. ESPN has confirmed that he tore his ACL and was unable to finish his drills. However, he still pumped out the reps on bench press of all prospects with a brace on his knee! It was 38 to be exact. We saw this with David Ojabo last season tearing his Achillies in a workout before the draft.
He was a guaranteed first round pick but fell to the second round. This is a likely scenario here as well and will be interesting to see if that will be the course of action from franchises.
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