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2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 2 Stock Watch

The second day of the combine saw some of the big names on the offensive side of the ball take the field in Indianapolis, with the quarterba


The second day of the combine saw some of the big names on the offensive side of the ball take the field in Indianapolis, with the quarterbacks and wide receivers being followed by the tight end group. It was noted frequently by the various commentary teams and reporters about the overall relatively slow times averaged by the receivers yesterday, but personally I don’t have any issues with the times. Times in the 4.5’s are no problem, Deandre Hopkins was a high 4.5 runner and the guy is a stud. There were some very solid 4.4 marks, and many with questions ran better than expected. No problems here! A word on the quarterbacks – I’ve not included any here in this look at a few names who stood out. Because none really did much to be that noteworthy. I thought Carson Wentz looked excellent, continuing his strong post-season and proving he belongs. Goff unsurprisingly looked clean and accurate throwing without any pressure to worry about. The two did as expected. Beyond that, no-one really wowed. Jeff Driskel confirmed his athletic ability as expected. Hackenberg and Cook looked as inconsistent throwing as they do on film. It was an average day by the group as a whole. Therefore, deserved priority goes mostly with receivers in this day 2 combine stock watch: Cody Core, WR, Ole Miss – It always seemed that Core was being criminally under-utilised by the Rebels offense, even taking in to account his more heralded teammate Laquon Treadwell. After making a fast start to his 2014 junior season with 4 touchdowns in the first three games, his opportunities seemed to diminish, finishing with 43 receptions for 558 yards and 6 TDs. The chances didn’t really improve this past year, with 37 catches, but proved again that he could make big time plays when called upon, averaging nearly 17.5 yards per reception. Core has all the measurables looked for in a next-level receiver at 6ft 3 & 205 lbs, and it’s clear from his film that he has speed to finish on those long runs he contributes. He’s a very good athlete, so it wasn’t a great surprise to see him stand out yesterday, but will have opened the eyes of some who might not have realised the potential he has to significantly outplay what he was able to show at the college level. His 40-yard dash time of 4.47 was one of the few to break the 4.5 barrier, and tied him for 7th among this year’s group. Where he really stood out though was his impressive hands to grab everything within reach during the various position drills, showing natural hands that plucked every ball out of the air with ease. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU – In this year’s wide receiver class, there is no real argument to be made against Doctson being the best prospect in terms of ability to track the ball in the air, make adjustments, control his body to position himself and to high point the catch. It’s extremely rare to see a ball hit the ground when it’s within his catch radius. The questions about Doctson were more based around his very slight build holding up physically at the next level, and his seeming lack of ideal speed to separate. On Saturday, he certainly gave everyone reason to re-think the latter of those two questions with a much more athletic display across the board of tests than expected. In addition to running a very solid 4.50 time in the dash (equalling Braxton Miller’s mark), he also put up a hugely impressive 41” vertical jump and 10ft 9 broad. He’s also added a few pounds to his frame to measure in at 202 lbs, up from his reported playing weight. I’ll be back to the film to see again if those numbers translate to his play in pads in game situations, but Doctson could be on the move up the wide receiver rankings, and is making a strong case to be a first round lock overall. Charone Peake, WR, Clemson – Arriving alongside Sammy Watkins in Death Valley, Peake was thought of as just as exciting a potential player as the future high pick of the Bills was, if not more so by some. Injuries have played their part though in limiting his ability to contribute, with 25 receptions all the way back in 2012 being his highest total prior to his senior year. He was finally able to flash some of his ability this season, with 50 receptions for 716 yards and 5 scores. Like Doctson, Peake is outstanding at adjusting and contorting his body to position himself to make catches. The injuries have not slowed him down, with not just straight line speed but the short area quickness to create space for himself, all within a stout 6ft 2, 209 lb frame. While it was slightly surprising that his 3 cone drill time, a test which is excellent for reflecting quick changes of direction, only had him 15th among the receiver group, his fast 4.45 dash was one of the best of the day. The positional workout just looked ridiculously easy and comfortable for Peake, who breezed through every route on the tree and strolled through the gauntlet drill. He proved himself one of the more natural receivers in this 2016 class, both as an athlete and with his hands. Had he not missed so much time he would be talked about more, and if still available at the start of day 3 of the draft, could turn out to be quite a bargain that outplays many taken before him. Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State – It’s a rather sparse tight end class this year, which made the combine an excellent opportunity for someone to really step up and make a case to be selected early with so few to choose from for teams needy at the position. The group as a whole was a big disappointment though. So many, seemingly around half, chose to not run the 40, followed by an on-field workout session that lacked any energy at all that will not have impressed the scouts on hand. The main stand out was Vannett, who has already had a great post-season so far that began with his strong week at the Senior Bowl and continued here in Indy. Vannett was able to further distance himself from the rest to be the second tight end off the board after Arkansas’ Hunter Henry, including from his closest challenger in Stanford’s Austin Hooper, who had a fairly average day. Vannett ran sharp routes and caught the ball extremely well, again underlining how underused he was by the Buckeyes over the past couple seasons. While most looked uncomfortable in the blocking portions of the workout, Vannett’s experience and proficiency for the more physical elements of playing the position were clearly evident. The Ohio State prospect has the size and all-round game to be an effective tight end in the NFL, and continues to check off all the boxes at each stage of this process leading up to the draft. Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame – Don’t get me wrong, the speed was impressive, but fairly expected. Fuller ran the fastest time of the day at 4.32, including beating track star Kolby Listenbee of TCU (who has run a 10.04 100 time before). What greatly helped his stock today though was defying common thinking that he lacked good hands. The Fighting Irish receiver did not let a single ball hit the ground during his workout, and not just that but secured each catch cleanly without double clutching. That more than anything is the biggest take away from his combine performance. On film, Fuller is constantly dropping makeable catches, and showing a preference when he can to cradle the ball in to his body. He got away with that in college when frequently wide open, but under tighter coverage at the next level under more physical pressure, would he be able to continue his big playmaking ways as a pro? He’s definitely sending scouts and analysts straight back to the film to re-evaluate. It could still not entirely convince everyone however. The issues are there over the past couple of seasons in game situations rather than without pads in a workout. His hands also did measure in at a smaller than ideal 8 ¼”. Still, taking just the combine on its own, there’s no doubt this was a positive day for the speedy receiver. Ricardo Louis, WR, Auburn – I’ve long been a big fan of Louis, and have mentioned him a number of times when asked for a sleeper at the wide receiver position this year. He was very much limited by poor play at the QB position at Auburn this season, who failed to successfully replace Nick Marshall. Louis’ opportunities to be productive were few as a result, even though he still led the team in catches, yards and touchdown receptions. It’s obvious though what a great athlete he is, especially for his well-built size of 6ft 2 & 215 lbs, and that was backed up by his workout. Louis finished 4th in the dash (4.43), 3rd in the bench press (18 reps), 5th in the vertical jump (38”), and 1st in the broad jump (11ft 0). He was another who looked very accomplished in the positional field workout, running good routes and catching well. Looks as if my sleeper prospect is not a sleeper any longer, and has put himself strongly in mid-round contention.

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Rebecca Rennie

Hello all, I'm Rebecca, also going by Bex, and I am the RealSport College Football Editor, as well as writer and NFL Draft analyst.  I also edit other sports including the CFL, cycling and golf, while occasionally contributing to the NFL section as well.  I'm a fan of most sports and enjoy discussing with fellow fans, so do please comment on articles and interact.  A big fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and of the Central Florida Knights in college.

2016 NFL Scouting Combine: Day 2 Stock Watch

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