Combine Report - March 3: Changing of the Guard?

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The first day of workouts for the 2017 NFL Combine is complete. Here’s the most recent buzz around the city of Indianapolis.

From talking with people it seems there’s a changing of the guard, or at least a changing of the guard rankings. Several teams came away very impressed by the workout of Forrest Lamp and now have the Western Kentucky blocker as the top guard in the draft followed by Dan Feeney of Indiana and Dorian Johnson of Pittsburgh.

There’s not a big spread amongst the three and if Lamp lands in the late first round, expect Feeney and Johnson to come off the board by pick 35.

­­­­I’m told Lamp could be taken as early as the 20th selection by the Denver Broncos.

Reports from this afternoon stated Desmond King of Iowa will participate in everything at the combine except the 40 due to an abdominal strain.

I’ve been told that may not be the only reason.

King has not been running all that fast in training and there was a concern he would not run under 4.6 seconds at the combine had he decided to run. I’m not going to challenge the report about the abdominal strain but there has been documented concern about King’s speed, and from what I’ve heard from combine training it’s legitimate.

How deep is the running back class?

Teams have as many as 15 running backs presently listed on their draft boards as top-100 players. The expectation is ball carriers with third-round grades will drop into the fourth and fifth round due to the depth of the position.

Tight end Evan Engram of Mississippi has moved up draft boards since the Senior Bowl and could move up further with a good workout tomorrow.

He’s listed as the third-rated tight end by a number of teams and a few grade him neck and neck with David Njoku of Miami.

If Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma does not run tomorrow, questions will be asked and red flags will be raised. After not accepting an invitation to the Senior Bowl, scouts are wondering about his preparation for the draft and the advice he’s receiving.

Speedy Noil of Texas A&M will likely give John Ross a run for his money tomorrow as the fastest receiver at the combine. I’m told the Aggie junior expects to break the 4.3-second barrier and could turn in a vertical jump of 45 inches.

Guard Jordan Morgan is drawing a lot of interest from the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans here at the combine. Teams like his upside and believe he’s a solid developmental prospect.