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D.J. Chark, Mike Gesicki, and 4 Other Big Combine Winners

The 2018 NFL Combine is in the books, and that means it’s time to evaluate who improved their stock the most, as well as those players who may have taken a big hit to their NFL expectations. I asked two of our college football experts, Anthony Amico and Jordan Hoover, to analyze last weekend’s combine. They teamed up to bring you the best and the worst performances.

 Winners

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Quarterback is probably the toughest position to evaluate at the Combine, but there is nobody who looks better in shorts than Allen. He tested with outstanding athleticism for his size (4.75 40, 6.9 three-cone), and looked sharp in the drills. He is a legitimate candidate to be the No. 1 pick, especially with Sam Darnold not throwing at all at the event. – Anthony Amico

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Freeman’s stock has been surprisingly low for someone so productive in college, but in a class full of titans at his position, it takes a lot to stand out. Freeman took a big leap in doing so at the Combine. His 4.54 40 yard dash time at 229 pounds gave him a 107.8, 85th percentile speed score. Perhaps even more impressive was his agility. His 11.06 agility score1 gives him a similar score to impressive big backs like David Johnson (11.09) and Doug Martin (10.99), and may remind folks of Le’Veon Bell (10.99). He looks every bit a future RB1. – Anthony Amico

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

Ballage doesn’t have anywhere near the production profile Freeman does, but he did impress as perhaps the most impressive athlete at his position outside of Saquon Barkley.2 At 228 pounds, he ran a 4.46, giving him a speed score of 115.2. Ballage also shredded the three-cone drill, coming in just a shade slower than Freeman at 6.91. It’s still curious to me why he wasn’t used more at Arizona State, but Ballage certainly looks the part. – Anthony Amico

D.J. Chark, WR, LSU

DJ Chark managed 874 yards receiving and an eye-popping 21.9 yards per reception despite playing his final college season in a dysfunctional LSU passing attack. His big-play ability was clear heading into the Combine and Chark added solid athleticism to his resume in Indianapolis. His 4.34 forty-yard dash was best among all wide receivers resulting in a 109.2 Speed Score (92nd percentile) while also topping the class with a 40-inch vertical jump. He may be a bit raw as a prospect, but at 21.5 years of age, with a freakish athletic profile and top five spot in Anthony Amico’s prospect model, Chark has a legitimate chance to shoot up numerous draft boards. He’s a rising rookie draft option. – Jordan Hoover

Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State

Measuring in at 6-foot-4, 227 pounds, Allen Lazard has the ideal frame to fill the prototypical X receiver role in the NFL. He paired this size with a strong showing in the forty-yard dash posting an official time of 4.55, good enough for a 102.2 Speed Score (76th percentile). He also ranks in the top quartile in wingspan, hand size, and vertical jump. With a strong production profile to his name, Lazard’s strong combine results could boost his current draft projection, while also remaining a relatively cheap acquisition in rookie drafts. – Jordan Hoover

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State

In an effort to keep up with his former teammate Barkley’s combine performance, Gesicki was easily the most impressive tight end of the weekend. At 6-foot-6, 247 pounds, Gesicki ranked in the 95th percentile or better in Speed Score, Burst Score, Agility Score, and Catch Radius. Josh Hermsmeyer noted that his range of outcomes is wide, despite his strong showing, which is a valid point. There have been numerous tight ends with insane athleticism that have failed to produce in the NFL.3 But if you’re a sadistic fool like me, searching for the next transcendent big-bodied pass catcher with substantial fantasy upside, I’m not sure anyone fits the bill better than Gesicki. For more on Gesicki and all combine TEs, check out Neil Dutton’s wrap-up– Jordan Hoover

 

In Part 2, we’ll go in the other direction and look at six players who hurt their dynasty stock at the combine. Stay tuned.

  1. three-cone plus short shuttle  (back)
  2. Who was a clear winner, but is already so hyped it hardly seems worth talking about.  (back)
  3. *Pours one out for Rob Housler*  (back)

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