Combine winners: day 2

By Jared Stanger

Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine brought us field tests from QB, WR, and TE. I won’t be writing about the QB’s (I’m sure you can find plenty of others that have), but here are some of my favorite performances from the pass catchers.

We have SPARQ numbers from as well, so we can already look at the composite athleticism. At TE, we can now see how this class compares with the stacked 2017 class.

Last year, there were nine TE that tested over 50th percentile. This year, there are four (but one is Jaylen Samuels…a more likely fullback). Last year, there were seven TE that tested as at least a sigma. This year, there’s only one…Mike Gesicki.

Almost a year ago to today’s date I tweeted that Gesicki would be the 2018 TE1, and today he proved me wrong.

He’s not TE1…he’s an extremely large WR. At least that’s what his athleticism suggests. A 4.54s forty, a 41.5″ vertical, a 10’9″ broad jump, a 4.10s shuttle, and a 6.76s three-cone. It all adds up to 2.4 sigma…which is better than all TE this year by 1.5 sigma, and all of the very good 2017 TE by 0.5 sigma. It’s an unbelievable performance.

Gesicki finishes 52% better athlete than frequently mentioned TE1 Hayden Hurst, and 70% better than Mark Andrews. Dallas Goedert has not yet tested. The numbers will send scouts and GM’s back to the tape on Gesicki. Typically, there aren’t many TE drafted in the 1st round, but Gesicki will likely now be one.

The 2018 WR class is also down athletically from the 2017 group. We saw 12 unique WR over 1.0 sigma last year, and only three have passed the mark this year. Those three: Dylan Cantrell, DJ Moore, and Courtland Sutton.

Sutton is the guy that I’ve had as my WR1 all year. His composite 86th percentile puts him 59% better than Christian Kirk and 79% better than Calvin Ridley. So, I think Courtland made some money today, but he’s not the guy that is my WR winner.

My WR winner is Tre’Quan Smith. After finding out about Brian Schottenheimer being hired as the new OC, reading about his preference for the air Coryell scheme; I was looking into the best deep threats in college. Tre’Quan was a guy I didn’t have a good feel for.

Today, Quan posted a 4.49s forty, 37.5″ vert, 10’10” broad jump, and a 6.97s cone at 6’2″/203lbs. That athleticism explains how Smith could be 15th in the country in YPC (19.85), 12th in receiving yards, 7th in explosive receptions, 4th in receiving TD’s (13).

A performance like today’s could move Tre’Quan from a 4th-5th round pick up into day two.