This section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2018 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.
By Charlie Campbell.
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2018 NFL Draft Stock Up
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Barkley dominated the first day of the combine, giving proof that he is a physical freak and the best player in the 2018 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 233-pounder ran a blistering 40-yard dash of 4.40 seconds. That is an insane time for a running back and especially one with Barkley's build. He also was a star in the weight room, tying for the lead of all running back prospects with 29 reps. Barkley used the NFL Scouting Combine to illustrate that he is a rare physical specimen, and a lot of coaches are going to be praying they land him in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Shaquem Griffin, LB, Central Florida
The media has loved the story of Griffin with the Central Florida linebacker being a rare player who is competing to play in the NFL with only one hand. While Griffin gets a ton of attention, he showed some physical talents that translate to playing at the next level. The 6-foot, 227-pound linebacker had a shockingly fast 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds. That time is fast for a cornerback, who are typically the fastest players on the field, but it was insanely fast for a linebacker. Griffin also did well in the bench press with 20 reps of 225 pounds. After his combine performance, Griffin has locked himself into being a third-day pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
Carter was one of the stars of the combine on Sunday, when the 6-foot-5, 250-pound illustrated some freakish athletic ability. He put up a tremendous 40 time of 4.46 seconds. With his size, length and athleticism, Carter really helped himself by showing that kind of speed. He is a natural fit as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. In a 4-3 defense, he could an outside linebacker but also might get some consideration as a situational defensive end in the sub package. After his stellar combine, Carter should be locked into being a second-day pick in the 2018 NFL Draft as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 defense.
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
As expected, Bryan put on a clinic at the combine, illustrating his great skill set. The 6-foot-5, 291-pounder is big, thick, strong, explosive and agile. He showed his speed with a 40-yard dash time of 4.98 seconds and an excellent 10-yard split of 1.68 seconds. Aside from the 40, Bryan was excellent in the vertical jump, broad jump, and three-cone drill. WalterFootball.com was first to report that Bryan would enter the 2018 NFL Draft and project him as a first-round pick. After what Bryan did at the combine on Monday, he clinched up his first-round ticket.
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
During the Senior Bowl, WalterFootball.com reported in the Hot Press
that league sources expected Allen to blow up the combine, which was proven true. Allen showed off his cannon of an arm to go along with his big size and athleticism. Coaches told me that that Allen impressed them with how he threw the ball. On top of his excellent showing in the field work, Allen did well in the interviews, displaying strong play recall and football IQ. After excelling in Mobile, Allen has continued his excellent draft season with a strong combine.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Team sources told me that Mayfield impressed them at the combine. They liked how he threw the ball in the field drills. They also raved about him in the meeting room. Sources said that all of the first-round quarterbacks did well with illustrating a good football I.Q. and play recall. Critically, Mayfield also was able to answer questions well about off-the-field concerns. Mayfield did his part in Indianapolis to lock into being a first-round selection.
Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
The star of the cornerback workout on Monday was Alexander. He had an excellent 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds, and beyond that, he was even better in the field drills. He showed fluid athleticism to open his hips to turn and run. Alexander had quick feet to cut in and out of breaks with nice hands catching the ball. Teams across the league felt that Alexander was a first-round talent who could slip to the second day because of a rash of injuries that caused him to miss a lot of games as a junior. After his excellent combine workout, Alexander may have put himself back into the late first-round conversation.
Tony Brown, CB, Alabama
Aside from Alexander, the other cornerback prospect who really helped himself on Monday was Brown. He ran a lightning-fast 40-yard dash of 4.35 seconds. The 6-foot, 199-pounder was also fast, fluid and athletic in the field drills. Brown showed that he has an excellent skill set to be a NFL corner. Sources have told me that Brown was backup at Alabama behind lesser athletes because Brown was too much of a freelancer on the field and Nick Saban trusted other cornerbacks more. Brown has the skill set of a good starting corner in the NFL, and this combine performance will help him to rise in the mid-rounds as a developmental corner while being an instant contributor on special teams.
2018 NFL Draft Stock Down
Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Brown was one of the most disappointing players at the combine. He put up a disappointing total on the bench press with 14 reps and then followed it up with a shockingly slow 40 time of 5.85 seconds. The bench press was the smallest total of any offensive linemen, and his 40 was the slowest of any offensive linemen. A part of Brown's 40 time that was alarming was his 10-yard split of 2.00 seconds, which leads to concern about Brown firing out to blocks at the second level. Brown's performance at the combine could cause him to slip out of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Billy Price, C, Ohio State
Price hurt his draft stock at the combine, although it wasn't really his fault, because he tore a pectoral muscle after just starting the combine bench press. The injury not only knocked him out of the combine, but Price is going to miss other pre-draft workouts. The injury shouldn't hold Price back at all from playing in his rookie season, but being shelved for the workouts prior to the 2018 NFL Draft could knock Price into the early second-round rather than being a pick in the back half of Round 1, which was projected for Price entering the combine.
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