*The Al Davis Memorial All Combine Freak Team is in no way affiliated with Oakland Raiders late owner Al Davis.
Each year the NFL converges on Indianapolis as prospects from across the nation show off their athletic abilities. It's a lot like a track meet or what some like to call 'the underwear Olympics'.
What I've done, as I have done each year, is put together an 'All Combine Team', just as there might be an All American team or an All Pro team based on these prospects' performances in workouts.
QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Quarterback is not one of those positions where most of the combine workouts which measure athletic abilities mean a whole lot. That being said, there was one player who stood out from the rest. Literally. Lynch was the tallest quarterback at the combine at 6-5. He was in the top five in hand size (10 ¼) and while he isn't the fleetest of foot, he has leaping ability, coming in second in both the Vertical jump (36") and Broad jump (9'10").
RB Keith Marshall, Georgia
Skill positions like running back are where we see the importance of the speed quotient. And no one at the 2016 combine at any position was as fast as Marshall who had a blazing 4.31 time. That's the third fastest combine time by a running back in the past decade. And just to prove all of his strength isn't in his lower body, he also led all running backs (excluding fullbacks) at this combine with 25 reps on the bench press.
RB Daniel Lasco, Cal
The other running back position comes from a school that was near (literally) and dear to Al Davis' heart. This Cal Golden Bear lit up the combine, with the top Vertical jump (41.5) and Broad jump (11'3"). His Broad jump is longest for a running back in over a decade and his Vertical jump is tied for 3rd over that time. Lasco also landed in the top five in the 40-yard-dash (4.46), Bench press reps (23), and 60-yard shuttle (11.31).
FB Dan Vitale, Northwestern
I'd hate to have to deal with his man coming at me on a football field. He's big, fast, and strong. He was a top five performer in nearly every athletic event, and that was going against running backs who are supposed to be more agile and quick than he is. He led all running backs with 30 bench press reps and in the short shuttle (4.12). The bench press makes sense, but a fullback is not supposed to beat all running backs in the short shuttle. He also had the third highest Vertical (38.5), 5th longest Broad jump (10'3"), and third fastest 6-yard shuttle (11.36).
WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame
The fastest receiver in this year's combine, and second fastest 40 time at any position (4.32) would have put him squarely on Al Davis' radar. Fuller also was top ten at his position in the Broad jump (10'6") and 60-yard shuttle (11.44).
WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
While Shepard just squeaked into the top ten in the 40-yard-dash (4.48), he led all receiver in bench press reps (20), and had the highest vertical leap (41).
TE Ben Braunecker, Harvard
As if attending Harvard didn't already mean this kid had a bright future ahead of him, he went to the combine and showed he had some ‘braun' to go with those brains. He had the fastest 60-yard shuttle time (11.32) among tight ends which was the second fastest time in the past decade. He was second among tight ends in this combine in the short shuttle (4.2), 3-cone (6.9), Broad jump (10'1"), and Vertical (35.5). Add his top five performances in the bench press (20), and 40-yard-dash (4.73) and you have a pretty amazing athlete.
OT Jason Spriggs, Indiana
Yeah, most times, it's not really necessary that your offensive linemen be able to run a 40 under 5 seconds. But, at this combine, there were three who did. Spriggs topped them all with a 4.94 40 time, but he wasn't nearly done. He also had the longest Broad jump (9.7"), second fastest short shuttle (4.44), and had the fourth most Bench press reps (31). Making him top to bottom the strongest offensive linemen in this draft.
OT Joe Haeg, North Dakota State
At 6-6, there are only three offensive linemen in this draft who are taller. And none have more overall athleticism. Haeg finished in the top five in the Broad jump (9'3"), 3-cone (7.47), and short shuttle (4.47), and top ten in the 40-yard-dash (5.16). His fellow NDSU alum Carson Wentz may be getting all the press, but Haeg opened some eyes at the combine.
OG Christian Westerman, Arizona St
If you're looking for brute strength in a guard (and we know you are), Westerman has it. He topped all offensive linemen with 34 Bench press reps. If you need him to show some agility, he can do that too with the third best time in the 3-cone drill (7.32). He also was a top ten performer (8th) in the Short shuttle (4.58).
OG Connor McGovern, Missouri
McGovern didn't blow away the field in any one event. But what he did was show a wide range of strength and athleticism across the board. He showed upper body strength with his 33 reps on the Bench press (2nd among OL), leg strength with his 9'1" Broad jump (8th OL), agility with his 7.5 3-cone (7th OL), and speed with his 5.11 40-yard-dash (8th OL).
C Jake Brendel, UCLA
This Bruin mauler topped all offensive lineman in the 3-cone drill (7.31) which many believe to the be most important combine drill because it shows how quick a player's feet are. He further proved his quick feet with the fastest short shuttle (4.27). Then for good measure, he proved his speed with a 5.01 40-yard-dash. This man can get down field quickly as a blocker.