Cover 3: Takeaways from the 2018 NFL Combine

Posted Mar 6, 2018

The staff gives their biggest takeaways from the 2018 NFL Combine:

As the action wraps up in Indianapolis, our writers share their biggest takeaways from the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.


My main takeaway from the combine is that the quarterback position at the top of the draft is still very muddled. There are legitimate arguments to make for any of four quarterbacks (maybe even five to some people) to be the best in the class.  If you want the player that is most prepared to start right away and is the most polished passer, Josh Rosen will be your top player. He has all the measurables for an NFL quarterback and played under center at UCLA. His lack of mobility, injury history and rumored concerns of personality problems might give you pause.

If you want the cleanest prospect with the fewest red flags, Sam Darnold is your guy. He checks all the boxes physically and has no off-field issues. He is accurate and mobile. But he also had some turnover issues in college, both fumbling the ball and throwing interceptions. That scares a lot of teams.

If you love production, then you love Baker Mayfield. He was an offensive machine in college and threw with good velocity, accuracy, and didn’t turn the ball over. He is a flat-out playmaker and teammates are said to gravitate to him. He is also very brash, some might say cocky, and only stands slightly over six feet tall. He does not fit the prototypical quarterback image. Or maybe you want the guy with the highest upside? Josh Allen has the best arm talent of anyone in the class and has all the measurables, physical traits and the personality most people prefer at the position. Unfortunately for Allen, he only completed 56% of his passes last season at a lower level of college football and has had accuracy issues that are historically difficult to correct.

Beauty is going to be in the eye of the beholder here. Different teams will like different players and will have good, legitimate reasons for it. The full day visits with teams are going to be important as teams get a feel for exactly what these quarterbacks are all about. It might be those interactions that determine which quarterback each team likes more than the others. One thing we do know, the next two months are going to be fascinating.


I went in thinking Saquon Barkley had a chance to be the first running back taken in the top three since 2012, and I came away believing that he is in play to become the first overall pick at the position since Ki-Jana Carter, another Penn State product, in 1995. The reason is simple: he might just be the best player in this draft. There is one school of thought emerging that the Browns could take the versatile running back at No. 1 and then pick up their quarterback when they are back up at No. 4. I am not fully in that camp because it assumes they have equal grades for all of the quarterbacks and they do not care which one they get, but it is a compelling argument. It seems like a cop out to keep saying this, but it is really going to come down to whether the top decision-makers for each team, including the Giants at No. 2, are sold on one of these quarterbacks being their franchise guy. Those are conversations for behind closed doors.

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman did say publically, though, that you draft at No. 2 thinking that player is going to be a Hall of Famer. He also said they have to figure out if anyone is worthy of the No. 2 pick in any draft, not just this year. So whether that is Barkley, one of the quarterbacks, or even the best pass rusher in Bradley Chubb, we will see. The Giants have many good options, but the major wrinkle now is what happens if the Browns go Barkley at No. 1. It certainly will make for an interesting draft night. 


While the debate ensues whether it’s worth it to take a running back very high in the draft, based on the combine results, that position has a great deal of depth in this year’s class.  Penn State’s Saquon Barkley tops the list, but you didn’t need the combine to confirm that, especially if you’ve watched him closely during his collegiate career.  While Barkley stole the show with his measurements, you can’t overlook Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Derrius Guice of LSU and North Carolina State’s Nyheim Hines, who all posted impressive 40-yard dash times.

At quarterback, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma both helped their stock by throwing at the combine, but to me, Mayfield continues to separate himself from the pack and quiet the skeptics who constantly raise questions about his attitude.  While there’s only so much you can take away from quarterbacks throwing against air, Mayfield is putting the focus back on football, and despite his lack of size compared to the other quarterbacks, it’s very difficult to overlook his skillset.  

On defense, the two big standouts were North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb and linebacker Shaquem Griffin of Central Florida.  Griffin posted the fastest 40 time for his position since 2003 and wowed everyone by recording 20 reps on the bench press with a prosthetic on his left arm.  Chubb’s numbers were just as impressive, and it all but confirmed he’s, by far, the best pass rusher in this year’s class.