In preparation of the NFL Draft, one of the most recognized events leading up to the life changing event is the NFL Scouting Combine.
In the NFL Scouting Combine event, hundreds of the nation’s top players participate in a number of drills used to help determine a player’s athleticism, quickness and explosiveness. Not only that, but they also get a chance to be interviewed by multiple teams in hopes of increasing their draft stock.
This year, Memphis had two players who were invited to the event, running back Patrick Taylor Jr. and do-it-all player Antonio Gibson.
Of the two, Gibson is expected to get drafted first after having a historic senior year at Memphis where he had 735 receiving yards, 369 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns.
Despite beginning the season as a wide receiver, towards the end of the year he started to play more running back and even took reps as a rusher at the Senior Bowl.
In Mobile, he had a tremendous week of practices leading up to the Senior Bowl and then rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries.
While in Indianapolis, he primarily worked out with the wide receivers but also participated in some running back drills too.
He had a nice workout where he had a 35-inch vertical jump, 118-inch broad jump and ran a 4.39 40-yard dash time. His 40-yard dash time was one of the fasted times of the event, good enough to be the seventh fastest time of the all of the participants.
He is considered to be one of the players who has increased his draft stock following the event, despite questions as to where he will play on the next level.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compared Gibson’s play to that of Giants’ running back, Javoris “Buck” Allen.
In his draft profile of Gibson, Zierlein acknowledged concerns about his limited production, but he believes that he can be a productive player in the pros.
“While Gibson is a one-year wonder, his 14 career touchdowns on just 77 touches demand attention,” Zierlein said. “He played more slot than running back in college, but he was a runner in high school and has an intriguing combination of size, burst, vision and power.”
Patrick Taylor Jr. also had a good combine showing, despite being one of the lesser known players.
He ran a 4.57 40-yard dash time, had a 34-inch broad jump, 123-inch broad jump and a 4.34 20-yard shuttle time.
In his draft profile about Taylor, he did not have a player comparison, but sees that Taylor has talent, but there is still work that needs to be done for him to be an impact player in the pros.
“He has size to impose his will but tends to tap the brakes rather than hit the gas into contact,” said Zierlein. “His vision and burst are lacking a little and he needs a clear point of entry to operate with decisiveness. Taylor might be better off in a system that gives him his gap and lets him go.”
The process does not end here for the Tigers, following this event, Memphis will be hosting their own Pro Day, which brings scouts from around the league to get a chance to see former Tigers workout.
Not only will this give players like Gibson and Taylor a chance to make more of an impression on teams, but also players like Bryce Huff, Austin Hall and Chris Claybrooks will have a chance to get their names out there even without getting a Combine invite.