NFL Combine: Risers & Fallers from On-Field Drills | OL

Erick Trickel

The Combine is always a fun time on the NFL calendar. The season comes with the obligatory overreaction in the draft community, both in response to prospects under- and over-performing. 

Others believe the Combine is next-to-worthless, outside of the medical checks and interviews. Tape stands supreme, but there are many insights NFL teams take away from the Combine and all the tests, drills, and interviews.

The Denver Broncos had multiple offensive line prospects under their watchful eye. Some of these prospects really stood out in the athletic testing, which in some cases, may not have been the best result for the Broncos' odds of landing them. 

Some prospects didn’t have a great day, which could be good for the Broncos, seeing some fall down the draft board. It's good to take stock of which prospects saw their stock rise and fall. Let's dive in. 

Risers

Tristan Wirfs, Iowa | Jedrick Wills, Jr., Alabama | Mekhi Becton, Louisville

I am not sure this trio can all be considered risers because they were viewed as the top-3 offensive tackles entering the Combine and they just cemented themselves as such after the performances they had. All Becton did was run the 40-yard dash, which was all he needed to reinforce his draft stock. Wills and Wirfs both killed it at every level, and in regards to Wirfs, he may end up with the most impressive Combine performance this year. With what he did, Wirfs confirmed he is an offensive tackle at the NFL level.

Ezra Cleveland, Boise State

This was one tackle who really helped himself. Cleveland got to show the athleticism he brings to the table but also showed a really good technique for the NFL level. While he may not have the highest ceiling, he has one of the higher floors. Like Wirfs, any talk of him moving to guard at the NFL level should be put to rest.

Matt Hennessey, Temple | Nick Harris, Washington

Going to the interior, Hennessey and Harris both had a really good day. Harris showed his athleticism and how smooth of a mover he is during the drills. Teams that run a lot of zone concepts are going to love Harris and find a 10-year starter. Hennessey also showed a lot of good technique, and showed better athleticism than many expected. 

Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU | Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

Like the aforementioned OT trio, this duo already had high draft stock, but they also had good Combine performances to bolster their standing teams' eyes. 

Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas | Saahdiq Charles, LSU | Tremayne Anchrum, Clemson

There weren’t many guards who really stood out, but there were multiple college tackles that are going to move to guard in the NFL that showed well. Adeniji, Charles, and Anchrum all looked good during the drills. They made it clear they aren’t tackles at the NFL level, but they are more than capable enough of being a guard.

Austin Jackson, USC | Josh Jones, Houston | Isaiah Wilson, Georgia

Jackson had a very good showing, but he did show there are still some technical areas that he needs work at. Jones showed very similarly to Jackson, while Wilson had some rough moments where he revealed what he still needs work on, but he also showed improvements and tested out well athletically given his weight.

Andrew Thomas, Georgia

This is the one final player who really did a lot to help himself, but he it didn't necessarily elevate his draft stock. What he did do, however, was put a stop to his stock plummeting as it had been leading up to the Combine. Thomas showed he can be a tackle at the NFL level. Based on his tape, I still think guard might be his best-suited position, but he can be a fine tackle. He was once the top tackle in the class, but now the conversation centers around whether he is still a top-5 tackle. His Combine showed he is.

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Fallers

John Simpson, Clemson | Jon Runyan, Michigan 

There are a good number of fallers from the Combine after multiple prospects failed to measure up athletically and technically during the position drills. Simpson really struggled in the drills and became very top-heavy when moving, which showed up a lot of tape and one of his bigger negatives. Runyan also was getting top-heavy, and was really struggling to operate with good bend. In the NFL, he may not hold up and tackle but if he can’t solve his bend problems, playing guard may be out the window, as well.

Alex Taylor, South Carolina State

Taylor is a very raw offensive lineman and he showed that in Indy. There was hope he would show technical improvement and not seeing that is a concern. 

Calvin Throckmorton, Oregon

Throckmorton had major movement issues during drills, and the longer drills went on, the worse he got which has led to conditioning concerns. 

Terrance Steele, Texas Tech

Steele was a mess technically during drills and it will be interesting to see whether he even hears his name called at this point.

The Takeaway

There were multiple other offensive linemen that really didn’t help themselves during the Combine — too many to list. When watching over the class and scrutinizing their drills for the fourth time confirmed one thing for me.

This draft class is very top-heavy on the O-line, and the depth is extremely lackluster.

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

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Comments (4)
No. 1-2
broncobuckeyenomad
broncobuckeyenomad

@ErickTrickel with Thomas's performance would you put him in the conversation of possibilities at 15?

Arctic Bronco
Arctic Bronco

@ErickTrickel which Tackles will be adequate playing Guard until Juwuan James is gone (or injured)?


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