Storylines that are Following at the NFL Combine
The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine is scheduled to begin on February 26. As usual, NFL draft prospects will be put through athleticism drills, medical checks, and countless interviews. This year, Adidas is offering $1 million to the prospect that breaks Chris Johnson’s 40-yard dash record, which means there are NFL sports betting odds on which prospect will break the record.
Prior to the NFL Draft, teams like to get as much information they can about players that they are thinking of drafting. The level of scrutiny the prospects go through can be invasive sometimes and has led to people like former Super Bowl winning coach Mike Ditka to call the combine a glorified meat market.
Heading into this year’s draft, Ohio State’s Joey Bosa is regarded as the top pick in the draft. Despite Bosa being considered the best player in the draft and scouts having watched him play in college, Bosa will be picked apart at the combine.
Teams will try to determine Bosa’s character by asking him why he was suspended by Ohio State for the season opener last season. Bosa will also be asked about a sprained foot that forced him to miss workouts. He will be asked how he sprained the foot by every team and also have the foot X-rayed by every team physician to make sure it isn’t a lingering injury.
After the interviews and the medical examinations, Bosa will also have to go through drills like the 40-yard dash and bench presses, which can either help or hurt his draft stock.
If a player like Bosa, who is considered to be the best prospect in the draft has to go through all this, imagine what the lesser known prospects have to endure.
One of the reasons the NFL Combine was created was to get medical information on prospects. This year, a lot of teams will be trying to get as much medical information as possible on prospects like UCLA’s Miles Jack, who tore his meniscus during a game in September. Jack’s injury will limit his activities at the combine and could hurt his draft stock if teams are worried he could reinjure it.
Another question going into the combine is how teams will grade Cal quarterback Jared Goff. Goff is considered by many to be the top quarterback in this year’s draft, but teams are wary of using a high pick on him due to his size.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Michigan State’s Connor Cook is one of the quarterbacks that may see his draft stock slide after the combine if his interviews don’t go well. Cook was one of the best collegiate quarterbacks during his career, but a lot of teams are wondering why a prospect that played four years at one of the best programs in the country was never a team captain at any point during his time at Michigan State. Skipping the Senior Bowl also didn’t help his case.
Other players that will be fielding questions about their character include Robert Nkemdiche and Duke Williams.
Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones is one of the prospects whose draft stock is likely going to improve after the combine. Despite leading the Buckeyes to the National Championship in 2015, Jones has limited experience on the field but a lot of talent that will intrigue NFL teams.
This year, there is a lot of depth at the defensive tackle position so expect a lot of defensive tackles to be drafted in the first two rounds. Despite some character concerns, most mock drafts have Robert Nkemdiche rated as the top defensive tackle in the draft.
The running back position is one to look out for at this year’s combine. Despite winning the Heisman Trophy and dominating the SEC last season, Derrick Henry isn’t the top rated running back at the combine. That honor belongs to Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliot, but things can easily change after the combine.