Fri, 10 Apr 2020

Daily Brew: Offensive players to watch at the NFL Combine

Houston Texans
17 Feb 2020, 13:41 GMT+10

The 2020 NFL Scouting Combine will commence in a little over a week, so let's take a look, per position, at players attending that could have the Texans attention. This week, the offensive side of the ball and next week, the defensive side of the ball.

Quarterback

The Texans have their quarterback of the past, present and future in Deshaun Watson, so this isn't a position worth spending a ton of time analyzing. I'll keep my eyes on former Navy RB/QB/WR Malcolm Perry, who broke a ton of rushing records at Navy in 2019 playing quarterback. So, technically, he's a quarterback, but he could be a jack of all trades option for teams in this draft and will more than likely cross-train in Indianapolis.

Running Back

There are a ton of running backs that I love in this draft, starting with Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor. He's going to run in the 4.4 range at nearly 230 lb., plus he was ultra-productive in his three years at Wisconsin. I'm a fan of Florida State's Cam Akers. He didn't have much to run behind in his three years in Tallahassee but he's one of the best athletes I've seen in my life when he graduated from Clinton (MS) High School just three years ago. A much more complex running back option is Memphis' Antonio Gibson. He played running back at the Senior Bowl, then was asked to work out at wide receiver for the Combine. So, he has offensive weapon/Swiss Army knife sort of skills at 215 lb.

Wide Receiver

The most loaded position in the draft is wide receiver and there are, at last count, 52 receivers working out. USC's Michael Pittman Jr. is a polished, refined receiver who gives me a little bit of a Michael Thomas (Saints) vibe, but the 40-yard dash will be the one thing all scouts want to know. Sticking in the Pac-12, Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk was electrifying on tape but he was hurt at the Senior Bowl, so I missed out on seeing him live. He can fly and I'm curious what he puts on the stopwatch at over 200 lb. My favorite is SMU's James Proche, but the Combine won't be totally kind to him as he's not the biggest, strongest or fastest receiver in the bunch, but he WILL catch everything thrown his way.

Tight End

Honestly, the Texans have drafted three tight ends the past two years, so I'd imagine that there's not much to see here, but keep an eye on FAU's Harrison Bryant. He's got receiver skills and a tight end's blocking mindset, so he'll be attractive for teams needing one at this position.

Interior Offensive Line

The one player who intrigues me more than any other at this spot is Fresno State guard Netane Muti. On tape, he's an absolute mauler, but since he declared early and played on the West Coast, he's not well known at all. For all linemen, the Combine isn't their strong suit, but I'm still most interested in seeing Muti up close.

Offensive Tackle

This is a tremendously top heavy draft at the tackle position, but considering that the Texans have Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard manning those spots for the foreseeable future, this probably isn't a spot that will draw draft resources and my subsequent attention. That said, I want to see Iowa star Tristan Wirfs put on a show. He's an athletic freak at his size (6-5, 320 lb.) and destroys the weight room on a regular basis.

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