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NFL Combine 2019: Day 4 Winners & Losers

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Your draft crush tested well and that means the Combine matters...

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After four fun-filled and exhausting days the testing portion of the 2019 NFL Combine is over. Now is when the real takes and debates start to fly.

Before we get too crazy calling every elite tester a top 10 lock in the 2019 NFL Draft.. before we ultimately end up with 67 sure-fire first rounders.. let’s recap the fourth and final testing day of the Combine and find out who made money and whose paycheck got docked.

First, some quick notes on how this works. The list of winners and losers is purely based on testing and measurements; I’ll re-watch the on-field drills with more scrutiny throughout the week. One tool I lean on to formulate my athletic score is Kent Lee Platt’s “RAS” (relative athleticism score). Up to this point, the scores in my final grading formula were just projections. RAS is a great to help gain a better understanding of how prospects performed against a large historical database that goes back to 1987.

Did you miss the previous three days of winners and losers? I’d like you to meet Day 1. This is his brother Day 2. We don’t talk about Day 3.

TO THE TAKES!

WINNERS

ISAIAH JOHNSON - CB, Houston

Johnson posted a 10.0 RAS score. There’s some pesky decimals involved down the line but that puts him in the cream of the crop for cornerbacks dating back to 1987. Johnson will require heavy technical refinement and he doesn’t have great tape, so this was big for his stock. A 4.40 40-yard dash at 6’2 1/8” and 208 pounds will certainly raise eyebrows.

AMANI ORUWARIYE - CB, Penn State

While he didn’t do much for his stock at the Senior Bowl, Oruwariye will have serious momentum after his testing.

With a lack of legitimate outside corners in the class, Oruwariye made himself serious money. A one-year stater, some will question why it took him so long to win the job, but the tape was solid and the testing was even better.

JAMEL DEAN - Cornerback, Auburn

Dean posted a blistering 9.95 RAS and was scorching on his 4.30 40-yard dash. The best part? He did it at 6’1”, 206 pounds. Dean added to all of this by levitating to a 41” vertical and 10’10” broad jump. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen a lick of Dean’s tape. Think that changes sooner than later? I’ll give you a hint. Yes.

JUAN THORNHILL - Safety, Virginia

Those that watched Thornhill mostly came away impressed with the productive ballhawk. In the last three years he’s had 13 interceptions, including 6 last year. What made all of that possible? Oh, maybe that he might be one of the best overall athletes to test in the defensive back groups in over thirty years.

Granted that’s without him doing agilities, but goodness Thornhill had himself a day. Good tape? Check. Great testing? Check. Bigger check? Check.

LOSERS

BYRON MURPHY - CB, Washington

If you come in at 5’10 3/4” and 190 pounds with 30 1/8” arms (8th percentile), you better test well. Murphy was being talked about by some (including myself) as the top cornerback in a weak class. Did he do anything in his testing to assuage size/length concerns?

It wasn’t a bad day, but the answer to the question posed is “nope”. The uninspiring performance, along with Greedy Williams’ 4.37 40-yard dash, hits Murphy’s stock hard. Expect to hear about teams preferring Murphy in the slot.

JOEJUAN WILLIAMS - CB, Vanderbilt

When you have a question about long speed, as I did with Williams, you have to pass the test. Williams didn’t. Overall Williams had an above average day and posted a 6.63 RAS.

What didn’t help that score was a slow 4.64 40-yard dash. What did help it was the fact that he didn’t run any agility drills. For a 6’3 5/8”, 211-pounder, you’d like to see him show the ability to change direction. Especially when it’s a concern on film.

Speaking of his film, there’s two ways to watch Williams. If you watch his Ole Miss game first you’ll see him playing out of his mind against very good competition at the wide receiver position. Remember, Ole Miss will have three receivers drafted so there was nowhere for Williams to hide. If you save that game for later, there’s a very good chance you’ll feast on a goulash of assorted soup sandwiches. I’m trying to say it’s not great.

MIKE BELL - Safety, Fresno State

Can you convince yourself to draft a safety that ran a 4.84? What if he had good tape? That’s the case with Bell. He had a prime chance to improve on his stock and did quite the opposite. It wasn’t just the straight line speed that’s concerning; Bell’s 30” inch vertical jump shows a lack of short area explosion and contributed to an abysmal 1.3 RAS.

MALIK GANT - Safety, Marshall

For a prospect with arguably the most fun tape in the entire class, his testing was a big disappointment.

Gant had super physical tape, was a reliable tackler, and displayed some excellent ball skills when coming downhill. It’s hard to reconcile that with poor testing in just about every area. I want to love you, Malik. Why won’t you let me love you?

In Summation...

If I can gave you one tip on this last day of the NFL Combine, it’s to not get caught up in the wave of overreactions.

Yes, I like betting on athletes. Being an athlete doesn’t always mean you can play. Conversely, testing like a below average one doesn’t always trump excellent tape. The important part is that you leverage this information into your evaluation without letting it fully color your thoughts on a player. Context is king. Now get out there and fire off those scorching hot takes, you cowards!