INDIANAPOLIS — Saturday’s on-field action at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis featured a freakish performance by one top-ranked wide receiver, as well as a tight end who turned heads with his speed. What were the top takeaways from the day?
D.K. METCALF — ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Several draft experts have projected Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf as a popular pick for the Indianapolis Colts when they go on the clock with the No. 26-overall pick in a couple months.
But if Metcalf’s on-field workout at the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday is any indication, the Colts will probably need to trade up to actually get him.
Metcalf absolutely dominated the workouts. Despite being a big receiver at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, Metcalf ran a blazing 4.33-second 40-yard dash, put up 225 pounds on the bench press 27 times and leaped his way to a 40.5-inch vertical.
They say it’s important not to overreact to shirts-and-shorts workouts like these, but it’s hard not to be impressed by what Metcalf, on paper, can provide.
Another wide receiver that impressed both with his speed and in on-field workouts was Ohio State’s Parris Campbell, who clocked the fastest 40-yard dash of this year’s Combine so far at 4.31 seconds.
"This is speed that translates to the football field," the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said. "He caught the ball really well, that was my question. We haven't seen him run a ton of different routes there in that (Ohio State) offense. Today he did a wonderful job.”
That theme, speed, was apparent all day for the wide receivers, nine of whom clocked 40-yard dash times faster than 4.4 seconds. Just one receiver did that all of last year at the Combine.
QBs HIT THE FIELD
While perhaps the most intriguing prospect at the position, Kyler Murray, decided not to participate, the rest of the quarterbacks hit the field Saturday for Combine workouts.
Perhaps the player at the position that impressed the most on Saturday was Missouri’s Drew Lock, who continued to show off his elite arm talent during drills, but also likely surprised a few teams by breaking into the 4.6-range on his 40-yard dash, logging a 4.69.
“He throws deep with ease and flashes the ability to take a little steam off his passes for increased accuracy,” NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks wrote. “With his outstanding upside, Lock could sneak into the conversation as a top-10 pick despite his inconsistent production at Missouri.”
Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson, meanwhile, continues to place himself in the “freak athlete” category. A huge quarterback at 6-foot-7, Jackson on Saturday ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds.
Jackson also got some ribbing from former great NFL receiver and current analyst Steve Smith, who told the quarterback to take a little bit of the zip off his passes during a timing drill intended to be for the wide receivers; his next passes were noticeably lighter.
ON TO THE TIGHT ENDS
Colts fans know just how important the tight end position is to a creative playcaller like head coach Frank Reich, and the team on Saturday got a good look at a deep crop of prospects at the position.
Perhaps no one at tight end impressed on Saturday more than Iowa’s Noah Fant, who ran a very impressive 4.5-second 40-yard dash, but also had a 39.5-inch vertical and had a 10-foot-7 broad jump.
Colts.com’s Jake Arthur wrote all about Fant and how he could be a good fit in Indy yesterday, but Brooks wrote Saturday that it’s possible Fant might not even be there for the taking when the Colts go on the clock.
“It's time to put Fant back into the discussion as a potential top-15 pick,” Brooks wrote. “The Iowa star is a dynamic athlete with impressive numbers in the 40 (4.50), vertical jump (39.5 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-7). And he followed all that up with a solid effort in positional drills. Fant's soft hands and polished route-running skills could make him the first tight end off the board on draft day.”
Jeremiah, meanwhile, was also impressive with Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger, who didn’t have a great 40-yard dash (4.75) and put up just 17 reps on the bench press, but simply was solid in on-field drills.
"I think he can survive in-line. You can hope he can just shield and wall off which he shows he's willing on tape," Jeremiah said. "I like him though you make him that wing and flex him out, move him. He's just real fluid, soft hands. He's going to be a good player. I'm a fan of Sternberger."
CHATTING IT UP
Saturday also saw the defensive linemen and linebackers talking to the media. We took a close look at Florida State’s Brian Burns, who has plenty of speed coming off the edge, as well as Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, who can play virtually anywhere and be effective but also wants to positively affect his team’s locker room culture.
The D-line and the linebackers will take their turn on the field for workouts on Sunday, while the oftentimes-chatty defensive backs face the reporters.
Here is a look at the defensive linemen talking to the media at the 2019 NFL Combine.