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Thread: The biggest freak athletes at the 2018 NFL combine

  1. #1 The biggest freak athletes at the 2018 NFL combine 
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    The biggest freak athletes at the 2018 NFL combine
    Steve Muench
    ESPN INSIDER

    As 2018 NFL draft prospects engage in drills and tests at the scouting combine in Indianapolis this week, let's take a look at five players with the extreme skills and athleticism to turn heads:

    Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

    Measurables: 6-3, 210 pounds

    Jackson reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3s in the spring of 2017 and low 4.4s in the spring of 2016. Michael Vick ran a 4.33 at his pro day, and like Vick, Jackson has excellent arm strength. So look for the comparisons to continue to gain momentum if Jackson runs a sub-4.4 and spins the ball the way he's capable of during throwing drills. The way Jackson performs on the whiteboard and interviews with teams will have a bigger impact on his draft stock than his workout -- as is the case with any quarterback -- but that doesn't mean people shouldn't enjoy the show he puts on during tests and drills.

    Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

    Measurables: 6-foot, 233 pounds


    Breakaway speed, lateral explosiveness and power are all there on Barkley's tape, and his weight room workouts are the stuff of legend. The top prospect on our Scouts Inc. board, Barkley should put up notably better overall numbers than Ezekiel Elliott, who is similar in size. At 6-foot and 225 pounds, Elliott ran a 4.47 40, had a broad jump of 9 feet, 10 inches and recorded a 32.5-inch vertical. He didn't run the three-cone or the short shuttle in Indianapolis. Those are two drills in which Barkley can impress with his change-of-direction skills. Expect him to catch the ball well and look good running routes during drills, too.

    Official results: 4.40 40-yard dash | 41-inch vertical jump | 29 bench press reps

    Kentavius Street, DE, North Carolina State

    Measurables: 6-2, 287 pounds

    Street is widely expected to put on a show in Indianapolis. A 4.65 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical jump are outstanding results for defensive end prospects who weigh 265 pounds or more. Street is expected to run in that range and jump even higher, according to Sports Illustrated's Bruce Feldman. His workout could rival Myles Garrett's workout from a year ago if Street performs up to expectations. At 6-foot-4 and 272 pounds, Garrett ran a 4.64 40, posted a 41-inch vertical jump and benched 225 pounds 33 times. That said, there's arguably more pressure on Street than any other player on this list to perform well considering his tape doesn't match up with his talent. He projects as a Day 3 pick heading into the combine.

    Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech

    Measurables: 6-5, 250 pounds

    Edmunds is a heat-seeking missile with above-average size who looks long on tape. There's also a lot to like about his bloodline. His father, Ferrell, was a two-time Pro Bowl tight end, and his brother Terrell is a safety who will also work out at the combine. His other brother, Trey, is a running back on the Saints' roster who ran the 40 in the mid-4.4s at 222 pounds at his pro day last year. (For reference, the five-year combine average weight for running backs is 213.4 pounds, and the average 40time is 4.59 seconds.) It will be interesting to compare Edmunds' numbers to the ones Browns linebacker Jamie Collins had coming out of Southern Miss in 2013. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds with 33-inch arms, Collins ran a 4.64 40 in addition to posting an 11-foot, 7-inch mark in the broad jump and 41.5-inch vertical.

    Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, Boise State

    Measurables: 6-4, 240 pounds

    Vander Esch was a talented high school basketball player who averaged 29.4 points and 11.1 rebounds his senior year. He played quarterback in addition to middle linebacker and he rushed for 1,565 yards and 34 touchdowns as a high school senior. He still had to walk on at Boise State coming out of Salmon High School in Riggins, Idaho, but it's clear now that he wasn't just a big fish in a small pond -- there's no question he has the physical tools to start in the NFL. Like Edmunds, Vander Esch is a long linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range and impressive athletic ability for his size. He picked off three passes and he's expected to shine during coverage drills. If he tests as well as expected, he could run a faster 40 and jump higher than Texans linebacker Benardrick McKinney did coming out of Mississippi State in 2015. At 6-foot-4 and 246 pounds with 33-inch arms, McKinney ran a 4.66 and posted a 40.5-inch vertical.

    Keep an eye on ...

    Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State

    Measurables: 6-4, 260 pounds

    Goedert had 33 7/8-inch arms and a 10 1/8-inch hand span during measurements at the Senior Bowl. Those are excellent numbers for a tight end, and it wouldn't come as a surprise if he ran a sub-4.7 40 based on his playing speed. At 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds with 31 3/4-inch arms, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz ran a 4.76 40 at the 2013 combine. Unfortunately, Goedert injured his hamstring at the Senior Bowl, raising concerns about whether he'll run and, if he does, whether he'll be 100 percent. If he runs a sub-4.7 at 260 pounds and performs as well as expected in the other tests/drills, he should solidify himself as the top tight end in this class.

    Five more to watch:

    Denzel Ward, DC, Ohio State
    Derwin James, DS, Florida State
    Vita Vea, DT, Washington
    Donte Jackson, DC, LSU
    Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
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    all under 300 pounds?
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