It’s that time of year again, the time where we officially start our preparations as dynasty owners for a new season. The NFL combine brings new faces and shiny new toys that we hope to add to our rosters. It’s an event that most of us will pay close attention to so that we will know how all of the top rookie prospects stack up against one another. From the beginning steps of seeing how some of them compare in height and weight, to the on-field drills that show their speed, strength, and athleticism, or if we simply want to watch and see how some of our favorite players perform. For dynasty owners football season never ends, and the NFL combine is the next step that will temporarily satisfy our never-ending obsession. Here are some players that you should pay close attention to over the course of the NFL combine. Whether they are names, you already know and just want to be reassured. Or maybe even names that you haven’t heard of yet that you’re sure to know once the combine is over.
Josh Rosen – The recently turned 21-year-old had a more than impressive three-year career at UCLA. He posted over 9,000 passing yards and 65 total touchdowns for the Bruins. With Sam Darnold reportedly to not be participating in the throwing drills at the combine, this leaves Rosen to be the highest rated quarterback to be throwing at the NFL combine. Josh Rosen is more of a name that people will be looking for to separate himself among the other quarterbacks at the combine. Anything less than looking like one of the top two or three quarterbacks during this process would be a disappointment.
Josh Allen – If you ask a lot of people how they feel about Josh Allen as an NFL prospect, you’re going to get mixed reviews about him. Some will say he has the best arm talent they’ve seen in the draft in the last decade, and some will tell you he is a sure-fire bust waiting to happen. He has every measurable you would want at the position, a strong arm, size, and a high football IQ. The main thing in question with Josh Allen is his accuracy. I would argue that he has the most to gain and the most to lose at the NFL combine among quarterbacks. If Josh Allen can show consistency with his accuracy at the combine, he will silence a lot of doubters and improve his draft stock not only in the NFL draft but in your rookie drafts as well.
Saquon Barkley – By now Saquon Barkley has become the most hyped running back prospect in recent memory before he has ever even played a down in the NFL. For Barkley, the NFL combine isn’t something that most are looking for him to improve his draft stock. The combine is something that most are looking towards from Barkley to show off just how much better he stacks up versus the competition. Some are expecting the 230 pound running back to run sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, which would be off the charts at that size. The NFL combine is more of a stage that Barkley can use to show the very few people out there that haven’t been able to see this rare size and speed athlete on display.
Ronald Jones II – Ronald Jones won’t turn 21 until early August this year, and he is a home run hitter that has the speed and agility to back that up. In his three years at USC, he ran for over 3,600 yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry. The negativity on Jones isn’t his speed or athleticism; it’s his size. For a running back at or a little under 200 pounds, most are worried about how he will hold up in the NFL if he is given a significant amount of touches. Most running backs at his size are usually labeled “pass catching backs,” but the problem with that is Ronald Jones only caught 31 passes in three years as a Trojan. For him, he needs to show scouts and dynasty owners at the combine that he has the catching ability that can translate at the next level, something as I mentioned before that he didn’t show in college.
John Kelly – John Kelly doesn’t have the big name that other running backs in this class have, but turn on the tape and watch him play and you would sure to be impressed. He is small compact running back at 5’9”and a little over 200 pounds, but he plays much bigger than that. Kelly is always seeking out contact and making every defender that tackles him feel just as much as the hit as he does, and sometimes more. He showed in his final year at Tennessee that he could catch the ball out of the backfield with 37 catches and over 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2017. Look for him to show his power and strength mixed with his exceptional athleticism at the combine.
Courtland Sutton – No one will question the size of Courtland Sutton, who is listed at 6’4’’ and 220 pounds. He has the production in college to go along with that size as he posted 195 catches and over 3,200 receiving yards at SMU. What some will question though is his speed and his ability to separate from defenders. He is by no means a burner at the wide receiver position, but posting an above average 40 yard dash time for his size at the combine will bode well for his NFL draft stock. He will also benefit from showing doubters that he can separate from defenders at the combine as I alluded to earlier.
D.J. Moore – No other rookie wide receiver’s dynasty value has risen more over the past month than DJ Moore. I fully expect it to rise even more after the NFL combine due to the ability he will put on display against the other receivers in this draft. He will show why many expect him to be an immediate impact player in the NFL and your fantasy team. He has everything you’d want in a wide receiver prospect, Moore showed his speed, agility, and athleticism while at Maryland last season. What also makes D.J. Moore stand out is exceptional hands as well as his route running ability. Expect to see him drive his dynasty value even higher during the NFL combine with an impressive performance.
Calvin Ridley – Many expect Calvin Ridley to be the first receiver off of the board in April, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a certain level of pessimism surrounding the former Alabama receiver. As a dynasty owner, you don’t love the fact that Ridley will be turning 24 years old in December of this year. Coming into the league at that age isn’t ideal by any means. He can’t control how old he is, but what he can control is showing his ability on the football field through the NFL combine. He has average size and hands, but where he can showcase his talent is his speed, quickness, and route running ability. Many would argue that Calvin Ridley is the best route runner in this class, and if he can show that at the combine it will make dynasty owners feel a little bit more optimistic about his future on their roster.
Mark Andrews – Mark Andrews is a converted wide receiver that has prototypical size for a tight end at 6’5” and 250 pounds. He became the go-to target for Baker Mayfield in Oklahoma last season, especially in the red zone. Mark Andrews isn’t going to impress anyone at the combine with his speed, but what he can show scouts and dynasty owners is exceptional hands. Andrews showed at his time at Oklahoma that he has very soft hands for a tight end, something you would expect from a converted wide receiver. I do think Andrews will surprise some people at the combine with his quickness. For his size, he showed in college that he has above-average quickness and made plays after the catch with the ball in his hands. He is rated by most as the best pro prospect at the tight end position and look for him solidify that at the combine.
Dallas Goedert – Like Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert has prototypical size at the tight end position at 6’5” and a little over 250 pounds. The difference with Goedert is that he is more of a raw prospect and isn’t quite ready to step into an immediate role in the NFL. He will show at the combine his rare athletic ability at his size, and some will be very intrigued and rightfully so. He possesses very exceptional ball skills for a tight end and can prove to be a vertical threat with above average speed. What will show at the combine is that he needs improvement in his route running ability as well as his willingness to stay inline and be a blocking tight end. He will need to work on these qualities if he ever wants to become an every-down tight end and a fixture in your line up.