Jon Toth and Boom Williams will be measured, weighed, timed, interviewed, and appraised at the upcoming NFL Combine. While invitations to the annual event are coveted, Indianapolis participation does not guarantee draft selection.
Below are NFL.com’s pre-combine evaluations for both former Wildcats. These assessments are brutally honest and should become mandatory reading for all college football freshmen.
Four-year starter in competitive SEC. Good size and bulk. Understands his physical limitations and plays to his strengths. Fits into blocks with good body control and at a leveraged strike position. Unlocks hips at contact on down blocks to pin defender and present a running lane. Generates power from his lower half. Held his own against formidable Alabama defensive front. Utilizes efficient, compact punch. Has good hand strength to snatch and engage. Operates with plus hand placement, and willing to re-set hands to improve positioning when necessary. Able to control shoulder and steer opponent away from the hole. Good arm length for a center. Looks for work in pass protection and has enough anchor to thwart a bull rush.
Marginal athlete. Plays with heavy feet and below-average lateral quickness. Could struggle with sudden redirects inside to catch blitzers and twisters. Struggles to mirror athletic, interior rushers in pass pro. Labors to recover once beaten. Snap-to-step quickness is very average. Effectiveness wanes beyond line of scrimmage. Has some hip stiffness which causes him to rely on leaning over bending. A little slow in his climb to second level.
Toth is a tough, four-year starter. Will appeal to teams looking for centers who can operate in a power-based rushing scheme. While he’s better in a phone booth than on the move, he understands his limitations and does a good job of staying within himself. He’s not the best athlete at the position but his size, arm length, strength and consistency should outweigh that on the next level. Toth has the traits and ability to be an eventual starter in the NFL.
Toth is rated a 5.4 by the NFL Network. For comparison purposes, the highest rated center is Ohio State’s Pat Elflein with a 5.8. Utah’s J.J. Dielman’s 5.2 being the lowest. There are eight centers attending this year’s Combine. Toth projects to be mid-pack. In addition, NFL scouts are also projecting the former Wildcat to guard or right tackle. Skill set diversity will enhance Toth’s status on Draft Day.
2016 Draft Day Results: 6 centers were selected. Highest was Alabama’s Ryan Kelly who was taken with the 18th pick in the 1st round to Indianapolis. The last center drafted was Iowa’s Austin Blythe, selected with the 27th pick in the 7th round also by the Colts.
Sports tremendous burst to the edge. Has the acceleration ability to run with extended patience on outside zone plays. Heels barely touch the ground during his runs and he has lateral agility to make wide cuts to avoid tacklers. Able to rip through a crease when he sees it. Combination of speed and elusiveness makes him a nemesis in space. Has some value on slip screens. May offer some kick return value.
Undersized for anything other than a change-of-pace role. Not a very tough runner when tasked with work between the tackles. Runs come crashing to a halt when he senses contact on interior. Unable to break tackles or generate much yardage after contact. Way too hesitant when on downhill runs. Tends to dance and look for large point of entry rather than trusting his blockers. Vision is very average. Drops and fumbles are an issue.
Scat back with outstanding burst who can create for himself in space, but is not about that life when asked to run between the tackles. Williams doesn’t have the blocking or the hands to be a full-time third-down back and he lacks the decisiveness and vision necessary to handle snaps as a backup. While he does have plus athletic ability, Williams may be too limited in what he can offer a team from a roster flexibility standpoint.
There are 33 running backs attending this year’s Combine. LSU’s Leonard Fournette’s 7.2 is the highest rating. Michigan’s De’Veon Smith’s 4.9 the lowest with three RB’s yet to be assigned a grade. Boom Williams was rated a 5.0. His 40-yard time will be vital, as will his pass catching and other on-field drills that showcase positional diversity. Boom’s Combine performance is a critical first step in his process to play professional football.
UPDATE: Williams recently clocked a 4.3-40 at a mock Combine. Trainers expect him to potentially break the 4.2 mark in Indy. This would greatly help his chances to be drafted as he needs to separate from the pack prior to Pro Day.
2016 NFL Draft Day Results: 23 RBs were drafted. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was the first taken with the 4th pick in 1st round. Clemson’s Zac Brooks was the last RB selected by the Seahawks with the 26th pick in the 7th round.
Wildcat fans won’t have to wait long to watch both Toth and Williams perform. RBs and OL are scheduled to work out on the Combine’s first televised day, Friday, March 3. The NFL Network’s live coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. Kentucky Sports Radio will also provide coverage and updates.