Accelerated development

Observations on what was seen and heard on the NFL Network during Day Two of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:

BACKS TO THE FUTURE: It can happen quickly for running backs. It did last year for Josh Jacobs, who came out of Alabama at No. 24 overall and rushed for 1,150 yards for the Raiders. And it can happen again this year in terms of immediate impact.

"We saw it with Josh Jacobs," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah observed. "We're gonna see it from a bunch of backs this year."

Jeremiah has four running backs ranked among his Top 50 players available:

No. 17 _ D'Andre Swift, Georgia: "Very similar (to Jacobs) in their run style, finish every run, can run inside, can also get involved in the passing game."

No. 32 _ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU: "The best in the passing game as a running back in this year's draft class, a little undersized but a fun player."

No. 34 J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State; and No. 39 Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: "We feel like we've been watching these guys in the Big Ten forever, physical, fast runners."

Jeremiah summarized the running back class as follows: "It is an absolutely loaded group. There's not a Zeke Elliott or Todd Gurley or anybody I anticipate going high up there in the Top 10, but it is deep."

Jacobs was the only running back selected in the first round last year.

Penn State's Miles Sanders went next at the position, at 53rd overall, to the Eagles.

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: NFL Network reporter Kim Jones identified Utah State quarterback Jordan Love as having had "a terrific week" (the quarterback workouts concluded on Thursday).

"I asked one talent evaluator about him and he said, 'I can see the idea that he's a poor man's (Patrick) Mahomes,'" Jones reported. "He saw the look on my face and he said 'poor man's,' but that is an incredible compliment. Great job this week by Jordan Love."

CHANGING THE GAME: 49ers General Manager John Lynch talked about the impact of jet sweeps and the other creative ways teams are finding to get wide receivers the ball, such as the ones the 49ers came up with for their No. 2 pick last year, Deebo Samuel.

"It's a really interesting dynamic that's going on in the league right now," Lynch said. "I say to myself all the time, 'Gosh, playing defense is a lot harder now than when I played because people are going horizontal, vertical. They're going every which way and all your keys that used to be relatively simple, not so much any more."

LOOKS FAMILIAR: Jeremiah on Utah running back Zack Moss: "This dude runs angry. He's got a little James Conner to him."

GEAUX TIGERS: Two of the NFL Combine-high 16 LSU players in attendance wore No. 18 at LSU last season, in accordance with LSU tradition.

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis explained while critiquing center Lloyd Cushenberry III: "It's a big deal because of (quarterback) Matt Mauck, a lot of adversity, he wasn't supposed to be the guy and he led them to an SEC title (and a national championship in 2003). And from that time, they've awarded No. 18 on offense and on defense to a guy who's inspirational. The teammates vote on it, the guy they think deserves to wear that number.

"And this year Cushenberry had No.18, couldn't wear it as an offensive lineman so they put a patch on his (No. 79) jersey to signify that. The No. 18 on the defensive side? K'Lavon Chaisson, the defensive end-outside linebacker that we'll see as a pass rusher. Two big-time players wearing that No. 18 at LSU and it's a big deal."

STATEMENTS MADE: Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, the heaviest player at the Combine at 364 pounds, was officially clocked at 5.10 in the 40-yard dash.

"After you run a 40 like he did at that size you can pretty much hang up the cleats and shut it down," NFL Network analyst Joe Thomas observed. "You've done all you need to do. You don't need to do one more thing."

Added NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara: "He pretty much lived up to his name, Mekhi, which biblically translates to 'who is like God.'"

Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs ran a 4.85 40 at 320 pounds, set a Combine record for an offensive lineman with a 36.5-inch vertical jump and tied the Combine record for an offensive lineman with a 10-foot-1 broad jump.

Advertising