2016 NFL Combine winners and pro comparisons

The combine is over for another season, which means we're all that much closer to the 2016 NFL Draft. There were plenty of stars and winners over the weekend, but instead of throwing a bunch of numbers at you, I thought comparisons were in order. I figured it'd be a little better to provide you some winners by position, but also who they compare most closely to in prior combines/pro days.

2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry (Harris 100 #27) may not be human. There was a palpable buzz throughout the media workroom when his 40-yard dash time flashed on the television screen. His entire combine performance had many NFL types scratching their heads and wondering if, not when, they'd ever seen anyone like him in the NFL. One player comes to mind and not many others. Here are Henry's numbers from the combine.

Henry (2016 NFL Combine)
6-3, 247 lb.
40 - 4.54 secs
Bench press - 22 reps
Vertical jump - 37"
Broad jump - 10'10"
3-cone - 7.38 secs

Trying to think of an apt comparison is tough, but the name LeGarrette Blount was perhaps the closest, especially in terms of size. Here are his numbers from his combine testing.

Blount (2009 NFL Combine)
6-0, 241 lb.
40 - 4.74 secs
Bench press - 18 reps
Vertical jump - 35"
Broad jump - 9'9"
3-cone - 6.85 secs

Henry destroyed nearly every measurement, but one where Blount had a little bit of an advantage was his outstanding 3-cone shuttle drill. That's one of the best measures for change of direction and Blount's running style, although blunt as could be, has always shown a little bit of wiggle. Blount ran 4.59 at his pro day, improving on his time at the combine, drawing an even closer comparison to Henry.

The clear cut winner at receiver over the weekend was Notre Dame All-American Will Fuller (H100 #35). Asked Thursday, prior to his testing on Saturday, as to what he thought he'd run, he rubbed his chin a bit then responded. "Umm, 4.35, that would work." He did that and then some.

Fuller (2016 NFL Combine)
6-0, 186 lb.
40 - 4.32
Vertical jump - 33.5"
Broad jump - 10'6"
3-Cone - 6.93 secs

The closest comparison, the one that hit me nearly immediately, was former Steeler/Dolphin/Viking Mike Wallace.

Wallace (2009 NFL Combine)
6-0, 199 lb.
40 - 4.33
Vertical jump - 40"
Broad jump - 10'9"
3-cone - 6.90 secs.

The way that Fuller skies for the football and can high point the ball deep down the field left me a bit disappointed in his vertical. However, the comparison to Wallace is apt.

Another receiver that had a solid weekend was WR Leonte Carroo (H100 #59) from Rutgers. I didn't really see the comparison of these two initially, but his combine performance compares closely, relatively speaking, to Texans Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Carroo (2016 NFL Combine)
6-0, 211 lb.
40 - 4.50 secs
Bench press - 14 reps
Vertical jump - 35.5"
Broad jump - 10'

Hopkins (2013 NFL Combine)
6-1, 214 lb.
40 - 4.57 secs
Bench press - 15 reps
Vertical jump - 36"
Broad jump - 9'7"

Where 'Nuk' has a decided advantage over Carroo is that he has 33 3/8" arms vs. Carroo's 31 3/8" arms. A two inch arm difference is huge and it's why DeAndre has such an advantage on contested, 50/50 balls. Regardless, I was struck by similarities in their measurements in their respective combine performances.


Check out photos of the top 100 players of this year's draft class according to Texans analyst John Harris.

Offensive tackle Jason Spriggs (H100 #36) of Indiana ran a 4.94 at 6-6 and 301 lb, which was just the start for a guy many think could sneak into the back end of the first round.

Spriggs (2016 NFL Combine)
6-6, 301 lb.
34 1/8" arms
10 1/8" hands
40 - 4.94 secs
Bench press - 31 reps
Vertical jump - 32"

The guy that immediately comes to mind when thinking about Spriggs was Cincinnati OT Cedric Ogbuehi, but he was injured throughout last year's preamble to the 2015 NFL Draft. But, the guy selected in the second round compares similarly to Spriggs as well - Jake Fisher from Oregon.

Fisher (2015 NFL Combine)
6-6, 306 lb.
33 3/4" arms
10 3/8" hands
40 - 5.01 secs
Bench press - 25 reps
Vertical jump - 32.5"

Baylor's Andrew Billings (H100 #18) is one of the more unique players in this stout defensive line class. One of the things that makes him so different is the fact that he's only 6-1. Immediately, one player came to mind, one that Texans fans know well. But, let's first look at Billings' impressive numbers for a player his size.

Billings (2016 NFL Combine)
6-1, 311 lb.
40 - 5.05 secs
Bench press - 31 reps
Vertical jump - 27.5"
Broad jump - 9'5"
20 yd. shuttle - 4.82 secs

Billings comparable player didn't work out at the 2004 NFL Combine, but Texan NT Vince Wilfork put up some comparable numbers at his pro day prior to being a first-round pick in that year's draft.

Wilfork (2004 Pro Day)
6-1, 323 lb.
40 - 5.08 secs
Bench press - 36 reps
Vertical jump - 26.5"
Broad jump - 8'5"
20 yd. shuttle - 4.50 secs

Former Clemson star defensive end Shaq Lawson (H100 #23) was a Rotary Lombardi Award finalist as a defensive end in a 4-3, but he may eventually move to 3-4 OLB. That got me thinking about a player that we all know that did that when he came to the NFL. The combine numbers are VERY similar.

Lawson (2016 NFL Combine)
6-3, 269 lb.
40 - 4.70 secs
Vertical jump - 33"
Broad jump - 10'
3-cone - 7.16 secs

Although Texan OLB Whitney Mercilus was, and is, a few pounds lighter than Lawson, the former Tiger's measurables compare adequately well to Whitney's combine testing.

Mercilus (2012 NFL Combine)
6-4, 261 lb.
40 - 4.68 secs
Vertical jump - 32"
Broad jump - 9'10"
3-cone - 7.17 secs

Heading into the combine, the prevailing thought was that there were two CBs near the top of charts. As I see Jalen Ramsey (H100 #2) as a safety, that leaves Clemson's Mackensie Alexander (H100 #16) and Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III (H100 #11). Alexander strained a hamstring in workouts leading up to the combine, so Hargreaves had the show all to himself and had a solid day. Not a tremendous day, but a solid one. Throughout the combine's broadcast on NFL Network, draft analyst Mike Mayock compared Hargreaves III to former Gator and Cleveland Browns star CB Joe Haden. That's a fairly apt comparison to be honest.

Hargreaves III (2016 NFL Combine)
5-10, 204 lb.
40 time - 4.50 secs
Bench press - 15
Vertical jump - 39"
Broad jump - 10'10"
3-cone drill - 3.92

Haden (2010 NFL Combine & Pro Day)
5-10 1/2, 193 lb.
40 time - 4.43 secs
Bench press - 18
Vertical jump - 35"
Broad jump - 10'5"
20 yd. shuttle - 4.08

Haden's combine 40-yard dash was criticized (4.60 seconds) and I remember there were some at the time that dropped him out of the first round after his sprint. Consequently, some thought that Hargreaves under-performed in that event as well, but Hargreaves will still be a first rounder, just like Haden. The oft-utilized comparison between Hargreaves and Haden is quite evident.

The combine's eight-day extravaganza is complete and there were plenty of players flying home feeling really good about their performances. It's now time for pro days!

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