Come one, come all, it’s almost time for the annual circus in Indianapolis, Indiana known as the NFL combine.
There are always a few names that put up impressive and potentially record-breaking numbers. It’s then up to the scouts and teams to decide if those numbers translate to enough reasoning to use a draft pick on any given player.
Two SEC players could be among those who turn heads as “freaks” at the NFL Combine, according to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated.
Donte Jackson of LSU is one of them. He had 110 total tackles and four interceptions with the Tigers, but his speed will be what many are watching at the combine.
There’s a couple of blazing fast defensive backs from the SEC coming to Indy with legit track credentials. Alabama’s Tony Brown is much stronger than Jackson, but the hunch here is the Tigers will lay claim to having the fastest man in Indy. Jackson, a sprinter on the LSU track team, ran a 10.22 100 meters at the 2017 SEC Relays and said he’s run as fast as a 4.24 in the 40s. That makes him the best chance for this class to give John Ross’s 4.22 combine record a run.
Auburn guard Braden Smith has protected Jarrett Stidham for the past year and had 41 consecutive starts on the Tigers’ offensive line. He also earned AP All-American honors. Feldman believes it’s Smith’s strength which will widen eyes.
Smith can put up 500 pounds on the bench, but he’s also got pretty nifty wheels. Auburn strength and conditioning coach Ryan Russell said Smith has been clocked at 4.95 in the 40, vertical jumped 33 inches and broad jumped 9’9½”. If he replicates that last mark in Indy, it will be the best broad jump showing by an O-lineman at the combine in the past four years.
They may not be the first pick on any team’s draft board, but may shoot up with projected numbers like the one’s Feldman mentions.
The combine is built to show off many skills, if Jackson and Smith can highlight the right combination, they might end up closer to the cream of the crop than anyone thought.
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