6-Pack Thursday: Predicting Combine Standouts

Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL Scouting Combine set to commence next week, it's time confirm the athletic ability of these prospects we observe on tape and secure official measurements. It's all about checking boxes and reconciling discrepancies between the testing and what film revealed. Testing matters and today I am offering six prospects I expect to ace the test.

For the most part, I didn't go out on a limb with my picks but I expect the following prospects to be six of the buzziest names coming out of Indy.

I hope that this column has become a staple for you each week, but just in case you are new, 6-Pack Thursday is my weekly brain dump on six football-related things that involve the NFL, College Football or NFL Draft.

Let’s crack this thing open!

DK is a Freak

First of all, please check out my piece about DK Metcalf being a freak. And of course you've seen this picture by now.

The reactions to this photo were wild. Some people loved it while others were greatly concerned that he is too bulky and it would negatively impact him as a receiver. My take? He's training at most the elite training facility on the planet for NFL Combine pre. His father Terrence Metcalf, his uncle Eric Metcalf and Grandfather Terry Metcalf, each played in the NFL. The three combined to play 27 seasons in the NFL. I find it hard to believe that DK is doing anything to negatively impact his status as an NFL prospect or put doubt into the minds of NFL decision makers regarding his physique.

Metcalf is listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds.He is probably going to check in right around that. We've had some sources tell us he is going to challenge for a sub 4.40 40-yard dash and 40-inch vertical. If he confirms those numbers in Indy... well... I'll just leave it right here.

Justin Layne Claiming Status As Top CB

The NFL loves defensive backs. They REALLY love long and athletic defensive backs. Why aren't we talking more about Justin Layne? His tape is outstanding and he converted from cornerback to wide receiver five games into the 2016 season. He excels in press and off-man coverage with excellent ball skills and physicality.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, Layne is a great athlete. In high school, Layne lettered in basketball and track in addition to football for four years. He posted a 22.5-foot long jump and advance to the state finals in 400 meters. He's going to turn heads at the Combine and enter the discussion as a top-five corner prospect in this year's class.

Feel the Brian Burns

The takes on Burns are everywhere. Some see him as EDGE2 behind Nick Bosa. I've had people tell me he's the next Jamal Reynolds which is just asinine. They are completely different human beings that played at Florida State 15 years apart. I think some people want to like Burns but they aren't comfortable with his weight. That will change next week when Burns weighs in.

Burns is an incredibly nuanced pass rusher with insane burst and flexibility. See for yourself and get ready to bump him up your board after the Combine.

Oh Yea, Nick Bosa is Prospect1

It's been a while since we've seen Bosa play in a game, but he's the best prospect in the class. He feels a bit like a forgotten guy right now, but the world will soon be reminded of his physical skill set.

In Bruce Feldman's 2018 College Football Freaks List, he noted the following:

Buckeyes strength coach Mickey Marotti says 6-4, 263-pound Bosa is the most explosive guy on the team, along with Parris Campbell. Marotti on Bosa: “He’s pretty special. Like really special.”

“He’s the best combination of speed and power that I can remember,” Urban Meyer told me this April, as his mind ran through a litany of first-round talent he’s coached both at Ohio State and Florida before he came to Percy Harvin. “Nicky’s close to that.”

Folks inside the program gush about Bosa’s flexibility. Buckeyes veteran defensive line coach Larry Johnson also raves when talking about Bosa’s athleticism. “He has great hips. Can really bend. Great bender,” Johnson told The Athletic. “Joey could really bend; Nick can probably get even lower. "

Bosa is that next Myles Garrett/Von Miller/Khalil Mack type special edge rusher and it will be crystal clear post-Combine.

Dawson Knox Finally On The Radar

It'll be nice for Knox to be on somebody's radar because he sure wasn't on Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta'amu's. Watch the tape. This dude is open all the time and Ta'amu just doesn't throw it to him. And when he does?

Knox has an impressive athletic skill set and I think he will put on a show in Indy. It's a deep and talented crop of tight ends this year and Knox belongs in the discussion among the best.

Ed Oliver Can Boogie

It's going to be a roller coaster for Oliver next week. First, he's going to check in between 6'1 and 6'2 and probably between 270 and 280. The reactions will be wild, as if anyone actually watched his tape or saw him in person and thought he was any bigger. I already warned you about over-thinking this.

After he weighs in, everyone is going to drool the next day over his athletic testing and movement skills during on field drills. He may be undersized, but he is still a rare athlete for his size. Here's a glimpse at his athletic ability.

Written By:

Joe Marino

Chief Administrative Officer

CAO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Member of the FWAA.

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