As you’d expect, some players had better days than others when it comes to those passing and catching. Let’s get to it in our final recap of the 2016 NFL Combine.
1) Goff, Wentz look like the top QBs
In my opinion, Jared Goff of Cal and Carson Wentz of NDSU both looked as advertised when they threw at the Combine on Saturday. While those two quarterbacks have been training together in Southern California, they were in separate throwing groups today. Goff was in the first, passing alongside other high-profile QBs like Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg. And while Goff usually stands out, I thought he looked particularly accurate in these workouts.
Wentz was the most polished quarterback at the Senior Bowl and he looked the same way in the second group of passers. One of the attributes that stands out the most for the NDSU product is his fluidity. He rarely looks like he’s thinking about the steps he needs to take in order to get off a successful throw. Does that mean he’s mastered the fundamentals? Not necessarily. But it does provide a good base to work off of.
Rounding out that “top three” quarterbacks list, Paxton Lynch had a decent day making his throws. He was not necessarily as accurate as Wentz or Goff, but his tools are apparent.
2) Disappointing day for Hackenberg
There’s a lot that goes into making passes at the Combine, and it’s not necessarily easy. But I think it was apparent to plenty that Penn State’s Hackenberg did not have a great day throwing the ball.
It seemed to start when the quarterbacks were just throwing out routes and many of them -- not just Hackenberg -- had trouble connecting with the receivers.
But for most of the signal-callers, performance improved from there. For Hackenberg, throws continued to be off target. Many passes sailed high, sometimes out of the reach of the receiver. And observers both here and on Twitter took notice.
"What you're seeing on the field is what you see on tape." -- @MovetheSticks on Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg's inaccuracy issues.— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) February 27, 2016
For me, the order in which Hackenberg threw compounded the issue. He was often placed right after Goff, and the Cal product’s precision made the Penn State quarterback’s inaccuracy all the more apparent.
Look, this is just one day and by no means am I saying Hackenberg will not be a good pro because of it. But this could not have been what he had in mind when he woke up this morning, and I’d expect him to have a much better showing at his pro day to make up for it.
There are 14 players from Ohio State at the Combine and throughout the week, media members asked the various players from the school who they thought would run the fastest 40. Invariably, they said Braxton Miller.
Well, that would not actually be the case. Through two attempts, Miller’s fastest time was 4.50. Running back Ezekiel Elliott cleared that yesterday with his 4.47.
The fastest time of the wideouts actually went to Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller. He ran a 4.32 40, which was one of only a few times that reached the 4.3 range. No one out of the wideouts was able to crack the 4.2 barrier.
Among the quarterbacks, Wentz was actually the fastest was one of the top performers, recording a 4.78 time, beating out Goff (4.82) and Lynch (4.87).
AROUND THE TWITTERVERSE
A few of my favorite Combine-related items from today...
Paxton Lynch 36” vertical jump.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 27, 2016
Hello. (Cam Newton was just 35”)
For a little background on this, Paxton Lynch said just prior to the Super Bowl that Cam Newton’s success makes Lynch look good as they’re both big guys at quarterback.
De'Runnya Wilson, a wide receiver, ran 4.90 on his first attempt.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 27, 2016
Many times, anything above 4.6 is considered slow for a wide receiver. While these are just tenths of a second -- so, truly, everything is relative -- a 4.9 40 is really quite slow.
Man. #Buckeyes Cardale Jones injures hamstring in 40, out of the rest of the day. No throws. Bummer.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 27, 2016
This was one of the more unfortunate notes about the day. I don’t think it will cost Jones that much in the long run. But it maybe does raise the importance of his pro day a bit.
“Yeah, I think you could take the whole Ohio State defense, put them on an NFL team, and you can win the Super Bowl like that. For sure.”
—Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple
—Clemson Cornerback Mckensie Alexander
This is just one of the many great quotes from Mckensie Alexander’s press conference on Saturday. I try to stay out of the prediction business, but I do think it’s safe to say Alexander will have his share of quotable moments once he gets to the league. His Combine presser was an all-timer.
Media availability is complete, so we’re headed out of Indianapolis today. But Dani Klupenger and I will have a full recap of everything Combine related next week right here on the site.