2017 NFL Combine Watchlist
The NFL combine is only days away! 300+ prospects will gather at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in hopes to improve their draft stock. They will go through numerous physical and mental tests in an effort to impress NFL coaches, general managers, and scouts. Year in and year out players improve or lower their ranking on NFL teams big boards based on what goes on at the NFL combine. Although you can argue that the most important part of the combine takes place behind closed doors (interviews and mental tests), the physical drills that these athletes will go through will have a huge impact come draft day.
It's a safe bet that guys like Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) and Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) will test off the charts, but who else should you be keeping your eye on? Although there are many great prospects to look forward to watching, here are some players that I believe will impress many teams and improve their draft stock at this years combine.
MALACHI DUPRE, WR, LSU
Although his stats may not stack up to many other big name wide receivers in this draft class, make no mistake, Dupre is a beast. The former five-star prospect fell victim to inconsistent quarterback play during his time at LSU, it's also easy to want to be run heavy when you have Leonard Fournette running the rock. Standing at 6'4", 195 lbs, Dupre has the ability to line up out wide or in the slot, making him a very intriguing prospect. Look for the former high school state champion triple, long, and high-jumper to turn some heads at the combine.
BUCKY HODGES, TE/WR, VIRGINIA TECH
There has been plenty of talk about how big and athletic the consensus top two tight ends in the 2017 draft class are (O.J. Howard, David Njoku). It might be an understatement to say that Bucky Hodges is big and athletic. Standing at 6'7" and pushing 250 pounds, Hodges jumps off the screen when you watch his game tape. Although the former four-star recruit quarterback turned tight end still needs to improve on his route running and prove he can block, he will provide an instant red-zone threat for his future NFL team. Hodges may be listed as a TE but his lack of use as a true hand in the ground TE while at Virginia Tech may be a hint of a transition to WR at the next level. I expect Hodges to ace the physical testing he will undergo at the combine.
ADOREE' JACKSON, CB/RS, USC
Jackson is not only a likely candidate to post the fastest 40-time at the combine, but he is one of the most athletic and versatile players in this entire draft class. His freakish athleticism, along with the fact that he can contribute immediately in the return gamewill draw plenty of interest from NFL teams . Don't be surprised to see the name Adoree' Jackson atop the leader boards in most of the physical drills at the combine.
CURTIS SAMUEL, RB/WR, OHIO STATE
How the hybrid RB/WR will be used on the next level is yet to be seen. His explosive and athletic ability however is well know among NFL general managers and scouts. A good comparison for Curtis Samuel is Percy Harvin. He is a dynamic play maker that can be utilized out wide to stretch the field, in the slot to work underneath coverage, and in the backfield. Samuel is a lock top-50 player in my opinion and will only improve his stock at the combine.
T.J. WATT, OLB, WISCONSIN
Surprise, surprise, the Watt family will add another member of the family to the NFL. J.J. Watt’s little brother may not be as big as him but T.J. definitely made his presence felt rushing the passer in 2016, racking up 11.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. A solid combine performance, both on the physical testing and mental testing, could easily land Watt a spot in the first round of the 2017 draft in April.
CARLOS HENDERSON, WR, LOUISIANA TECH
It's not hard to get excited about what Henderson can do when you put on his game-tape. The 2016 Conference USA's Offensive Player of the Year was a threat to take it to the house every time he touched the ball, tallying 23 touchdowns in more ways than one (19 receiving, 2 rushing, two kickoff returns). Although there may be some concerns about his ability to contribute as a receiver in year one, his skills as a return man should earn him chances to shine early. I am a big believer that Henderson's talents can translate to the NFL right away. The combine will be another opportunity for this small school talent to impress NFL personel.
OTHER NOTABLE PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Joe Williams, RB, Utah
Aaron Jones, RB, Texas-El Paso
Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
Cole Kikutini, TE, Louisville[Fantasy Football 24/7]
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