The NFL Combine is about to dominate all NFL discussion later this week. Before it begins, here are some of the prospects that analysts and members of the press will be buzzing about and talking up once the combine is over.
Oren Burks, linebacker, Vanderbilt
Oren Burks was a jack-of-all-trades at Vanderbilt. He lined up at every linebacker position and even performed slot coverage duties. His quickness and speed was evident on tape, so expect him to compete in the 3-cone drill and short shuttle. Additionally, if he can weigh in at around 230 pounds, he could rise up start to rise up most draft boards.
Donte Jackson, cornerback, LSU
Cornerbacks, especially those with man-coverage responsibility, need to have the speed to recover when initially beaten by wide receivers. As a former track star who competed in the 100 meters at LSU, Jackson will likely compete to be the fastest player at the combine. If Jackson can run a 4.36 or faster, he could see a Marshon Lattimore-like rise.
Jordan Lasley, wide receiver, UCLA
Lasley improved throughout the 2017 season and ended up being Josh Rosen’s all-around receiving threat. He should impress in drills that demonstrate explosion, like the broad jump or vertical. He won’t be able to keep up with the true burners in the 40-yard dash, but he should place highly.
Tim Settle, defensive tackle, Virginia Tech
Most analysts are talking up Vita Vea at the position, but Tim Settle is a similar athlete at a similar size. His explosion off the snap and agility are elite for a guy that will weigh around 330 pounds and should allow him to impress in any on-the-field drills that the defensive linemen perform. A guy with his massive frame should also be expected to compete well in the bench press.
Alex Cappa, offensive tackle, Humboldt State
Hailing from a small school in California, Cappa was a Senior Bowl participant. Both in the practices and in the game, he demonstrated both a mean-streak and grown-man strength. If you’re looking for a player that will excel at the bench press, here’s your guy.
Nyheim Hines, running back, NC State
Similar to Donte Jackson, Hines ran track for his alma mater. Hines will likely find himself competing with the wide receiver in most of the speed events. While Hines is small for a running back, if he can demonstrate adequate catching ability in a few of the combine drills, he could persuade teams to see him as a versatile third down option.