The combine is done and we are left with the memories of those who wowed scouts with their athletic gifts. Some of those performances cemented what the tape already showed. Other performances will cause some to look at their tape a new way and have visions of adding some technique to their physical gifts.
For that we present our annual Al Davis memorial NFL All-Combine freak team. To be clear, this is not officially affiliated with Al Davis or the Davis family. It’s a team put together of players that performed at such a high level that you know they would have jumped on Al’s radar.
Al Davis was a firm believer in the idea that some things you just can’t teach. Speed being the most prominent, but it extends to most physical gifts. You either got it or you don’t. The other stuff can be taught. That’s the theory anyway.
That’s what this team is all about. Here are this year’s selections. Starting with the offense.
Josh Allen, Wyoming
Several times during the combine I heard someone invoke the name JaMarcus Russell when speaking of Allen’s outstanding physical abilities. His arm strength is second to none in this draft. He even did one of those 50-yard passes from his knees which Russell did to convince the NFL he was a superstar in the making. And the Raiders took him first overall. Allen has very similar skills and stature. Though I highly doubt he will tank the way ol’ Purple Drank did.
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
The one thought that kept going through my mind watching Barkley shred every combine workout was Bo. His size combined with his speed and quickness are rare. And, no, he didn’t run the 40 in legendary time the way Bo allegedly did, but running 4.4 at 233 pounds is still incredible. He had running back combine bests in the bench press (29) and vertical jump (41.0). He was already the consensus best player in this draft and he just checked some boxes for anyone who had the slightest doubt.
Nick Chubb, Georgia
He tied Barkley for the most bench press reps (29). Chubb had the sixth fastest 40 (4.52) among running backs, had the 4th highest vertical jump (38.5) and second longest broad jump (10’8”). He was top ten in the 3-cone (7.09) and 20-yard shuttle (4.25).
DJ Chark, LSU
He, of course, had the fastest 40 among wide receivers (4.34), setting the standard by which all others would try to outdo the rest of the day and allowing Rich Eisen plenty of time for Chark jokes. Then he had the highest vertical (40.0) so the other receivers were literally trying to jump the Chark.
DJ Moore, Maryland
The closest the rest of the receivers had of jumping the Chark was the other DJ. Moore had longest broad jump (11.0), the second highest vertical (39.5), the fifth fastest 40 (4.42), the third fastest 20-yard shuttle (4.07), and third fastest 60-yard shuttle (11.18). And we all remember that time the Raiders used the 7th overall pick on crazy fast wide out from Maryland. Let’s just say he was fast, but he Dropped Hella Balls.
Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Not much needs to be said about Gesicki’s combine performance. The only event he didn’t have the top performance among tight end was in bench press. He had the second most reps (22) on the bench. So, let’s put his numbers up against those of the last ten combines. His 4.54 40 is 10th, his 41.5 vertical is 3rd, his 10’9” broad jump is 6th, his 6.76 3-cone is 3rd, his 20-yard shuttle is 3rd, and his 11.33 60-yard shuttle is second. That’s ridiculous. All of it.
Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh
He was the only offensive linemen at this combine to run a sub 4.9 40 (4.82) and the only one to run a sub 7.2 3-cone (7.14). That 3-cone is the second fastest ever by an offensive lineman and his 40 was 4th fastest. Even faster than 2010 Raiders 4th round pick, Bruce Campbell (4.85). Those two workouts show O’Neill is one of the most agile offensive lineman we’ve seen in years with plenty of foot quickness to stay with edge rushers. He also had the 4th fastest 20-yard shuttle.
Kolton Miller, UCLA
His 10’1” broad jump is not just the longest in this combine, but the longest ever by an offensive lineman. That and his combine top five vertical jump (31.5) show great leg strength to launch his 6-9, 309-pound frame. He also had the third fastest 40 (4.95) and was one of four Olinemen to run a sub-5.0 40. His 3rd fastest 3-cone (7.34), 3rd fastest 20-yard shuttle (4.49) show is extreme agility. And just for good measure, among offensive tackles. he had the fourth most reps on the bench press (26).
Will Hernandez, Texas-El Paso
Guards don’t usually light up the 40-yard dash. They survive on strength and Hernandez topped them all with 37 reps on the bench press. He showed some foot quickness as well, with the fourth fasted 3-cone among interior offensive linemen (7.59) and the 4th fastest 40 (5.15). He did all this despite being the second heaviest offensive lineman at the combine (6-2, 327 pounds)
Braden Smith, Auburn
Smith was second behind Hernandez in the bench press with 35 reps and the second highest vertical leap (33.5), and the third longest broad jump (9’5”). Among interior offensive linemen, he had the 6th fastest 40 (5.22).
Scott Quessenberry, UCLA
The second UCLA lineman on this team. Quessenberry had the 6th fastest 40 (5.09). That was the fastest time among interior linemen. He had the second highest vertical jump (33.5), 6th longest broad jump (9’3”), and 6th fastest 3-cone (7.50).