The NFL Combine took place over the last few days in Indianapolis, which gave college prospects the opportunity to impress professional scouts, coaches and executives. Seven Michigan State Spartans had the opportunity to raise their draft stock. Here is how each of them performed.
We will look at their testing drill metrics, mention how they looked in positional drills and review their Relative Athletic Scores (RAS) — which quantifies player measurements and metrics and puts them on a 0 to 10 scale compared to their position group — courtesy of Kent Lee Platte of Pride of Detroit.
A quick note, a players ranking in their position group may include ties with other prospects.
And away we go:
Brian Lewerke, quarterback
Weight: 213 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.95 seconds (11th among QBs)
Bench press: N/A
Vertical jump: 31 inches (seventh among QBs)
Broad jump: 113 inches (eighth among QBs)
Three-cone drill: 7.14 seconds (fourth among QBs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.4 seconds (second among QBs)
Summary: A surprisingly slow 40-yard dash time for Lewerke — who often showed off the wheels in college — and a lackluster performance elsewhere didn’t do much to improve his draft stock. He did test well in the 20-yard shuffle and three-cone drill, but posted a poor Relative Athletic Score overall. Throwing the ball, Lewerke made some nice, crisp passes. At this point, Lewerke has an outside shot to be drafted late or make a roster as an undrafted free agent.
Brian Lewerke is a QB prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Michigan State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) February 28, 2020
He posted a poor #RAS with okay size, poor speed, okay agility at the QB position.https://t.co/W1Zg1w5vNE pic.twitter.com/gaTPOlsC3e
Cody White, wide receiver
Weight: 217 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.66 seconds (43rd among WRs)
Bench press: N/A
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches (30th among WRs)
Broad jump: 120 inches (33rd among WRs)
Three-cone drill: 7.19 seconds (15th among WRs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.52 seconds (21st among WRs)
Summary: Many people were surprised White declared early for the NFL Draft, and he did not impress scouts from an athletic standpoint in Indianapolis. White’s 4.66-second 40-yard dash ranked 43rd out of 45 wide receivers who ran the drill. He didn’t rank too highly in the other drills either, but White has good size and his game has always been built more on being a strong-handed possession receiver, so there is a chance he catches on with an NFL team.
According to his NFL.com Draft profile: “Should have stayed in school.” — Receivers coach for AFC team.
Cody White is a WR prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Michgan State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) February 28, 2020
He posted a poor #RAS with elite size, very poor speed, good explosiveness, very poor agility at the WR position.https://t.co/rvur00qLVA pic.twitter.com/P690aYwKRN
Darrell Stewart Jr., wide receiver
Weight: 212 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Bench press: 15 reps (16th among WRs)
Vertical jump: 35 inches (31st among WRs)
Broad jump: 117 inches (41st among WRs)
Three-cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Summary: Stewart didn’t participate in enough drills to earn a RAS score. He put up a decent amount of bench press reps for the wide receiver position and looked smooth in positional drills, but his explosion numbers ranked fairly low within his group. NFL teams will like his size in the slot, but he needs to work on his hands. As it stands now, Stewart will likely need to have a good Pro Day to get drafted.
Kenny Willekes, defensive end
Weight: 264 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.87 seconds (15th among DL)
Bench press: 32 reps (second among DL)
Vertical jump: 32.5 inches (eighth among DL)
Broad jump: 119 inches (eighth among DL)
Three-cone drill: 7.39 seconds (10th among DL)
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Summary: Willekes followed up his impressive Senior Bowl week with an incredible performance at the Combine, ranking in the top-10 in his position group in all of the major testing drills — including tying Nebraska’s Khalil Davis for second-most bench press reps of 225 pounds. There have been questions about Willekes’ athleticism, but he proved doubters wrong by posting a good RAS score of 7.38 — which puts him in about the 74th percent tile of all defensive linemen. That kind of athleticism and strength, mixed with Willekes’ insane work ethic might have worked the defensive end up to a Day Two or early Day Three selection in the Draft.
Kenny Willekes is a DE prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Michigan State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 1, 2020
He posted a good #RAS with okay size, okay speed, good explosiveness, at the DE position.https://t.co/iKcBGTFqfr pic.twitter.com/XizdVoR7jM
Raequan Williams, defensive tackle
Weight: 308 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.04 seconds (29th among DL)
Bench press: 17 reps (tied for last amongst DL at 37th)
Vertical jump: 25.5 inches (tied for last among DL at 31st)
Broad jump: 101 inches (28th among DL)
Three-cone drill: 7.72 seconds (17th among DL)
20-yard shuttle: 4.78 seconds (19th among DL)
Summary: Williams did not have a great Combine. His size and college production should be enough to get him drafted on Day Three, but his strength numbers were concerning — he put up the same amount of bench press reps as Josiah Scott at 17, which was tied for last amongst defensive lineman. He showed good speed for a 308-pounder, but his agility and explosiveness numbers were also poor.
Raequan Williams is a DT prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Michigan State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 1, 2020
He posted an okay #RAS with good size, good speed, poor explosiveness, poor agility at the DT position.https://t.co/AHTOd8CrBz pic.twitter.com/0p3MnQiNyl
Joe Bachie, linebacker
Weight: 230 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.67 seconds (17th among LBs)
Bench press: 26 reps (second among LBs)
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches (14th among LBs)
Broad jump: 119 inches (23rd among LBs)
Three-cone drill: 6.93 seconds (third among LBs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.34 seconds (15th among LBs)
Summary: Bachie helped his case at the Combine, ranking second amongst linebackers in the bench press, and third at this position in the three-cone drill. He was faced with questions about his suspension for a failed drug test, which he explained was an over-the-counter pre-workout supplement. If teams can get past that, he will be a Day Three selection who can slot right in for a team at middle linebacker. Outside of size, he posted “good” RAS scores in every category (speed, agility and explosiveness).
Joe Bachie is a LB prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Michigan State.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 1, 2020
He posted a good #RAS with poor size, good speed, good explosiveness, good agility at the LB position.https://t.co/fuCU4BBu2f pic.twitter.com/4nIYmf0b6w
Josiah Scott, cornerback
Weight: 185 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds (fifth among DBs)
Bench press: 17 reps (seventh among DBs)
Vertical jump: N/A
Broad jump: N/A
Three-cone drill: N/A
20-yard shuttle: N/A
Summary: Scott didn’t participate in every drill, but he impressed in the 40-yard dash with the fifth-fastest time among cornerbacks, as well as the bench press, where he ranked seventh amongst defensive back. Scott looked fluid in positional drills with good footwork and hips. He most definitely improved his draft stock this weekend and may be the first Spartan selected. The only issue NFL teams will have with Scott is his small stature, but he’ll make up for it with great ball and coverage skills.
According to his NFL.com Draft profile: “He’s one of my favorite cornerbacks I’ve watched except for how small he is. A lot of these guys get used to guarding the same routes in college but don’t have the feet and hips to stay with a pro route. I think this kid does.” — Defensive backs coach for NFC team
Combine numbers certainly don’t dictate how a player’s career will go in the NFL, but the tests provide a good measuring stick for athleticism, explosiveness, speed, IQ and draft projections. Willekes, Scott and Bachie had strong showings and probably helped their cases. For the rest of the Spartans, they’ll have more work to do at MSU’s Pro Day and at individual workouts for teams.