NFL Draft Notebook: Five storylines to watch as the 2024 NFL Combine extends into the weekend

This weekend the NFL Combine continues and here are five things all NFL Draft fans should be watching

Reese's Senior Bowl
Reese's Senior Bowl / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages
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The NFL Combine is currently taking place and we already saw several defensive linemen and linebackers post impressive numbers on Thursday night. The event continues Friday with defensive backs and tight ends taking the field. We will also see quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and offensive linemen participate in drills over the weekend.

This week’s NFL Draft Notebook highlights five things to watch at the NFL Combine through the weekend, led by how impressive Spencer Rattler looks in position drills. This week’s article also looks at why the Seahawks will be taking a close look at tight ends, a concern with Alabama’s Dallas Turner, and much more.

NFL Combine questions

1. How impressive does South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler look throwing the ball?

While most of the top quarterbacks won’t be throwing at the NFL Combine, one who will is South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. Rattler has a chance to steal the show on Saturday since he throws one of the prettiest balls in the NFL Draft. If he can have an impressive day look for teams to start considering him in the third round.

2. Do the Chicago Bears trade Justin Fields?

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles mentioned on Tuesday, that if the Bears trade Justin Fields they will likely do it before the start of free agency. This could mean if Chicago is impressed with Caleb Williams during his interview they could execute a trade for Fields as early as this weekend.

3. How fast is Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry?

If it were for just on the field play Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry would be the top cornerback in the 2024 NFL, but that is not the case due to questions about his speed. If he runs a good 40-yard dash and has a quick 3-cone drill he will likely remain a first-round pick, however, if he posts just average times in these events he could fall to the second round.

4. Can Penn State's Theo Johnson solidify himself as the number three tight end in the 2024 NFL Draft?

A tight end who seems to be raising up teams' draft boards is Penn State’s Theo Johnson. The main reason for this is his overall athletic ability which allowed him to be named the Senior Bowl National Tight End Practice Player of the Week. He could see his stock improve even more if he posts strong testing numbers at the NFL Combine. If he can be one of the quicker tight ends at the event and look good in position drills look for Johnson to hear his name called late in the second round or early in the third round.

5. Is Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims the most athletic lineman at the NFL Combine?

Amarius Mims will need a big NFL Combine to be the third tackle taken in the NFL Draft. Mims has the physical traits to cash in though coming in 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds and showing terrific mobility on the field. This should translate to him posting good times in drills like the 10-yard splint, 3-cone drill, and 40-yard dash. He also plays with good strength and should be able to post impressive numbers on the bench press despite having long arms.

NFL Draft News and Notes

Seattle looking at tight ends: It would not be a shock if the Seattle Seahawks used one of their two third-round picks on a tight end. The main reason for this is two of the team’s top tight ends Colby Parkinson and Noah Fant are scheduled to be free agents. The team also will likely ask Will Dissly to rework his contract or cut him this offseason. If the team is unable to bring back at least two of these players finding a replacement in the 2024 NFL Draft will be a priority. A player who could be a good fit with either the 78th or 81st pick is Penn State’s Theo Johnson.

Concerns with Dallas Turner: Last week, Pro Football Focus put out their list of prospects to be careful with and one player who made the list is Dallas Turner. The red flag they brought up with Turner is his play against the run. Turner had a worse run defense grade this year and he made his stop more downfield. This is a concern since Turner also was only average in coverage and complained about having to work in coverage after the season. These facts raise the question of will he only be worth a high first-round pick, since he may just be a situational pass rusher in the NFL.

"I don't always rush the quarterback. Why? I don't know. I just do what I'm told."

Dallas Turner about his use at Alabama

Smart signing: An under-the-radar signing that could pay big dividance for the Kansas City Chiefs signing of punter Matt Araiza. Araiza whose nickname coming out of San Diego State was the Punt God has been out of football for the past two seasons after being named in a rape lawsuit, that was later dropped. During his time with the Aztecs, he set an FBS record by averaging 51.4 yards per punt and had six punts go for at least 70 yards. He could be the replacement for Tommy Townsend who is scheduled to be a free agent and only averaged 47.2 yards per punt which ranked 17th in the NFL last year.

High praise for Zach Frazier: West Virginia head coach Neal Brown had some high praise for his former Mountianer center Zach Frazier when he was on the Andy Staples show. He predicted that Frazier will be an All-Pro and will have a ten year career in the NFL. While this is certainly lofty expectations I tend to agree with Brown on Frazier being a long-time starter in the NFL. I currently have him rated as my number two center in the 2024 NFL Draft and have a second-round grade on him. One team that could be a good fit for Frazier is the Detroit Lions.

"He’s gonna set the standard with how he works. He’s extremely intelligent. From a football standpoint, for us, he was a quarterback for our offensive line. He made all our identification, in both the run game and the pass game. He has a deep understanding of making sure we get our five on their five. "

Neal Brown on Frazier

One of the all-time greats: One of the biggest influences on my writing career Peter King announced his retirement on Monday. There is no doubt that King is one of the best sports writers of all time, but he also greatly influenced my writing career. I wrote the article Inside the War Room for years, and I tried to make that the NFL Draft version of his article Monday Moring Quarterback. Even though I no longer write that article this NFL Draft Notebook article is a smaller version. Even though I would be shocked if Peter King read this I still want to say thank you to him for influencing me to go into writing and becoming an English teacher.

Quotes of the Week

“Kiran is all about getting better. He’s always asking, ‘What can I do, coach?’ and trying to improve. We’ve worked really hard to add more tools to his toolbox and fine-tune some technical things.” Yale offensive line coach Stefon Wheeler on Kiran Amegadjie via The Athletic

“I think it really comes down to the team and what the team wants. I feel I can play both. I think a majority of teams will probably be more of a center first than a guard first. But that doesn’t mean I’m not comfortable playing either. For me, it doesn’t really matter what they view me as. I just want an opportunity to go play.” Wisconsin’s Tanor Bortolini on whether teams will view him as a center or guard via The Athletic

“I’m biased, but I don’t see a quarterback that’s better than me. I don’t see a quarterback that went through as much adversity as me, that had four [offensive coordinators] in four years. Coming from an HBCU, coming to a Power Five [program], having real pressure on me. A lot of people don’t understand, that’s a lot more adversity than you think just even being the son of Deion Sanders. You put any of those guys in [my] situation, they’re not doing that. I respect their game, I respect what they’re doing because to be able to be a first-round draft pick, to be able to have success on the field, it takes a lot of hard work and determination and everything. But the most pressure and the safest bet is me.” Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders on why he would have been the top quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft via Sports Illustrated

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