Though there are people crazy enough to get sucked into the NFL Scouting Combine process before the weekend, when Friday rolls around the whole world tunes in to watch and read.
Friday morning in Indianapolis began with offensive linemen taking to the field for their on-field drills, and that meant plenty of potential Bucs prospects got to lace up their cleats. Just to get it out of the way, offensive guard Quenton Nelson did not run the 40-yard dash. He did, however, participate in the vertical and board jump, where he recorded a 26.5-inch vertical and an 8-foot, 9-inch broad jump. Both of those are fine for his size. Two other interior offensive linemen who have emerged as potential Bucs selections, if they can’t or just choose not to select Nelson, are UTEP’s Will Hernandez and Nevada’s Austin Corbett. Hendanez ran a 5.14 in the 40-yard dash, which, for a bulldozing offensive guard, is great. Corbett himself recorded a 5.15 in the 40-yard dash. Nelson is the first round guard option, Hernandez is the second round option and Corbett is the third or fourth round option. So, the Bucs have some choices to improve their interior offensive line throughout the draft.
Another option that emerged as a good candidate for what the Bucs might be targeting on the offensive line is Iowa’s James Daniels. Daniels measured in at 6-foot-3, 306 pounds with 33 3/4 arms yesterday. He also had a great podium session with the media where he seemed very genuine about his love for the game, his work ethic and his outlook in his potential at the next level. On the field on Friday, Daniels continued that good trend with a 30.5-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot broad jump. He then showed some of the smoothest movement when going through drills. He’s a guy who can play center or guard for the Buccaneers, if selected. Likely another Day 2 option.
As for guys that didn’t impress, Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown had one of the worst athletic performances we may ever see at the Combine. Now, Brown is 6-foot-7 and 345 pounds, so we know he’s not suppose to look that great. But, his 5.86 40-yard dash was one of the slowest ever recorded, and his 19-inch vertical as well as his 6-foot, 10-inch broad jump were all lows.
Once the big men showed their stuff, it was time for the running backs to take their places, and one of the very first to show off was Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. At 6-foot, 233 pounds, Barkley put on an impressive athletic display with a 4.4-flat official 40-yard dash and a 41-inch vertical jump. We all knew Barkley had it in him, but it’s still fun to see it.
Georgia back Nick Chubb also had a good day. After going through his horrific knee injury at UGA in 2014, we weren’t sure how close to his old self he would get, even over time. On Friday, Chubb ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash, jumped 38.5 inches in the vertical and 10-feet, 8-inches in the broad jump. If we had to say, we’d say those are likely the top two backs on the Bucs board.
As for the others, LSU’s Derrius Guice had a good day with a 4.49 40-yard dash with a 31.5-inch vertical, Georgia’s Sony Michel ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, and SDSU’s Rashaad Penny ran a very impressive 4.46 40-yard dash and had a 32.5-inch vertical with a 10-foot broad jump. USC’s Ronald Jones ran a 4.66, but appeared to have tweaked his hamstring mid-run.
On the freakish size, Alabama’s Bo Scarbrough, at 6-foot-2, 228 pounds, ran a 4.52 40-yard dash with a 40-inch vert and a 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump. That’s hard to believe for a man his size.
During the afternoon, we got to view the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight end. Chances are the Bucs won’t be investing too high of a pick in any of those positions, but it’s good to get some background knowledge on them regardless.
Mayfield was the first big name up at the podium and he was very genuine, as you would expect. He said that the Manziel comparisons for him are off and that even though he respects who Manziel was on the field, Mayfield think he’s better than Manziel was — he’s right.
#FSU WR Auden Tate didn’t get to play with #Bucs QB Jameis Winston, but said Winston has been back to FSU and remembers specifically when he motivated them for the Ole Miss game. pic.twitter.com/z5mypBPoRh
The wide receivers were also up to the podium and the one that stood out the most (get it, because he’s the tallest) was Florida State’s Auden Tate.
We asked Tate if he has either met or has a relationship with Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston. He said tat he has met him, and actually re-told the story of when Winston came back for one of their games and helped motivate them in the locker room at halftime of the Ole Miss game.
Tate also said that he molds his game around Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and Alshon jeffery. Those are some of the best in the game for his size. We’ll see how he runs tomorrow.
To close things out, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson was one of the final people to speak at his podium today. Jackson started things off by saying that there have been zero teams in the NFL that he’s met with that have asked him about playing wide receiver, which was good clarification against certain media reports. Jackson also said that he isn’t going to run the 40-yard dash this weekend, but will throw in Indianapolis and will run the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day before the draft.
Tomorrow the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends hit the field, but the spotlight gets brightest for the Buccaneers across the street as the pass rushers (defensive line and linebackers) get under the bench press and up to the podium.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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