Combine Confidential: News, Notes & Buzz

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson (RB07) speaks to media during the 2019 NFL Combine at Indianapolis Convention Center.Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ric Serritella

The offensive linemen were flying in the forty, with a handful of protectors timing in the sub 5.0-range. Amongst them, Washington State offensive tackle Andrew Dillard who timed in at 4.96. A three-year starter for the Cougars, Dillard idolizes former Browns tackle Joe Thomas and has created drills for himself based on Thomas’ kick slide in pass protection. In fact, Dillard, who is a true student of the game, owns an entire film collection on Thomas. After a strong combine, he’s a dark-horse candidate to be the first offensive lineman off the board.

A groin injury will prevent Alabama running back Josh Jacobs from working out at the combine but NFL scouts won’t have to wait too long to see him perform. Jacobs stated that he is about 85% healthy right now and would be a full-go for the Crimson Tide pro day on March 19th.

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson lived up to his word, checking in with a burner time of 4.37 (unofficial) in the forty-yard dash. His film and speed should all have cemented his status as an early Day 2 selection.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Georgia runner Elijah Holyfield clocked in at a sluggish 4.79 (unofficial), which would rank as the slowest time ever recorded by a running back at the combine during the modern-day era. Despite the poor mark, Holyfield is still viewed as a two-down back who can get the short-yardage work done between the tackles.

Ole Miss wide out D.K Metcalf posted an impressive mark of 27 bench press reps, a combine record by a wide receiver. His combination of size, speed and strength could make him the top receiver off the board if his medical evaluation holds up in Indianapolis. A neck injury that required surgery limited him to just seven games this past season.

On a sad note, fellow Mississippi receiver A.J. Brown told the assembled media that he received death threats while in high school for deciding to choose to play for the Rebels, rather than Mississippi State. This is just the latest example of how social media can have a negative impact.

Playmaking wide receiver Hakeem Butler revealed that he has been working out with Calvin Johnson in preparation for the draft. The Iowa State product measured in at 6-5 3/8 and a massive 83 7/8” wingspan. His catch radius is as great as any receiver in this year’s draft class, as Butler is trending towards a top 50 overall selection.

Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown, who measured in at just 5-9 3/8 and 166 pounds, will not bench at the combine or his pro day. The decision is by choice, which usually tends to indicate that the player is not prepared or confident in his abilities to throw up 225 pounds. This really should not have a significant impact on his draft stock.

The buzz surrounding Ed Oliver has already begun after the Houston defensive tackle measured in at 6-1 7/8 and 287 pounds. An incredibly explosive athlete, look for Oliver to have one of the best testing performances during the combine. Word is that he’s expected to have close to a 40” vertical jump. His stock is up and he appears to be a top ten lock.

The Indianapolis Colts were honored with the second annual Best NFL Draft Award, presented by Inside The League at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Thursday night. General manager Chris Ballard and his staff were on hand to accept the award after a stellar 2018 NFL Draft Class, which featured Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson and South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard, both of whom earned First Team All-Pro honors.

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