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NFL Combine Standouts and Busts

Well, the NFL Combine has come and gone, and now it's time to take stock of what it all means. Some players (see: D.K. Metcalf) showed off to such a degree that they leaped up to the top of dynasty rookie draft boards, while others struggled.

Remember that while the NFL puts a ton of emphasis on the Combine, it isn't the end-all, be-all when it comes to prospect evaluation. These workout metrics matter, but so do two other things: their college advanced stats and their game tape. A bad Combine doesn't mean a guy will fail at the next level, though it does likely mean that teams will be more hesitant to draft him.

Below, you'll find my post-combine risers and fallers for players who've declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. All data, percentiles, and player comparisons come from MockDraftable and their extensive database of Combine results.

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Combine Workout Studs

D.K. Metcalf - WR, Ole Miss

D.K. Metcalf is some kind of otherworldly machine and while I'm still not completely sold on him as an elite receiver prospect, it's probably time that I take a step back and say that since everyone is universally agreeing that he's the 1.01 rookie pick this year, he's probably deserving of the hype.

The Combine definitely helped up that hype. I mean...look at his spider graph:

I mean...he's strong, he's fast, he can jump really high, and he has crazy wingspan. The cone and shuttle numbers are a little concerning, but I can see why everyone is losing it right now over Metcalf.

Metcalf should be a very good outside receiver in the NFL, a guy with the right combination of size and speed to get past defenses and make big plays. I do wonder about his versatility and his route running, but those are things that can be worked on. You don't find a player with this physical skill set every day.

His Combine performance likely assures that he'll be the first receiver off the board, so the big question now becomes who takes Metcalf. There were a lot of mocks that had him going late in the first, but after the eye-popping numbers he put up, I'd imagine he creeps into the first half of the first round. There are a lot of teams up there that need receivers, but I'm most interested in the teams that need a receiver for a young quarterback. The Jets at three seems too early, but could the Raiders reach for him at four? Will Buffalo take him at nine to give Josh Allen a weapon?

Noah Fant - TE, Iowa

Fant ran the 10th-fastest 40 of any tight end since 1999 and he ranks in the 95th or higher percentile among tight ends in not just the 40 but also in 3-cone, the broad jump, and the vertical jump. Fant has mismatch written all over him, and while there's still a good chance that Iowa teammate T.J. Hockenson is the first tight end off the board, Fant's Combine numbers scream mismatch and are going to lead to someone taking him in the first round.

Now, players with Fant's measurables have been a little hit-or-miss at the next level. The player whose Combine metrics match most closely to Fant's is former Oklahoma tight end James Hanna, who lasted six seasons for the Cowboys but never did much of notes. Hanna's profile showed that he wasn't the same leaper that Fant is, though, and teams seem better equipped these days to take advantage of a tight end with the speed and jumpability of Fant. I still get the argument for Hockenson, who is the more complete tight end at this point, over Fant, but I think both have long NFL careers ahead of them.

Justice Hill - RB, Oklahoma State

Of all the running backs from the Combine, Oklahoma State's Justice Hill intrigued me the most. Among running backs since 1999, Hill was 93rd percentile in both the 40 and the vertical jump and 96th percentile in the broad jump. There are size and weight concerns that likely keep him from being an every-down back in the NFL and will keep him from creeping up too high on draft boards, but Hill's got a lot of value as a change-of-pace back. I'm concerned about his receiving ability, as he caught just 13 passes last year, but if he can improve in that part of the game, Hill could be an extremely valuable player in the short receiving game.

One note of concern: Hill left the Combine with a hamstring injury. You don't like seeing a guy with a hamstring injury, as those have a tendency to be lingering issues. I'm not sure if he'll slip down real-life draft boards because of that, but in the right situation, I'd be very interested in spending a second-round rookie draft pick on Hill. He has the feel of one of those backs that people forget about and then finishes as a top-15 PPR option because of his ability to break off some big plays.

Andy Isabella - WR, UMass

Isabella ran the fastest 40 (tied with Parris Campbell) of any receiver, and while he's got some obvious physical disadvantages to deal with, some team is going to look at his speed (98th percentile among receivers) and his vertical jump (77th percentile) and ignore the whole being 5'8'' thing. Isabella doesn't have to have size to be an effective slot receiver, and his Combine numbers align more with Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee than they do with anyone else. Coutee is a good model for what Isabella could be; while Coutee's rookie season was marred by injury, he was effective when on the field and offered a great option underneath for the Texans. Coutee had 28 catches for 287 yards last year, but he only had 83 air yards. It was his speed after the ball was in his hands that made Coutee dangerous. If a team can use Isabella like that, he can be a good PPR player right off the bat.


Combine Workout Duds

Devin Singletary - RB, FAU

Singletary has been my favorite 2019 sleeper since way, way back in the 2017 season, but his results at the Combine weren't great. Here is his spider graph,, y'all, this is tough to look at:

I mean...I'm not, like, out out on Singletary yet, but those numbers are really, really discouraging, and they're going to drop him down during the NFL Draft. I still like what I've seen of Singletary on tape, but struggling with both straight-line speed and with elusiveness/shiftiness based on his 3-cone time is...not a great sign. He's got upside based on his receiving skills and has a lot of bounce to him, but it might be an uphill battle for playing time once he's on an NFL roster. I'm reminded a little here of how much I loved Akrum Wadley heading into last year's Draft. Singletary is very likely a better NFL prospect than Wadley and will actually make a roster heading into the season, but both guys pop a lot better on college film than they do anywhere else. Let's hope Singletary is able to adapt his skills to the NFL better than Wadley.

Lil'Jordan Humphrey - WR, Texas

Because I live in the state of Texas, I heard a lot about Lil'Jordan Humphrey last year even though I didn't watch many Texas games. Humphrey, who attended high school at Southlake Carroll, one of the state's powerhouse football schools, is a big-bodied receiver who's capable of breaking away from contact, as he did on this touchdown reception against Iowa State:

Humphrey gets covered one-on-one on the outside and is able to use his size and strength to shake out of a tackle around the 15 and run in for the score. His highlight reel from last season is full of these plays where Humphrey takes advantage of his assets.

There is, however, a problem: Humphrey ran the slowest 40 of any receiver at the Combine, and it wasn't even close. Humphrey ran a 4.75 40; the second-slowest receiver, Nyqwan Murray, ran a 4.63. Humphrey also weighed in at 210 pounds, down 15 pounds from what his listed playing weight was in college. If Humphrey has lost that much weight, you have to wonder how it affects his strength, though it's highly possible that he was playing last season at 210, in which case you can disregard this concern for now.

Humphrey's stock is way down after his Combine performance, and right now I don't see myself grabbing him in rookie drafts unless he falls down to the middle or end of round four.

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