The third annual Elite College Combine took place on Monday night, May 1 and a slew of talent was on hand. While some of the bigger names impressed as expected, there are a few names on our Rivals.com Hot 11 who might surprise some.
National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell rates the top players at the event including wide receiver Nick Sukay, who was the best all-around wide receiver on the night.
The best defensive tackle in the country didn't disappoint at the event, testing off the charts and showing his quickness and agility in one-on-ones. Austin was a mismatch for everyone except our No. 2 guy, Piscataway offensive lineman Anthony Davis. Austin looks very trim and has more muscle than last year and is much more explosive. Despite high expectations entering the event, Austin came through.
Very few people expected Davis to be able to stand his ground against Austin, but that's exactly what he did. Davis uses his arms very well and knocked defensive linemen off balance with a left-handed stiff arm once he got set. Against Austin he moved his feet well when he had to deal with a speed rush and he anchored very well and got low when Austin bull rushed. His skills have improved greatly over the last year.
3. Nick Sukay, WR, Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic
The Pennsylvania wide receiver wasn't the biggest name at the event, but he certainly had some impressive offers coming in. He showed why numerous schools are all over him with his well-rounded game. Sukay catches the ball with his hands and rarely lets it get to his body, he showed good concentration securing the ball while turning upfield quickly and he's physical. He also runs precise routes and gets separation. Sukay does everything well.
Taylor came into the event looking to show college coaches that he is a passer who can run and not a runner who can pass. He succeeded. Taylor's ball came out quick, had serious zip on it and was accurate. He leads his receivers well and has good mechanics. Put that passing ability together with his athletic ability and quick feet and you have a dangerous player under center.
It was hard to determine who was better between Taylor and Bostick because they are different quarterbacks. Bostick drops well and sets his feet and has a nice release, but it's not as compact as Taylor's. His arm strength is good and he's very accurate and he throws an excellent long ball. Bostick clicked right away with Sukay and the two became the dominant duo of the one-on-ones and the quarterback seems to have a sense of where he needs to put the ball for his receiver after just a few reps together.
Tucker isn't a huge defensive end, but he's super quick and slippery. He's hard to get a handle of off the snap because he gets low and has a great first step. He tested very well and didn't back down to offensive linemen who were 70 pounds heavier. A motor guy, Tucker hustles and has excellent pass rushing instincts.
Watson is a huge wide receiver who could be a tight end at the next level. He was just too physical for defensive backs to handle in the one-on-ones and has very strong hands. Watson looked like a power forward out there on jump ball passes, boxing his opponent out and coming down with the football. His size (6-foot-4, 226 pounds) and quickness make him a matchup nightmare for any defender.
The New York tight end was just too tall and big for defenders. His 6-foot-6 frame allowed quarterbacks to put the ball where only he could catch it and he's athletic and agile for a tight end. Gronkowski also showed good hands and took advantage of his physical advantages throughout the one-on-ones.
Little is a physically gifted player, there's no doubt about that. At first it was obvious he was trying too hard and fighting the ball a bit, not looking it in and dropping passes. But once he settled down, he was just to fast and physical to cover. He showed a nice double move and sharpened his routes as the one-on-ones went on.
Butts has excellent quickness and plays physical defense. He follows the ball well in the air and has good closing speed. He jumped one route for an interception by anticipating the receivers route and broke up long passes against taller players with his jumping ability. He also played some wideout and showed true speed, although he was much better as a corner.
11. Ben Pooler, LB, Morristown (N.J.) Lawrenceville Prep
Pooler was one of just a few linebackers who stood out. He's long and quick and excellent in coverage. It's hard for linebackers to stand out in combines because they can't tackle, but Pooler did what he needed to do. He dropped well, changed direction quickly and made plays on the ball.