Every prospect is obviously worth evaluating throughout the pre-draft process, but over the next four days, I will throw out some notable names to keep an eye on for each position group at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. On Friday, the running backs, offensive linemen, special teamers, and kickers will start things off. [Note: I have listed the number for each prospect in parenthesis to help identify them on the field]
Ryquell Armstead, Temple (RB02)
A determined runner that has the physicality to thrive at the next level, Ryquell Armstead can really help his stock this week by running better than expected and looking smooth in the on-field drills. I’m not saying he’s Marshawn Lynch, but Armstead runs with a wide, powerful base (which is very unique and similar to Lynch) that makes it difficult to bring him down in the open field.
Darrell Henderson, Memphis (RB07)
Teams seeking a home-run hitter at running back should look no further than Darrell Henderson. The explosive back averaged 8.9 yards per carry in each of the past two seasons, and he scored a whopping 25 total touchdowns as a junior to close out his college career. Henderson is the favorite to lead his position in the 40-yard dash, which might clock in the 4.3s.
Elijah Holyfield, Georgia (RB10)
Another running back from the Georgia pipeline, Elijah Holyfield could help his stock in Indy by showing well in the pass-catching drills. We know Holyfield can punish people with the pads on, but scouts will want to see how natural his hands are after recording just seven career receptions for the Bulldogs (though to be fair, he had to wait behind Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift until 2018).
David Montgomery, Iowa State (RB16)
Alabama’s Josh Jacobs is the most hyped running back in the class, but a groin injury will force him to be limited on Friday. That opens the door for David Montgomery—who is somehow flying under the radar as a Day 1 prospect—to make a case as the best all-around player at the position, and it will be interesting to see how he tests in terms of speed (40-yard dash) and explosiveness (vertical jump).
L.J. Scott, Michigan State (RB22)
Even with multiple running backs sitting out or being limited due to injury this week, it’s still a very deep class with upwards of 12-15 potential NFL starters. L.J. Scott is projected to be a Day 3 pick, but he has some Le’Veon Bell and Jordan Howard to his game. Running a 4.6 or better should help Scott in the eyes of evaluators.
Garrett Bradbury, NC State (OL07)
The movement skills of Garrett Bradbury should be on full display in both the athletic testing and position drills, as he has a prototypical style for the pivot in today’s NFL, which could lead to a first-round selection in April. There currently isn’t a consensus about Bradbury being the top center in the class, but I think that will quickly change.
Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas (OL18)
Only one Denmark native has ever played in the NFL, but he happens to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (kicker Morten Anderson). Hjalte Froholdt can be the first Danish position player to make an impact in the league, and the 22-year-old—who started his Arkansas career as a defensive lineman—will hope to take advantage of this showcase more than most considering his limited football experience compared to other prospects.
Martez Ivey, Florida (OL27)
He started at left tackle for the Gators (and that’s notable with Jawaan Taylor—who has received top-ten overall buzz as a tackle prospect—staying on the right side at Florida), but I thought Martez Ivey might be best kicking inside at the next level. However, the former five-star recruit measured in with an insane arm length of 36 2/8” today, and he could be a moldable prospect for NFL teams.
Greg Little, Ole Miss (OL36)
The aforementioned Jawaan Taylor and Washington State’s Andre Dillard seem to be getting the most media attention as the top tackle in the draft, but I think the next two guys are clearly atop the class. Greg Little in particular should thrive in an open setting that will allow him to show how well he moves at over six-foot-five.
Jonah Williams, Alabama (OL57)
I don’t think there’s much that Jonah Williams needed to prove in the pre-draft process after mostly dominating on the blindside for Alabama, but the official arm length (33 5/8”) should alleviate concerns for those who don’t think he can stay outside. Williams will look to finish strong in all the tests/drills as the last offensive lineman (based on his last name) to go.
Dan Godsil, Indiana (ST01)
There’s only one “special teamer” at the Combine, but long snappers are prospects, too. Dan Godsil won’t move the needle based on athletic testing, so he’ll look to be picture-perfect on his snaps while impressing teams in any potential interviews. Unfortunately, off-the-balcony snaps aren’t a part of the evaluation process.
Jake Bailey, Stanford (PK01)
No one is going to get excited over kickers and punters to begin the Combine, but Jake Bailey has a strong leg and averaged 44.7 yards per punt over the past two years at Stanford. As is the case with every position, the tape means significantly more than the on-field drills, but Bailey will look to have some successful directional kicks on Friday.
Cole Tracy, LSU (PK05)
One of the most accurate kickers in the nation last season, Cole Tracy was 29-of-33 on field goals and hit all 42 of his PAT attempts for the Tigers. Plus, it was his first and only season as a D1 kicker, which makes some clutch kicks Tracy hit all the more impressive. He will hope to be automatic in front of scouts at the Combine.