2016 NFL Draft Stock – Post-Combine

This new section highlights which players have improved or worsened their 2016 NFL Draft stock as the draft approaches.

By Charlie Campbell.
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2016 NFL Draft Stock Up

William Jackson, CB, Houston
Jackson was the star of the defensive backs on Monday. He was the fastest corner or safety with a sparking 40-yard dash time of 4.37 seconds, officially. In the field drills, Jackson turned really well and showed excellent ball skills with the ability to make hands catches. He was good in the gauntlet and was smooth in his back pedal while turning fluidly. Jackson showed loose hips and the ability to open up. The 6-foot, 189-pounder has length with a strong season of senior-year tape. After missing the Senior Bowl with an injury, Jackson made the most of the combine to push himself into first-round consideration.

Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
From the offensive linemen, Spriggs was one of the stars of the combine. He had a blistering 40-yard dash time at 4.85 seconds. It edged N.C. State’s Joe Thuney (4.86) for the fastest 40 time among the offensive linemen. In the field work, Spriggs was very smooth with good feet to shuffle. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl with a nice season of tape in 2015. Spriggs has to get better at blocking inside moves and bull rushes, but this combine performance could lock Spriggs into a top-50 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In a weak draft for left tackles, he could get consideration late in the first round.

Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
The star of the linebackers at the combine on Sunday was Ohio State outside linebacker Darron Lee. A day earlier, we predicted that Lee would light up the combine, and that is what he did as he raced an official 40 time of 4.47 seconds. His 10-yard split of 1.55 seconds was tremendous. In the field drills, Lee was strong as well. He was very quick at shuffling his feet and quick at moving laterally. Lee dropped well in coverage and clearly is an explosive athlete. Lee has good tape from college with production. For the passing-driven NFL, he showed that he has the speed and athletic ability to cover while also being a sideline-to-sideline run defender. This combine performance should help him to be a late first-round pick.

Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville
For Rankins, it was mission accomplished at the combine. Rankins (6-1, 299) had an official 40 time of 5.03 seconds with a 34.5-inch vertical and 9-foot-10 broad jump. Those are good numbers for an interior defensive lineman who weighs around 300 pounds. In the field drills, Rankins performed well also. He is a fluid athlete who showed his explosion and balance. At the combine, Rankins confirmed his potential to be a top-25 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Keith Marshall, RB, Georgia
The star of the 40-yard dash for the running backs was Keith Marshall. The 5-foot-11, 219-pounder had a shocking 40 time of 4.31 seconds. His unofficial hand time was 4.29 seconds. As big as Marshall is, that time is phenomenal. In the field drills, he had a dropped pass and his route-running needs work, so Marshall is still a project. He barely played in 2013 and 2014 because of a torn ACL, and had other injuries in 2015, but early in his career, Marshall flashed as a potential play-maker. The medical exam was critical, but Marshall opened eyes with his amazing run at his size. The combine could really help to put Marshall’s draft stock on the map.

Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Stanford tight end Austin Hooper had a good workout in both phases. He did well as a drive blocker and a receiver. Hooper did have one drop in the gauntlet, but he had a nice over-the-shoulder catch. Overall the 6-foot-3, 254-pounder ran good routes and showed soft hands. It was a strong workout for Hooper, and team sources said that Hooper interviewed well. With Hunter Henry not performing well, Hooper had perfect timing for an impressive combine that could cause some teams to prefer him over Henry.

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Fuller (6-0, 186) was clearly the most explosive wide receiver at the combine. His official 40 time was 4.35 seconds, and he tied for the fastest 10-yard split of 1.52 seconds. The biggest knock on Fuller is dropped passes, but in the field drills, he did well at catching the ball and didn’t have a single drop. Fuller didn’t have any drops in the gauntlet, which is the toughest test on the hands, and had some nice receptions on vertical throws. For Fuller, it was mission accomplished at the combine as he confirmed that he is a late first-round to early second-round pick.

Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma
The combine can be the opportunity for some mid- and late-round players to command teams to take notice and give them more consideration if they have great workouts. The player who took advantage of that chance was Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper. The 6-foot-2, 271-pounder had a shocking 40 time of 4.59 seconds, officially. That is a tremendous time for a circa-270-pound defensive lineman. Tapper followed it up by performing well in the field drills. The combine could send a real jolt into Tapper’s draft stock.

Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
Ogbah had two excellent seasons of sack production, but because of inconsistency, Ogbah has been viewed by teams as more of a mid- to late first-rounder. The 6-foot-4, 273-pounder made a statement at the combine though, putting up a dynamic 40 time of 4.63 seconds. He also had the fastest 10-yard split of any of the defensive linemen at 1.59 seconds. Ogbah’s explosion could be seen in good vertical and broad jumps as well. In the field drills, he moved well and showed that he is nimble despite being over 270 pounds. Ogbah gave teams looking for a pass-rusher in the middle of the first round something to think about.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Shepard had a nice day at the Combine. His official 40 time was 4.48 seconds, and he tied for the best vertical jump of 41 inches. In the field drills, Shepard was very good as his hands were very strong and he looked natural at catching the ball. For the NFL, Shepard looks like a speed slot receiver who can generate separation and is tough as nails. At Oklahoma, not only did he produce for multiple seasons, but he was huge for the Sooners in clutch time. Shepard really helped himself in a receiver class that was very underwhelming as a unit. With this combine performance, Shepard should be a second-day selection.

2016 NFL Draft Stock Down

Henry Henry, TE, Arkansas
The consensus top tight end prospect is Arkansas’ Hunter Henry, but he had a disappointing showing at the combine. Henry (6-5, 250) had a poor total on the bench press of only 13 reps of 225 pounds. It was disappointing that he didn’t run the 40 or do the other jump measurements, but he did take part in the field work.

However, based on how Henry performed there, he should have declined to do that as well. He had a poor workout as a blocker and receiver. On numerous plays, Henry wasn’t running the routes correctly around the cones. It seemed like he was disinterested and didn’t want to be there. Sources said they felt Henry’s workout was poor as well. Overall, he didn’t perform well at the combine, but it probably isn’t bad enough to change his status as the top tight end prospect.

Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Michael Thomas (4.57) had a very disappointing 40 time. He is a sideline vertical receiver who was expected to run faster. Thomas did better in the field work, though there was one pass where he never located the ball. Overall, the combine still was a rough performance that could hurt Thomas’ draft grade. He was one the bubble of the first round, but a slow 40 and not being all that impressive in the field drills could easily cause him to be viewed more in Round 2.

Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
The news out of the combine medical was very sad for Smith as the checks on his knee injury revealed that the nature of his knee tears are such that he is not expected to play at all in the 2016 season. Some teams are said to have flunked his medical, and Smith is no longer projected to be a first-round pick. Teams really love Smith’s tape and his off-the-field character, so on the second-day of the 2016 NFL Draft, Smith could still get consideration. If Smith’s medical re-checks are favorable in the weeks leading up to the draft, that would be huge for his draft stock, but it doesn’t sound like he will be a first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky
Entering the combine, WalterFootball.com knew some teams that had a second-round grade on Spence as a player – and not just because of his off-the-field problems. Sources at the Senior Bowl said Eastern Kentucky edge rusher Noah Spence did not interview well with teams while impressing on the field. The poor interviews continued at the combine, where he added an underwhelming field workout. Spence had a disappointing 40 time at 4.80 seconds, which was much slower than expected. Spence did better in the jumps and the field drills, but he didn’t do enough at the combine to help rehabilitate the character concerns that are abundant around him. The combine could make Spence more of a back-half-of-the-first-round selection, and slipping to the second day is possible for him.

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