8 Offensive NFL Combine Standouts Who Should Interest Seahawks
As part of a new format for the NFL Scouting Combine, the workout and drill portion of the week was moved into prime time in an effort to maximize on television viewership.
After wrapping up interviews, weigh-ins, and medical evaluations during the first couple days, receivers, tight ends, and quarterbacks took the field on Thursday night in front of coaches, executives, and scouts aiming to boost their draft stock. Offensive linemen and running backs had their time to shine on Friday night.
Revisiting the first two days of workouts featuring offensive players, which standouts posted numbers that should intrigue the Seahawks?
AJ Dillon, Boston College
Despite finishing with over 1,500 yards rushing in two of his three seasons starring for the Eagles, Dillon didn't enter this week's combine drawing as much buzz as top prospects such as J.K. Dobbins and D'Andre Swift. But the 247-pound back turned heads in Indy by running his 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds and finishing first in his position group with a 41-inch vertical jump and 131-inch broad jump. Seattle typically prefers to draft backs between 215-225 pounds, but Dillon already has visited with the team and checks off numerous boxes from a speed, power, and explosion standpoint. He'd be a perfect hedge for if Chris Carson departs after 2020.
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
From a statistical standpoint, Dowdle never eclipsed 800 rushing yards in four seasons with the Gamecocks, but he also caught 62 passes and scored 19 touchdowns while never being a feature back. That versatility along with an outstanding outing at Lucas Oil should position him to be drafted in April. He ran a respectable 4.54 40-yard dash and finished in the top three among backs in both the vertical jump and broad jump, showing similar explosiveness to Dillon. He also weighed in at 213 pounds, near the ideal weight Seattle looks for at the position.
John Hightower, Boise State
A relative unknown in a loaded receiver class, the 6-foot-1 Hightower made a name for himself with a sensational combine workout, ranking among the top performers in several key events and performing well in drills. Weighing in heavier than expected at 189 pounds, his 4.43 40-yard dash ranked eighth among receivers and he finished in the top 10 in vertical jump and the 3-cone drill. Though his film is choked full of inconsistencies, especially when it comes to reeling in contested catches, his size and athletic traits much up nicely with receivers previously drafted by the Seahawks.
Antonio Gibson, Memphis
Sprinting to a sub-4.40 40-yard dash time, Gibson showed off his blazing speed at 228 pounds, posting faster times than Justin Jefferson of LSU and Jerry Jeudy of Alabama. A raw talent with minimal production at receiver as well as running back, the Swiss army knife from Memphis likely remains a day three prospect, but his measureables match up well with what Seattle wants at the position. While he will need time to unlock his potential in the NFL, he could contribute on special teams right away as an electric return specialist.
Hunter Bryant, Washington
A familiar name for local fans in the Pacific Northwest, Bryant set career-highs with 52 receptions for 825 yards and scored three touchdowns for the Huskies. Some questioned whether he made the right choice to declare early for the NFL, but while his 40-yard dash time wasn't quite as good as anticipated, he ran a 7.08-second 3-cone drill and a 115-inch broad jump at 248 pounds. He's not quite as heavy as the Seahawks prefer at tight end, but his performance in agility drills fits what the team looks for and could make him a day two target.
Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech
Viewed as a late day three prospect heading into this week's workouts, Keene exceeded all expectations. He edged Bryant with a 7.07-second 3-cone drill, finished fifth among tight ends in the 40-yard dash, and led his position group with a 125-inch broad jump. Every tight end drafted by Seattle under general manager John Schneider has been between 250 and 259 pounds, making the athletic 253-pound Keene an interesting prospect to keep an eye on from the fourth round on.
Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
Like Hightower, Cleveland came into the pre-draft process as an overlooked prospect despite playing a key role for a program that continues to rack up wins in the Mountain West Conference. The 6-foot-6, 311-pound tackle finished third among offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, but even more impressively, he dominated his competition with a 7.26-second 3-cone drill and finished first in the 20-yard short shuttle, posting numbers that line up well with tackles previously drafted by the Seahawks. He also answered questions about his strength by posting 30 reps on bench press, positioning himself to potentially be selected in the third or even the second round.
Matt Hennessy, Temple
Though he lacks the size and length of some of his peers, the 307-pound Hennessy finished third in Remington Award balloting as the nation's top center and bolstered his draft stock in Indianapolis. Compensating for his leaner frame, he won with technique and athleticism starring for the Owls and showcased those traits on Friday night. He finished second behind only Cleveland in the short shuttle and 3-cone drill, and while his 32 1/4-inch arms would be shorter than any lineman Seattle has ever drafted, he checks off all the athletic boxes necessary to be under consideration as early as the second round.