The annual NFL Scouting Combine showcased a slew of standout talents soon to make their impact when called upon at the next level. Eleven players raised their stock—some slightly, some immensely—on the offensive side of the ball.
Without further ado, here is my NFL Combine All-Offense team.
QB: DESMOND RIDDER, CINCINNATI
Did anyone expect Desmond Ridder to run 4.5 flat? One of the more impressive runs of any quarterback over the last 20 combines, the former Bearcat standout ran faster than 11 of the top 20 wide receivers and tight ends that took to the track on Thursday. One of the more physically imposing signal-callers in the class, he has a strong enough arm to distribute across each level of the defense and offers the ideal dual-threat ability to create nightmares for opposing defenses.
RB: PIERRE STRONG JR., SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
Getting the attention that was long overdue, Pierre Strong Jr. was extremely impressive in Indianapolis. The next day-three back to have an immediate impact, Strong could represent the steal of the draft moving into the later rounds. Physical in between the mess of the interior with the necessary burst to escape to the outside, Strong is a massive, MASSIVE sleeper heading into sro days.
WR1: CHRISTIAN WATSON, NORTH DAKOTA STATE
Have fun trying to grab Christian Watson past day one in your mocks. A blend of speed and size at 6-foot-4, after recording a 4.36o 40-yard dash, guys like Watson don’t grow on trees and won’t last long on league-wide draft boards. A do-it-all talent for the Bison, his fluidity is second to none in the class and will provide a team with an immediate perimeter threat.
WR2: CALVIN AUSTIN III, MEMPHIS
This was an easy call even before the speedy receiver ever got to the 40-yard dash. In his first two drills of the day, Calvin Austin III recorded a 39-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot-3 broad jump. Then he ran the 40 and put up the third-fastest time of any pass-catcher at 4.32 seconds. The Memphis product is a small guy—he’s 5-foot-8—so having good numbers in drills was going to be a crucial part of his resume. He more than proved his speed and explosiveness in Indianapolis.
WR3: ALEC PIERCE, CINCINNATI
A 50-50 ball extraordinaire, Alec Pierce isn’t the sexiest selection of the group but will provide a team with a heck of a WR2/WR3 hybrid. A sure-handed talent whose ideal frame will work seamlessly over the intermediate areas of the offense, it will be hard to ignore his potential as an immediate red-zone nightmare on Sundays.
TE: JELANI WOODS, VIRGINIA
A 6-foot-7 athletic marvel, Jelani Woods has enjoyed arguably the biggest rise of any tight end since the conclusion of the college season. After a standout showing in Las Vegas at the East-West Shrine Bowl, Woods flashed his agility and power all night long during positional drills. Considering his traits as a flex talent, the Virginia product should come off the board much sooner than anticipated.
OT1: IKEM EKWONU, N.C. STATE
My OT1, getting to know the individual behind the facemask introduced me to a player a future city will fall in love with at the conclusion of the draft process. A menacing talent at left tackle, while his film impressed from the opening kickoff last fall, Ikem Ekwonu checks all of the boxes for the tackle with the highest ceiling in the class.
OT2: TREVOR PENNING, NORTHERN IOWA
A lineman whose demeanor sets him alone among the elite bookend prospects in the class, Trevor Penning’s performance at the combine coupled outstanding film with a premier athletic profile—a match made in heaven for teams in need of immediate help along the front five.
IOL1: ZION JOHNSON, BOSTON COLLEGE
Touting one of the highest floors of any lineman in the class, Zion Johnson was as smooth as we thought he would be. He’ll go late on day one due to positional need from the teams atop the draft, but he will be an impact starter for the next decade-plus.
IOL2: CAM JURGENS, NEBRASKA
Looked upon as a “Day 3 Tyler Linderbaum” entering the combine, Cam Jurgens was outstanding in all facets. A smooth mover in the 40 (4.92) who displayed excellent balance and flexibility in his lower half, Jurgens made himself some money this past week.
IOL3: ZACH TOM, WAKE FOREST
Relatively under the radar entering the combine, Zach Tom coupled an explosive lower half in the vert (33 inches) and broad (9-foot-10) with fluid footwork and change of direction ability in positional drills.
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