On Saturday the lights shined the brightest at the NFL Combine as quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends took to the turf showcasing their skills in a variety of position specific drills. Defensive linemen and linebackers also took to the podium to speak with the media. Here are the news and nuggets from the day's events.
(All Combine statistics referenced are unofficial reports)
-- D.K. Metcalf (Ole Miss) took the day by storm. After posting 27 reps on the bench, which was tied for first with all receivers, Metcalf showed elite speed in the 40-yard dash recording the second fastest time. The 6-foot 3 wideout also showed strong hands and smooth cuts in his routes during on-field drills, and was compared to fictional superhero Batman when given his player comparison due to his freakish physical ability.
--Parris Campbell (Ohio St.), who was featured in a pre-combine article for Redskins.com, recorded the fastest 40 of the day. A proven deep-threat during his time in the Big Ten, Campbell could provide the Redskins with an elite weapon on offense. N'Keal Harry (Arizona St) had an eye-popping day after running 4.53 unofficially in the 40, a day after recording 27 bench press reps. Harry, who has been mocked to the Redskins from other media sites, solidified his elite prospect status in Indianapolis. Iowa State's Hakeem Butler, who has been compared to former Detroit Lion Calvin Johnson due to his menacing size, ran a 4.43 40 at 6-foot-5, 227 pounds. After missing the first rep in the "gauntlet" drill, Butler showed off his insane 10 3/4 inch hands catching every ball thrown to him. He could potentially provide a big body in the red zone for Jay Gruden, partnering with Josh Doctson (6-foot 4) and Maurice Harris (6-foot-3).
--Quarterback Daniel Jones, who has been mocked to Washington from most media sites, flashed both his potential, and raw arm talent. After sailing a couple balls over receivers, Jones found his touch and completed sharp, on target passes to receivers in a variety of route drills on the field. Jones ran a 4.81 40-yard dash. Drew Lock, who's criticisms have mostly come about his accuracy, showcased his cannon for an arm after easily hitting receivers all over the field with pinpoint precision. After showing a swagger and confidence at his podium session yesterday, Lock used Saturday to further prove his status as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 draft class. Buffalo's Tyree Jackson stood above the crowd during the 40, literally. The 6-foot-7 Jackson ran a 4.59 40-yard dash which was second of all QB's and also provided a lighter attitude toward the drills, making every throw with a smile on his face. The former Buffalo Bull even earned a talking to by NFL Network analyst Steve Smith Jr. after Smith mentioned to him that he was throwing the ball "too hard" to receivers during drills.
--It's not often two guys from the same school that play the same position are ranked "1-2" in their positional draft rankings, but that is the case for former Iowa tight-ends T.J Hockenson, and Noah Fant. The latter led the group in the 40, posting the fastest time of all tight-ends at 4.50. Fant also displayed his crisp route running, and his ability to turn up field and accelerate quickly, a trait Redskins tight ends Jordan Reed, and Vernon Davis both possess. Hockenson recorded a 4.70-second 40, and although he didn't produce an eye-popping day, his spot as the number one overall ranked tight-end is his, as he showed strength in the pass blocking "gauntlet" and sure hands in all pass-catching drills.
-- A local product from Old Dominion, defensive lineman Oshane Ximines, commented on his leadership he provided for the Monarchs during his time in Norfolk saying, "I would always call the team together and call a huddle. I would always be the guy to make sure everyone knew what they were doing, and if I needed to discipline the team I was the person to do that."
--Prepping for the NFL Combine is no small task, as it requires both your mind, and body to be in top physical shape. Former Florida St. Seminole edge rusher Brian Burns said he eats about "five to six meals a day," while totaling "over 4,000 calories daily."
-- Also hailing from the sunshine state, former Florida Gator Jachai Polite spoke his favorite pass rush move: "If they [offensive linemen] can't stop my speed rush, then they're in trouble. If they try to open up, that's when I'll spin."
--One of the top defensive line prospects in this years' draft, Michigan's Rashan Gary said what sets him apart is his "will to be great." Gary continued, "I know my capabilities, I know what I'm capable of and I want to be great now. For whatever team that drafts me is going to get a person that comes in the organization and be great right now and I want to be a Pro-Bowler, I want to be a Hall Of Famer, I want to be a Super Bowl champion."
--Daniel Wise, former University of Kansas product and brother of Patriots' defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr., said it would be a "dream come true" to play in the NFL with his brother.
--As head coach Jay Gruden mentioned this week, outside linebacker Preston Smith has earned the right to test free agent waters in a couple weeks. While the Redskins would like to re-sign him, they also know that asking prices might be higher than they desire, which means a pass rusher may be priority in this year's draft.
Boston College's Zach Allen is a prospect with grades that project him late in the first round into the second round. He's got plenty of power at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds and can line up inside and outside. Allen, at the podium on Saturday, said he loves watching Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
"I watched the Dallas game that he had this year with the two sacks," Allen said. "The thing for him is he's been able to be so good for so long, he's really Mr. Consistency, so kind of just seeing what he's able to do, his rip move is pretty incredible. He's a really smart rusher too, you never see him losing contain or doing something silly."
--Should the Redskins draft a pass rusher, someone in the first round like Montez Sweat even, the ability to adapt to a 3-4 scheme could be paramount. Because Allen is heavier than Kerrigan, 10-20 pounds, he said, that might be tougher to sell, but he'd still love to work under his wing.
"He's strong enough and athletic enough to do either and that's why I think you see him bounce around a little bit," Allen said. "He's awesome and it would be an honor to play for the Skins and be able to learn under a guy like that…I know the minute I get drafted I've got a lot of learning to do."
--The Redskins like drafting Alabama players, or haven't you heard? After two straight first-round selections spent on Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, the Redskins, you can bet, are keeping their eyes on some more Crimson Tide defensive linemen. That includes Isaiah Buggs, who projects as a second rounder after starting his career in junior college and playing the final two years in Tuscaloosa. He's worked to develop versatility as a pass rusher and run stopper, and has also leaned on Payne and Allen for guidance through the draft process.
"Those guys tell me all the time, it's not going to be an easy process, it's going to be long, it's going to be difficult," Buggs said. "The main thing is just to have patience. It's an honor and a blessing to be here, so I didn't take any of this for granted.
"Daron Payne," he said, "I played on either side of him, he's a great player, he always believed in me that I could be a great player."