The NFL Combine Academy Awards
Central Florida linebacker Shaq Griffin runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
The Academy Awards is where the Hollywood elite gather to celebrate the year’s best films and usher in new stars. This can make or break an actors career, just like how the NFL combine can for an upcoming football player.
This year the NFL combine had all the glitz, shine, flair and drama that the Academy Awards has every year. The combine had it all, whether it be about Lamar Jackson being told to move to wide receiver, Josh Allen throwing 75 yard passes or Shaquem Griffin running the fastest 40-yard dash for a linebacker. Here is a list of this year’s NFL combine Academy Awards.
WOW. 😱😱😱@ShaquemGriffin just ran a 4.38u 40-yard dash!
The fastest LB at the #NFLCombine since 2003.
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2018
Griffin is easily the best story and performance coming out of this year’s combine. When Griffin was four-years-old, he lost his hand by amputation and has been able to play football his entire life. He was the captain of University of Central Florida’s defense this season and helped lead them to an undefeated season (and national championship, in the minds of UCF fans), where they beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. With one arm, Griffen put up 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press portion and then ran a 4.38 on his 40-yard dash. It was the fastest 40 yard dash time for a linebacker at the combine since 2003. Griffin is not just the best story in this years draft, he might be one of the best players in it as well.
This guy is an absolute badass. pic.twitter.com/MpSsJLQOjl
— Gabe Ikard (@GabeIkard) March 3, 2018
The Best Actor Award has to go to someone who performed better than the rest and that was Saquon Barkley. He was dominant at the combine and showed people that he was the real deal. Barkley’s performance at the combine had NFL scouts willing to do anything to draft him.
“I would punch myself in the nuts many, many, many times to be able to draft him,” one NFL Assistant Coach told Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.
Barkley ran the second fastest 40-yard dash for a running back with a 4.40, bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times, and had a 41 inch vertical leap. The performance was so good, it has NFL draft experts suggesting he could be the number one overall pick.
Saquon Barkley clocks a 4.41u 😳
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 2, 2018
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network Barkley is a contender to be selected at No.1 for the Browns. Barkley would be the first Penn State running back selected number one since Ki-Jana Carter in 1995.
Best Supporting Actor:
Every great musician, actor or athlete needs a great hype man. Chucky D had Flavor Flav, Reggie Miller had Spike Lee and Mike Tyson had Don King. This year Josh Allen had his and it was NFL broadcaster Rich Eisen. After every one of Allen’s amazing deep throws down the field, you would hear a subtle “wow” or at the end when he threw it from the 10 to the other 24-yard line, you heard “now he is just showing off”. Allen’s throws down the field were impressive and some were even jaw dropping, but to see the broadcaster for the event in amazement made it feel special. Eisen not being able to control his natural instinct of being in awe of Allen’s throw shows how talented he is and should help him climb up mock drafts.
🚨 Highlights from Josh Allen’s #NFLCombine workout 🚨
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) March 4, 2018
Best Animated Short:
The two biggest negative things being said about the reigning Heisman winner Baker Mayfield is that he is too short and he is too animated. Should those two things be heavily scrutinized for an NFL quarterback anymore? Russell Wilson and Drew Brees are both quarterbacks, six-foot-tall and are two top 10 NFL quarterbacks. Mayfield takes the criticism scouts say about his height head on.
“If you’re worried, I have three years of tape you can watch,” Mayfield said at his press conference at the NFL combine. “I think I have less batted balls at the line of scrimmage than all other guys here.”
People should embrace Mayfield’s confidence and swagger like they have with other quarterbacks in the NFL. For example, Cam Newton was caught this season talking trash to a defender before he threw a touchdown pass and people loved it. Quarterbacks are supposed to play with confidence and nobody plays with more than Mayfield.
— NFL (@NFL) March 3, 2018
He is so confident he said that if there’s anyone who would turn around the Cleveland Browns around, it’d be him. Mayfield later went on to talk about how the Browns have the right pieces and that they just need a quarterback. The confidence Mayfield has in himself reflects onto the field.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) March 3, 2018
One thing is for sure: Baker will always be animated and it doesn’t look like he will be any taller anytime soon.