Five takeaways from Saturday's Combine workouts and press conferences
ROSS BREAKS JOHNSON'S 40 RECORD
During his media availability on Friday, Washington wide receiver John Ross was asked if could break Chris Johnson's 2008 combine record of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. His response: "I'm going to try. I am going to try. I don't want to say too much.
I'm going to try. I'm going to give it my best." Try and you shall succeed. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound wideout turned in a time of 4.22 seconds during Saturday's on-field workouts.
In a twist of fate, he was assigned the No. 42 jersey number for the week.
Here are the top three times since 2006:
- WR John Ross, Washington (2017) – 4.22
- RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina (2008) – 4.24
- RB Dri Archer, Kent State (2014) – 4.26
And here are the top times at this year's combine so far (defensive backs go on Monday):
- WR John Ross, Washington – 4.22
- WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State – 4.31
- RB T.J. Logan, North Carolina – 4.37
TOP TIGHT ENDS WORK OUT
In addition to wide receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks kicked off the weekend with their turn in the on-field workouts. Various mock drafts have Alabama's O.J. Howard or Miami's David Njoku, the top two tight ends according to NFL Network's Mike Mayock, going to the Giants at No. 23. Both worked out today after weighing in on Friday.
The 6-foot-6, 249-pound Howard ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds, the second-fastest time among tight ends behind Mississippi's Evan Engram (4.42). Njoku, a New Jersey native, didn't break the broad jump record (12 feet, 3 inches by Connecticut's Byron Jones in 2015) like he wanted to, but he did finish second among tight ends at 11 feet, 1 inch. Known for his athleticism, Njoku also tied for third with a vertical jump of 37.5 inches.
TACO TAKES AFTER DUNLAP
Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison was the co-defensive coordinator at Florida when Carlos Dunlap, a two-time Pro Bowler for the Bengals, came up through the ranks. A few years later, he has another draft prospect cut from the same cloth: defensive end Taco Charlton. The big reason is their 6-foot-6 frame.
"I study a lot of guys who've got that similar body type," Charlton said Saturday when the defensive linemen met the media. "So you've got the Carlos Dunlap's, the Ziggy Ansah's, guys with that similar body type that learn how to use their leverage, use their long arms. So I study those guys just to see how I can use my body and then study like the Justin Houston's and the Tamba Hali's just because the way they use their hands is almost an artwork. Pass rush, to me, is artwork."
MCKINLEY: I FEEL LIKE I'M THE BEST PASS RUSHER
Beginning with Texas A&M's Myles Garrett, who is the No. 1 overall pick in most people's mock drafts, the 2017 class is loaded with pass rushers. Before Garrett said on Saturday that he was the best overall player in the draft, it was Takkarist McKinley's turn at the podium.
"I'm here to get the quarterback," the UCLA product said. "The league now, it's a passing league. You need young guys that can get to the quarterback, and I feel like I'm the best pass rusher in this draft class to do that."
STANFORD'S THOMAS RIDING MOMENTUM INTO DRAFT
Solomon Thomas is another defensive end who has been tied to the Giants by draft analysts. His Cardinal squad won its final six games after a 4-3 start, and he was a big reason why. In his final collegiate game, he was named MVP of the Sun Bowl for notching seven tackles, two for losses, and a sack vs. North Carolina
"It meant a lot to me just to finish on a high note," said Thomas, who came in at 6-foot-3 and 273 pounds. "I just wanted to give my teammates my all and finish off the season right, a 10-win season, and give my best to Stanford and end that career the right way.
"We got to study a lot for that game, had a month to prepare, really got to understand their tendencies, what they were doing, and then I was just built up and ready to play and let it all out."
Sunday, March 5: On-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers; media availability and bench press for defensive backs.
Monday, March 6: On-field workouts for defensive backs.