Forty-eight wide receivers took the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium last week for the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, and all 48 have the opportunity to become an NFL star. Drafted or undrafted.
All guys invited to the combine are talented football players -- that's why they're invited in the first place. We're all aware of the strengths they put on tape in college, but the combine provides an opportunity for teams to find shortcomings and get a better sense of just who these guys are.
I was really impressed with a number of wide receivers in Indianapolis, and I respect that all prospects put their best foot forward. That said, I can't write about every single prospect who did or didn't do something well. Of course D.K. Metcalf certainly caught my eye, but I'm not here to discuss a known commodity we all knew was going to be highly touted throughout the pre-draft process.
That said, the receivers in this article are guys who really benefited from the combine, those whose stock rose the most. Here are five wideouts trending up after the trip to Indy, listed in alphabetical order:
Parris Campbell, Ohio State: This kid showed out in every aspect. It was like he walked into Lucas Oil Stadium and proclaimed his excellence before doing a thing: "My name is Parris Campbell. Beware." From his unbelievable 4.31-second 40-yard dash time (tied for the fastest among receivers) to his precise route running, the 6-foot, 205-pound Ohio State product proved he didn't just have speed but that his versatility will allow his game to translate to the next level. Campbell's remarkable combine performance will move him up the boards and give him momentum heading into Ohio State's pro day on March 20.
Johnnie Dixon, Ohio State: Dixon blazed through the speed drills, including a 4.41 40 time, and performed well throughout, holding his own with the upper echelon of receiver prospects. His draft stock should climb following his combine effort, and he has another opportunity to improve in some areas during Ohio State's pro day. Dixon is an under-the-radar prospect who could end up surprising some people.
Andy Isabella, UMass: Isabella trained with Hall of Famer Randy Moss prior to the combine and it showed. The 5-9, 188-pound receiver ran precise routes, corralled almost everything thrown his way and showed phenomenal speed -- his 4.31 40 tied Campbell for the fastest among receivers. He took command of his workout and left no question unanswered. Isabella will be a diamond in the rough for the team that drafts him.
KeeSean Johnson, Fresno State: A quiet buzz surrounded Johnson after he performed well in Indy. He showed athleticism and splash-play ability on his game tape, making a lot of contested catches and displaying his willingness to go underneath knowing he'll get hit, and I wondered if he'd perform with the same aggressive approach under the pressure-packed circumstances in Indy. Well, he did. With his stellar combine effort, which included a solid 40 (4.6), great routes and ability to high-point the ball, Johnson set himself up for a scout-filled and crowded pro day.
Hunter Renfrow, Clemson: If Renfrow (5-10, 184 pounds) and D.K. Metcalf (6-3, 228 pounds) stand next to each other, there's no question who the football player is by first glance. Renfrow may not be the most physically imposing player but after watching him in Indy, I saw exactly why he was the one who caught Clemson's game-winning touchdown pass in the national championship two seasons ago. His routes are so precise and he's squeaky clean in and out of his breaks -- demonstrated in his 6.8-second three-cone drill (third-fastest among all receivers at this year's combine). A silent assassin, Renfrow was locked in and did his job with flying colors. To put it simply, he brought his lunch and went to work.
Plus, four running backs who caught my eye
Darrell Henderson, Memphis: Henderson's game tape is full of punishing runs in which he finishes with his shoulder pads in front, essentially laying a welcome mat at the door for tacklers. The 5-8, 208-pound Memphis product, who ran a 4.49 40, impressed during his running back drills, but what really sparked my intrigue was his athleticism in the pass game. He was one of the backs who caught the ball fluidly in receiving drills, and as much as I don't like to admit that running backs can run routes like receivers, Henderson is one of the few who can.
Quadree Ollison, Pittsburgh: Ollison is making a name for himself after playing behind a talented back in college. (At Pitt, Ollison rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a freshman in 2015, before taking the backup role behind now-Steelers running back James Conner after Conner returned from his cancer battle.) In Indy, as the only Pitt player invited to the combine, Ollison's results were similar to Conner's, who was drafted in the third round in 2017. Ollison undoubtedly has areas he needs to improve, but he conducted himself professionally and should move up some boards with his solid outing.
Miles Sanders, Penn State: This kid had big shoes to fill at Penn State after Saquon Barkley ran his way into the Nittany Lion record books before having one of the best rookie campaigns the NFL has ever seen. Yet Sanders never sat in Saquon's shadow in Indy last week. He took ownership of his performance and showed what he can bring to an NFL team. Sanders, who ran a 4.49 40, finished in the top six in five combine events among running backs. He shouldn't fall past Day 2.
Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic: Like Henderson, Singletary showed that receivers and tight ends aren't the only players who can run good routes with his explosive and fluid movement. The 5-7, 203-pound back didn't necessarily log the best times but his performance impressed me, especially with what he offers in the pass game.