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  • The Ohio State QB addressed his ‘dream spot’ at home in New Jersey and had no shortage of confidence when meeting the media. Plus, notes on D.K. Metcalf’s latest combine feats, an edge rusher on the rise, some very fast punters and much more.
By Kalyn Kahler
March 01, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Dwayne Haskins is determined to be the first quarterback selected in the 2019 draft. He handled his podium session Friday afternoon with a quiet confidence and poise, saying he isn’t nervous for Saturday’s on-field workout. “I’m looking forward to showing I’m the best quarterback in the class,” he said.

A large contingent of New York media peppered him with questions about the Giants and a potential future playing for Big Blue, who are picking sixth and are—at the moment—the first QB-needy team in the draft order. Haskins said he will meet with the Giants for an interview Friday night. He has seven other meetings scheduled for Friday evening.

Haskins has New Jersey roots and grew up a Giants fan, and he said it would be special to return to Jersey as an NFL player. “New York would be a dream spot for me,” he said. He also said he’s known Saquon Barkley since high school and that an offense with himself, Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. would be, “prolific.”

Haskins didn’t hesitate to promote himself. He said that in meetings with teams that he’s had so far (Jaguars, Raiders and Saints, to that point), each team has told him he is the most impressive quarterback they’ve talked to. And as far as his perceived weakness: limited mobility? “I can maneuver if I need to but I’m deadly in the pocket,” he said.

The fact that Dwayne “Deadly-in-the-Pocket” Haskins owned his media availability on Friday is a sign that he’s likely also making a strong impression in one-on-one interviews with teams. He has the indisputable poise and measurables [6' 338", 231 lbs., 958-inch hands). Now he just needs to match that with a strong on-field workout on Saturday.


KYLER WILL MEET WITH THE CARDINALS

The Kyler-to-the-Cardinals fire continues to burn. That was the biggest revelation from Murray's media availability, which was heavy on attendance but light on news.

IN WORKOUT NEWS...

Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf grew his legend as an athletic freak. Metcalf hit 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press. The next seven receivers did 13, 12, 14, 8, 7, 13, and 15. For more context, many of the offensive linemen who bench pressed yesterday failed to reach 27 reps.

Here’s what else we heard at the combine…

• I’ve heard really good things from teams about Louisiana Tech defensive end Jaylon Ferguson—I’ll definitely be moving him up in my next mock draft. The NFL disinvited Ferguson from participating at the combine after a background test revealed he had been convicted of simple battery after a fight at McDonald’s during his freshman year. The scouts I’ve talked to have said Ferguson is too good to slip into the second round, so his absence from interviews and workouts in Indianapolis won’t hurt him too much. Ferguson did travel to Indianapolis to complete the medical tests, drug tests and measurements portion of the combine, but left after he finished that segment. His younger brother, Jazz Ferguson, a receiver out of Northwestern State University, is also a combine prospect and he said that teams have asked him about Jaylon and the incident at McDonald’s. “I explained it to them just like he explained it,” Jazz says.

• I talked to one scout who thinks Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown’s recent foot surgery for a LisFranc injury will keep him out of the first round. Brown measured in at 5' 938" and an extremely light 166 lbs. on Thursday; durability is a concern. Brown is currently in a walking boot, which he said he will wear for the next 3-4 weeks. During his podium session Friday, Brown said he won’t be cleared until training camp but is optimistic about his recovery because he’s talked to NFL receivers who have recovered from similar foot injuries, like Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins.

• Our Jenny Vrentas reported that the NFL’s competition committee and health and safety committee discussed changes to the punt, because 10% of major injuries occur on punts, which is a disproportionate number. Per Vrentas, the committees also discussed head injuries among linemen while mobile on screen passes, pulling, etc. The median distance from LOS for guards suffering concussions was 7 yards.

• This draft class features some speedy punters! According to NFL Stats & Research, Utah punter Mitchell Wishnowsky (4.63), Stanford punter Jake Bailey (4.72) and Rice punter Jack Fox (4.73) had three of the top five 40-yard dash times by punters at the combine since 2003. Wishnowsky’s time was faster than those of Josh Norman (4.66), Mark Ingram (4.66) and Jarvis Landry (4.77).

Tomorrow at the combine

The much-anticipated quarterback on-field workouts. Kyler Murray won’t be participating in any of the on-field drills, but the rest of the quarterback class will be on full display. It’s a big day for on-field workouts, as receivers and a stacked class of tight ends will also work out. Defensive linemen, the position group dominating this draft, and linebackers will meet with the media.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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