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NFL combine winners/losers: Josh Allen trumps Rosen, Jackson

Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks is spotlighting the prospects who make a mark -- for better or worse -- at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. On Saturday, the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here are Brooks' impressions from Indianapolis:

Before getting into assessments of today's on-field workout participants, I wanted to address a significant development in the D-line group. Maurice Hurst, the Michigan product I have ranked as the No. 1 defensive tackle in this draft class, was diagnosed with a heart condition during his medical evaluation in Indy, which means Hurst misses out on the opportunity to showcase his disruptive skill set in combine drills. This is obviously a concerning setback for the first-round hopeful, whom colleague Daniel Jeremiah has as his No. 21 overall prospect, and it's a situation teams will be forced to closely monitor in the run-up to April's draft.


Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming: To the surprise of scouts in attendance, Allen was the best passer on the field Saturday. He not only showed exceptional range as a deep-ball thrower, but he was on point with his short and intermediate tosses, particularly out-breaking routes to the boundary. In addition, Allen displayed improved footwork and mechanics on his throws, which led to better accuracy and ball placement. While it is important to keep a T-shirts-and-shorts workout in perspective, this stellar outing from Allen will prompt some scouts to view the Wyoming product as the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the class, based on his physical dimensions and his limitless potential.

Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida: The troubled pass catcher might've resurrected his draft prospects with a spectacular showing on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. Callaway posted an impressive 4.41-second 40-yard dash to go with solid jump numbers (34-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-1 broad jump), while also dazzling evaluators with his route-running skills and deft footwork. He displayed exceptional quickness, balance and body control getting in and out of breaks. Callaway's combination of route-running skills, natural hands and explosiveness will lead some evaluators to see him as a potential WR1/WR2 in an offense that covets skilled technicians at a premium.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State: It's not surprising to see a former basketball/volleyball player post ridiculous numbers in an athletic workout, but few athletes have put on a show like Gesicki. The 6-foot-6, 247-pound tight end clocked a 4.54 40 to go with a 41.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot-9 broad jump. When compared to past combine results, those numbers make him taller than Calvin Johnson, faster than Antonio Brown and a more explosive jumper than Odell Beckham Jr. Although it's obviously too early to suggest the Penn State TE's poised to take the league by storm like those guys, he flashed enough polish as a route runner and pass catcher in drills to pique the interest of coaches and scouts seeking a potential mismatch playmaker on the perimeter. Gesicki's combination of size, athleticism, explosiveness and skill could vault him into consideration as a top-40 pick.


Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA: The most polished passer in the 2018 quarterback class was expected to put on a throwing exhibition that would create buzz in Indianapolis about his readiness as a franchise QB. But Rosen failed to play up to expectations, struggling with his accuracy and ball placement in drills. Rosen missed the mark on several intermediate throws, particularly on out-breaking routes (speed out and post-corner). The repeated misfires were surprising, considering how he displays outstanding accuracy, ball placement and anticipation on tape. While evaluators don't really have concerns about his mechanics, footwork or arm talent, Saturday's struggles will give scouts an opportunity to see how he responds to a little adversity when he gets another chance at his pro day.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: Despite being the most explosive athlete in the quarterback class, the former Heisman Trophy winner decided to bypass the 40 and the rest of the athletic testing drills. Jackson wanted to put the focus on his passing skills during the throwing portion of the workout, but he was unable to string together pinpoint passes for most of the day. Part of his accuracy issues can be attributed to his inconsistent footwork and base, which remain a concern after watching him work out in Indy. Jackson needs to continue to refine his game as a passer to become a proficient QB who is capable of shredding defenses from the pocket. Without a strong athletic performance to offset his passing issues, Jackson missed out on a chance to show the football world how he could impact the game as an explosive dual-threat playmaker.

Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA: The ex-Bruin was gaining momentum as a possible top-40 pick prior to posting a slower-than-anticipated 40 time (4.50) that will raise some concerns about his ability to play the role as a vertical threat on the perimeter. Although that time is not pedestrian by any means, it just isn't the kind of explosive figure that catches the attention of coaches and scouts, particularly when Lasley's position workout was loaded with bobbles, drops and double catches. Granted, he was catching the ball from a variety of different quarterbacks, but Lasley's inconsistency on Saturday falls in line with the "dropsies" he repeatedly put on tape during his final two seasons in Westwood.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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