There are a few players each year that absolutely light up the NFL combine. Here are 7 prospects we feel will do so in 2017.
Their names become the stuff of legend during draft season. Guys that blow up the NFL Scouting Combine elevate their draft stock, potentially making millions of dollars over the span of a few days and they leave us talking about their performances for years. Some of them actually go on to become really good NFL players — Chris Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Cam Newton, Aaron Donald and many more have put on great performances at the combine, followed by NFL success. On the other hand, there are those who have been labeled as “Workout Warriors”. Names like Mike Mamula, Matt Jones and Vernon Gholston are perfect examples of this.
For this list, we’ll leave out the obvious, bigger-name guys. Everyone expects Leonard Fournette, Myles Garrett and Dalvin Cook to post big-time workout numbers. So, let’s take a look at the 7 players who will blow up the 2017 NFL Combine.
Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
Melifonwu is big, strong and athletic. At 6-4, 219, he surpasses the size thresholds all teams look for in a safety. Melifonwu’s movement skills defy his size, however. He shined at the Senior Bowl with his all-around skill set and stood out among a list of all-stars from bigger schools. Currently valued as a second-rounder, Melifonwu is a prime candidate to boost his draft stock even higher with a killer performance at the combine.
John Ross, WR, Washington
Ross, listed at 5-11, 190, is the type of athlete for which the NFL combine is tailor-made. He has proclaimed that he has been timed at a 4.3 in the for 40, so there’s no wonder he’s considered a candidate to potentially break the combine 40 record, currently held by Chris Johnson. Ross is also an explosive and dangerous route runner, so he should also shine in the agility drills, vertical and broad jump. If he performs well in the gauntlet as well, John Ross will be a name on a lot of folks’ minds come April.
David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL)
Athletic tight ends like Njoku are highly-sought-after commodities in the NFL. Njoku’s combination of size, speed and explosion will wow scouts and coaches. He also has big hands and is able to snatch the ball out of the air. The combine is the perfect setting for raw, but extremely athletic skill players; and Njoku fits the bill.
Jabril Peppers, S/LB, Michigan
While Jabril Peppers is one of the more polarizing prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, it’s hard to imagine him not putting on a show at the combine. He’ll check all the boxes, stature-wise, as he’s the ultimate height/weight/speed prospect. The fact that he’ll be working in the linebacker group means he’ll stand out even more. Peppers would increase his stock even more if he works out with the DBs as well.
Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
An absolute wrecking-ball on the football field, Haason Reddick is highly likely to shine during workouts. He’s one of the more explosive players in this class, regardless of position. He’s also fighting to solidify a first round selection. He should run the 40 in the low 4.5 range, show well in agility drills and move at a elite level in space. After a dominant 2016 campaign, a wonderful Senior Bowl and a standout combine performance, don’t be surprised if Haason Reddick is a mid-first rounder when it’s all said and done.
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Jackson was one of the best playmakers in the nation during his college career. He scored touchdowns as a defender, wideout and return man; he’s also an experienced track athlete. Although he’s a bit raw as a cover man, Jackson should absolutely stand out in a setting such as the combine, where he’ll be able to flash his speed, quickness, loose hips and solid hands. In a deep class of cornerbacks, Adoree’ Jackson will look to keep his name among the top names in his peer group.
Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State
Rivers is a name not a lot of casual draft fans have heard of. However, after the combine, he should be on the lips of many. He’s big (6-4, 250), athletic and explosive. The same traits that allowed him to dominate at Youngstown State are the same ones that will allow Rivers to explode onto the scene at the combine. Rivers should perform above-the-line in speed/agility tests, position drills and put up impressive bench numbers. Add to that, Rivers impressive personality and smarts, and he’ll be one of the winners of the combine this year.