INDIANAPOLIS — It’s still pretty early at the Combine, but here some reactions from folks inside the NFL on the action here after two days of workouts.
Garret Bolles, OT, Utah: Word out of Utah was that the former JC transfer probably could’ve used another year of developing more upper body strength, but he’s allayed some of those concerns. Scouts LOVE his toughness and his feet. Proving he was the nation’s top JC prospect two years ago for good reason. The 6-5, 297-pounder’s athleticism was evident in drills and also with his 9-6 broad jump — tops among all O-linemen — and an impressive 4.95 40.
Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee: Though he wasn’t a featured back at Tennessee. Kamara’s made a lot of big fans in the NFL scouting world. Earlier in the week he interviewed well, and on Friday he performed extremely well. Kamara (above) vertical jumped 39.5 inches and broad-jumped 10-9, displaying the type of explosiveness coaches say they like from his film.
Forrest Lamp, WKU, OG: He ran a 5.00 in the 40, but scouts really liked how he performed in drills and his arms measured a little longer than they did at the Senior Bowl, going from 31 1/8 to 32 1/4. That probably doesn’t change the perception that he must move inside to guard or center, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. He also displayed excellent strength doing 34 bench reps at 225.
Chris Godwin, Penn State, WR: As the Nittany Lions emerged as one of the best stories in college football last season, it was Godwin’s big-play, often-acrobatic catches that helped compliment dynamic RB Saquon Barkley. The question among scouts was Godwin’s speed. Word was he was more of a high-4.5 guy. On Friday, I ran into Penn State recruiting staffer Andy Frank who told me he expected Godwin to run much faster than folks expected and go around 4.45. Godwin did better, blazing a 4.42. He also displayed his wheels, ranking among the fastest in both shuttles as well, to go along with those soft hands, body control and terrific ball skills.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson, QB: He showed up bigger than some probably thought at 6-2, 221. That’s sturdy for a guy who had been in the 6-2, 205-210 range early on in his career at Clemson. By far the most successful college QB in this crop also was the most impressive passer, according to several observers we spoke with after Saturday’s workout. For my money, Watson is the safest Top 10 pick of all the quarterbacks in this group, and I feel like he helped that relative to Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer.
John Ross, Washington, WR: The biggest talk was surrounding Ross blazing a Combine record 4.22 40, breaking Chris Johnson’s mark of 4.24. Problem is NFL Network said he suffered cramping in his calves at the end of it, prompting one NFL insider to remark, “Going in here, I knew two things about John Ross: He’s fast and he’s fragile. And that’s still all we know about him.”
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, DE: It’s hard to get better than already being the projected No. 1 overall guy, but having the chance to personally witness the awesome athleticism of the Aggies’ Ultra Freak still left folks wowed. He weighed in at 272 and clocked a 4.64 40, which is actually a bit slower than Garrett expected. He vertical jumped 41 inches (a bit better than he told me he thought he might get a day earlier) and broad-jumped 10-8. Plus, his 35 1/4-inch arms also add to the almost off-the-charts package.
Haason Reddick, Temple, OLB: The former walk-on has been the talk of the Temple program for years. Props to him and to head coach Matt Rhule, who wasn’t blowing smoke at all with all his big talk of Reddick’s athleticism. He’s 237 pounds, ran 4.52 and showed elite explosiveness broad-jumping 11-1 and vertical jumped 36.5 inches while also shining in the positional drills.
Duke Riley, LSU, LB: Arguably one of the most improved players in the SEC in 2016 as he flourished under Tiger DC Dave Aranda, Riley’s stock continues to go up. He ran a 4.58 40, vertical jumped 34.5 inches and was among the positional leaders in both shuttle runs while coming in at 231 pounds, which was heftier than many had expected.
Wayne Gallman, Clemson, RB: Gallman (above) runs hard and breaks a lot of tackles, but in a deep running back class he struggled to display the kind of explosiveness scouts were hoping to see, vertical-jumping just 29 inches and clocking a 4.6 40.
Corey Clement, Wisconsin, RB: The Badgers have cranked out plenty of good backs, but Clement was slower than Gallman, barely cracking 4.70, and looked stiff in position drills.
Isaiah Ford, Va. Tech, WR: Teammate Bucky Hodge was as explosive as he was hyped to be. Ford, though, only clocked a 4.6 and was inconsistent catching the ball, and probably passed up by several others in a wideout group that doesn’t have any superstar talents but several really strong prospects in the late first to high third round.
The USC O-line: One NFL coach called it an embarrassing showing by the Trojan linemen, low-lighted by Damien Mama’s plodding 5.84 40, and Chad Wheeler and Zach Banner weren’t much better. Mama (above), a former heavily touted recruit, struggled moving in drills as well and like Banner left folks really concerned about his conditioning and work ethic.
Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, DL: Hawkeye D-linemen have done well in the NFL of late, but the 6-3, 309-pounder did not help himself at all on Sunday, struggling with a 5.38 40 and a dreadfully slow 10-yard splits of 2.03 and 1.92 that had some scouts cringing. (Most D-linemen tested went 1.75 or faster.)