Another NFL Combine Is in a Books. What Did It All Mean? A Look during a 'Risers/Fallers' Myth

The NFL scouting mix represents a fascinating collision of diverging interests.

There are a fans examination on TV, thirsting for information about players they competence be saying or conference about for a initial time. They’re examination highlights, dais press numbers and 40 times and trust that there is a clever association between what is function right now in front of them (the NFL, and their large televised operation do zero to inhibit them from this) and what will occur on breeze day.

There are a reporters, portion a fans that trust actor batch vacillates like a biotech marketplace (I try and locate myself whenever articulate about “stock,” yet it slips into a cringe-worthy dictionary some-more than I’d like). They’re held with one feet on possibly side—smart adequate to know that teams use a mix some-more for validation and reaffirmation than to hasten a board, yet also perceptive adequate to envision that no one would review a story with a headline: “Nothing Actually Happening during Combine; Check In Next Year!”

There are a scouts, scouting directors and crew executives, fine-tuning their play like ship-in-a-bottle hobbyists. Most of a thing has been put together already; now it’s time to simply glue on a little bowsprit.

It’s not sexy, yet it’s true: Incredible resources aside, a idea that there are risers and fallers during a mix is mostly mythical.

As one ubiquitous manager told me this week, we wish to safeguard opposite any large rearranging. A good scouting dialect empowers a staff, and a good staff will have already entirely graded these players, twice, formed on what they did on a field—the many critical factor—before they arrive during a combine.

Any “rising and falling” customarily takes place in a center of a team’s board, where they’ll use a in-person meetings or on-field drills to mangle ties between a span of prospects they have a identical class on. A good example? Shaquem Griffin’s performance, both on a margin with a blazing 40-yard lurch and off a margin in impressive, inspirational meetings, substantially helped him leapfrog a few other dime linebackers or special teamers this week (something identical happened to his brother, Shaquill during All-Star deteriorate and a mix a year ago). Conversely, Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown, with a memorably bad display during a combine, expected forsaken a few spots among descent linemen.

Want to learn some-more about Shaquem Griffin? Check out Andy Staples’s form of a inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

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Other than that, this partial of scouting deteriorate is mostly abandoned of swaggering, Sonny Weaver-type moments. The reason? If a actor shoots adult your house this time of year, a few things competence have left wrong within your scouting department:

1. You are distant too wowed by non-football movements, such as a 40-yard lurch and a dais press (Mike Mamula syndrome).

2. Your scouting dialect is overworked/spread too skinny and didn’t have adequate information on a player. The analogous movement is to overestimate certain traits (heavy on mix buzz) in a discerning bid to get held up.

3. Your absentee owners is usually starting to get involved, and has some thoughts of his or her own.

Back when Bill Parcells was streamer a Dolphins’ scouting department, a group had a identical “riser” in 2009: West Virginia quarterback Pat White. At a time, there was a clarity that widespread offenses could turn increasingly renouned in a NFL and a Dolphins could enhance a use of their “Wildcat” formation. White had a widespread All-Star deteriorate and finished adult being taken in a second turn notwithstanding Miami already carrying Chad Pennington and Chad Henne. White, who was taken dual picks before Pro Bowler Connor Barwin, 5 picks before Pro Bowler Max Unger, and 9 picks before LeSean McCoy, was a training-camp cut before his second season.

Parcells’ resolution after that? Set a house before a mix and change it usually if there are damage issues, arrests or behavioral inconsistencies that arise. Most good teams tend to gaunt in that instruction as well.

• JOSH ALLEN AND SHAQUEM GRIFFIN STEAL THE SHOW: The prospects who stood out during mix week.


While there competence be no such thing as “risers” and “fallers,” there is such a thing as reporters gaining some-more information over time. The mix was developed with theories over a sparse tip five, and here’s one solution of those theories:

1. Cleveland Browns: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Our Jenny Vrentas was forward of a bend on a Barkley-to-No. 1 talk; it creates too many sense. He is a generational talent, and if John Dorsey truly trusts his board, it would be formidable to suppose him pigeonholing a quarterback there and, once again, forcing a Browns to skip out on a special actor somewhere else. Another thought: If Joe Thomas earnings for another season, a Browns’ descent line is built to be a stellar run-blocking unit. Similar to quick ascensions in Dallas and Jacksonville, a actor like Barkley could legitimize a stream operation quickly, save a constantly-gassed invulnerability from staying on a margin and assistance Cleveland get some wins on a board.

2. New York Giants: Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State
NFL Network researcher Mike Mayock compared Chubb to Chargers defensive finish Joey Bosa, and ran a quicker 40 time this past weekend in Indianapolis. The Giants invulnerability has star energy opposite their defensive line yet not a ton of prolongation to uncover for it. General manager Dave Gettleman knows he contingency gain on Eli Manning’s remaining window of rival play (if that still exists) and could hang to his truth of building a group adult front first. A hell-raiser on invulnerability (think of what Jason Pierre-Paul was to Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora during their second Tom Coughlin Super Bowl) could do wonders for a group that still has pieces on offense.

3. Indianapolis Colts: Minkah Fitzpatrick, defensive back, Alabama
My usually censure with this tip 5 is that it underplays a violence around a quarterback position, yet as one GM looking for a quarterback during a mix told me, there have been and will still be critical flaws in all of these players that people outward a NFL universe don’t seem to take into account. That being said, this could be a smashing mark for a group that mislaid out on a Kirk Cousins conditions to trade adult and name a quarterback. If they’re so inclined, and if they fear Cleveland will take one of a large 5 they covet a most, it could be a excellent indicate for a initial trade of a night. It could also be a mark for Cleveland to trade adult one collect (like a Bears in 2017) to safeguard they dilemma a QB marketplace and get their man.

If that doesn’t happen, we could suppose new conduct manager Frank Reich wanting a actor that many have compared to Eagles reserve Malcolm Jenkins. I’m good wakeful a Colts already have Malik Hooker, yet Fitzpatrick can play a garland of opposite positions and there’s zero wrong with doubling down on a position to emanate strength (see: What a Jets did a year ago in a initial dual rounds). we consider there’s a lot Reich can do to immediately urge Indy’s offense yet reaching for a lineman here.

4. Cleveland Browns: Josh Rosen, UCLA/Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma/Sam Darnold, USC
Here’s where I’m torn. we like Rosen as a initial quarterback off a board. we know that’s a bizarre view given what’s out there, yet we keep going behind to what one unequivocally intelligent researcher who knows a tip 5 quarterbacks told me a few weeks ago: Rosen has played in 3 schemes with 3 coordinators (Noel Mazzone, Kennedy Polamalu and Jedd Fisch) that are possibly pro-style, or heavily shabby by NFL concepts and terminology. While we spent 500 difference during a tip of this square panning a judgment of “risers,” Rosen will get a possibility to develop on a white house this open during central visits. Depending on how evaluators have graded him in a pocket, this could be a possibility for Rosen to apart from a field.

Why Mayfield? Our Robert Klemko has been tracking a Oklahoma quarterback for months during this series and believes Mayfield is in play for Cleveland. Should a Browns align with a thoughts of former Russell Wilson descent coordinator Darrell Bevell (Bevell and Klemko watched film of Mayfield and Wilson, comparing their styles), he could be tough to pass up.

Why Darnold? It’s odd. While it’s still early in breeze season, we hear several rumors attaching actor X to group Y since … something. Scheme fit. System familiarity. Personnel already on a roster. This manager loves this guy. With Darnold it’s always, “Well, he’s a best quarterback in a draft.” Sometimes, it’s that simple. It would be tough to suppose him creation it to No. 4 by trait of that fact alone. That’s because we’ve built ourselves a few outs here, including a suspicion that a group could simply swoop adult and seize Darnold during No. 3. we consider it’s some-more expected for a Browns to get Barkley during No. 1 and a quarterback they wish during No. 4 than a other approach around, that is because I’m not scarcely as bullish on Darnold to a Browns as Rosen or Mayfield.

5. Denver Broncos: We wait for Cousins
Should Kirk Cousins make it to Denver around giveaway agency, we consider this is a good mark for Notre Dame safeguard Quenton Nelson. If not, it all depends on how John Elway feels about what is left of a marketplace (if he hasn’t already traded adult to No. 3 to shave a Browns). Elway is admittedly not fearful to keep holding outrageous swings during a image and substantially has a space to do so as a authorization fable and Super Bowl-winning crew executive.

• COUSINS SPECULATION AND MORE FROM THE COMBINE: The doubt on where a QB will pointer was a prohibited subject in a hallways in Indy.



I know how we would feel if we were in a decision-making position, yet also how we would feel if we were Darnold and his agent. we pronounced on SI Now this week that we suppose his notice took a bit of a strike from some who are framing this as an emanate of competitiveness. we trust we listed him as one actor who didn’t assistance himself during a mix (though really, if teams feel he is a tip quarterback in a draft, not many is going to change that). Baker Mayfield positively was framing this as a competitiveness emanate when asked if he ever deliberate not throwing during a combine:

“There was never a doubt about it,” Mayfield said. “That’s usually second nature, a possibility to compete. A possibility to get in front of all these teams. This is a biggest talk of my life, because not uncover accurately what we can do?”

Will Darnold’s batch (ah, there we go again) actually take a tumble? we doubt it. For players who are already suspicion of a certain way, there’s no advantage to trotting yourself out there and personification locate with a garland of receivers you’ve never worked with before. Some cut off routes. Some don’t run it during a abyss you’re used to. A “scripted” pro day would give scouts a demeanour during a some-more unsentimental situation—what he’d demeanour like during a mid-season NFL practice.

I’m still vacant that so many top-tier players indeed attend a mix and work out when, as we pronounced before, so many of a analysis is already complete.

• THE COMBINE’S TOUGHEST QUESTIONS: Are mostly about a prospect’s teammates.


Baker Mayfield vs. Georgia in a 2018 Rose Bowl…

• Does he have a common greeting to pressure?

• Will a complement he gets drafted into give him identical comfort, permitting him to do some next-level quarterbacking (we see one sold instance where he looks off a linebacker usually like Russell Wilson might).

• Question or comment? Email us at

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