On Wednesday, we finally got to watch some of the NFL Draft prospects in action. Wednesday was dedicated to tight ends, wide receivers, and quarterbacks, and the group didn’t disappoint.
We had some record breaking 40s, an arm strength showcase with the quarterbacks, and a few tight ends stole the show through the first couple of hours of the combine. There were several players who may have jumped onto the Eagles’ board with their performances in Indianapolis.
So without further ado, let’s get into some takeaways from the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine.
Jelani Woods, Chig Okonkwo standout from the TE class
Tight end is far from a pressing need for the Eagles this offseason, but there’s a good chance they’ll select one in the later rounds of the upcoming draft. Behind Dallas Goedert, the team doesn’t have much to work with at the position. Jack Stoll showed some progress during his rookie campaign, but not enough to cement his status as the TE2 next year. Tyree Jackson has all the physical tools to be an exceptional tight end, but injuries continue to be an issue for him.
Two tight ends from the combine that really stood out were Virginia’s Jelani Woods and Maryland’s Chig Okonkwo. They’re both projected to be day three selections, though that may have changed after their stellar performances yesterday.
Woods had the better day of the two in my opinion, but not by much. Standing at 6-foot-7, 253 pounds, he has a solid body for an NFL tight end. He started the day repping 225 pounds 24 times and he then ran an impressive 4.61 40-yard-dash, the second-fastest 40 of any tight end in attendance. Woods also looked ultra smooth in the receiving drills.
Okonkwo is a more compact tight end, standing at 6-foot-2, but he more than makes up for it with his speed, posting the best 40 time of any tight end in Indy with a 4.52 mark. He didn’t catch every ball thrown his way during drills, but he still looks comfortable adjusting to passes and he showcased his smooth agility in and out of breaks.
Although this tight end class doesn’t have a bonified No. 1 guy like last year with Kyle Pitts, it’s a deep group that can produce multiple stellar NFL prospects. Woods and Okonkwo, in particular, are two names to keep an eye on as draft weekend approaches.
This WR class is deep
Entering this week, there hasn’t been a consensus on who the true No. 1 wideout is in this year’s class. That probably won’t change after Wednesday, but we’re now all aware of just how deep this receiver class is. Guys like Calvin Austin, Skyy Moore, Christian Watson, and Tyquan Thorton all raised their draft stock.
Chris Olave may have been the most impressive wideout on Wednesday, though, posting an impressive 4.49 40, along with an equally as impressive vertical jump (32 inches) and broad jump (10-4). He caught everything thrown his way during drills, including some where he had to extend for the catch. He may have jumped into top-15 range with his peformance.
The one guy I was really anxious to watch was Arkansas’ Treyon Burks. He’s arguably the most physically imposing wideout in this year’s class and it’s not hard to see why. He was noticeably thicker than almost every wideout in attendance. I was hoping to see him run a bit faster than 4.55, but that’s still a respectable time for a guy of his size. He was a bit inconsistent during drills, looking very smooth at times and then very stiff at other times. His performance just didn’t standout as much as I expected it to, but his combine performance shouldn’t lower his draft stock much at all. Burks can still make a strong case for the No. 1 wide receiver of this year’s crop.
All in all, the Eagles should be happy with what they saw on Wednesday with this group. They won’t need to reach for anyone between 15 and 20 and there will be guys in the later rounds worth taking fliers on.
Let’s talk quarterbacks
It still feels very unlikely that the Eagles will take a quarterback in the first-round this year, but you can’t tell me Howie Roseman wasn’t salivating in his booth while watching some of these drills. Malik Willis will certainly be one of the main talking points following his performance Wednesday, dude has a cannon.
Scouts don’t put a lot of stock into QB drills against air, but this is the type of stuff that will get the general public talking, and in turn we could see Willis go as the first quarterback off the board in the upcoming draft.
Other notable quarterback performances included Desmond Ridder, who ran a 4.52 40, the fastest time of any quarterback who chose to run. Kenny Pickett made headlines with his hand measurements prior to the drills on Wednesday, but he still showcased his arm when he hit the field.
Though Willis may have solidified his spot as QB1 in this year’s class, there still isn’t a consensus on that front, even after the combine. There will be some diamonds in the rough with this QB class, though, and that was evident on Wednesday.
“For the love of God, get us some linebackers”
Our good pal Gio was in attendance Wednesday and he had some choice words for Howie.
I second that, Gio. Hopefully Howie was listening.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until Saturday to watch any of the linebacker prospects take the field. All eyes will be on Devin Lloyd and Nakobe Dean as they’re clearly the top two backers in this year’s class. And they may both be available when the Eagles are on the clock.
It was just nice to see Gio out there repping his Eagles green. See world, us Eagles fans aren’t all that bad.