We’re exactly one week away from the entire NFL world descending upon Indianapolis for the annual Scouting Combine. There will be hot takes aplenty with pundits and well-known analysts breaking down the well over 300 prospects taking part in what’s often dubbed the ultimate job interview.
Well, it wasn’t too long ago that many current Chargers were in the exact same position.
So, what did these “experts” have to say about the likes of Keenan Allen, Desmond King and so on? And just how accurate were they?
We took a look back through NFL.com’s archives to find out.
“A smooth outside pass-catcher, Allen has the height, speed and ability to win jump balls required of a No. 1 target in the NFL; the first-team All-Pac 12 pick in 2011 caught most of his 98 passes for 1,343 yards and 11 scores in 2011 from lefty quarterback Zach Maynard, who happens to be his half-brother. Maynard’s play regressed in 2012, however, causing Allen’s production to fall off his junior season. He still displayed all the same skills and talents he showcased during his uber-productive sophomore season, and he figures to go in the top 25 if his knee and ankle check out medically.”
“Benjamin has been a big-play threat for the Hurricanes over the years. Initially an electric return specialist only, he eventually became an effective pass-catching option. He is undersized but shows speed to get past safeties, and the route-running savvy to outwork corners and separate from them to make plays on the ball. He will be somewhat limited in his transition to the NFL due to his size, but there are many receivers of his stature that have shown the ability to overcome this at the next level. Benjamin has third-to fourth-round value due to his speed, ability to separate and experience as a returner.”
“Body-beautiful college end who has the talent and upside to play with a hand down or standing in the pros. Bosa might not have the pure edge speed to be an elite pass rusher, but his hand usage and ability to generate push as a bull-rusher should make him a very good 4-3 base end or a 3-4 outside linebacker. Bosa has a few more flaws than some may be willing to admit, and his upside might be good rather than great, but his traits and growth potential as a player make him a safe selection. Bosa might be at his best with a defensive coordinator willing to move him around the field.”
“Angular, talented open-field runner who combines outstanding burst with a long stride to gain separation and hit the home run. He won't be able to outrun NFL defenders like he did in college and must develop more feel between the tackles. Gordon shines when his track runs over tackle or around the end and can put a defense to sleep around the corner. Not trustworthy enough to be a three-down back, but his pass-catching improved enough to utilize him out of backfield as a receiver.”
“Hayward is a highly regarded corner out of Vanderbilt. Although his team has had little success throughout his career, playing in the heart of the Southeastern Conference has put Hayward up against top talent every week, and he has made plays consistently for the Commodores. He can run with any receiver in the SEC and has shown that he can play physically at the line of scrimmage to disrupt receivers' routes. He brings a confident mentality that he can cover anyone in single coverage given the competition he faced each week in his conference. He has third-round talent.”
“By far, the premier tight end in the 2016 draft. Henry is a big body with the athleticism to get open, the hands to finish catches in traffic and the blocking ability to help give a running game the additional kick it might be missing on the edge. Henry should come in and become a very good NFL starter.”
“Ingram is one of the most athletically gifted prospects in this year’s class. He came to South Carolina as an inside linebacker and has since played in various positions across the front seven. Ingram’s motor, athleticism and technique allow him to bring dynamic playmaking ability to an NFL defense, whether he lines up at defensive tackle or defensive end. Some believe he could be moved to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme to rush the passer and overpower offensive tackles. There is a chance he continues rising up boards and is potentially selected in the first round of the draft.”
“Possesses the desired physical traits and mental makeup of an All-Pro safety who has the ability to not only set a tone but change the course of games. Although James is extremely athletic and talented, he still has room for improvement as a run defender and in coverage. James' talent is best utilized in an active, attacking capacity in a robber role or near the line of scrimmage where he can support the run, blitz and handle physical coverage responsibilities.”
“Jackson is a productive, durable runner with the foot quickness and agility to make defenders miss on all levels of the field, but has a thin frame that could turn some teams off. While Jackson carried a heavy workload in college, he's unlikely to find that opportunity in the pros. Jackson's elusiveness gives him a shot at a backup role, but he will need to improve as a third-down option.”
“Lack of size and speed combined with his ball skills, instincts, and competitiveness all point to a transition to safety. While he can improve as a tackler, he's got the toughness and mentality to take on run-support duties. Can cover in man when asked and has the ball-tracking skills and anticipation that should allow him to thrive in two-deep and single-high situations. A likely second-day (Rounds 2-3) selection and could be targeted as a zone corner or a safety with early starting potential.”
“Pouncey is arguably this class' top interior offensive line prospect. He has outstanding football IQ and the ability to become a Pro Bowl starter at guard or center. Has great feet needed to mirror pass rushers and pull down the line. Uses his hands well when battling in pass protection. Shows his understanding of the game when recognizing blitzers and effectively combo blocking with teammates. Plays with passion and aggressiveness and has the work-ethic to continue to improve. Defensive tackles with more size and strength than Pouncey can be his kryptonite, but there aren't many holes in this guy's game. A first round prospect.”
“Lunch-pail player from a blue-collar background whose effort and motor will make him a favorite of coaches he plays for. What Rochell offers in effort, he lacks as a skilled pass rusher, and his inability to get after the quarterback will create a difficult challenge for him. While his best fit might be a 3-4 defensive end, he could be viewed as rotational defensive lineman with little to no third-down value. Rochell has third-day draft value with eventual starter potential if he can sharpen his pass-rush tools.”
Top photos of Chargers first-round pick Mike Williams in action at Clemson.
“Williams looks the part of a WR1 and has shown an ability to work all three levels of the field after coming back from his 2015 neck injury. Williams is tough enough to be a high-volume target while working the middle of the field and his size and ball skills make him a formidable foe in the end zone. He'll have to be coached up with his routes and releases, but he has the talent to become a big safety blanket for a young quarterback.”