Friday marked the first day of on-field action at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Penn State has seven representatives at this year’s combine and after last year’s performances, all eyes will be on the Nittany Lions in attendance.
Running backs and offensive linemen took to the field on Friday meaning it was time to shine for Miles Sanders, Ryan Bates and Connor McGovern.
Below are their measurements from yesterday.
We start our recap of the action with Miles Sanders, who starred among a deep if a little weak at the top running back group.
Sanders came into the day with most projections putting him somewhere between the third and fifth round of April’s NFL Draft.
On Thursday he put up 20 reps of 225-pounds on the bench.
He followed that up with a spectacular effort on Friday.
Sanders started with two runs of the 40-yard dash with matching unofficial times of 4.50, a solid number given his height and weight that was consistent with what was expected of him.
That number got even better when the official times came in and he was found to have been clocked at 4.49, tied for sixth-best among 30-plus backs in attendance.
He added to that with a 10-foot-4-inch broad jump that was third-best and in the 85th percentile for running backs all time and a 36-inch vertical that again put him as the sixth-best back in attendance.
But that’s not all, Sanders also posted a time of 6.89 in the 3-cone drill, best among running backs and a 4.19 in the 5-10-5 shuttle, third-best.
The strong day continued into pass catching drills where he didn’t drop a ball and into ball-carrying drills where he was praised repeatedly on the broadcast for his fluidity.
At the end of the day, NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah named Sanders his performer of the day.
As for the offensive linemen, while McGovern is the more highly regarded of the two and considered a virtual lock to be off the board by the end of the third round, it was Bates who impressed me the most.
Both put up 28 reps of 225 on the bench, which is a good showing, particularly for McGovern given his arm length.
On the field, Bates showed a bit more athleticism.
He ran the 40 in 5.07 with an impressive 1.70 10-yard split (important of linemen). McGovern, meanwhile, opted not to run until Penn State’s pro day.
Penn State's Ryan Bates false started on first 40 attempt. On re-start, had 1.70 10-yard split and 5.02-second 40. "Good number," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said.— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) March 1, 2019
Both had good showings in the 3-cone drill, with Bates’ 7.45 ranking third-best among the over 50 lineman in attendance and McGovern’s 7.66 placing him eighth.
Bates also posted the fifth-best 5-10-5 with a time of 4.53 compared to McGovern’s 4.57 which again landed him eighth among participating linemen.
The testing numbers helped Bates finish with one of the best raw athlete scores (on a scale of 0-10) among offensive linemen at the combine.
It was in the drills where Bates really separated himself, however, as his fluidity and ability to change directions really shined.
His footwork impressed Jeremiah as well as former NFL linemen Joe Thomas and Shaun O’Hara.
Bates is getting after it today pic.twitter.com/N0MONXaL41— Ryan Snyder (@RivalsSnyder) March 1, 2019
McGovern finished the day strongly in the mirror drill, but just appeared a step slower than Bates all day. Not so much so that it should largely affect his draft stock, however.
On Saturday, quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends will take the field. Trace McSorley will be the only Penn State representative.