NFL Draft 2017: Stock Up, Stock Down Post-Combine

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMarch 7, 2017

NFL Draft 2017: Stock Up, Stock Down Post-Combine

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    The 2017 NFL Scouting Combine was chock-full of memorable performances, many of which made several young men a heck of a lot of money. On the other end of the spectrum, a bunch of prospects have lost ground based on what happened the last few days in Indianapolis. 

    A lot could change between now and the NFL draft, which takes place April 27-29 in Philadelphia. But with draft season now officially in full swing, we're beginning to get a feel for who is rising and who is falling in this year's class. 

    Here's a full stock report as we transition from the combine to pro days.

Up: WR John Ross...Duh!

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    Former Washington wide receiver John Ross ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds, breaking Chris Johnson's nine-year-old combine record. The moment that happened, the 5'11", 188-pound home run hitter became the champion of the combine. 

    Only one other combine participant ran a sub-4.3 40 this weekend. 

    That Ross was also a top-five finisher at his position with a 37-inch vertical and a 11'1" broad jump is gravy. The 22-year-old, who scored 17 touchdowns as a junior with the Huskies in 2016, probably cemented himself as a first-round pick.

Down: WR Corey Davis

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    While Ross was lighting it up, former Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis could only watch helplessly. Davis entered the predraft process battling Mike Williams for the consensus top spot at that position, but he also entered the offseason battling an ankle injury that required surgery and cost him a chance to participate in the combine. 

    Davis also won't be ready for his school's pro day later this month, which could cause him to lose more ground to Williams, Ross and other risers out wide. He does, however, believe he'll have a chance to run the 40 and work out for teams before April's draft, and he doesn't seem too concerned about his proverbial stock. 

    "I don't think it should [affect my draft stock] because my game tape is not too shabby," Davis told the media in Indy. "And I'll be good by minicamp, so that's really what matters."

Up: DE Myles Garrett

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    How does one improve his stock when he is already viewed as the best human football player in his class? One answer: Perform so well that you're compared to a fictional mutant.

    "I don't have a player comparison for what I just saw," a defensive coordinator told The MMQB's Robert Klemko regarding former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett's Sunday performance. "He looked like Wolverine."

    Yeah, I could see the popular X-Men fighter weighing in at around 272 pounds and running a 4.64-second 40. Garrett also ranked in the top three at his position at the bench press (33 reps of 225 pounds), the vertical jump (41 inches) and the broad jump (10'8"). 

    At this point, it'd be shocking if he weren't drafted first overall. 

Down: LB Reuben Foster

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    Former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster might still be drafted in the top half of the first round, but there's no doubt he lost some ground when he was dismissed from the combine early following a heated exchange with a hospital worker. 

    Foster, who won the Butkus Award as the nation's top defensive player while leading the Crimson Tide in tackling in 2016, apologized to all 32 NFL teams, according to NFL Media's Kimberly Jones, calling the episode "a misunderstanding." He also pledged to make up for it by inviting teams to interview him at Alabama's pro day on Wednesday. 

    If all goes right there, this could become water under the bridge. For now, though, the gap separating Foster and rising linebackers Jarrad Davis and T.J. Watt has narrowed. 

Up: RB Christian McCaffrey

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    Only three running backs ran faster 40s than former Stanford back Christian McCaffrey (4.48). Only one had a higher vertical jump (37.5 inches). And nobody was close to as fast as him in the three-cone drill (6.57 seconds) or the 60-yard shuttle (11.03 seconds). 

    The 20-year-old also made it clear during position drills he's one of the most polished receivers in this year's class, which probably confirms the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up will be one of the first backs selected in the draft.

    "McCaffrey was unreal today," NBC Denver's Mike Klis tweeted Friday. "Some drills it was like he was a senior in high school and everybody else was in eighth grade."

Slightly Down: RB Leonard Fournette

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    On one hand, it was quite impressive that former LSU running back Leonard Fournette ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash despite weighing in at 240 pounds. On the other hand, it's mildly concerning that he came in five pounds above his 2016 playing weight, especially with the 22-year-old already facing some questions regarding his health. 

    Fournette's tape speaks volumes and he'll have plenty of time to back it up over the next six weeks. Still, the only other measurable drill he took part in was a disaster. Only two other backs posted a worse vertical jump than his 28.5-inch mark. 

    On that same day, seven offensive linemen jumped higher. 

    Fournette entered the weekend a surefire first-round pick, and while that's still the case, there are more questions about him now than there were a week ago.

Up: QB Deshaun Watson

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    Several quarterbacks, including Clemson product Deshaun Watson, entered the combine jockeying for position atop draft boards. But while on the surface it would appear Watson had the least to gain considering his thick resume, USA Today's Tom Pelissero concluded that he actually "won the day" Saturday. 

    Not only did Watson measure well while ranking in the top five in the 40-yard dash, the vertical and the broad jump, but he also put on a show in positional drills. 

    Watson "set himself apart from North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky and Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer with on-point passes with plenty of zip, as well as his clean footwork," USA Today's Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz wrote. "Already championed for a winning demeanor exhibited during last year's national championship run, Watson showed he won't shrink from a challenge."

Down: QB DeShone Kizer

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    Meanwhile, Kizer—whose was getting a lot of buzz entering the combine—appeared to take a step backward thanks to some less-than-inspiring performances in positional drills.

    Per Pelissero, his footwork—which CBSSports.com's Rob Rang described as "erratic"—was a significant issue scouts raised. And while he has a big arm, he also could have been a lot more accurate. 

    The 21-year-old's numbers in measurable drills—4.83 40, 30.5-inch vertical, 107-inch broad jump, 7.4-second three-cone drill—weren't strong, either. 

    Altogether, it confirmed to Bleacher Report's Chris Simms that Kizer shouldn't be the first quarterback taken in next month's draft. 

Up: TE O.J. Howard

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    Former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard entered the combine fighting Miami's David Njoku for the right to be viewed as the best player in this draft class at that position. And while Howard can't jump like Njoku, the 251-pounder gained ground by putting up a blazing 4.51-second 40, 22 bench-press reps and the fastest times in the three-cone drill and both shuttles.

    According to the SEC Network, that 40 time was the fastest ever by a player his size. 

    We already knew the 22-year-old had the requisite blocking and receiving skills to become a stellar NFL tight end. Now, many are wondering if he could become a star. 

Down: TE Jake Butt

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    While Howard, Njoku and Mississippi's Evan Engram put together great combine performances at the tight end position, John Mackey Award winner Jake Butt was idle. The Michigan product is recovering from a torn ACL for the second time in his college career—this one taking place in his final game as a senior. 

    Butt isn't known for his athleticism anyway, and he was still able to participate in interviews at the combine, but this appears to be a special year for tight ends. (Bleacher Report's Matt Miller calls this the most talented tight end class he's ever seen.)

    So even though there's plenty of tape to go off, Butt's injury could cost him quite a lot of money this spring. 

Up: WR Chris Godwin

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    Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin established himself as one of the top playmakers in the Big Ten the last two years, but there were questions regarding his speed entering the combine. 

    Those questions are gone. 

    That's because the 21-year-old shocked a lot of folks with a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, which ranked tied for fifth among all participating wideouts. We already knew the kid possessed the ability to block and make big contested catches, but a top-end performance in the 40 and the bench press and a position-low time of 4.00 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle make him a complete package. 

    Don't be surprised if a combine bump moves Godwin into the second-round conversation.

Down: DT Jaleel Johnson

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    Former Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson's stock was skyrocketing after he tore it up at the Senior Bowl, but his performance at the combine might have erased all of that hype. 

    The 6'3", 316-pounder ran a 5.38 40 (the second-slowest time at that position), registered abysmal shuttle and three-cone drill splits and posted a 100.0-inch broad jump (also second-worst at his position) while underperforming on the bench press. 

    Those numbers might not do justice to Johnson's game, and they certainly don't mean he can't be a second- or third-round pick and become a solid NFL defensive lineman. Still, they're concerning, especially considering he just became a hot commodity a few weeks ago. 

Up: OT Garett Bolles

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    This isn't a good year for early-round offensive tackles, but Utah product Garett Bolles took advantage of that by rocking the 40-yard dash (second at the position with a 4.95-second run), the broad jump (first, 115 inches), the three-cone drill (first, 7.29 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (second, 4.55). 

    He's known for his "dancing bear" feet, but Rotoworld's Josh Norris says the 115-inch broad jump was the fourth-highest recorded by an offensive lineman in the last decade. 

    "With his quick feet, superb balance, body control and agility, Bolles looks like a prototypical franchise tackle on the field," NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote. "If he continues to display exceptional athletic traits at his pro day on March 23 in Salt Lake City, he could grab the No. 1 spot at the position by draft day."

Down: WR Isaiah Ford

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    Entering the predraft process, many expected former Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford to compensate for his thin build by blowing everyone away with his speed. Instead, the three-year ACC starter disappointed at the combine with two 40-yard dashes above the 4.60 mark. 

    A total of 51 receivers participated in the 40, and only 10 ran slower than Ford. 

    He didn't make up for it elsewhere. In fact, Ford failed to rank in the top 10 at his position in any of the six measurable drills he took part in. Throw in a handful of drops in positional drills and it's safe to say the 21-year-old will face a ton of pressure next week at his pro day. 

Up: G Forrest Lamp

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    I'm just gonna say it: I love Lamp.

    This isn't a good year for guards, either, giving 309-pound Western Kentucky product Forrest Lamp a chance to stand out. Lamp ran a 5.00-second 40-yard dash and a 7.55-second three-cone drill while posting a 111-inch broad jump one day after putting up 34 bench-press reps. 

    He ranked in the top three among interior offensive linemen in all four areas. 

    Lamp is already a four-year college starter with a pristine reputation. Now that he's aced the combine with standout performances, he should be viewed as a first-round pick. 

Down: RB D'Onta Foreman

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    Former Texas running back D'Onta Foreman took part in the bench press and the weigh-in at the start of the combine, checking in 16 pounds lighter (233) than his college playing weight. That's the good news. 

    The bad news is he wasn't able to show how much faster he can be at that weight because he was held out of Friday's workouts due to a small stress fracture in his foot, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. 

    There should already be questions regarding Foreman's blocking and his ability to hold on to the football after a fumble-plagued 2016 campaign. He also played with a broken hand as a junior—his only full season as a regular starter for the Longhorns. So if we're adding injury concerns to the list, Foreman could be in trouble. 

    In a stacked running back class, the 2016 Doak Walker Award winner has a lot to prove at his pro day.

Slightly Up: CB Marshon Lattimore

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    Prior to excelling as a redshirt sophomore in 2016, former Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore was plagued by hamstring injuries. With that in mind, it's a little concerning the first-team All-Big Ten defender had his combine cut short by what ESPN's Adam Schefter reports was a hamstring injury.

    Lattimore denied that on Twitter, suggesting it was a hip flexor, but Schefter's source insists it was a hammy. Because Lattimore has plenty of time to get his health situation figured out, we're not letting the injury cast a dark cloud on what was still a fantastic showing in Indianapolis. 

    Lattimore ranked in the top three at his position with a 4.36-second 40, a 38.5-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump. 

    If he can get healthy in time for Ohio State's March 23 pro day, he'll have a chance to be a top-10 pick.

Down: CB Teez Tabor

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    Some had Florida corner Teez Tabor right there with Lattimore and elite Alabama cover man Marlon Humphrey. I used the past tense there because there's no way that's the case now. Not after Tabor—already facing questions about his speed—posted a 4.62-second 40-yard dash. 

    Thirty-three corners ran Monday. Zero were slower than Tabor. 

    The two-time first-team All-SEC corner helped his cause with a 120-inch broad jump (tied for first among defensive backs), but he also ranked second-last among DBs with just nine bench-press reps. 

    To boot, Brooks added that Tabor "didn't look smooth or fluid in drills."

    "From his ragged turns and transitions to his lackluster burst in the W-drill," Brooks wrote. "Tabor certainly didn't impress scouts with his movement skills."

    It all came just after the 6'0", 199-pounder said he thought he was "the best overall player in the draft."

Up: S Obi Melifonwu

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    Former Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu rode a wave of hype straight from the Senior Bowl to the combine, and he's still gaining momentum. 

    After checking in as the tallest and heaviest defensive back at the event, Melifonwu had the second-best broad jump (141 inches) in combine history. He also led all defensive backs with a 44-inch vertical jump and ranked in the top five at his position with a 4.40-second 40. 

    In terms of measurables, it was one of the most ridiculous combine performances I've seen. That's promising for a guy who also delivered on the field with 221 solo tackles and eight interceptions during his four years at UConn. 

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