Much of NFLDraftScout.com’s focus yesterday was on the quarterbacks with my analysis here and Ric Serritella reporting live from inside Lucas Oil Stadium as one of the small group of Pro Football Writers Association members granted special access by the NFL into the QB passing sessions.
For various reasons, Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones drew most of the attention in the first group while Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson boosted their cause in the afternoon session. Of course, making things easier on all of the quarterbacks was a stellar showing by this year’s pass-catchers at wide receiver and tight end.
Predictably, Iowa’s Noah Fant and Mississippi’s D.K. Metcalf stole the spotlight during the athletic testing, achieving eye-popping scores in the 40-yard dash to separate from their peers and all but confirm their individual first round grades.
Metcalf's results caused considerable buzz. At a buffed 6-3, 228 pounds (and about 1.7 percent body fat), his show included running 40 yards in 4.33 seconds, a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and 27 reps benching 225 pounds.
But who else among the pass-catchers turned heads Saturday?
After polling a handful of scouts who were inside the stadium for the duration of Saturday’s workouts, here are ten “other” pass-catchers who you should be talking about.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.
Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame – Boykin tops this list due to his last name but given how high and far he leaped Saturday, one could argue he was the day’s biggest “riser” anyway. A prototypically-built split end at 6-4, 220 pounds, Boykin showed off his ability to play above the rim by posting a ridiculous 43.5” vertical jump which tied with Missouri’s Emanuel Hall for the highest recorded thus far this year at the Combine. Boykin finished one inch behind Hall for the best standing broad jump so far (Boykin had a 11’8”) and he showed excellent timed speed, as well, clocking in at 4.43 seconds. What was particularly impressive about Boykin’s day was the sudden change of direction in the shuttle drills he demonstrated, leading all pass-catchers with a 6.77 second 3-cone drill and finishing second in the short shuttle at 4.07 seconds – remarkable times for a receiver of Boykin’s length.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State – Like the afore-mentioned Boykin, Butler passes the eye test at an imposing 6-5, 227 pounds with vine-like 35 ¼” arms. Combine those numbers with his 36” vertical jump and it is easy to see why some feel that Butler might deliver as a red zone specialist capable of simply out-leaping or trucking smaller defensive backs after the catch. Like most taller receivers, Butler shows good build-up speed but he proved faster than expected Saturday, rolling to an impressive 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and demonstrating intriguing raw strength, as well, posting 18 reps at 225 pounds – an excellent number for a receiver, especially one with as long of arms as Butler.
Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State – Far from unexpected but in tying with UMASS’ Andy Isabella to post the fastest 40-yard dash time recorded thus far at the 2019 NFL Combine, Campbell certainly lived up to his billing as one of year’s most extraordinary athletes. Not only did the 6-0, 205 pound Campbell light up the track in 4.31 seconds, he also posted a 40” vertical jump and enjoyed a strong positional workout. Campbell (pictured above) is a top 50 pick all day long.
Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State (La.) – Overshadowed by his record-breaking sackmaster brother Jaylon from Louisiana Tech and needing to show scouts that he possessed the raw athleticism to look past some off-field issues that led to his transfer from LSU two years ago, the imposing 6-5, 227 pound Ferguson rolled to an impressive 4.45 in the 40-yard dash and registered a 37” vertical jump. In a draft as loaded with talented receivers as this one, Ferguson needed an impressive showing at the Combine (tests and interviews) just to guarantee that he’d be selected at all. If teams are convinced he has gained the maturity to be reliable, he might have moved into fourth or fifth round consideration with his showing on Saturday.
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State – Just as Campbell and Hardman were expected to star in the speed drills, it was not surprising to see the 6-2, 228 pound Harry impress during the bench press (tying with Metcalf with a position-best 27 reps) but he also showcased better speed (4.53) and raw explosiveness (38.5” in the vertical jump) than some anticipated. Also, for a receiver who did most of his work on underneath routes and along the sideline at Arizona State, he also showed terrific vision and body control during the positional workout.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State – Clocking a 4.35 second 40-yard dash at 6-0, 208 pounds after enjoying a breakout final season with the Buckeyes and turning heads at the Senior Bowl has given McLaurin as much positive momentum as any of the so-called “second tier” receivers in this draft. His 37.5” vertical jump is another indication of McLaurin’s raw athleticism and any questions about his work ethic were put to rest with a solid 18 reps of 225 pounds.
Foster Moreau, TE, LSU – Characterized as a blue-collar, jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none-type throughout much of his career, Moreau was one of the big winners of Saturday’s workouts, finishing among position leaders in explosive tests like the 40-yard dash (4.66) and vertical jump (36.5”), as well as in the strength and endurance assessment (22 reps). Perhaps most surprising is the fact that Moreau led all tight ends in the short shuttle, posting a 4.11 second time that was seven hundredths of a second faster than any other tight end tested in 2019 and just a tenth slower than anything seen at the position in Indianapolis since the 4.01 former eight-year NFL veteran Tony Scheffler ran back in 2006.
Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State – This April will mark a full decade since a member of the Spartans was selected among the top 100 in an NFL draft but Oliver took a huge step in accomplishing this feat Saturday, wowing during timed drills, as well as the positional workout. The 6-5, 249 pounder was clocked at 4.63 seconds (third among tight ends) and is bigger than each of the men who timed faster. He finished tied for second with 22 reps of 225 pounds, a respectable 34” vertical jump and made a sparkling spin and one-handed grab during his untimed portion of the workout.
Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State – Like Oliver, Warring has not received nearly as much attention nationally as his talent deserves but expect that to end after the prototypically-built 6-5, 252 pounder turned in top five performances in the 40-yard dash (4.67), short shuttle (4.25), long shuttle (11.72), vertical jump (36.5”), broad jump (10’2”) and bench press (19 reps). The depth of this year’s remarkable TE class is likely to keep Warring still waiting to hear his name called on Day Three but he possesses all of the physical traits necessary to develop into a future NFL starter.