Top 2019 NFL Prospects Falling Down Draft Boards

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2019

Top 2019 NFL Prospects Falling Down Draft Boards

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Though the first two weeks of free agency and a few blockbuster trades pushed the NFL draft process to the background, its gears continue to move for prospects and teams alike. 

    For teams, it's a matter of making the pro-day rounds in the weeks before the April 25-27 draft, as well as hosting visits with prospects. Scouting departments are going back to boards with revisions after getting official combine numbers and studying the film. 

    For prospects, results can vary. Those who struggled at the combine need to bounce back at pro days. While those events are generally prospect-friendly, it could be too late for some prospective pros. 

    Reasons for a stock fall can vary. Unexpected bad testing numbers, unimpressive drills or outside factors such as limited landing spots hit a prospect's outlook. As free agency continues, these prospects are falling down boards. 

         

Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson

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    Tre Lamar looked like he could stick out in a class with some room near the top for two-down linebackers who can lead, stop the run and possibly hold up in coverage. 

    The idea is showing cracks, though. 

    Lamar stood tall with 6'3" and 253-pound combine measurements but suffered a shoulder or pectoral injury on the bench press, per NFL Network's Kimberly Johnson. He then hit Clemson's pro day and only ran a 4.95-second 40-yard dash, which again raised concerns. 

    Bleacher Report's Matt Miller went back to the tape and observed: "He's a very good two-down linebacker patrolling between the tackles, but can he cover or take away the outside play? That was a weakness on film, and it's why he's moved down to the third round on my newest update."

    Lamar might have a fine career, but the limitations continue to drive down his stock.

Greg Little, OT, Mississippi

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Mississippi's Greg Little left the combine as one of its bigger disappointments, and the fallout is still being sorted. 

    His measurements looked good at 6'5" and 310 pounds. But he didn't participate in the bench press, posted a 25-inch vertical and needed 5.33 seconds to get through the 40-yard dash. That was the second-worst dash and third-worst vertical among offensive linemen. 

    Running in a straight line and jumping high aren't strictly parts of being a good lineman. But The Draft Network's Kyle Crabbs pointed out that Little wasn't much more impressive in drills: "The only time you'll see worse footwork than what you just saw from Greg Little in the rabbit drill is when you're watching Greg Little game tape."

    In what looks like a deep class that features prospects such as Jawaan Taylor on the rise, Little is on the downswing. It will take a dramatic performance at his March 29 pro day to get things back in the first-round conversation. 

Kris Boyd, CB, Texas

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Kris Boyd's tough draft season started when he struggled during the Senior Bowl by drawing three flags

    Boyd didn't do much to alleviate the concerns at the combine, either. His fantastic measurements for a cornerback—5'11", 201 pounds—were the high point. A 4.45 40-yard dash didn't blow anyone away, nor did the other numbers

    While he's versatile, the real question with Boyd has always been whether he could keep up with NFL speed. This isn't suggesting he needs to make a positional move, but struggles at key predraft moments have hurt the former Longhorn's stock. 

    Boyd, despite the good measurements, continues to struggle to stand out in a class with solid boundary corners and shifty slot players who can undoubtedly match NFL speed. 

Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Before the combine, Florida's Jachai Polite ranked among the likes of Brian Burns in the second tier of edge-rushers—if not higher.

    He fell out of the first round with his combine performance, though. 

    Seemingly a high-upside pass-rusher in the athletic mold, Polite started strong by checking in at 6'3" and 258 pounds. Things fell apart with his 4.84-second 40 and poor 32-inch vertical jump. 

    The Florida product needed good testing numbers to offset some of the inconsistent play he put on film. Given the paltry returns, though, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote there's "no chance" he'll go in the first round. 

    A possible first-rounder doesn't often flop and confirm film concerns in such a manner, and it's the type of combine performance he can't bounce back from during draft season.

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Much like Polite, Duke's Daniel Jones started his tough journey to the draft at the Senior Bowl. 

    The 6'5", 221-pound signal-caller struggled in drills there, as Jon Ledyard of The Draft Network pointed out:

    "The big Duke quarterback was far too slow in his decision-making from the pocket, often opting to safely check the ball down instead of threaten a tight window. I give him credit for knowing his limitations—his arm is pretty average—but eventually you have to show me you can make high degree of difficulty throws as a quarterback to succeed in the NFL."

    Jones didn't win any fans at the combine, either, especially once his ball speed checked in as one of the lowest among notable quarterbacks, which is a bad sign regarding arm strength. As NFL.com's Tom Pelissero noted, he also broke his collarbone last season—though he did return to action. 

    Coming off a season in which he only threw 22 touchdowns and tossed nine interceptions, Jones hasn't used the draft-process platform to answer some of the questions surrounding his pro upside. He was up there with Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray as a first-round prospect, but it's getting hard to envision he'll stay there.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Alabama's Josh Jacobs is the best running back in a weak positional class—which is also stuck among a talent-laden defensive crop. He can't help that.

    After running for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns a season ago, Jacobs checked in at 5'10" and 220 pounds at the combine but didn't do drills. 

    In the meantime, his draft hype has taken a nosedive—partially due to his lack of production with the Crimson Tide (committee or not), and partially because of moves around the NFL. One of Jacobs' few possible first-round landing spots, Baltimore, signed Mark Ingram. With cheap free agents such as Marshawn Lynch, Alex Collins and C.J. Anderson still available, his Round 1 prospects don't look good.   

    After a ho-hum performance at Alabama's pro day, the onetime top-five chatter surrounding Jacobs will stay silent.

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Washington's Byron Murphy had a serious shot at being the first cornerback off the board. 

    A man-to-man corner who was scrappy on film while fighting for space with bigger receivers and who looked stellar in coverage, Murphy had a ho-hum combine. His 5'11", 190-pound measurements were fine, but running a 4.55 40-yard dash was not. 

    Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus detailed why: "Murphy was in the conversation for first corner off the board heading into Indy, but his 4.55 40 is going to scare off a number of teams. There were already questions about his ability in man coverage, and the slow 40 didn't do anything to alleviate concerns."

    Overall, in terms of SPARQ score (which is designed to boil down speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness into an overall athleticism score), Murphy finished 21st among cornerbacks. 

    He went from a defender any team should want to a scheme-specific fit in a hurry. He's still got upside, but a drop out of the first round won't be surprising.