The Daily Nole

NFL Draft Stock Report: FSU Players Post-Combine

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

With the 2018 NFL Combine in the rear view mirror, all that’s left to look forward to from here on out is Florida State’s Pro Day on March 20.

Overall, it was a mixed bag for former Seminoles in Indianapolis this year. There were shockingly positive (and negative) results across the board, leaving some fans wondering what the true story was behind the 2017 performance.

We’ll have continuing coverage of Florida State in the 2018 NFL Draft throughout the process. For comparison, read our piece on round projections before the combine ever took place.

Only a few of the aforementioned players saw little change in their expectations after last weekend. Most of them either genuinely helped or hurt their draft stock.

Each drill that the player participated in is listed, as well as their result and where they rank among their position group.

Note: Rick Leonard is not included because he apparently did only one drill at the combine. He is likely waiting until Pro Day to test completely.

Ryan Izzo (TE): Stock Stable

40-Yard Dash: 4.94 seconds (13th)
Bench Press: 18 reps (5th)
Vertical Jump: 33 inches (7th)
Broad Jump: 110 inches (12th)
3-Cone Drill: 7.15 seconds (7th)
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.43 seconds (10th)
60-Yard Shuttle: 12.15 seconds (6th)

Some would be willing to put Izzo as a clear “loser” of the combine, but his results really weren’t out of line with what was expected. Sure, the snails’ pace 40-yard dash was disappointing, but Izzo has never been billed as anything more than a powerful blocking tight end. He won’t beat opponents with speed or quickness; his bread and butter is throwing his size around while blocking and having reliable hands when the ball comes his way. That’s why his relatively average results in all of the drills don’t necessarily hurt him all that much.

Derwin James (S): Stock Stable

40-Yard Dash: 4.47 seconds (7th)
Bench Press: 21 reps (3rd)
Vertical Jump: 40 inches (5th)
Broad Jump: 132 inches (3rd)

Yes, Derwin James showed up and proved that he was still a physical freak. Oddly enough, that doesn’t really “help” his stock so much as it secures his status as a top 15 pick. Nothing about James this weekend came as a surprise. He’s a powerful and explosive safety that has good speed for his size. Unless something unexpected about his medical history gets released, he’s going in the top half of the first round.

Tarvarus McFadden (CB): Stock Down

40-Yard Dash: 4.67 seconds (36th)
Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches (4th)
Broad Jump: 121 inches (17th)

One of the worst things that McFadden could do was show up and be thoroughly unimpressive at the combine. He already has serious questions about his effort and sub-par film from 2017. He could’ve recovered some of his previous hype with a solid showing that reinforced his potential as a prototypical NFL cornerback. Instead, McFadden recorded the second worst defensive back 40-yard dash time and a mediocre broad jump. His vertical jump was good, but it was not enough to outweigh the relevant concerns about his mental preparation and ability as a lockdown defender. The same player who once received top 10 hype might not even go in the first three rounds.

Derrick Nnadi (DT): Stock Slightly Down

40-Yard Dash: 5.38 seconds (32nd)
Bench Press: 25 reps (21st)
Vertical Jump: 27 inches (24th)
Broad Jump: 96 inches (28th)
3-Cone Drill: 8.15 seconds (26th)
20-Yard Shuttle: 5.02 seconds (25th)

Nnadi’s placement among his peers might look worrisome, but keep in mind that he was one of the bigger defensive tackles to participate this year. That being said, Nnadi didn’t place near the top of categories that he probably should have with his expected role in the NFL. His bench press was near the bottom of the pack and his 3-cone drill was significantly slower than anyone else. It’s not too concerning in the grand scheme of things when his actual on-field play is considered, but it might convince a team to pass on him if they don’t see the value in drafting someone who is very limited.

Jacob Pugh (LB): Stock Up

40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds (14th)
Vertical Jump: 38.5 inches (5th)
Broad Jump: 122 inches (7th)

Because of his shifting/uneven role within Florida State’s defense, much of Jacob Pugh’s draft stock is going to rely on his testing numbers. With the results he showed in Indianapolis, he seems to be doing a good job of supporting it. Pugh displayed some surprising explosiveness in the vertical and broad jump drills while adding a decent time in the 40-yard dash. Teams wondering where he fits position-wise could be enticed into a late-round pick with these types of results.

Defensive end Josh Sweat was one of the NFL Combine standouts. (Perrone Ford/FSU athletics)

Josh Sweat (DE): Stock Up

40-Yard Dash: 4.53 seconds (3rd)
Vertical Jump: 39.5 inches (1st)
Broad Jump: 124 inches (2nd)
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28 seconds (6th)

The less-informed viewer would never have known that Josh Sweat had a near catastrophic knee injury in high school. The junior early departure blew away expectations by recording exceptional numbers in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 20-yard shuttle. Those are the types of numbers that cause teams to take another look at the actual game tape. Some of his lack of production stemmed from his duties in Charles Kelly’s defense, so the disparity between his combine numbers and his recorded stats isn’t all that shocking. He has flaws as a player, but after his combine, they certainly aren’t his physical capabilities.

Sweat’s combine might honestly be enough to get him drafted in the second round. When someone has that much raw ability as a player, teams will find it very hard to pass on the chance at developing them. That’s especially true at a position like defensive end where natural talent is basically a must-have in order to succeed at a high level.

Auden Tate (WR): Stock Down

40-Yard Dash: 4.68 seconds (36th)
Vertical Jump: 31 inches (36th)
Broad Jump: 112 inches (35th)

Nobody expected Tate to have a superb 40-yard dash time. That’s simply not his game, since he’s much more dominant when exploiting his size and using superior body control to win match-ups. That being said, Tate was still a slight letdown when it came to answering questions about his overall speed. He recorded the second worst 40-yard time among receivers at 4.68 seconds and did no other related drills. That’s not necessarily a death knell for receivers, since players like Anquan Boldin have turned in sub-par times yet still turned out to have very successful careers. It’s still a concern for Tate since he could be limited to solely red zone duties if he cannot show that he’s multifaceted enough as a starter.

Look for Tate to try and improve on his testing numbers at the FSU Pro Day. If he shows even average speed and slight improvement, he could once again be in the discussion for an early round selection.

Matthew Thomas (LB): Stock Up

40-Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds (6th)
Vertical Jump: 41.5 inches (1st)
Broad Jump: 131 inches (2nd)
3-Cone Drill: 6.85 seconds (4th)
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28 seconds (10th)

Everyone saw Derwin James’ vertical and Josh Sweat’s 40-yard time, but not as much attention was given to Matthew Thomas. That’s a shame, because Thomas turned in one of the most impressive performances of the whole event. He finished in the top 10 of each drill, including top 5 in three of them. While his physical capabilities have never been the concern around him, the combine shows that Thomas at least put effort into his preparation and contains loads of potential. Teams have never been shy on taking risks later in the draft. Because of this, Thomas might even see his name get called around the fifth.

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