The 2017 NFL Combine has completed its annual stay in Indianapolis. Michigan sent 14 players to the league’s job fair, the most in program history.
Players get invitations to the combine because of their play on the field and from what scouts have seen on game tape. NFL personnel people say that 90 percent of a player’s evaluation is based on his game tape. What happens at the combine and during a player’s pro day workouts is part of that remaining 10 percent, along with medical evaluations, personal interviews, background checks and psychological testing.
How each of the 32 teams looks at those percentages, putting greater priority or emphasis on one portion over another, is why it “only takes one team” to like a player to give him his opportunity in the league.
The defensive backs went through testing and on-field drills Monday to wrap up the combine. Jabrill Peppers was the most-talked about member of the Michigan 14. He was grouped with the linebackers, doing drills on Sunday, because that’s what he was listed as last season although he played multiple positions on offense and defense. Peppers expects to be a safety in the NFL and worked out again on Monday with the defensive backs.
Here’s a look at how Peppers and some other Michigan players did during their time in Indy.
S Jabrill Peppers
He measured at a shade under 5-foot-11, which is shorter than the roster height Michigan gave him, and weighed in at 213 pounds. He ran 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash, put up 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, had a vertical leap of 35.5 inches and a broad jump of 128 inches.
Peppers is one of those players who creates great division of opinion among analysts. Some love him.
Michigan S/LB Jabrill Peppers had a really good workout in the DB position drills. Can open the hips with the… https://t.co/7LehGQz8ti
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) March 6, 2017
Others aren’t so hot on him.
Critics still wonder if he could’ve played in the Orange Bowl against Florida State despite injuring a hamstring the day before in practice. His proponents, like NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, praise him for being willing to play wherever Michigan needed him to play.
DE Taco Charlton
Charlton may have as much upside as any Michigan player. He did nothing to hurt himself in his workout, running 4.92 in the 40 and benching 25 reps, while measuring 6-6 and weighing 277 pounds. The biggest concern about him from scouts is his motor and if he can play consistently down to down.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 6, 2017
Charlton was a player asked to do some linebacker drills during his workout.
“It’s interesting,” said Mayock during the live broadcast of a drop-back drill. “I think he’s going to be a hand-in-the-dirt guy, but if you can drop occasionally – and he did very well there – I don’t care if he catches the ball there. What you’re looking for is: How smooth (is he?) This is a 45-degree drop. You’re in a curl (area) and then you react to the flat (pass).”
LB Ben Gedeon
Gedeon did the most bench press reps of any linebacker at the combine, 27, while running a solid 4.75-second time in the 40. He had impressive times in the 20-yard and 40-yard shuttle runs, tying Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt for the fastest time (4.13) in the shorter version, while finishing with the third-fastest time (11.58) at the longer distance.
WR Amara Darboh
Darboh ran the fastest 40 time of any Michigan player at the combine, 4.45 seconds. He measured 6-2 and weighed 214 pounds. He’s an under-the-radar player who showed well at the Senior Bowl. Darboh added a 36-inch vertical leap and 124-inch broad jump. Teams that like physical receivers who can win 50-50 passes will like Darboh.
WR Jehu Chesson
A knee injury at the end of the 2015 season hampered Chesson’s effectiveness on the field in 2016, but he ran a good 4.47-second time in the 40, plus a 6.7-second time in the three-cone drill, which was the third-quickest time among wide receivers. Teams know he is healthy and is capable of returning to his junior season form when he caught 50 passes for 750 yards and 9 touchdowns. Chesson was measured at 6-2 and weighed 204 pounds.
S Delano Hill
He’s maybe not as highly thought of as other Michigan secondary members, but after running 4.47 in the 40, Hill opened more eyes. He measured 6-1 and weighed 216 pounds. His biggest plus is that scouts like his ability to tackle and not be afraid of contact.
CB Jourdan Lewis
The questions of Lewis’ height – or lack thereof – came in a flurry, as he expected they would. Lewis told reporters he got a little feisty when asked about his measurements of 5-10, 188 pounds. He was timed at 4.54 in the 40 with a 34.5-inch vertical leap.
NFL.com’s scouting report on Lewis compares his playing style to Adam Jones of Cincinnati.
“If he were bigger he would go in the first round. Love everything about the way he plays. He’s cocky and tough and doesn’t take any (expletive) from anyone. And sub-package teams will love him because he won’t kill you against the run.” – Director of scouting for NFC team
DE Chris Wormley
He only did the bench press, finishing with 23 reps, and will wait until Michigan’s pro day on March 24 to do a complete workout. Wormley was named Michigan’s defensive lineman of the year the last two years, so he’s going to rely a lot on his tape and coach evaluations. He measured 6-5, weighed 298 pounds and had the same wingspan as Charlton, 34.25 inches.
TE Jake Butt and DB Jeremy Clark
These two are in the same boat in that they’re both coming off ACL injuries. Butt’s occurred in the Orange Bowl against Florida State, while Clark’s injury happened against Penn State in late September. Neither of them could do workouts at the combine, with the exception of Clark putting up 20 reps on the bench press. Neither is expected to work out at Michigan’s pro day, but getting to Indy gave them the opportunity to interview with teams and do basic medical evaluations. It’s an important step.