NFL Draft Prospects Who Blew It at the Combine
Not every NFL prospect shined at the scouting combine.
Thanks to jaw-dropping performances from the likes of D.K. Metcalf and Quinnen Williams, it's easy to get lost in highlights. But whether it's a bad measurement, subpar performance in drills or something else, Indianapolis offered plenty of landmines that tripped up some prospects.
When a measurement goes wrong and skews what scouts saw on tape, that bodes poorly for a player's draft stock. If a prospect struggles during drills, it raises a red flag and leads to questions about their athleticism and/or work ethic.
The following players blew it at the combine for one reason or another. While that won't necessarily crush their NFL hopes, it is a major bump in the road.
Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
Mississippi's Greg Little entered the combine as one of a few potential franchise left tackle options in his class. However, his performance in certain drills raised concerns.
Little, who checked in at 6'5" and 310 pounds, had the second- and third-worst marks of any offensive tackle in the 40-yard dash (5.33 seconds) and vertical jump (25"), respectively.
"A vertical jump of 25 [inches] for Greg Little is barely—one inch actually—over the minimum usually set for jumps," Bleacher Report's Matt Miller explained. "Combined with poor strength (he didn't bench here), that's a big red flag to me. His stock has been steadily declining."
Little wouldn't be the first prospect to have a fine NFL career after testing poorly at the combine. But when trying to convince teams to spend an early-round pick on you, it's better for prospects to avoid raising concerns in Indianapolis.
While Little may not fall too far, he did set himself back in a tackle class boasting strong prospects such as Alabama's Jonah Williams and Florida's Jawaan Taylor.
Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia
Georgia's Elijah Holyfield ran for 1,018 yards and seven scores while averaging 6.4 yards per carry last season. Heading into the combine, he looked like one of the few standouts in an otherwise weak running back class.
No red flags popped up when Holyfield came in at 5'10" and 217 pounds, but then he ran the 40.
Holyfield clocked in at 4.78 seconds, which was the second-slowest time of any running back. As Miller noted, "Two punters and one kicker ran the 40 faster" than Holyfield did.
He also struggled in drills, dropping passes.
The Bulldogs star running back didn't do himself any favors at the combine, but he'll have a chance to redeem himself at his pro day.
Kaden Smith, TE, Standford
As expected, Stanford's Kaden Smith measured well at 6'5" and 255 pounds.
It tapered off from there.
Smith ran a disappointing 4.92-second 40-yard dash, had 15 reps on the bench press and posted a 32-inch vertical. Though he scored seven times over the past two seasons, his disappointing results in those drills raise a red flag.
Meanwhile, other tight ends in his class such as Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and Irv Smith had huge days.
Already viewed as an iffy blocker, Smith's upside was tied to his big-play ability. If his drill numbers hint at how he'll stack up against pro competition, his outlook isn't nearly as great as it was prior to the combine.
Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley had one of the strangest combines of any prospect.
McSorley was a three-year starter but regressed as a senior, completing only 53.2 percent of his passes for 2,530 yards and 18 touchdowns. That might explain why he received an invitation to work out with defensive backs (which he declined), according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
McSorley then measured in at 6'0" and 202 pounds, which is small for a quarterback. The discussion surrounding Kyler Murray isn't in the same orbit considering the difference in production and upside between him and McSorley.
By passing on the request to work out with defensive backs, McSorley deprived himself of the opportunity to pique decision-makers' interest despite his middling collegiate production.
If McSorley goes on to excel as a quarterback, this all might look silly in hindsight. But for now, even his fast 40 time (4.57 seconds) doesn't outweigh the decision not to capitalize on another chance to prove himself.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
After snagging nine touchdowns on 44 catches as a junior, Georgia's Riley Ridley had the look of a prospect who could not only light the combine on fire, but take the top off pro defenses right away.
After Ridley's performance in Indianapolis, scouts are likely going back to the tape.
Putting aside any hopes he could run like his brother, Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, his 4.58 time in the 40-yard dash was alarming. Even worse was his 30.5-inch vertical, the second-worst for his position.
Marcus Mosher of Raiders Wire painted a bleak picture: "There has never been a WR drafted in the top 75 picks who weighed less than 200 pounds and ran a 4.59 or worse. Riley Ridley is in some bad company once again."
Those middling numbers may make scouts go back and reexamine his tape. That's hardly the type of attention prospects want to create at the combine.
Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
Holyfield wasn't the only running back who sent his draft stock careening downward.
Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary ran for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2017 and 1,358 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2018. With a strong showing at the combine, he could have put to rest any concerns about the level of competition he faced.
Except the strong showing didn't happen.
Singletary measured at only 5'7" and 203 pounds, which wouldn't have been so bad if not for his 4.66-second 40-yard dash. NFL Network's Michael Giardi put it best: "Tough day for Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary. Only clock 4.66 in the 40. He looks a lot faster on tape but his stock takes a hit, at least in the interim."
Singletary uses his size well on film to get lost behind bigger blockers and break free, but everyone is faster in the NFL. Teams may now wonder whether the diminutive running back will be able to break away as often or sustain after consistent hits.
KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State
KeeSean Johnson had an outside chance to become one of the better-looking receiver prospects in the class.
However, the Fresno State product didn't quite stake his claim in Indianapolis.
The 6'1", 201-pound Johnson ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash, a slower-than-expected number given his weight. His 30-inch vertical jump, which was the worst among all receivers, also didn't help his outlook.
Johnson was a four-year starter with the Bulldogs and caught a career-high 95 passes for 1,340 yards and eight scores as a senior, so his measurements may not matter much due to his production.
But his apparent athletic shortcomings are both hard to ignore and thwarted his attempts to separate himself from the pack.
Prospect data and info via NFL.com.