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Rookie Combine Risers: 2018 Edition

As the off-season progresses everyone is continuing to gather more data and evaluate the prospects that will make up the 2018 NFL Draft. The past week been an exciting time as the “Underwear Olympics” took place. This year’s crop, overall, did not disappoint as many players made their mark as risers after the event. The tape has already been made; players are who they have shown to be through their 2-4 years of collegiate play on the field. Many of these numbers, while stunning, are just confirmation of what we had all seen on Saturdays. But as these players transition to playing on Sundays in the NFL it is important to make sure nothing is missed, and every aspect of a players game, as well as their potential, are examined. Let’s now run through the players individually who have seen their stock rise or fall due to the NFL Combine.

The Risers

Nick Chubb (RB) – Chubb was considered by most to be the next great RB after taking over for the recently departed Todd Gurley his freshman year at Georgia. Then came his sophomore season where he suffered a gruesome knee injury than many wondered if he’d ever recover from. Not only did he return, but went on to finish 2nd in career rushing yards for Georgia. This weekend was important for him to let teams see how the knee is holding up. If it’s completely healed then watch out. He posted a 4.52 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical, and a 10 foot- 8 inch broad jump with a BMI of  31.7 and 98th percentile SPARQ (athletic score) at 227 pounds. This performance, along with his tape, should solidify him as the 1.03 in dynasty rookie drafts this year.


D.J. Moore (WR) – Coming into the weekend we were all led to believe that Moore’s height would hinder him. Well that can’t be said anymore as he checked in at an even six feet tall. This was my biggest negative on him and couldn’t be happier to see that. He killed his testing as well putting up a 4.42 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vert, and 11-foot broad jump. All in all he came out with a 91st percentile SPARQ score. Plus Moore posted a 97th percentile college dominator rating (receiving production metric), and his breakout age of 18.2 ranks in the 98th percentile. He is firmly within my top five rookie rankings.


Mike Gesicki (TE) – There may not have been a more stellar display at the Combine than what Gesicki did. He was looked at as an athletic tight end who could wreck havoc in the redzone already. He definitely won’t be asked to block much to start out by the team that drafts him.  However, he should get plenty of snaps as a mismatch for most any opponent. Gesicki measured in tied for second in height among tight ends at 6’5 1/2, tied for first in the 40 with a 4.54, and was first among all tight ends in the vertical jump, broad jump, and the 3-cone drill. He could be the first tight end selected on draft day which would boost his fantasy value. I currently have him ranked as my TE3 but the arrow is moving up, and he could rise with a stellar landing spot.


Baker Mayfield (QB) – The big news for fans of Mayfield came at the weigh-ins where he measured in at 6’1″, 215 lbs which puts him in the “good enough” range for quarterbacks. He also met the 9-inch threshold for hand size; officially measuring 9 1/4 inches. However, he really caught everyone’s attention in the passing drills. He showed out better than he did in the Senior Bowl. I believe it was a more accurate showing of his skill set. I currently have him as my QB3 and an early 3rd round pick in 1QB leagues.


D.J Chark (WR) – Chark got everyone talking this weekend with his results. He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash (ranking first among wide outs).  He was first in the vertical with a 40-inch jump.  And last but not least he tied for fourth in the broad jump at 10 feet 9 inches. Those numbers with his 6’3″, 199-pound frame were good enough to place him in the 92nd percentile for speed score, and 93rd percentile burst score. That showing matched up with, or exceeded to some extent, what we have seen on tape. When you mix that with the LSU program pedigree he should be looked at closely within his tier in your rookie drafts. I am looking at him in the middle of the second round in my drafts.


Royce Freeman (RB) – Freeman has been a divisive prospect throughout his career, but was nonetheless productive as one of the best big backs in college. He posted a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash, 6.9-second 3-cone drill, and 4.16-second 20-yard shuttle. He ranked 3rd among running backs in both agility drills. That really made him a winner. He should be in the first round of your rookie drafts this year.


Honorable Mention: Saquon Barkley (RB) – You can’t really be a riser if you’re already at the top. He could have called out those that have tried to drag him down yelling, “I told you so!”, all over the Twittersphere, but he didn’t. If someone is foolish enough to let him slip past the 1.01 I know you’ll be there to happily accept him.

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