Day 1 of the NFL Combine is in the books. We saw some great athletes go out and give a good performance today but also some that fell straight on their face. The combine is not going to be a huge deal for most players, but some can be affected pretty heavily. We put out a preview last night of a few guys that I thought would be good to watch for (You can read that here), so here are how their days went, and below them are a couple that surprised me that I think the Chicago Bears will be interested in.
Quenton Nelson, Guard, Notre Dame
Quenton Nelson had a pretty good week for himself. While he couldn’t run the 40-yard dash because he pulled something and felt uncomfortable (No big deal), he did impress at the bench press yesterday. Nelson put up 35 reps, tied for the second most out of all of the offensive lineman. He also finished right in the middle of lineman for the broad jump and vertical jump.
Where he really shined was the drills. He just looks so smooth and makes it look easy out there, which is exactly what I expected. His footwork was very clean and fluid. He did everything he needed to this week to confirm that he is the top guard. He may have even put himself out of Chicago’s reach. We will see as more develops this weekend.
Orlando Brown Jr., Tackle, Oklahoma
I don’t think you will find a worse combine performance than Orlando Brown Jr.’s the past couple of days. With how big Brown Jr. is, his bench press was quite poor for a lineman. He only hit 14 reps before he couldn’t do anymore, for reference, Marcel Jones was the last offensive tackle to fail to get 14 reps when he got 13 in 2012.
I get that he has very long arms, but he should absolutely be able to do more reps. The bench press is just a general strength challenge, and he did not look good on it.
The next day did not get much better for him. For his 40-yard dash, his fastest time was a 5.85! Not only that, his 10 yards split in that was two seconds, which is just god awful as well. The only drill that Orlando Brown did not finish last in was the three-cone drill. He may have actually had the worst combine performance in the history of the event.
However, you can’t base your opinion of Orlando Brown on just the combine. Prized quarterback prospect Baker Mayfield defended Brown Jr. today when he was asked about his former teammates’ poor performance.
Baker Mayfield, on Orlando Brown’s 40 time today: "When are you going to watch Orlando Brown run 40 yards down the field? Never.” Says to go watch last year’s tape, when the “allowed zero sacks."
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) March 2, 2018
Mayfield is not wrong, he had a great season, but you can’t discount how unathletic he was today. Guys that have shown athleticism similar to his do not fare very well in the NFL. His draft stock probably dropped today, and it will be interesting to see how he can regain that.
Will Hernandez, Guard, UTEP
Hernandez had a great combine week. He set the bar for the bench press by pumping out 37 reps! That is the most that we have seen from anyone on the first day. He does not have very long arms and he is huge so it was not shocking to see him lead, but still a very good sign.
For as big of a guard that he is, his 5.15 40-yard time is actually really impressive. He showed us that he can really move for a big fella. Hernandez really did a good job overall in all the drills, and he looks like he may be raising himself into the first round with his showing from this and the senior bowl. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for Bears fans interested in drafting him.
Daniel Carlson, Auburn, Kicker
There is really not a whole lot that goes on for kickers at the combine. Carlson actually did well though, because he apparently hit all 15 field goals that he had to kick. He further proved he’s the best kicker in the draft, and someone Chicago could look at.
I was not expecting to see a lineman tun a 4.82 today, but Pittsburgh’s tackle Brian O’Neil rose up and surprised everyone. He looked so quick running out there, and he may be someone that I will watch for over the draft process. O’Neil looked very good in drills as well, and I will be watching some tape on him to see how his game film compares.
Another guy that surprised me was James Daniels, the guard out of Iowa. I knew that he was athletic, but he was possibly the smoothest blocker out there. In both the pulling and the kick-back drills, he looked very good. Daniels could be someone that the Bears examine now that Hernandez likely put himself into the first round.
We will be having a preview and a review for each day of the combine, so remember to check back in with The Loop Sports the rest of Combine Weekend.