The main attraction at this year's combine will be the QBs. It's the first opportunity to see all the top signal-callers together on the same field. We had a chance to see Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen on same field in the Reese's Senior Bowl. Now we'll get to see those two joined by Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson. Hopefully they will all elect to throw at the event.
There are some big lingering questions about some of the top talents in this year's draft, and the combine should provide us with the answers we're seeking. Here are three questions that I'm anxious to have answered:
1. Has Sam Darnold shortened his release, and what's his hand size?
Of all the QBs in the 2018 draft, I'm most intrigued by USC's Darnold. He'll be the most scrutinized guy of the bunch at the combine. If he decides to throw in Indy, I'll be watching his throwing motion. While I believe he's the top QB in the draft, one of the biggest knocks against him is his elongated release. Some QBs have a very difficult time adjusting their throwing motion, and it will be fascinating to see if Darnold has made any changes to shorten his windup.
There also will be plenty of intrigue about Darnold's hand size. He had fumbling issues during his college career and some believe his hand size is part of the problem. There was a similar concern with Jared Goff before his measurements came back at a sufficient number. Teams generally view 9 inches as the minimum requirement for QB hand size.
2. Which CB will separate from the pack?
The position group with the most at stake at the combine is the same every year -- it's the cornerbacks.
The early word in scouting circles is that Ohio State's Denzel Ward will blow everyone away with his combine testing. Now, Ward is an elite CB prospect, but he's listed at 5-foot-10 and it's possible he checks in closer to 5-9. Every team values height at the CB position, and while Ward is a special talent, his height could end up being a dilemma in a few draft rooms around the league.
In addition, speed is absolutely imperative at cornerback, so the 40-yard dash is huge for that group. I've been told Ward is going to put on a show with his speed, but I'm also anxious to see how fast guys like Louisville's Jaire Alexander and UCF's Mike Hughes run.
3. How will Texas OT Connor Williams measure up?
I've mentioned measurements a couple times already in this post, and it's really a key part of the combine for underclassmen. It's the first opportunity for NFL scouts to collect official measurements on the underclassmen in the 2018 draft. All of the seniors were measured in the spring. Why is it such an important part of the evaluation process? Well, when a player is listed at 6-4 and he's only 6-2, that can affect the way he's valued. As well, arm measurements carry importance, especially at OL position.
I believe Williams, who left Texas after his junior season, is the most talented offensive tackle in this draft class, but there is some concern about his arm length. It's tough to play at an elite level with short arms at that position. Some believe he would be better served to kick inside to guard. His arm length measurement could have a big impact on his draft stock.