The dust has settled on the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, and from what I’ve seen and heard about the nine former Seminoles who attended, it’s like the old Clint Eastwood film, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”
The obvious choice to start with is Derwin James (pictured above). He had a great combine, producing numbers not too far off those posted by former FSU star and current Jaguars standout Jalen Ramsey. What he needed to show was the athleticism that made him such a hyped prospect coming out of high school and was seen in flashes during his college career.
He looked good in drills and his measurables were good. One scout told me James was everything they thought he’d be; the team thinks if he focuses on one position or area of the field, he will excel. He started off the season as a seeming sure-fire top-five pick, but his status dropped during the season. With his strong combine showing, one would think he definitely has top-15 potential.
Josh Sweat was one of the guys who needed to have a good showing at the combine to increase his draft stock, and he did just that. One of the best things for a prospect is to measure and look like what has been portrayed. Most had him at 6 feet 5 and in the 240-250 range; his official measurement was just under 6-5 and his weight was 251 pounds, giving him that prototype edge rusher look.
He had said he was going to run a 4.4, have a vertical of 41 inches and a board jump of over 10 ft in the broad jump. He was close, running a 4.53 and positing a vertical of 39.5 and a broad jump of 10-4. More impressive was his short shuttle, which shows lateral quickness, at 4.28 seconds. This shows he has the athleticism to come off the edge.
But it also shows that his lack of production based upon these measurables just doesn’t make sense. Still, his measurables and test numbers likely will entice someone to take a chance on him earlier than his production merits. God just doesn’t make that many guys who are that big and can move like that.
Matthew Thomas was another high-rated recruit who didn’t necessarily live up to the hype. He did lead the team in tackles in 2016 and ’17, but had a lot of nagging injuries.
He was considered a bit undersized by some, but weighing in at 232 pounds shut that down. He also showed explosive power, which is never a bad thing during the combine. His 4.58 40 is a good time for a linebacker, and his vertical (41.5 inches), broad jump (10-9), three-cone drill (6.85 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.28 seconds) showcased the athleticism that had him ranked as a five-star prospect coming out of high school.
What also helps him is that FSU linebackers have produced in the NFL of late. His stock should rise a bit over the next few weeks.
I expected Auden Tate to perform well. His measurables (6-5, 225 pounds) are impressive, but a slow time in the 40 (4.68) and a just-OK vertical of 31 inches didn’t help a guy who, with a good showing, could’ve potentially come away with a late first/early second grade.
From my experience, if you don’t think you’ll run well – I thought he needed a sub-4.6 – don’t run at the combine. His ability to make tough catches is what will get him drafted, but a good burst would’ve given scouts something else to like. Still, he has his pro day to improve on his numbers.
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