INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – NFL prospects report to the Combine, or underwear Olympics as it’s sometimes called, this week. Franchises will get the chance to interview players, many of whom teams will be speaking with for the first time. Medical checks are always crucial as well. Last year we saw potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst fall to the fifth round after a medical check brought to light his heart condition. For others, medical checks will be an opportunity to show teams they have recovered from a previous injury and are ready to contribute.
The real fun starts March 1 when workouts officially begin. That Friday we’ll see running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers, positions the Colts solidified through last year’s draft. Saturday we’ll watch quarterbacks, tight ends and wide receivers. Defensive linemen and linebackers will run drills on Sunday, followed by defensive backs on Monday.
While game tape accounts for the majority of a prospect’s evaluation, the Combine is a chance for players to distinguish themselves from the pack. Getting official measurements and times can help teams separate guys who are closely ranked. Though the Combine is far from an end-all-be-all, it will certainly have an impact on most players’ draft stock.
With three draft picks in the first two rounds, and four in the first 90 selections, the Colts have an opportunity to add several more starters to their young nucleus. General manager Chris Ballard’s first two picks last year (Quinton Nelson & Darius Leonard) were elected First-Team All-Pro as rookies. The next Colts star will likely be in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.
Colts Draft Picks
First Round – 26th Overall
Second Round – 34th Overall (From Jets)
Second Round – 59th Overall
Third Round – 90th Overall
Fourth Round – 123rd Overall
Fourth Round – 135th Overall (Compensatory)
Fifth Round- 154th Overall
Sixth Round – 187th Overall
Seventh Round – 218th Overall
Ballard has made it clear that finding a dominant edge-rusher is his top priority this offseason. Only 11.5 of Indy’s 38 sacks came from defensive ends last season. Jabaal Sheard’s 5.5 sacks led the defensive end group, but the veteran turns 30 in May and is entering the final year of his contract. Last year’s second-round picks Kemoko Turay and Tyquan Lewis showed promise as rookies but have a lot of progress to make before they can be counted on as starters. Even if the Colts sign a pass rusher through free agency, adding young talent through the draft will remain a must. Here’s a glimpse at the top defensive end prospects who might be available for Indianapolis.
Montez Sweat – Senior – Mississippi State
Combine Height: 6’6” – Combine Weight: 260 lbs
Sweat is an explosive athlete with great length and a non-stop motor. He dominated at the Senior Bowl and could elevate his stock even further with an impressive performance at the Combine.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 22, 2019
Brian Burns – Junior – Florida State
Combine Height: 6’5” – Combine Weight: 249 lbs
A long, thin edge-rusher with elite burst and bend, Burns comes equipped with a variety of pass rushing moves. He had 23 sacks in 33 college games but must add weight and strength.
Brian Burns natural hip bend and ability to corner are ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/1sX1K2q4qV
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 10, 2019
Charles Omenihu – Senior – Texas
Combine Height: 6’5” – Combine Weight: 280 lbs
Omenihu has ideal size and length. His hand-usage improved this season, and his sack total rose as a result. The buzz around Omenihu will grow once his athleticism is on display at the Combine.
Charles Omenihu winning with violent hand usage, leverage, and a great snatch move. He is going to be a very good player.https://t.co/LlM6mZ4Ifg
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 20, 2019
Zach Allen – Senior – Boston College
Combine Height: 6’4” – Combine Weight: 281 lbs
Allen is a hard-nosed football player who wins with instincts, effort, grit, size and strength. He displays solid athleticism for his size, but an impressive Combine performance could send his stock soaring.
Zach Allen established himself as a dominant edge defender this season and totaled 54 quarterback pressures. What makes him so special? Find out below. https://t.co/KmIx7PNf1k pic.twitter.com/H5sgc2H0F6
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 23, 2019
Chase Winovich – RS Senior – Michigan
Combine Height: 6’3” – Combine Weight: 256 lbs
A polished prospect who plays every down with maximum effort, Winovich’ isn’t an athlete who can bend around the edge. How he tests at the Combine will help teams determine his ceiling.
chase winovich = good at football
— Thomas Davidson (@TDavidson_13) February 23, 2019
Oshane Ximines – Senior – Old Dominion
Combine Height: 6’3” – Combine Weight: 253 lbs
Ximines was highly productive playing in Conference USA but lacks elite physical traits. He’ll need to show out at the Combine to convince teams his skillset is transferable to the pros.
One of our secret superstars, Oshane Ximines was the highest-graded edge defender from Conference USA. pic.twitter.com/jCT79HILvj
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 18, 2019
Indianapolis lacks the weapons to win shootouts right now. The Colts went 0-5 this past season (including playoffs) when their opponents scored 30 or more points. Chester Rogers finished second among Colts wide receivers with 485 receiving yards. His 30.3 receiving yards per game average was the second-fewest of any team’s number-two wide receiver. Whatever angle you look at it, upgrading the receiving corps should be one of Ballard’s top priorities. Here’s a look at some of the best receiver prospects performing at the Combine.
D.K. Metcalf – RS Sophomore – Ole Miss
Combine Height: 6’3”– Combine Weight: 228 lbs
A size-speed freak who routinely makes highlight-reel catches, Metcalf is expected to post eye-popping Combine numbers. His medical evaluations will be critical after suffering a broken neck in October.
DK Metcalf is WR1 – Thread starts now #NFLDraft
(he’s aligned as the outside receiver to the left of the offensive formation, for all of these clips) pic.twitter.com/8BlKViDLnl
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 13, 2019
N’Keal Harry – Junior – Arizona State
Combine Height: 6’2”– Combine Weight: 228 lbs
Harry has a colossal catch radius and excels at running with the ball in his hands. His ability to separate has been questioned, placing an added emphasis on how he runs at the Combine.
He’s the contested catch king, but N’Keal Harry’s run after the catch game is 👌🏻🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/kQHTkvxkag
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) February 20, 2019
Kelvin Harmon – Junior – North Carolina State
Combine Height: 6’2”– Combine Weight: 221 lbs
Maybe the most well-rounded receiver in this class, Harmon runs polished routes, has strong hands and good size. He could put himself in the round-one conversation with an impressive 40-yard-dash time.
You can try to bully Kelvin Harmon but you will lose pic.twitter.com/eK1qDLSrZK
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) February 20, 2019
Deebo Samuel – RS Senior – South Carolina
Combine Height: 5’11”– Combine Weight: 214 lbs
Samuel has the quickness and route running prowess to make defenders look silly. He is a versatile weapon with experience taking handoffs and returning kicks, but his injury history is concerning.
Deebo Samuel is unguardable in the redzone because of his explosive and refined route running – head fake times up with his jab step, but watch his right foot glide right across the grass as he rips across face. Quick, strong win inside #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/QdWevbydLs
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 15, 2019
Riley Ridley – Junior – Georgia
Combine Height: 6’1”– Combine Weight: 199 lbs
Riley is a bigger version of his brother Calvin, who turned heads as a rookie for the Falcons. Georgia’s run-heavy offense limited his production, but Riley can illustrate his desirable traits at the Combine.
Consecutive plays against LSU, Riley Ridley producing. Adjusts at the catchpoint to beat Greedy Williams, then hits the “Dino” route to create a ton of separation in the middle of the field #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/8xISXqerBd
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) December 25, 2018
Hakeem Butler – RS Junior – Iowa State
Combine Height: 6’5”– Combine Weight: 227 lbs
Butler uses his size to box-out defenders, win jump balls and run through defensive backs. Like other large receivers in this class, his performance in the speed drills will determine how high he is drafted.
I am enamored with Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler. At 6-6, 225 they call him the condor. He has the height & arm length to box out anyone attempting to cover him. Butler also has the strength to throw a good block in the run game. He'd be a perfect weapon for Josh Allen in Buffalo. pic.twitter.com/o9bOXEV4vA
— EJ (@ejtowne) February 21, 2019
A.J. Brown – Junior – Ole Miss
Combine Height: 6’ 1/2″– Combine Weight: 226 lbs
Brown was productive from the slot in college, which is where he belongs in the NFL. He runs crafty routes and is savvy after the catch but lacks top-end speed and burst. Combine measurables will be key.
Everything about this play from AJ Brown is elite. Incredible job creating separation. FIGHTS through a tough tackle attempt and then is a BLUR to the end zone, creating a poor pursuit angle. This is top-3 WR stuff right here. pic.twitter.com/RIFuLSLHYo
— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) February 23, 2019
The Colts received tremendous production last season from a patchwork defensive interior. Denico Autry led the team with 9 sacks and has two more years on his contract. Margus Hunt’s 5 sacks were fourth-most, but the veteran is set to become a free agent and will turn 32 this summer. Team captain Al Woods was the run-stuffer of the group, but like Hunt, he’s also an impending free agent that will turn 32 before the season begins. Today’s NFL places added emphasis on pressuring the quarterback from inside. Finding a cornerstone at defensive tackle is a box the Colts need to check.
Christian Wilkins – Senior – Clemson
Combine Height: 6’3”– Combine Weight: 315 lbs
Wilkins was a highly productive three-year starter with excellent quickness, hands and versatility. His character is off the charts. Wilkins needs to increase his power to improve at the point of attack.
Holy Christian Wilkins pic.twitter.com/GX0QEQOniz
— Tiger Commenter (@TigerCommenter) February 1, 2019
Jerry Tillery – Senior – Notre Dame
Combine Height: 6’6”– Combine Weight: 295 lbs
Tillery possesses power and exceptional length, while being an above average athlete at his position. His repertoire of moves expanded in 2018, but his hand usage needs to be more consistent.
Jerry Tillery is a menace. Puts the RG on skates with the long arm pic.twitter.com/9sMvGCW2QY
— Ty Wurth (@WurthDraft) February 6, 2019
Dre’Mont Jones – RS Junior – Ohio State
Combine Height: 6’3”– Combine Weight: 281 lbs
Jones is a gap penetrator, who used good hand technique and impressive all-around athleticism to rack up 8.5 sacks in 2018. He should dominate the Combine, but strength deficiencies hurt him against the run.
Ohio State DI Dre'Mont Jones (@TheOfficial_80) is special. He can win quick off the snap and always works to win with violent, quick hands. I love his hand use off the snap.
Here's a thread of some of his best pass-rush wins in 2018, starting with this beauty against Nebraska. pic.twitter.com/UMH9H3Yn16
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 21, 2019
Dexter Lawrence – Junior – Clemson
Combine Height: 6’4”– Combine Weight: 342 lbs
Men of Lawrence’s size don’t normally move as well as he does. He’s a run-stuffing nose tackle who can push the pocket, but teams will have questions about a PED suspension that cost him the playoffs.
— Kevin Brown (@KevinBrownNFL) February 22, 2019
The Colts’ cornerback group exceeded expectations in 2018. Quincy Wilson, a 2017 second-round pick, played well over the second half of the season, which has inspired optimism toward his ability to take another step forward next year. Slot cornerback Kenny Moore experienced a breakout season. He led Indy with three interceptions, was third on the team in tackles and added 1.5 sacks. Pierre Desir impressed as well and played his first full 16-game season of his career. Desir is an impending free agent who turns 29 in September. The decision or resign him will determine if the Colts are drafting for need or depth at the position come April.
Deandre Baker – Senior – Georgia
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 185 lbs
Baker is an intelligent, feisty corner with great physicality, anticipation and ball-skills. The Combine is an opportunity for him to answer questions about his long speed.
Congrats to DeAndre Baker for winning the Jim Thorpe award. Best CB in NCAA football! 👏
Here are some highlights throughout his collegiate career!
Tag a Dawg fan! pic.twitter.com/ZsiGCXsaNw
— Hotlanta Highlights (@HotlantaHlights) December 7, 2018
Bryon Murphy – RS Sophomore – Washington
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 182 lbs
Murphy is a quick-twitch athlete with tremendous instincts and awareness. He hits harder than his frame would suggest, but his modest length amplifies the importance of testing well at the combine.
The highest-graded Pac-12 cornerback? That would be one of the best on the field this season, Bryon Murphy. pic.twitter.com/h0Yb8HcBKK
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 15, 2019
Rock Ya-Sin– Senior – Temple
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 189 lbs
The coolest name in this year’s draft, Ya-Sin is a fluid athlete who shows good speed, toughness and is a reliable tackler. His competitive attitude and skill-set fit what the Colts are building on defense.
Rock Ya-Sin showing excellent body control to change direction. Then stays physical at the top of route to disrupt throw pic.twitter.com/jGHXhUIx58
— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 21, 2019
Trayvon Mullen – Junior – Clemson
Listed Height: 6’1”– Listed Weight: 195 lbs
Though rarely tested at Clemson, Mullens has the speed to stick with receivers down the field and the quicks to mirror them underneath. His Combine numbers need to match the athleticism shown on tape.
— Fair Shake Football (@FairshakeFB) February 26, 2019
Julian Love– Junior – Notre Dame
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 193 lbs
Love displays fantastic instincts, ball skills, toughness and is tremendous in run-support. The biggest concern about him is speed, which makes it imperative that he runs well at the Combine.
Julian Love vs JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
This is some fun game tape!! pic.twitter.com/uKfCVMP9uY
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) February 28, 2019
Malik Hooker rebounded well this past year after tearing his knee as a rookie. The 2017 first-round pick is cornerstone of this defense moving forward. Clayton Geathers is a team captain and effective when healthy. However, Geathers has never played a full 16-game season and is set to become a free agent. Mike Mitchell was an excellent mid-season acquisition but is also a free agent and will turn 32 this summer. Matthias Farley spent most of last season on IR but is a quality rotational safety who can start if need be. Farley is a restricted free agent who is expected to return. Depending on how free agency shakes out, safety could be a need for the Colts in 2019.
Johnathan Abram – Senior – Mississippi State
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 205 lbs
Abram is a hard hitting, downhill safety, who would be a great compliment to Hooker’s ball-hawking style of play on the back end. An impressive Combine workout could cement his status as a first-round pick.
— Prospect Breakdown (@Thee_ProsBrkdwn) February 22, 2019
Nasir Adderley – Senior – Delaware
Listed Height: 5’11”– Listed Weight: 195 lbs
Adderley is quick to recognize plays and explodes to the ball. He’s a reliable tackler and displays exceptional ball-skills. A former cornerback, Adderley appears capable of playing that position in the Colts’ zone scheme.
#Delaware S Nasir Adderley — “Open angle” technique here. Can use this technique (instead of the speed-turn) when you have the depth to flip & drive on the throw with the hips open to the QB. Like the finish, too. High-point the ball. @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/DpCOiRmWyF
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) February 25, 2019
Taylor Rapp– Junior – Mississippi State
Listed Height: 6’0”– Listed Weight: 200 lbs
A versatile safety who’s has success playing deep and in the box, Rapp shows good anticipation, tackles well and is a tremendous blitzer (5 sacks in 2018). His biggest knock is a lack of elite athletic traits.
❗️One of the most impressive defensive plays I saw in 2018:
⚡️Washington’s Taylor Rapp tracking down this Boundary Pin & Pull all the way from his Strong Safety Postion!
This dude is unbelievable! pic.twitter.com/0P4J2Yv60j
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) December 20, 2018