We’re a little over two weeks removed from the Philadelphia Eagles hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and yet it feels like it’s been forever since we had football to talk about. Well, that appetite for football will be satiated, somewhat, by the arrival of the NFL Combine. NFL Draft hopefuls begin to descend upon Indianapolis and Lucas Oil Stadium on Tuesday, with the first day of workouts set for Friday, March 2nd.
While combine results don’t necessarily portend future success or failure in the NFL, it is always fun to see which players put on a show, and which may disappoint based on expectations. For this particular piece, we’ll be focusing on five guys who could shine once the events begin. One thing to note, we’re highlighting players whose names you probably haven’t heard a lot in the lead up to the draft. Saquon Barkley is a noted workout fiend, but we’re not including him here, because he’s expected to put on a show at the combine. These guys should put on a show too, but their names aren’t as well known.
Nyheim Hines, RB, North Carolina State
Hines burst onto the national scene this year as he helped the Wolfpack to a 9-4 record and a Sun Bowl win over Arizona State. Hines’ stats were good, 197 carries for 1,112 yards and 12 touchdowns, but the reason he’s included here is his speed. Hines also ran track at N.C. State, competing in the 100-meter and the 60-meter races.
His personal best in the 100 came during the 2017 ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, when he ran it in 10.42 seconds. He also helped the Wolfpack’s 4×100 relay team qualify for the NCAA East Regional after they won with a 39.14 time at the ACC Championships. During the 2016-17 indoor track season, he posted a personal best 6.71-second time in the 60 meters. If you’re wondering who to watch in the 40, may we suggest you find a TV or watch the stream when it’s Hines’ turn.
Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Vea checks in at a listed 6’4″ and 344 pounds, but don’t let that size fool you into thinking that his game is based entirely on power. According to Bruce Feldman’s annual college football freaks list, Vea has reportedly clocked a 40-time in the 4.8s during his time in Seattle. That’s insane. But the athletic feats don’t stop there, as Vea reportedly also has a 33-inch vertical leap according to Feldman. If the numbers from Washington’s staff are accurate, Vea’s name is likely to be one that pops off the page during the linemen portion of workouts for the combine.
Kentavius Street, DE, North Carolina State
Staying in the defensive line group, we bring you another member of the Wolfpack. Street’s name isn’t nearly as well known as fellow lineman Bradley Chubb, who’s expected to go in the top half of the first round. But Street earned himself a spot on Feldman’s “freaks” list because he is a workout warrior. Just take a gander at what he did in spring workouts prior to this past college season.
“This spring Street, at 6’2”, 283 pounds, was timed in the 40 at 4.58 and 4.62. And Burnette says those 40-times are electronic times — not hand-timed. Street vertical jumped 40 inches, broad jumped 9’11”, cleaned 400 and bench pressed 475 pounds.”
Yeah, Street would seem to be the prototype guy that gets folks foaming at the mouth following combine performances.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
Goedert’s name has been bandied about a bit in the wake of the Senior Bowl last month. And based on what we know of his workout habits, the hype train won’t stop anytime soon. An inclusion inside the Top 20 of Feldman’s freaks list, despite playing at an FCS-school in SDSU, Goedert does stuff like this with regularity in workout sessions with the Jackrabbits.
According to Feldman, his other off-season workout numbers are as follows: 36-inch vertical, 9’9.5″ broad jump, 4.65 40-time, 380-pound bench press and 380-pound power clean.
Tony Brown, DB, Alabama
Brown isn’t getting as much talk as secondary mates Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison. But based on his speed, it’s certainly possible he could light things up at the combine. Like Hines, Brown ran track as well during his time with the Tide and showed blazing speed at last year’s NCAA Championships, just missing out on the finals of the 100 meters with a time of 10.12 seconds. Straight-line speed doesn’t seem to be an issue, which could make things fun in the 40. Oh, also, according to Feldman, Brown benches 400 pounds.