The NFL Scouting Combine on-the-field drills got underway on Friday with the top offensive linemen and running backs performing under the scrutiny of all the NFL’s 32 teams. On Saturday it was time for the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends to showcase their ability.
With a number of holes to fill, general manager Jason Licht, head coach Dirk Koetter and the rest of the Buccaneers scouts and front office staff were in attendance to evaluate and watch all of the players that were invited to Indianapolis for the Combine.
Below are some notes and impressions from Saturday’s drills.
• North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz lived up to his pre-combine hype with a very good day, posting a 4.77, 40-yard time. With his speed, size (6-5, 232) and overall athleticism, Wentz could very well be in play for the Cleveland Browns at No. 2 who are desperate for a quarterback. Wentz reportedly has interviewed very well at both the Senior Bowl and and the NFL Combine, and quarterback needy teams will now continue the evaluation process between Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch who are considered the top three prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.
• Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch also performed well in front of the NFL front offices in attendance on Saturday. Lynch measured in at 6-6 and 244 pounds, and while he has the frame to absorb some blows in the NFL, his lack of working under center in college is something scouts are debating. As pointed out by a number of evaluators and commentators, his setup is slower than Wentz and other QBs in the draft, but is something that can be developed most likely. No question Lynch has a strong arm, and that combined with his size, will most likely see his named called in the first round of the April draft.
• Cal quarterback Jared Goff did nothing to hurt his stock on Saturday, displaying good accuracy, quick feet and good arm strength. While it isn’t the cannon that Wentz and some of the other prospects possess, Goff and Lynch will be in competition to see who is the first quarterback taken off the board in April.
• On disappointing note for many, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones injured himself during his 40-yard dash run and ended up not throwing at the combine on Saturday. Jones, who many felt could have been a late first rounder had he come out after the 2014 season, will now have to rely on his pro day to showcase the cannon of an arm he possesses.
• Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard posted a 4.48 40 time, one of the better times from a group that overall left much to be desired in the speed portion of the combine on Saturday. Shepard was solid in all of phases of his workout and most likely saw his draft stock tick up just a touch.
• Tajae Sharpe, who was a standout at the East-West practices last month continued to impress and improve his draft position showing off his impressive hands on Saturday. Sharpe might have seen a bigger jump had be posted a better 40-time, as the Umass standout clocked in at 4.55. While not bad by any stretch, at 6-2, and 194 pounds, some hoped he would be a little quicker.
• Ohio State’s Braxton Miller ran a somewhat disappointing 4.50 time, after many, Miller included, felt would be in the 4.4 range. While it doesn’t necessarily take away from his impressive week at the Senior Bowl, for Miller to make a significant jump on the draft boards he needs to improve on his time during his pro day.
• This year’s tight end class was thought to be one of weakest units in the draft, and Saturday did little to change that perception. Pretty much the only thing that stood out was the 40-time of South Carolina’s Jerell Adams who posted a 4.64, 40 time. Top prospect, Hunter Henry of Arkansas, declined to run the 40-yard dash and was shaky during the on the field portion of Saturday’s workout.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org