by Matt Kupec
March 3, 2019
The NFL recently completed its week-long Annual Scouting Combine where college players perform physical and mental tests in front of National Football League coaches, general managers and scouts. Athletes attend by invitation only but the Combine has become a critical part of the NFL draft process.
Each year the Combine produces a number of winners and losers. This year’s Combine was not different. In this post, we have asked my son, Matthew Kupec, for his thoughts and observations of the Combine. We often get the analysis from the members of the media who follow football throughout the year but we wanted to provide a new angle on the Combine by getting a young person’s perspective on what transpired in Indianapolis this past week.
Matthew, as a reminder, played for the East Chapel Hill High School football team this year. In one game, Matthew set a school record by recording three interceptions in a game against Southern Pines. Matthew is a student of the game and his expert analysis provides a refreshing look at the Combine results.
Q: What is your overall assessment of this year’s crop of players at the combine?
A: Matthew – I believe this will be the best draft ever for defensive players. There are a ton of talented players on the defensive side of the ball and many had really impressive results at the Combine. In particular, the defensive lineman are insane! Big and fast, and I mean really fast, this could be the best group of defensive lineman ever. Montez Sweat of Mississippi State is 6’6” tall, weights, 260 pounds and ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash. Wow!!
The linebackers are also an impressive group. They are very fast and I believe the slowest 40 yard time in this group was 4.99 seconds. We should see a number of these linebackers have an instant impact in the NFL next season.
Q: Who were some individuals that really stood out and you would consider winners of the Combine?
A: Matthew – I already mentioned Montez Sweat of Mississippi State and his off the charts numbers. DK Metcalf, the wide receiver from Ole Miss, is 6’3” tall and did 27 reps on the bench press, has just 1.6% body fat and ran a 4.33 in the 40 yard dash. I believe DK has moved himself up into the top ten of the draft. Defensive lineman Quinnen Williams of Alabama continued his incredible twelve month journey from back-up at Alabama to a potentially top five pick in the upcoming draft. Even at 303 pounds, Williams ran a 4.93 forty-yard dash!! And finally, Daniel Jones, the Duke quarterback, had a really impressive showing. So good, in fact, that I think he had the best performance of any quarterback at the Combine.
Q: How many quarterbacks do you think will go in the 1st round of the NFL draft?
A: A: Matthew – I don’t think we will see the five quarterbacks that were drafted in the 1st round of last year’s draft but I believe we will see four drafted – Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, Drew Lock of Missouri and Daniel Jones of Duke.
Oklahoma’s Murray will go first in the entire draft. He is a game changer, a playmaker. He has a big arm and he is fast as any QB ever. Plus, he is a winner. Also, Baker Mayfield really helped pave the way for Murray as Mayfield shined in his NFL rookie season last year. Baker helps eliminate the questions about Kyler’s shorter than 6’0” height.
Dwayne Haskins will probably be the second QB drafted but he had just an okay performance at the Combine. Drew Lock showed a really good arm with lots of velocity on his throws. But the best performance turned in by any QB at the Combine was Daniel Jones of Duke. He threw really well on the mid and deep throws. I believe he may have moved himself into the slot as the third quarterback drafted in the first round on NFL draft’s opening day.
About the Author
Matt Kupec is a fundraising professional with 32 years of significant higher education development experience. He has directed three major university fundraising campaigns and nearly $5 billion has been raised under his leadership. He has led the fundraising programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hofstra University, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and HelpMeSee, a New York City based non-profit. He is currently serving as Senior In-House Fundraising Counsel for Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.Matt is a former record-breaking four year starting quarterback for the UNC Tar Heels. During his career he set 19 season and career passing records. Two of which still stand – most consecutive games with a TD pass and most wins as a starting QB. Matt also set the ACC record for TD passes his senior year at UNC. Matt was named MVP of the 1977 Liberty Bowl and the 1979 Gator Bowl becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to be named MVP of two bowl games.