2020 NFL Draft: Scouting Combine Risers and Fallers
For the first time in its history, the NFL Scouting Combine moved their on-field workouts to primetime.
Most workouts confirm what we already know about these players. As the saying goes, fast guys will run fast and slow guys will run slow. In some cases, however, there is a disconnect between what a prospect does in Indianapolis and what we've seen on film.
Here are some of the players who either exceeded or disappointed compared to their pre-combine expectations.
Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Tipping the scales at 238 pounds at the Scouting Combine, Claypool added nearly 10 pounds since the Senior Bowl (229 pounds) in January. At least one team requested the big-bodied Notre Dame receiver to also work out at tight end. While no receiver in Indy weighed more than Claypool, he ran a blazing 4.42 official 40-yard dash (seventh-best among his position group) with a 40.5" vertical jump (fourth-best) and 19 bench press reps (fifth-best). In terms of height/weight/speed, Claypool joins Calvin Johnson as one of two receivers with a frame of at least 6'4" and 235 pounds and to run a sub-4.45, 40 at the combine since 2003.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
Playing along side his Biletnikoff-winning teammate and true sophomore Ja'Marr Chase, Jefferson was highly productive in his own right with a stat line of 111/1,540/18 for the national champion Tigers. If there was a concern with Jefferson, it was his long speed, but the 20-year-old wideout ran a 4.43, 40 on Thursday night. In addition to showing off better-than-expected results in the 40-yard dash, Jefferson performed as well as any receiver in the on-field drills.
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
Continuing to build momentum through the pre-draft process after a strong week at the Senior Bowl, Mims can make a case for putting together the best testing profile of any receiver in Indy. At 6'3" and 207 pounds, Mims ran a sub-4.4, 40 (4.38), posted explosive jumps (38.5" vertical and 10'11" broad) while running a position-best time (6.66) in the three-cone drill.
Michael Pittman, WR, USC
An excellent route runner, especially at his size (6'4", 223 pounds), Pittman showed well in the agility drills with a 6.96 three-cone and 4.14 20-yard shuttle. Both of those times ranked among the four best wideouts in Indy. Pittman also ran a 4.52, 40.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
A great-character prospect with a high football IQ, Hurts has the leadership traits that teams value. The dual-threat quarterback ran a position-best 4.54, 40 at the combine. While there are limitations to evaluating a passing performance in shorts, Hurts held his own with his on-field drills, throwing with good footwork and zip.
Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
In a position group without a consensus top prospect and likely no first-rounders, Okwuegbunam helped himself as much as any tight end. Scoring 11 touchdowns as a freshman in 2017, he had his worst season statistically in 2019. Even though he's more of a straight-line player, Okwuegbunam showed off elite straight-line speed by running a 4.49, 40, which was the fourth-fastest by a tight end since 2003.
Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
On the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of straight-line speed from Okwuegbunam, Trautman only ran a 4.80, 40, but he excels as a route-runner, which was showcased by his agility testing in Indy. Not only did Trautman post a position-best 6.78 time in the 3-cone drill, that number would have trailed only Denzel Mims among wide receivers.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Rushing for more than 6,000 yards in just three seasons in Madison, Taylor has a lot of tread on his tires in terms of workload, but he showed off his sprinter speed on the Indy track. At 226 pounds, Taylor ran a blazing 4.39, 40 and led the position group. He also posted 17 bench press reps, jumped 36" in the vertical and 10'3" in the broad jump and was a top performer in the agility drills with a 7.01 three-cone and 4.24 short shuttle to put together a strong all-around performance.
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
As a recruit, Akers was the top-ranked running back prospect in the country. Despite running behind a bad offensive line, he became just the third Seminole to rush for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. At 217 pounds, Akers ran a 4.47, 40 and put up 20 reps on the bench press.
Tristan Wirfs, OL, Iowa
We all knew that Wirfs was an athletic freak, but Wirfs he was even more freakish than we expected. Leading all offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (4.85), vertical jump (36.5") and broad jump (10'1"), Wirfs also either set or tied the record for the jumps. In addition to elite testing numbers, Wirfs looked smooth and fluid in the on-field drills.
Mekhi Becton, OL, Louisville
Calling Becton a big man is an understatement. The 20-year-old junior weighed in at 364 pounds at 6'7" with vines for arms (35 5/8"). While Becton didn't do much at the combine after tweaking his hamstring, what he did was impressive. Becton ran a 5.10, 40 with a 1.77 10-yard split.
Ezra Cleveland, OL, Boise State
If it weren't for what Wirfs and Becton did, Cleveland would have generated more buzz. Cleveland showed elite agility with position-best times in the three-cone (7.26) and 20-yard shuttle (4.46) and was one of three offensive linemen to run a sub-5.0, 40 (4.93).
Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
What can't Simmons do? The versatile do-it-all defensive player for Clemson ran a 4.39, 40, which is "not normal," as NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said on-air. Simmons also posted a 39" vertical jump and 11' broad jump. Keep in mind, that he did all of this at 6'4" and 238 pounds.
Willie Gay Jr., LB, Mississippi State
While Simmons (4.39) ran the fastest 40 among linebackers, Gay was second (4.46) at 6'3" and 241 pounds. He also finished second in the vertical (39.5") and no linebacker had a longer broad jump (11'4") than Gay.
Khalil Davis, DL, Nebraska
Twin brothers Khalil and Carlos Davis both had outstanding combine performances and both deserve to be listed here. Not only did Khalil lead Nebraska in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (11) in 2019, but he edged his twin in terms of his combine performance. At 308 pounds, Khalil ran a 4.75, 40. Among defensive linemen including edge defenders, that time ranked sixth and the top five all weighed under 265 pounds. In addition, he threw up 32 reps on the bench press, which was second-most among defensive linemen.
Alton Robinson, DL, Syracuse
One of the edge rushers weighing less than 265 pounds and running a faster 40-yard dash than Davis was Robinson (4.69). Not just running a fast 40, Robinson had a strong combine performance all around. He also finished top five among defensive linemen in the vertical jump (35.5"), three-cone drill (7.32) and 20-yard shuttle (4.32).
Kristian Fulton, DB, LSU
There is a lot to like about Fulton's game, but one of the concerns that some had was his long speed. Fulton posted a good time for himself on Sunday with a 4.46 official 40-yard dash.
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
Winfield Jr. may not be one of the biggest safeties (5'9" with 30 1/8" arms), but he was one of the most productive (88 tackles, seven interceptions and three sacks) and headiest players. One of the questions that Winfield helped to answer on Sunday was about his long speed as he posted a 4.45 official 40-yard dash. With two medical redshirt seasons (2017 and '18), that part of his combine evaluation will carry a lot of weight as well.
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dugger posted explosive jumps with a 42" vertical (best among DBs) and 11'2" broad jump (third-best). Even if he expected to run faster, his 4.49, 40 is really good for a 217-pound safety that some teams may view as a linebacker.
Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Like Dugger, Chinn posted explosive jumps. Chinn led all defensive backs in the broad jump (11'5") and was second only to Dugger in the vertical jump (41"). The 221-pounder also ran a 4.45, 40, which was third-best among safeties that ran on Sunday.
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Explosive in the jumps (42" vertical and 11'6" broad jump), Reagor shows blazing speed on tape. Setting expectations of "high 4.2s, low 4.3s," however, Reagor ran a slower-than-he-expected 4.47, 40 on Thursday. Granted, that is still fast enough, but he failed to capitalize on an opportunity to generate buzz with a faster time. In addition, he really struggled with the agility drills as his 7.31 time in the three-cone drill was the third-lowest among wideouts and nine of 13 tight ends performed better at the combine.
Zack Moss, RB, Utah
A highly-productive, tackle-breaking machine at Utah, Moss wasn't necessarily expected to post great testing numbers in Indy. Moss ran a 4.65, 40 and 4.37 20-yard shuttle, both of which ranked in the bottom four among running backs that participated.
Jared Pinkney, TE, Vanderbilt
After a strong junior season (50/774/7), things have gone downhill for Pinkney. His senior season was statistically his worst and his pre-draft process hasn't gone well either. His 40-yard dash (4.96) was the worst among tight ends that ran in Indy. And apparently his interview with the TE-needy Patriots didn't go very well. He reportedly was told that he has a "loser's mentality."
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Adams has endured numerous injuries throughout his career and the medical component of the Combine is clearly a critical component of his evaluation. That said, his testing numbers were incredibly underwhelming. Adams finished last among offensive linemen in the 40 (5.60), vertical jump (24.5") and broad jump (7'8").
Michael Divinity, LB, LSU
Among linebackers that ran at the combine, Divinity's time in the 40-yard dash (4.85) was the fourth-worst. In addition, his vertical jump (31") was also the fourth-worst at the position.
A.J. Epenesa, DL, Iowa
Not a speed rusher, Epenesa is a player that wins with power, hands, technique and length. That said, his testing numbers disappointed as among the worst among edge players with a 5.04, 40.