Spoilers! There aren’t many!
On Saturday, the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends went through their skill showcase and athletic testing at the NFL Combine. The Eagles don’t need to draft a QB or a TE, so it wasn’t the most pressing thing for us to keep track of.
There were some outstanding day 2 Combine performances, namely DK Metcalf’s absolutely incredible showing, as he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, and put up 27 reps on the bench press. Mind you, he’s 6’3″ and 228 lbs. Metcalf is Underdog’s pre-combine #2 wide receiver on our Big Board, but after that performance he will be moved to our #1 spot in our upcoming Big Board 2.0.
Seeing as Metcalf won’t be available anywhere near the Eagles’ first pick, though, we’ll move onto more relevant takeaways from day 2 at the Combine.
There are a lot of especially fast wide receivers, which the Eagles need
Wide receiver is a position that the Eagles will address this offseason, as we highlighted in our Eagles biggest positional needs article, and there are some great takeaways from their testing.
Generally speaking, being around or below a 4.5 second 40-yard dash is reaching “NFL speed” for a receiver. A player who runs a 4.55 can still play in the NFL, but they aren’t really expected to be seen as a speedy threat. Think Courtland Sutton from last year- while he can beat any of us in a race, his 40-yard dash time was 4.54 and he has entered a role as a size and possession guy.
You get closer to an average NFL skill-player speed in the 4.4 range, where players like Antonio Brown (4.47) and Odell Beckham Jr. (4.43) are. These guys are tremendously fast people, but are still surrounded by people just as fast. These guys become elite players with their route-running and ability to catch anything.
When you get into the 4.3 range, these guys are fast. DeSean Jackson ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, and he is arguably one of the best deep-threat WRs in decades. He’s also shifty and tracks a ball like nobody else can, which is what separates him from other speed guys. But that’s just some 40-yard dash context.
Oh, and then there’s the freaks of nature like John Ross (4.22) and Chris Johnson (4.24) who re-defy speed in modern sports, but they are extremely rare at best.
Now, take a look at the top seven 40-yard dash times from the receivers at the Combine:
|Player||School||40-yard dash time (secs)|
|Parris Campbell||Ohio State||4.31|
|DK Metcalf||Ole Miss||4.33|
|Terry McLaurin||Ohio State||4.35|
Campbell, Isabella, and Hardman are day 2 or even early day 3 guys in the draft. Metcalf is going #7 overall to Jacksonville (there’s a teaser for our post-combine mock). Hall is a day 3 guy, as well as Slayton and McLaurin.
The Eagles need speed at the wide receiver position, and they have plenty of opportunities to get it here. Include speedy Marquise Brown- who did not perform at the Combine- and forget Metcalf- who will be long gone by 25- and that’s 7 very fast guys the Eagles can target in the draft.
Not totally Combine-related, but the Cowboys re-signed Witten instead of drafting a young, fast TE
I have friends who are Cowboys fans (and refuse to support this website on principle) who would ask me who the Cowboys should draft this April.
Me, the forgetful type, would say that they should target Noah Fant or Irv Smith Jr. in the first round, hereby forgetting that the Cowboys don’t have a first-round pick, and forgetting the existence of TJ Hockenson.
Then I would remember they don’t have a first-round pick, and I wasn’t as sure of who they should draft, but I still suggested getting a tight end quickly.
Then they signed Witten, which was a terrible idea.
Young talent is vital in the NFL. Being able to bring young players in to learn and develop is what keeps teams competitive, not signing 36 year-old guys who didn’t play for a year.
Remember how successful Brett Favre was when he came back from retirement? I don’t see Witten being more successful than Favre this year.
Also, here are the 40-yard dash times of the top TEs in the draft:
|Player||College||40-yard dash time (secs)|
|Irv Smith Jr.||Alabama||4.63|
For reference, Zach Ertz ran a 4.76 and Dallas Goedert ran a 4.68 40-yard dash. They’re not burners, but they’re not slow TEs. Evan Engram, who had a phenomenal combine, ran a 4.42 40-yard dash.
So these young guys are fast. Fant, Hockenson, and Smith could all be drafted in the first round, but all 3 of them certainly won’t all be drafted on day 1. The Cowboys are missing out on good TE prospects for the second year in a row.
Also, thank goodness the Cowboys haven’t added a great young TE to their team yet. In a division with Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, and Evan Engram (as well as Ertz and Goedert), at least one team doesn’t have any mismatch-creating TE to make the other teams worry about.
For QBs…umm, Easton Stick ran a good 3-cone drill?
Carson Wentz’s college backup at North Dakota State, Easton Stick, ran a 6.65-second 3-cone drill, which measures a lot of pure athleticism and agility.
The Eagles are looking to add another backup to compete with Nate Sudfeld in training camp (they always do this) and to possibly develop into an NFL QB. Stick could be a mid-to-late day 3 pick in the draft.
That’s really the most relevant news regarding QBs for the Eagles.
Other QB Intrigue
Kyler Murray might be the #1 overall pick, which means that A- Josh Rosen would likely be traded and B- the Giants can’t draft Kyler Murray.
Depending on if you see this line of possible events as positive or negative depends on what you’re more worried about in the NFC East. If Josh Rosen is traded, he could wind up in Washington, who could really use a young franchise QB. Remember, when they had a QB last year they were leading the division. Could Rosen do what Alex Smith could do? Probably not, but it’s worth considering.
If Murray goes #1, then he won’t be a Giant. My biggest fear/hope was that the Giants would become really exciting by drafting Murray to play alongside OBJ and Saquon Barkley. What a trio that could be.
If Murray goes #1 then the Giants probably take Dwayne Haskins, who is a solid pick, but maybe not as great as many scouts and experts see him to be. In a weak QB class, Haskins has great arm strength but OK accuracy, and not much mobility. He reminds me of a better DeShone Kizer, but still a DeShone Kizer.