Desmond King, Jaleel Johnson, George Kittle and C.J. Beathard just finished up their stays at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. I’ve always found the combine to be very meh, with made up storylines. But that’s just my opinion!
Rich Eisen ran the 40-yard dash in a suit again.
Rich Eisen vs. John Ross...with a 7-yard head start. pic.twitter.com/zomUcKbuNA— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) March 6, 2017
Some things were impressive, some other things were not. Let’s check in on who did what:
Beathard didn’t take part in any of the agility drills at the combine due to the lingering hamstring injury we’ve known about since 2015. He didn’t grade in the top-five of Mike Mayock’s quarterbacks at the combine, which isn’t surprising. Overall, Beathard earned a 5.05 grade. To put that in perspective, Mitch Trubisky earned a 6.54 grade, best overall for a quarterback at the combine.
Vertical jump: 31.0 inches (tied with Nathan Peterman for sixth out of 13 participating quarterbacks)
Broad jump: 9’5” (eighth out of twelve participating quarterbacks)
Beathard is projected to land anywhere from the third round on from the multiple mock drafts I’ve seen, with his experience in a pro-style offense cited as his biggest asset. As for the dip in his 2016 numbers compared to 2015, Marc Morehouse reports that NFL teams are well aware of the personnel changes that happened around CJB from one year to the next.
Here’s the “bottom line” on CJB from NFL draft “expert” Lance Zierlein:
Pro-style quarterback who dealt with nagging injuries to key pass catchers and himself in 2016. His 2015 tape was more impressive, but deep-ball accuracy issues, poor pocket awareness, and unnecessary hesitation as a passer shows up in both seasons. Beathard plays checkers with safeties rather than chess, which could always hinder his ability to attack down the field with success. Could be a career backup who finds himself in the action at some point down the road.
I would chalk up “hesitation as a passer” to the fact he didn’t have a capable receiver for 90 percent of 2016, but yeah sure whatever.
Kittle probably had the best combine of any Hawkeye, and was even named a “winner” of the event by Yahoo!
He participated in the majority of events, and stacked up well in all of them, especially when you compare them to history.
George Kittle 4.52 in combine 40 today. Dallas Clark ran a 4.65, Moeaki 4.69, Fiedorowicz 4.76, and Chandler 4.79 at the combine.— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) March 4, 2017
40 Yard Dash: 4.52*
Bench press: 18 reps
Vertical jump: 35.0 inches
Broad jump: 11’*
Furthermore, NFL scouts love him.
Impressive workout for Iowa TE George Kittle. Posted an official 4.52 40-yard dash time. 35" vertical jump. 11'... https://t.co/huMcn4Vk8I— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) March 4, 2017
I think down the road Kittle will be a solid NFL player, and in the near future has value as a special-teamer.
Here’s Zierlein on Kittle, who earned a 5.38 grade. (Alabama’s O.J. Howard was the highest-rated tight end, earning a 6.51 grade).
H-back type who lacks the desired size for in-line blocking but certainly has the technique and willingness to do it. He has good hands and flashes an ability to challenge as a pass catcher on all three levels. Kittle has the athleticism and blocking ability to become an effective move tight end if paired in the right system.
*Places are reporting Kittle’s 40 time and Broad jump numbers are the best in this year’s tight end class, but NFL.com says otherwise so I dunno what’s going on with that.
Johnson didn’t have the best combine ever, but it wasn’t the worst either. He’s likely going to move in to a pass-rush role given the landscape of the NFL, and that could hurt his stock seeing as how he’s labeled a run-stopper in the minds of scouts according to Mas Casa.
40 Yard Dash: 5.38 seconds
Bench press: 19 reps
Vertical jump: 28.0 inches
Broad jump: 100.0 inches
Three Cone Drill: 7.64 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.62 seconds
Those bench press and 40-yard dash numbers aren’t ideal, but they aren’t stock killers. Most things say a third-round pick, and I’d say that’s about right.
Johnson earned a 5.67 grade (Western Kentucky’s Forrest Lamp got a 6.17 grade. I’ve never even heard of him!) Here’s what Zierlein had to say about Johnson:
Active defensive tackle with the motor and athleticism to find production in the NFL. Johnson doesn't have the functional anchor that teams looking for a run-stuffer will be after. However, his effort, foot quickness and hand usage should create opportunities for him as a pass rusher. Johnson has the talent to become an eventual starter as a three-technique in a penetrating defensive front and could fight for rotational reps early on as a rookie.
If you want more fodder on Johnson, than look no further than Rob Donaldson’s film breakdown:
Here he is, the guy we’ve all been waiting for: the Thorpe Award-winner. The cowboy hat-wearing, ball-hawking, quarterback-nightmare-giving Desmond King.
Not unlike CJB, King’s numbers took a dip his senior year from his junior campaign. However that mostly has to do with opposing quarterbacks just avoiding his entire side of the field. He said he’s comfortable playing anywhere in the backfield, and I personally see him becoming a safety due to his lack of speed (he didn’t run the 40 at the combine due to a minor injury he sustained while training) and sure tackling.
Bench press: 14 reps (tied for 14th overall)
Vertical jump: 34.0 inches
Broad jump: 117.0 inches
Three Cone Drill: 6.67 seconds
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds
60 Yard Shuttle: 11.57 seconds
Those all aren’t the best numbers for a corner, and King said he’ll run a 40 at his pro day, but right now everything points to a move to safety or corner.
Some guy with a Twitter account said King looked pretty good while running ball drills, though:
Iowa DB Desmond King didn't run a 40 but looked pretty good here pic.twitter.com/y6dAfSc5hC— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) March 6, 2017
King earned a 5.8 grade, (Washington’s Sidney Jones got a 6.5 at corner and Ohio State’s Malik Hooker earned a 6.7 at safety) but Des did get named No. 4 overall out of Mayock’s “special exceptions,” which I read as will be a really good special teams as a rookie.
Here’s an anonymous NFL scout on King:
You worry about the physical limitations a little bit because teams will find your weaknesses and exploit them. But he's just so steady and productive and tough. He loves football and I think he'll just find a way." -- Midwest scout for AFC team
Zierlein pegged him as a possible second-rounder and a likely third-rounder, which would make sense for a safety. In any case, I’m of the belief that King will have the best NFL career of these four guys, which isn’t really saying much because they’re all gonna be Hall of Famers anyway.