2017 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers

Monday night, NFL teams and prospects alike made their way home from Indianapolis as the doors closed to the 2017 NFL Combine.  As the dust settles on Lucas Oil Stadium, several prospects will go home smiling, knowing that their performance has improved their draft stock, while others will go home worried that they just ruined their shot at being a day one or two pick in the draft.

Which players improved their stock? And which would have been better off not showing up? We’ll look at some winners and losers from the combine that could be fantasy relevant for your team in 2017.

Winners

Christian McCaffrey – RB – Stanford – 5’10” – 202lbs
Photo Credit: Michael Conroy, Associated Press

40-yard Dash: 4.48 sec

Bench Press: 10 reps

Vertical Jump: 37.5”

Broad Jump: 121.0”

3-Cone: 6.57 sec

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.22 sec

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.03 sec

McCaffrey had the best performance of the top running backs in this class. Not only did he finish ahead of names like Fournette and Cook in nearly every drill, he also decided to stay out after the running back drills were done, and complete the WR drills with equally satisfying results. It’s safe to say that his performance this weekend will boost his grade to the point that he is almost certainly going to be a first round pick come April.

Chris Godwin – WR – Penn St. – 6’1” – 209lbs
Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

 40-yard Dash: 4.42 sec

Bench Press: 19 reps

Vertical Jump: 36.0”

Broad Jump: 126.0”

3-Cone: 7.01 sec

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.00 sec

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.21 sec

Despite being projected as a late round pick, Godwin made his case for a rise in his draft stock during his performance in Indy. He tested in the top 10 of most of his drills, and put up the best 20-yard shuttle by a receiver. Godwin also looked fluid catching the ball in receiver drills.  When you factor in his stunning Rose Bowl stat line of 9 catches for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns against USC, Godwin is a favorite for a sneaky rise up team draft boards.

NFL Teams in Need of a Tight End
Photo Credit: David J. Phillip AP

This is shaping up to be a legendary class of tight ends, and teams in need of a quality player at the position surely left Indy with a grin. Some highlights include:

O.J. Howard beating Jimmy Graham’s record for fastest 40-yard dash by a player over 250lbs and 6’6” by half a second. This should solidify a top 15 selection for Howard.

Evan Engram running a 4.41 40-yard dash, good for 1st amongst tight ends, and 5th among receivers. Engram has a similar frame to Jordan Reed of the Redskins, but his 40 time came in a full 0.31 seconds faster than Reed’s. It seems likely that he will work his way into the first round after results like these.

Bucky Hodges led his class in vertical jump with 39” and set an NFL record 11’2” long jump. He also came in 5th in tight end 40 times with a 4.57 second run. It seems likely that his performance will make teams look his way early into the second day of the draft, rather than the middle of the 3rd day (as he was projected).

Bonus Winners:
  • John Ross’s record setting 4.22 second 40-yard dash is sure to bump his name up some draft boards. (Even if he didn’t win an island.)
  • Tennessee’s Alvin Kamara had a solid performance both on the field, and in the interviews. Don’t be surprised if he goes sooner rather than later.

 

Losers

Dalvin Cook – RB – Florida State – 5’10 – 210lbs
Photo Credit: Getty Images

40-yard Dash: 4.49 sec

Bench Press: 22 reps

Vertical Jump: 30.5”

Broad Jump: 116.0”

3-Cone: 7.27 sec

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.53 sec

60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Prior to the combine, it appeared FSU’s Dalvin cook and LSU’s Leonard Fournette were essentially equal in terms of talent. In fact, Cook had been supplanting Fournette as the favorite 1st overall pick for dynasty fantasy football teams. Cook then went to the combine and put up pedestrian numbers in most categories, except for the bench press. This performance earned Cook a SPARQ score in the 9th percentile (bottom 9%), while Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara tested in the 70th percentile and 79th percentile respectively. Per 3 Sigma Athlete’s Zach Whitman, there has not been a sub 10th percentile SPARQ running back taken in the first round since 1999.

A combine performance as poor as Cook’s will surely raise question marks as NFL teams evaluate him for the draft. For now, he is still a lock for the first round. However, rumors of a 2nd round grade have already begun circulating.

Cooper Kupp – WR – Eastern Washington – 6’2” – 204lbs
Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

40-yard Dash: 4.62 sec

Bench Press: DNP

Vertical Jump: 31.0”

Broad Jump: 116.0”

3-Cone: 6.75 sec

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.08 sec

60-Yard Shuttle: DNP

Pre-combine, Kupp had been working his way up draft boards. His mixture of elite college production and NFL pedigree (his father and grandfather both played in the NFL) are enticing for any NFL team. However, any hopes of Cooper Kupp continuing his career as a work-horse receiver likely died in the eyes of NFL teams over the weekend. Kupp posted poor numbers in the 40-yard dash, as well as vertical and broad jump. As a result, he will likely be relegated to the slot, where his solid 4.08 second 20-yard shuttle and quality 3-cone will be more useful.

As we get closer to the NFL Draft we will continue to highlight some of these and other players to get you ready for another great year of fantasy football!

Got something or someone to add? Reach out to me on twitter @MikeTFR