The Best WR at the 2019 Combine Was Not D.K. Metcalf

The Best WR at the 2019 Combine Was Not D.K. Metcalf

D.K. Metcalf looks like one of the most absurdly talented athletes of his generation. So did I really just say that after he ran a 4.33 second 40 yard dash?

via GIPHY

The Data

The NFL posts all Combine results pretty instantly – the results tracker is here for the 2019 participants.

Second, a couple weeks ago I looked at which drills seem to be more indicative of future NFL success than others. You can check that out here if you missed the detailed analysis.

As a reminder, I looked at the NFL Combine performance for every wide receiver (WR) who participated from 2013 to 2018. I culled that list down to the top 30 NFL players, and looked at their drill performances across the board. Here was the result:

The 3 Cone Drill is King

D.K. Metcalf ran the third slowest 3 Cone Drill time of all WRs in the 2019 class. If you only watched the television coverage, you’d think he was the best all-around Combine performer at his position. To be clear, he absolutely crushed it in nearly every other way:

Whoever drafts D.K. Metcalf is surely getting a great prospect. They might want to consider a few other players first, however, looking at all-around Combine performance.

So Who Stood Out?

I logged the Combine performances of 2019’s WR class and compared it to my data for the top 30 WRs from the 2013-2018 classes. Sorted by fastest to slowest 3 Cone Drill time, here’s what the top 20 performers look like:

Miles Boykin (Notre Dame) looks to my untrained eye like someone who significantly improved his NFL Draft value this past weekend.

The Combine surely is not the end all, be all of player evaluation; I’d be surprised, however, if more teams aren’t giving him another look after what he did in Indianapolis. Expect more of this to come to an NFL stadium near you:

What About The Others?

Adjusting performance for height and weight is really important. numberFire’s JJ Zachariason took a look at this already:

We can see based on overall size that there are very real on-field concerns to weigh with some of the other top 3 Cone Drill performers.

Stanley Morgan, Hunter Renfrow, Cody Thompson, Bisi Johnson and Terry Godwin all failed to post height-adjusted speed scores (defined here) that approach 100 – the number that indicates they are draft worthy.

Conclusions

D.K. Metcalf is unquestionably a freak specimen of man. He likely has a bright future in the NFL.

I think that a player like Myles Boykin, however, had a far more impressive Combine. Given the type of WR that has been productive in the NFL in recent years, he warrants higher consideration (than he may have been previously getting) on every team’s draft board in my opinion.