Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2018 NFL Combine: Takeaways from Day 1 of On-Field Workouts

On-field workouts opened with offensive linemen and running backs getting their turn to shine on Friday in Indianapolis.

1) RB Saquon Barkley is who we thought he was.
Let's get the obvious out of the way – Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is an absolute freak athlete. Teams have done all their evaluations of his tape that they need, but the pure athleticism of this dude was on full display from the Combine. First of all, Barkley bench-pressed 29 reps of 225 pounds. Saquon Barkley weighs 224 pounds, for scale. To add to that, the junior recorded a 41-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. Saints' Alvin Kamara ran a 4.56, Jaguars' Leonard Fournette ran a 4.51 and Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott ran a 4.47. Yup, Barkley was faster than all of them.

2) OL Will Hernandez upped his draft stock.
Will Hernandez comes out of the University of Texas – El Paso and after a very strong showing at the Combine, has definitely upped his stock among offensive linemen. If you were impressed with Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson bench-pressing 35 reps, allow me to inform you that Hernandez benched 37, the most of any offensive lineman this year. He also tied for the fastest 10-yard split in his group, jumping off the block in 1.76 seconds. His overall 40-yard dash time was a solid 5.15. He was springy in his drills, with analysts noting how well he is able to set the edge and block for the run. He was a two-time Second-Team AP All-American and First-Team All-Conference USA honoree at UTEP.

3) OL Orlando Brown is the first victim of the Combine.
The highly-touted offensive lineman out of Oklahoma has the size, and the tape for that matter, but he did himself no favors at the 2018 Combine. Brown is 6'8" and weighs 360 pounds, yet only benched 14 reps of 225 pounds. He ran a 5.85 40-yard dash (with a 2-second 10-yard split), recorded a 19.5-inch vertical and an 82-inch broad jump. Of course, lack of athleticism at the Combine can be overcome by a strong showing on tape – which, again, Brown has. But what's hard to overcome are the intangibles. We don't know how meetings went, but Brown did get yelled at by coaches during on-field workouts for 'loafing.'

4) University of Georgia produces good running back prospects.
Both running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel had strong showings in the 40-yard dash. Chubb ran a 4.52 and Michel ran a 4.54. Chubb was also impressive in the bench press with 29 reps and on both the vertical jump (38.5 inches) and broad jump (128 inches). Chubb was listed as seventh-best but with the show he put on at the Combine, his stock may rise as well. Michel graded out on ESPN as the second-best running back prospect behind Saquon Barkley.

5) Notable prospects sit out the 40-yard dash.
After 'tweaking' his hamstring warming up for the 40-yard dash, Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson opted not to run the 40, but did participate in every other offensive lineman drill, namely his 35 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He also managed a 26.5-inch vertical jump, 105-inch broad jump and did the 3-cone drill in 7.65 seconds. His teammate, another highly touted offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey, also opted out of the drill, but that was known prior to Friday. McGlinchey participated in other drills as well and showed that Nelson isn't the only Irish worth talking about on the offensive line. Kerryon Johnson from Auburn was a notable running back to sit out the 40-yard dash, but again participated in other drills. Johnson finished right behind Barkley with a 40-inch vertical jump. He finished with the third-longest broad jump among running backs as well, jumping 126 inches.

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