Tight ends, wide receivers, and running backs took to the field in Indy to kick off the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday. There were a host of impressive performances, some sure to catch the eye of Jaguars' general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Doug Pederson.
TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
Trey McBride didn't run or participate in any athletic testing but working through the bench press, the receiving gauntlet, and the sleds, McBride looked like a natural. He has confident hands, is an excellent blocker, and is comfortable being the focal point of an offense. For my money, he's the top tight end in the class and would fit right into a Doug Pederson offense with his ability to line up anywhere on the field and find success. He's not a freak athlete, but a good one that does everything the right way. I doubt he makes it out of the second round, but if the Jaguars — who have talked about upgrading their tight end room — are keen on landing the best overall prospect of the bunch, they could get aggressive in pursuit of McBride. Giving Trevor Lawrence that kind of safety valve to go along with Dan Arnold should be a priority this offseason.
WR Christian Watson, North Dakota State
Faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall building in a single bound: Christian Watson! One of the starts of the show on Thursday, Christian Watson leaped 38" and ran a 4.36 40 yard dash at 6'4" and 208 pounds. The Bison deployed Christian Watson in just about every way possible at the FCS level. While he didn't run an advanced route tree in college, he's shown the ability to sink his hips and explode out of breaks this draft season. Watson is a rare athlete at his size and should be firmly in the late-first to early-second round conversation. The Jaguars will likely need to pull the trigger at 33 if they want to add this talented offensive playmaker to their ranks.
WR George Pickens, Georgia
Pickens ran a 4.47, answering questions about his deep speed. Posting a time like that less than a year after suffering a torn ACL is huge for Pickens, who likely would've been a first-round lock but for his injury. On tape, he shows toughness, explosive movements, length, and great hands. If Pickens does make it out of the first round, the Jaguars will need to think long and hard about adding him to a receiver room that needs alpha competitors.
WR Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
Alec Pierce had a tremendous college career and has parlayed that into an impressive pre-draft process. The 6'3", 211-pound receiver ran a 4.41 and leaped 40.5 inches. He's a big play waiting to happen on the outside and could be a tremendous value if he falls into the third round of the draft. He projects as a starting X in a vertical offense at the next level and is the type of guy you want in the building.
WR Bo Melton, Rutgers
Bo Melton is less-heralded than the guys we've looked at so far, but he'll likely be available well into day three. Melton leaped 38 inches, ran a 4.34, and posted a sub-seven-second three-cone. He's a quality route runner with speed, explosiveness, and agility. Melton's hands are his most significant question mark, but they did improve throughout his college career. With continued development, Melton has the potential to start on the outside at the next level. Should he fail to reach his potential, Melton should still stick around in the NFL. If the Jaguars could land someone with his upside late in the draft, he could end up looking like a steal in 2-3 years.
Honorable Mention: If the Jaguars are keen on adding a weapon-x type tight end a bit later in the draft Chig Okonkwo might be an ideal candidate. He ran a 4.52 and leaped 35.5 inches. At 238 pounds, he can be used in a variety of ways on offense and has plenty of experience with the ball in his hands.
Offensive linemen and running backs hit the turf on Friday at 4 pm. Stay tuned for more!
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