The NFL Combine is a great place for NFL Prospects to showcase their talents and prove to the coaches and general managers their physical abilities on the football field. Some players prosper, while others fall flat on their face. Here are some of the players that were 2020 NFL Combine winners and losers.
Justin Herbert, Oregon
With Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow not participating in the combine, Herbert was my highest ranked quarterback that took the field in Indy. He was able to show off his elite arm and ran a 4.68 40-yard dash. Herbert had the best workout of all the quarterbacks, making all the throws. The MVP of the Senior Bowl has been impressing evaluators since the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
Steven Montez, Colorado
Montez displayed great arm strength and better accuracy during the on-field drills. Much of the Colorado signal caller’s problems came from decision making and his lack of anticipation on throws. At the combine, he doesn’t have to worry about those things hurting his stock. He also displayed his speed by running a 4.68 40-yard dash.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Jalen Hurts had a strong showing this week, impressing in the physical drills and with his throws. He is a high-character guy with strong leadership skills who received mixed reactions during interviews. He was able to cut loose when throwing and showed that he does possess an arm that is capable of making throws at the next level.
Jake Fromm, Georgia
Jake Fromm had the misfortune of throwing after Jacob Eason, due to the players throwing in alphabetical order. Eason may have the strongest arm of this quarterback crop and displayed those moments before every Fromm throw. He looked like he was trying to throw a fastball on every attempt, causing his accuracy to take a hit. It’s hard for the Georgia quarterback to display his intangibles in an event like this.
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
Before the combine, there were rumors circulating that Claypool may be converted to a tight end. He weighed in at 238 pounds while measuring at 6’4. Claypool posted a 4.42 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical, and a broad jump of 126 inches. Claypool joins Calvin Johnson as the only receivers to ever post a sub-4.5 40, stand at 6’4 or taller, and weigh at least 235 pounds. Shocking numbers for the physical specimen out of Notre Dame.
Denzel Mims, Baylor
The Baylor product was clocked in at 4.38 (3rd best) on his 40-yard run while jumping a 38.5-inch vertical, a broad jump of 131 inches (4th best), and a three-cone time of 6.66, which was the best among all participants at the combine, regardless of position. A strong Senior Bowl week and combine will have Mims on the rise.
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Many people doubted CeeDee Lamb’s straight-line speed. That talk ended Thursday when Lamb ran a 4.50 in the 40. He was able to showcase his hands in the drills, capping it off with a nice athletic grab in the red-zone drill.
Lamb is a top-two receiver in this draft class and showed enough to challenge Jeudy to become the first receiver off the board in April.
Justin Jefferson, LSU
Like Lamb, Justin Jefferson had evaluators questioning his speed. Jefferson had a very productive season in 2019, but there were still critics. Jefferson posted a 4.43 40-yard dash on Thursday night, which was arguably the most impressive time of the night since he was considered to lack elite speed.
Tee Higgins, Clemson
The 2020 NFL Draft class had a lot of talent, and the wide receiver position may be the best of the bunch. The receiver group did not disappoint this week. With that being said, Tee Higgins did not participate in any of the drills. His decision to rest could hurt his case due to his competitors having great workouts. Not competing also raised more questions pertaining to his speed.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
One of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s class, Laviska Shenault is a bit polarizing for some. The Colorado star was projected to run in the low 4.4’s and turned in a time of 4.58. Shenault appeared hindered due to injuries and will be having core muscle surgery, leaving many to question his durability once again.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
Albert Okwuegbunam ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, making him the fastest tight end by a large margin. The Missouri tight end had a down year in 2019 after Drew Lock left for the NFL, but he showed his potential in the workouts on Thursday.
Adam Trautman, Dayton
Adam Trautman wasn’t on most people’s radar until the Senior Bowl. Regarded as the best tight end in the FCS division, maybe even in all of college football, Trautman has seen his stock soar in the last several weeks. He didn’t post the greatest 40 time, however, he did have a great performance in the three-cone drill, posting a time of 6.78. That time was faster than all but two players in the combine, regardless of position.
Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
Pinkney ran the slowest 40-yard dash among tight ends (4.96) and it would have been the worst time for every position group except offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and a couple of the quarterbacks. He had a down-year in 2019 and his lack of athleticism didn’t do him any favors.
Mitchell Wilcox, South Florida
Thursday couldn’t have been much worse for the tight end out of South Florida. Wilcox ran a 4.88 40-yard dash (3rd worst among TE’s), posted a 31-inch vertical (2nd worst), a 112-inch broad jump (3rd worst), and a 7.37 time in the three-cone (4th worst). To make matters worse, he looked the wrong way in the gauntlet drill, causing him to take a bullet pass in the face. The incident resulted in a popped blood vessel in his eye. That certainly didn’t help him going forward, as he dropped nearly half of his passes in the remaining drills. Wilcox will need a strong showing at his pro day to change scouts’ minds.
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa
Nobody had a better showing on Friday than Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs posted a 4.85 40, a 36.5-inch vertical, and a broad jump of 121 inches, all best among offensive lineman at the combine. His vertical set a combine record for offensive lineman and his broad jump tied a combine record. He measured well, leaving some of his critics to believe that he may not have to switch to guard in the NFL to maximize his potential.
Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
The Boise State product showed his unique athleticism for his position. Cleveland ran a 4.94 40 (3rd best among OL) while running a 1.74 10-yard split. Cleveland also bench pressed 225 pounds a total of 30 times (5th best). He posted a time of 7.26 in the three-cone drill and 4.46 in the 20-yard shuttle, both being the fastest among all offensive lineman. During drills, Cleveland displayed good footwork to match his great testing numbers.
Trey Adams, Washington
Trey Adams was plagued with injuries during his tenure at Washington. He tore an ACL in 2017 and had surgery to repair a bulging disk in his back in 2018. Those injuries appear to have taken a toll on Adams, as he finished last in all three drills he partook in. He posted a 5.60 time in the 40-yard dash with a vertical of 24.5 inches and a broad jump of 92 inches.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
The Wisconsin star had the best day for any running back. Taylor posted a 4.39 40-yard dash which was the fastest among all running backs. One of the knocks on Taylor has been his lack of receiving skills. On Friday, he showed that he had soft hands and could catch the ball out of the backfield. Taylor may have seen his stock rise enough to get some consideration as a late first-round pick.
A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Dillon measured in at 6’0, 247 pounds and ran a 4.53 40. “The Sauce” benched 225 pounds 23 times (5th best among RB), had a 41-inch vertical (best among RB), and a 131-inch broad jump (best among RB). Those numbers were excellent for Dillon and he caught the ball well out of the backfield, showing that he can be more than just a bruiser.
Cam Akers, Florida State
Akers ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds (5th best among RB) and had the best on-field workout of all running backs. The Florida State standout mastered the new Duce Staley drill, showing phenomenal footwork. Akers also showcased his ability to receive, making a one-handed catch and scooping up a low pass.
Benny LeMay, Charlotte
LeMay came into the combine with a reputation for being a bruising, downhill running back. That reputation won’t leave him anytime soon as he tested poorly in all areas. Benny LeMay ran a 4.75 40-yard dash, jumped a vertical of 28.5 inches, and broad jumped 112 inches, all ranking him dead last at his position.
Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Madubuike was clocked at 4.83 in the 40, benched 31 reps of 225, and showed his excellent motor in the on-field drills. He was surprisingly quick for a guy of his stature and teams took notice.
Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
Gallimore posted a 4.79 time in the 40 and showed during the drills that he had quick feet. He went through all of the drills with unmatched intensity, displaying his power, punch, and effort levels.
Jabari Zuniga, Florida
Zuniga posted a 1.61 10-yard split and ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash among all defensive lineman (4.64). He also put up 29 bench press reps (5th best), a 33-inch vertical, and a 127-inch broad jump (best among DL). Zuniga didn’t have the production in 2019 but he put his athleticism on full display in Indy.
Alex Highsmith, Charlotte
The All-American from UNC Charlotte posted a 1.68 10-yard split with a 4.70 40 time (4th best among DL). He jumped 125 inches in the broad jump (2nd best), ran a 7.32 in the three-cone drill (4th best), and had a 4.31 20-yard shuttle (best among DL). Then he went on to dominate the pass rush drills.
A.J. Epenesa- Iowa
Epenesa is a first-round talent but his stock may have taken a slight dip at the combine. He ran a 5.04 40-yard dash with a 1.78 10-yard split. Espenesa is known more as a power rusher but only put up 225 pounds 17 times, the worst number among all defensive lineman.
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
Simmons is an absolute freak of nature and he proved it by running a 4.39 40-yard dash, which was the seventh-fastest time at the combine among all players. He also recorded a 39-inch vertical (3rd best among LB) and a 132-inch broad jump (2nd best among LB). Simmons is a top-10 player on most draft boards and this may have vaulted him into top-5 consideration for nearly every talent evaluator.
Willie Gay Jr., Mississippi State
Gay also had a great day on Saturday, running a 4.46 40 (2nd best among LB), benching 21 reps (5th most), 39.5-inch vertical (2nd best), and 136 inches in the broad jump (best among LB, 4th among all players). These numbers rival athletes across the board, no matter the position.
Michael Divinity Jr., LSU
Divinity may be better served as a pass rusher rather than a traditional off-ball linebacker. His numbers certainly don’t disagree. Divinity ran a 4.85 40, jumped a 31-inch vertical, and had a 115-inch broad jump, which was all the fourth-worst among his position group. It didn’t make matters any better when he only lifted 14 reps of 225 (2nd fewest among LB).
C.J. Henderson, Florida
Henderson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash (2nd best among CB) and also put up 20 reps in the bench press (5th most among CB). The Florida star was very impressive in all the drills as well, catching everything that came his way.
Kyle Dugger, Lenoir Rhyne
Dugger exploded onto the radar during Senior Bowl week with a great showing in Mobile. I’ve been watching him for some time now and I love what he brings to the table as a big safety. He put up elite numbers this weekend, jumping 42 inches on his vertical (best among DB, 2nd among all players), broad jumping 134 inches (3rd best among DB, 6th best among all players). It was also reported that Dugger impressed during the interview process.
Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
As great of a showing that Dugger had, Jeremy Chinn was even better. The FCS product ran a 4.45 40 (3rd best among safeties), put up 20 reps in the bench press, jumped 41 inches in the vertical (2nd among DB, 6th among all players), and broad jumped 138 inches (most among DB, 2nd across all position groups). He did all that while measuring in at 6’3 and 221 pounds.
Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State
Dantzler is one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft class. He measured in at 6’2 but ended up having a negative wingspan (wingspan less than his height) at 72 3/8 inches. Dantzler ran a 4.64 40 which was the second-worst among corners. He also posted a below-average vertical of 34.5 inches. His drills were good but his 40-time may worry some scouts.
Stanford Samuels III, Florida State
Samuels ran a 4.65 40 which was the slowest among all cornerbacks. That number was shocking since he weighed in light at 187 pounds. Everyone expected the former Florida State star to display more athleticism. He didn’t stand out in the on-field workouts so this may cause Samuels stock to fall a bit.
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