The league descends on Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine starting tomorrow, so here’s what I'm hearing right now...
1. Nick Bosa is four months removed from a core-muscle injury that necessitated a significant surgery and ended his career as an Ohio State Buckeye, and his father John isn’t giving anymore qualifiers when talking about Nick’s health.
“He’s 100%, has been for, I’d say, about eight weeks, as far as really getting over any tiny discomfort,” Bosa said Monday afternoon. “He’s been training full go for close to eight weeks. And he’s ready to do it all at the combine.”
“He’s gonna do it all,” John Bosa reiterated. “He’s anxious to show his full recovery, and then his performance along with interviews and the medical side of it, which is the most important part of it for him. He’s looking forward to it; he’s looking forward to getting checked out because he knows he’s in perfect shape. And then the testing will be interesting to watch.”
John wouldn’t reveal where he expects Nick to land in any of the measurables—“you’re going to have to wait for Indy to find out”—but he did allow that his son isn’t just fully rehabbed, he’s also physically back to where he was pre-injury. “Absolutely,” John said. “Maybe even better. Like Joey, Nick’s focused on the task at hand, he’s sacrificed a lot to leave and make sure he healed up properly. And now his eye is on the prize and the prize is doing a great job and showing all the teams what he can do.”
2. So is Nick’s goal to be the first overall pick to the Cardinals? “He’s always felt like that’s something he’s shooting for,” John said. “That’s what you hope for, that’s what Joey was hoping for, and that’s what Nick will hope for. These kids have been through it, and understand it enough to know that anything can happen on draft day.”
If Nick goes first or second, that’d make him the highest-picked player in his family, which would be a pretty crazy accomplishment, given his dad was drafted No. 16 overall in 1987, his mom’s brother (Eric Kumerow) went No. 16 overall in 1988, and his brother went third overall in 2016. And it’s crazy for dad, too, to consider that something like is actually now in sight.
“Sometimes I get emotional or I just think about how blessed I am, to have these unbelievable boys who were such great kids growing up,” John said. “We had the same kind of challenges every parent has with a couple sons. But to have them be so self-motivated, and then to achieve what they’ve dreamed of their whole life, after this weekend, and then in Nashville, sometimes, it’s actually hard to believe that I have both these guys. … It’s amazingly, amazingly cool.”
3. One last thing on the Bosas: John says that Nick finally was able to get past the pain of having lost his last collegiate season at the Rose Bowl, when his teammates and coaches welcomed him to practice with open arms.
“If I had to pick a time when he finally felt great, it was then—there he is, hugging his guys and seeing all the coaches for the Rose Bowl, and just feeling the love,” John said. “And since then, he’s just been singularly focused on the task.”
4. I don’t know if Kyler Murray is going to run in Indy. I do know that if he does, the expectation is that he’ll run really, really fast, because Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told me so. “Right when he transferred in from A&M and he was not in very good shape, probably the worst shape I’ve ever seen him in, we got him low 4.3s here,” Riley said. “And that was, like I said, the worst shape I’ve seen him in.” As a reference point, Michael Vick ran a 4.33 40 at his Pro Day in 2001.
5. If you’re looking for an athlete that’s expected to put together an impressive across-the-board performance in the Olympic testing, Kentucky’s Josh Allen is one to watch. One scout brought his name up to me, so I asked which drill he thought Allen would crush—“Probably all of them.”
6. Michigan’s Rashan Gary is absolutely another guy to watch. I’d expect him to land in the 280-pound range, and word is he might sneak into the 4.5s in the 40, which is bananas and explains why this kid’s been earmarked for the NFL since he was a middle schooler. His game needs a lot of refinement, but some will probably leave Indy pretty excited with him.
7. Here’s a freak show coming this week that you might not expect—UMass WR Andy Isabella. The 5' 8", 186-pounder (those are Senior Bowl measurements) beat Denzel Ward in the 100 meters at the Ohio high school state track championships four years ago. Ward ran a 4.32 at the combine last year.
8. Speaking of Ward, a few scouts have told me to expect his ex-teammate Kendall Sheffield blow up in Indy. They believe he’s every bit as fast as Ward, which people inside the Ohio State program were able to confirm for me. This could be the third straight year the Buckeyes have a corner clock a time in the 4.3s at the combine, which is nuts, even if Sheffield isn’t nearly the player that Ward or Marshon Lattimore were. And it’s damn close to being four years in a row (Eli Apple ran a 4.40 in 2016) and five in six years (Bradley Roby ran 4.39 in 2014).
9. Florida State pass rusher Brian Burns is another pass rusher who has a real shot to help himself. I heard he’s weighing in the mid-to-high 240s now (he was listed at 236 at FSU last year). Given the type of explosive athlete he’s shown to be, teams are excited to see what kind of vertical he puts up.
10. Finally, since there’s a lot of defense in here, Ole Miss WR DK Metcalf is one to watch on the other side of the ball, and not just because of that bonkers photo that made the social-media rounds a couple years back. One exec told me Monday that he believes Metcalf will come in at 235 pounds or so, and run sub-4.4. And here’s one other receiver I’d expect to run really, really fast: Missouri’s Emanuel Hall.
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