5 Combine Participants Whose Combine Rose Their Draft Stock

5 Combine Participants Whose Combine Rose Their Draft Stock

A look into draft hopefuls who raised their draft stock.

Between the end of the football season and middle of February, there are different mock drafts released which seems like daily giving an idea of where potential players may end up. There are for sure first rounders and there are people who could be first rounders but you never know. The combine is a way for athletes to show why they deserve to be drafted and for people who are projected to be between the first or second round to provide that extra push to hopefully get drafted at the end of the first round.

Here are 5 people who helped increase their draft stock after the 2018 NFL Combine.

1. Shaquem Griffin UCF Linebacker

Griffin is one of the best stories in college football, not just because he helped turn UCF’s football program around, but that he had done it with only one hand and was able to play at such a dominant level. Griffin had his left hand amputated as a young child because of amniotic band syndrome, a rare congenital condition that causes excruciating pain. After moving to linebacker in 2016 he recorded 18.5 sacks over the span of two seasons and was named an All American.

At the combine, Griffin showed an insane performance by running 4.38 40-yard dash, which is the best time any linebacker since 2006 and did 20 bench press reps. Griffin was a top performer in the bench press and the broad jump and as of right now is projected to go in the 5th or 6th round.

2. Saquon Barkley Penn St Running Back

While mock drafts already had Barkley as a top draft prospect the success of his combine has pushed him as high as the number 1 pick in the draft. Barkley did more reps on the bench press than Joe Thomas, ran a faster ten-yard split than DeSean Jackson, a faster 40-yard dash than Devin Hester and a higher vertical jump than Julio Jones. What do the athletes he beat all have in common? All were/are pro bowlers and all pro players and Barkley is hoping to add his name to that list. Barkley is a game changer and any team that gets him can either build around him or find a way to implement him into the offense.

3. Mike Gesicki Penn St Tight End

While being overshadowed by Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews who scouts are confident will play on Sundays behind them is Mike Gesicki of Penn State. Gesicki is the same height as All-Pro Rob Gronkowski and is only about ten pounds lighter but that will change in the NFL. While he is projected as a second-round pick he is somewhat undervalued because he isn’t the typical blocking tight end but posting the best vertical and broad jump for tight ends and running a 4.55 (8 seconds behind potential first rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick) could potentially make him the first tight end drafted.

4. Tony Brown/Anthony Averett Alabama Cornerback

You didn’t think I would leave out Alabama players, did you? Both Brown and Averett were overshadowed by 1st rounder Marlon Humphrey and potential 1st rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick but let’s not forget that these two are pretty talented as well. Brown ran a 4.35 in the 40 and Averett ran a 4.36 which is actually fasterr than Fitzpatrick. Both tested very well and with the scheme Alabama runs it will benefit both of these two players depending on where they end up.

5. Josh Allen Wyoming Quarterback

In a very rich quarterback class with two Heisman trophy winners, the one that could stick out the most is the quarterback from Wyoming. Similar in the case of Carson Wentz two years ago Josh Allen had a very impressive combine and put up very impressive stats his last two years of college. Todd McShay believes Allen will defy odds when he comes into the league even though he posted a 56% completion rate in college. In a heavy quarterback draft, I don’t believe he will be the first one off the board but I do believe he is a first-round talent and whether you want him to learn the position or name him the starter from day 1 he could see some success in the NFL.

While there are prospects who did not do as well at the combine they have one more opportunity to showcase their abilities at their college pro day. The amount of hard work put in will be on full display and every prospect needs to be prepared by the draft. Whether you are drafted in the first round or the fifth round you are still accomplishing a dream and that is huge.

Cover Image Credit: bgladding / Flickr

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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I Wouldn't Trade My DII Experience To Play DI Athletics Any Day

I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.


As a high school athlete, the only goal is to play your varsity sport at the Division 1 level in college.

No one in high school talks about going to a Division 2 or 3 school, it's as if the only chance you have at playing college athletics is at the DI level. However, there are so many amazing opportunities to play a varsity sport at the DII and DIII level that are equally fun and competitive as playing for a division 1 team.

As a college athlete at the DII level, I hear so many DI athletes wishing they had played at the DII or DIII level. Because the fact of the matter is this: the division you play in really doesn't matter.

The problem is that DII and DIII sports aren't as celebrated as Division 1 athletics. You don't see the National Championships of Division 2 and 3 teams being broadcasted or followed by the entire country. It's sad because the highest levels of competition at the DII and DIII level are competing against some of the Division 1 teams widely celebrated across the country. Yet DII and DIII teams don't receive the recognition that DI athletics do.

Not everyone can be a DI athlete but that doesn't mean it's easy to be a DII or DIII athlete. The competition is just as tough as it is at the top for DII and DIII athletes. Maybe the stakes are higher for these athletes because they have to prove they are just as good as DI athletes. Division 2 and 3 athletes have just as much grit and determination as Division 1 athletes, without the glorified title of being "a division 1 athlete."

Also, playing at the DII or DIII level grants more opportunities to make your college experience your own, not your coach's.

I have heard countless horror stories in athletics over the course of my four-year journey however, the most heartbreaking come from athletes who lose their drive to compete because of the increased pressure from coaches or program. Division 1 athletics are historically tougher programs than Division 2 or 3 programs, making an athlete's college experience from one division to another significantly different.

The best part of not going to a division 1 school is knowing that even though my team doesn't have "DI" attached to it, we still have the opportunity to do something unique every time we arrive at an event. Just because we aren't "DI" athletes, we still have the drive and competitive spirit to go to an event and win. We are great players, and we have broken countless records as a team.

That's something we all have done together, and it's something we can take with us for the rest of our lives.

We each have our own mission when it comes to our college athletic careers, however together we prove to be resilient in the fight for the title. Giving it all when we practice and play is important, but the memories we have made behind the scenes as a team makes it all worth it, too.

The best part of being apart of college athletics is being able to be passionate about your sport with teammates that embody that same mindset. It's an added benefit to having teammates who become your best friends because it makes your victories even more victorious, and your defeats easier to bare.

No matter what level an athlete is playing at in college, it's important that all the hours spent at practice and on the road should be enjoyed with teammates that make the ride worthwhile. The experiences athletes have at any level are going to vary, but the teammates I have and the success we've had together is something I cherish and will take with me forever. I'm thankful that I didn't go DI because I wouldn't have had the best four-year experience as a college athlete.

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