10 Impressive Prospects from NFL Scouting Combine


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL Combine is in the books.

Here's a look at 10 draft prospects who impressed me, either with on-field work or during interviews at Lucas Oil Stadium:


Jalen Ramsey Florida State defensive back**
Ramsey wasn't made available to speak to reporters in the media room. It turns out he didn't have to – Ramsey let his performance speak for him. The Brentwood Academy product ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash while also recording a 41.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 11'3''. His on-field work in drills was also impressive. Ramsey's stock keeps going up.

Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame linebacker
The news regarding Smith at the combine wasn't good. He headed into the event regarded as one of the draft's top players, but medical tests – and concerns about nerve damage -- have sent up red flags. Smith handled the news with poise, and class, especially during an interview with NFL Network. Smith is expected to fall as a result of the news, but my opinion of him went way up because of his classy approach.

Carson Wentz, North Dakota State quarterback
Wentz impressed plenty at the Senior Bowl, and I believe his stock will continue to go up after his appearance at the combine. Wentz looked good during his on-field workout in Indianapolis, and I have no doubt he also made a good impression on teams during the interview process. He handled himself well in from of reporters, that's for sure. The big question is whether Wentz and California's Jared Goff can create a quarterback derby.


Derrick Henry, Alabama running back**
Heading into the weekend, Henry was regarded as a second-round pick. After running a faster-than-expected 4.54 in the 40-yard dash, he might've put himself into the bottom of the first round. Henry was heavy (247 pounds) when he weighed in, so he's going to need to drop some weight. But his game tape will back up the fact he's a good running back, and I think his 40 time helped his cause. Ezekiel Elliott's time of 4.47 helped him as well.

Myles Jack, UCLA linebacker
Jack wasn't able to participate in on-field work as he continues to work his way back from an injury, but his draft stock continues to rise as well. Jack was a versatile, do-it-all-play at UCLA, and he'll be a great pro. I was impressed with the way he handled himself in the press room in Indianapolis. I saw a smart and mature guy who's certain to be an asset to whatever teams picks him.

Keith Marshall, Georgia running back
While he's not in the conversation as one of the top backs in the draft, Marshall posted the fastest time at the combine – 4.31. It was the third-fastest time for a running back at the combine since 2006. Marshall also impressed observers with his strength --- he knocked out 25 reps in the bench press, more than Henry (22). Marshall's performance surely convinced teams he's recovered from his ACL injury a few years back.


DeForest Buckner, Oregon defensive lineman**
Ohio State's Joey Bosa generated the most attention among defensive lineman with his work on the field and at the podium. But the 6-foot-7, 291-pound Buckner made a nice impression. Buckner's hands measured at 11.75 inches, which tied Buccaneers tackle Gosder Cherilus from 2008 for the largest in combine history. While Buckner didn't run a great time (5.05), he surely impressed teams with his approach.

MacKensie Alexander, Clemson cornerback
OK, I'll admit it – I mainly remember Alexander for his entertainment value. Once he stepped up to the podium, he put on a show with a flurry of one-liners and his confidence. Alexander called himself the best cornerback in the draft class and said he's ready for the NFL. When asked about his confidence, he replied: "I mean, this is me. This is me. Imagine me on game day." Alexander should go fairly early if he turns in a solid performance at his Pro Day.

Jonathan Jones, Auburn cornerback
Jones, who had seven interceptions in his final two season with the Tigers, ran a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash, which was the fastest of all defensive backs and third-fastest among all combine participants. Jones also put up 19 reps of 225 pounds in the bench, tying him for second among all cornerbacks. It was a good weekend for Jones.

Josh Doctson, TCU receiver
Let me start by saying I was impressed with Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell and his demeanor, although he's going to have plenty to prove at his Pro Day later this month since he didn't run in Indy. Doctson, who had back-to-back 1,000-receiving yard seasons at TCU, did run, and he posted a solid time of 4.50 in the 40. His 41-inch vertical and 131-inch broad jumps were also among the best in the receiving group. This year's draft class has plenty of questions hovering over it, but Doctson made a nice showing.


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