This week in Indianapolis NFL Draft prospects from around the country will gather for the annual NFL Draft Combine. I personally think the Combine’s importance is a bit overblown, but there’s no doubt it’s a marquee event on the road to the Draft.
If you’ve been reading BLD for a while, you know of our love for NFL Mocks, Fansided’s incredible scouting/Draft/all things NFL blog. The crew at NFL Mocks has all the info you need to prepare yourself for the big Draft weekend in April. It’s a daily must-read as the Spring rolls along.
Fortunately, NFL Mocks Editor Jesse Bartolis was kind enough to answer a few questions for us as we look ahead to the Combine this week:
1) Let’s be real: the Bills absolutely have to come out of this draft with some pass rushers. We’ve heard a lot about the top pass rushers in this draft – any diamonds in the rough who might emerge during this combine?
Well now that the Bills are moving to a 43 I’ll focus on some guys I like as defensive ends. These might not be “diamonds in the rough” but two guys to watch.
Malik Jackson is a defensive end with good build who has potential as a 43 or 34 defensive end. Jackson is athletic and I expect a rise after the combine.
Chandler Jones plays in Syracuse so perhaps for Bills fans he’s no surprise player, but supremely athletic and gifted. He’s not Jason Pierre Paul, but he could have that kind of meteoritic rise from the combine if he looks as athletic as I think he will.
2) Even if Stevie Johnson comes back, the Bills really need an outside receiver with some size and speed. Anyone worth keeping an eye on this week?
Sure, lots of players. How fast Alshon Jefferey runs will be critical for his draft stock. Jefferey suffered from terrible quarterback play this past season, but he’s still a favorite prospect of ours. He’s big, he’s sudden. He needs to showcase that this week. If Jefferey runs fast and shows that he can move well for his size he could become a realistic option at 11.
Cal WR Marvin Jones was a guy I loved as a day three steal during the College Football season where people put his stock. However with how well he showed at the Senior Bowl he’s drawn comparisons to Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver. Jones could put himself as high as the second round after the combine.
Jermaine Kearse from Washington is extremely inconsistent, but has real ability and is a good risk on the third day.
Devon Wylie of Fresno State is a 5’9 185 pounds WR who can fly. He could surprise and have the fastest 40 yard dash at the combine (though he’ll have to beat Chris Rainey who’s reportedly beaten teammate Jeff Demps in a race-the same Jeff Demps who is giving up football because he’s training for the Olympics. Rainey is fast)
3) I think there’s a really good chance the Bills take a QB late in this draft. Who is worth keeping an eye on during the Combine that might fall into that 5th-7th round range?
Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois is a guy we like. He’s not terrific, but he’s mobile as a decent arm. A developmental prospect.
Austin Davis of Southern Mississippi is a guy who broke a lot of the school records set by some guy name Brett Favre (Pronounced Far-va I think) he’s a guy that’ll be interesting to keep an eye on.
In reality though you don’t learn much from quarterbacks at the combine.