With the offensive line being a focal point for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to improve at, there has been a lot of attention spent to the prospects in Indianapolis during the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
With their days speaking to the media and completing the drills, let’s take a look back at some of the most notable guys and encapsulate what they were able to do physically and what impressions they made in their media interactions.
YODNY CAJUSTE (WEST VIRGINIA)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 32 REPS ON BENCH PRESS
Obviously Yodny Cajuste from West Virginia is strong. And as a prospect who’s ceiling is somewhere on day two, he’s got some features coaches are going to like and think they can work with.
However, some of his weaknesses have been noted in his athleticism, and we saw more of the same at the combine. Being strong matters, but it matters most while engaged with your opponent. Cajuste will have some things to show improvement on at his Pro Day, but is still solidly on the board as a developmental type of player who could fill certain needs right away.
CHRIS LINDSTROM (BOSTON COLLEGE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: *40-YARD DASH - 4.88 SEC
His forty time, while unofficial as of now, is going to make teams very happy. His bench reps were solid as well. Neither stat will sell him to anyone alone or damn him to another. So that’s good.
As a likely interior lineman for whatever NFL team selects him this coming April, having the speed and athleticism to get to the outside and pull ahead of runners is key. His film shows he’s got plenty of operational strength, and should get stronger under the advisement of NFL staffers.
DALTON RISNER (KANSAS STATE)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 23 REPS ON BENCH PRESS
23 reps on the bench is not ideal for an offensive lineman no matter what position you’re looking to play him at, but it’s not so low people need to panic about Risner’s status as one of the top tackles - or guards - in this class.
For the Bucs specifically, this prospect fits to me more than any other in what might be considered the Top-5 on most lists. More on that later, here on Bucs Nation.
In drills, Risner did well and showed better foot work than I expected. Risner is a pure competitor who seems to be a guy open to coaching on just about anything he’ll need to do to be successful in the NFL.
Keep his name in your mind, because he’s going to be good.
Oh, and he did alright on his media day.
Dalton Risner has a day one personality. No doubt about it. He’s going to kill team meetings. pic.twitter.com/Ab6K0QQhl5— Locked On Bucs (@lockedonbucs) February 28, 2019
JAWAAN TAYLOR (FLORIDA)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 24 REPS ON BENCH PRESS
Some have Taylor as their top offensive tackle in the class. Some have Jonah Williams on top. Either way, Taylor is a day one prospect for good reason.
Taylor held out of most of the measurables taking it easy so as not to aggravate a slight hamstring injury, but he did do the drills.
And he looked good. Taylor is a popular match with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in mock drafts featuring a trade down scenario. General manager Jason Licht mentioned earlier in the week there were five guys he’d like to pick right now, so a trade back would have to prove worth it in value returned for him.
Perhaps Taylor is one of those. The hype meter is moving north for Taylor and after his combine performance it’ll only get better. If he can test at Florida’s pro day, and test well, then he’ll climb into the very early portions of day one draft projections.
JONAH WILLIAMS (ALABAMA)
KEY COMBINE STAT: 33 5/8” ARM LENGTH
Alabama OT Jonah Williams- 33 5/8” arms length. Doesn’t prevent him from playing OT in the NFL but certainly doesn’t help his cause. Ideally 34 1/2” or longer.— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 27, 2019
Ask anyone in the NFL or with experience covering the draft process and they’ll say the same thing. Tape trumps everything.
This has been Jonah Williams’ battle cry all week and even before it. He has short arms. They’re close to an inch shorter than what is identified as ‘ideal’. And his combine media session showed he doesn’t hold much stock in it.
At one point he even joked to a writer that he might be a better writer if his fingers were longer, but he can still do the job as is. And everyone laughed and everything was good with the world.
Still, there are those who take pause and teams who will pause when evaluating him as an NFL tackle due to his shorter than desired arm length.
Like he said himself, his arms aren’t getting any longer anytime soon. I don’t suppose it’s impossible, but highly unlikely he gains an inch on his arm length after college.
If teams rely on the tape then they’ll see he’s more than capable of playing tackle. If they don’t, then they’ll mark him down as a guard. Williams says he’ll play whichever position the team which drafts him wants, but if you saw him speak at the combine, he’s definitely in the mind set that he’s a tackle above all else.