Matt Williamson is co-host of “SNR Drive” on Steelers Nation Radio. He contributed to SNR’s coverage of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine and the following are some of his personal perspectives on this year’s event:
The casual NFL fan is probably aware the standout performances at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. D.K. Metcalf received national attention with some of his numbers. Tight ends rarely come close to putting up the numbers that Noah Fant did. Off the ball linebackers infrequently run in the very low 4.4s, but both Devin White and Devin Bush were both able to pull it off. Meanwhile a defensive end, Montez Sweat, edged out both White and Bush with a 4.41 time.
But there were many other performances that did not receive the same acclaim. Here are a few that jumped out to me while watching the proceedings in Indianapolis this year:
Running Back: I thought Alex Barnes and Justice Hill took an opportunity to shine. Barnes’ 40-yard time (4.59) wasn’t anything to write home about, but he excelled in many other testing areas. Hill, meanwhile, was amongst the best at his position in all the athletic events. Barnes and Hill boasted two of the top three verticals and were in the top five of the broad jump. Meanwhile, Mile Sanders might be best known as the running back that followed Saquon Barkley at Penn State, but his testing results jumped out to me. Sanders and Barnes topped the three-cone drill and were both in the top three of the short shuttle. Lastly, 220-pound Ryquell Armstead isn’t a name known to many, but I took notice of his 4.45 in the 40.
Wide Receiver: Nine wide outs ran better than a 4.4 in the 40. Last year, there was just one. Parris Campbell tied Andy Isabella (4.31) with the best 40 time, but I saw Campbell also really stand out in the two jumping drills. I didn’t miss Emmanuel Hall’s numbers either. Hall has great height for the position and was still one of the competitors who ran a 4.4 flat, but it was his jumping numbers that were amongst the best-ever recorded at this annual event.
Cornerback: Tall cornerbacks with long arms were on display in Indianapolis this year. At an eighth of an inch shy of 6’ 2”, Greedy Williams ran a 4.37 with an arm length of 31 1/2”. Meanwhile, Jamel Dean stood exactly 6’ 1” with 31 3/4” arms and lit up the track with a 4.3 flat 40-yard dash. That was just one-tenth off the best time at the entire event. Dean has suffered three knee injuries between 2013-2016, but clearly that didn’t hold him back. Not to be outdone, Isaiah Johnson’s 4.4/40 at 6’ 2 1/8” with 33” arm length is also quite spectacular on the size/speed meter. I also took note of David Long, who didn’t have the size of these others but was still amongst the best in nearly every athletic category.