The NFL announced last week that 338 prospects have been invited to participate in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. But which one will get the most national buzz at the week-long job interview beginning Feb. 26 in Indianapolis? We discuss in this edition of “Cover 3” on Giants.com.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Dwayne Haskins was going to get the most hype at the combine. That is, until Kyler Murray tweeted Monday afternoon that he is committing to the the NFL over MLB. You can immediately eliminate all players that were at the Senior Bowl since evaluators already had a chance to watch them up close and meet with them. Skill position players always get more hype than anybody else at the combine. Fans like to see the running backs and wide receivers run the 40-yard dash. This draft might not have a top-10 pick at running back or wide receiver, or even potentially a top-15 pick. Therefore, all the attention will be on the quarterbacks, and Haskins is the one top-rated quarterback who did not perform at the Senior Bowl.
Haskins won’t excel in the 40-yard dash or the other agility drills, as he is a traditional pocket passer. The throwing drills, if he decides to throw, will be a great forum to display his skills. He will show off his big arm and ability to make all the throws without having to worry about pressure. Throwing under conditions like those at the combine is made for someone like Haskins.
There is one caveat here: Kyler Murray. He will put up receiver-like numbers in the agility and speed drills, and look just as good as Haskins (maybe better) in the throwing drills. With all the drama of the debate of baseball vs. football for this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, media attention will gravitate towards him as well.
DAN SALOMONE: Kentucky edge defender Josh Allen, who won the Bednarik Award as college football’s best defensive player, was going to be the hit of Mobile last month at the Senior Bowl. But the accomplished Wildcat decided to sit out, thus building the anticipation for NFL talent evaluators to see him at the combine. You need three things to be the talk of Indianapolis. You need to post big numbers, you need to have a good story and, of course, you need to be good. Allen possesses the latter two qualities and is expected to be a hit during testing and timing with his “Gumby-like flexibility,” as NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah described him. Jeremiah has Allen No. 3 in his top 50, which isn’t too far off from where other draft analysts peg him.
A two-star recruit coming out of high school in Montclair, N.J., Allen was set to go to Monmouth, but a string of late de-commitments forced Kentucky to take a chance on him. He proved to be a diamond in the rough, just like former University at Buffalo standout Khalil Mack. Allen would love to emulate the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year’s path to NFL greatness, and even has struck up a relationship with him over the phone. Allen is just one of the many great stories that come through the combine year in and year out.
LANCE MEDOW: The last time Nick Bosa suited up in a college game was September 15 when Ohio State collided with TCU. That turned out to be his last game as a Buckeye as a few days later the junior defensive end underwent core muscle surgery and wound up missing the remainder of the season. Since then, his focus has been on rehab and preparing for the combine. In two-plus seasons at Ohio State, Bosa had a knack for getting after the quarterback. He racked up 17.5 sacks and 77 tackles (29 for a loss) in 29 games. Given Bosa is considered one of the top prospects in this year’s draft and we haven’t seen him in game action in several months, all eyes will be on him in Indianapolis to determine whether he’s back to full health. Before the injury, the former Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year made quite a name for himself. Now, teams just want to make sure he’s had no setbacks and isn’t dealing with any lingering effects from the injury. Players’ stocks rise and fall from now until the draft. Bosa’s goal is to maintain his status with a clean bill of health at the combine.