The 2020 NFL scouting combine is in the books and while there are mixed opinions on the new format, there’s a clear consensus on who thrived and who faltered during the on-field on-field workouts.
Going day-by-day, here are our winners and losers from this year’s underwear olympics.
Thursday (quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends)
Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Notre Dame: After measuring in at 6’4” and nearly 240 pounds, many thought Claypool should start transitioning to tight end. His 4.42 40-yard dash, 40.5” vertical and 126” broad jumps say otherwise. Claypool worked himself into the top-50 conversation.
Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Oklahoma: With Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa working out, Hurts had his chance to challenge the likes of Justin Herbert and Jacob Eason and took advantage. He ran the second-fastest 40 time for quarterbacks (4.59) and looked great in the throwing drills.
Justin Jefferson, wide receiver, LSU: Jefferson was already projected as a first-rounder, and his 40 time of 4.43 should keep him right there. Jefferson’s explosion was also a slight surprise with his vertical (37.5”) and broad jump (126”) both ranking in the top half of the receivers group.
Cole Kmet, tight end, Notre Dame: How slow is this tight end class? Kmet’s 40 time of 4.70 was the fourth-fastest of the group, and his vertical jump of 37” (best among tight ends) and broad jump of 123” shouldn’t go unmentioned either. Kmet, who measured in at 6’6” and 262 pounds, was a lot of analyst’s top tight end coming into the combine and his workout should keep him in that conversation.
Denzel Mims, wide receiver, Baylor: Claypool may still not go in the first round, but Mims might. At 6’3” and 207 pounds, Mims blazed one of the fastest 40 times (4.38) had vertical and broad jumps of 38.5” and 131”, respectively, and had the fastest 3-cone by any player at the combine with a time of 6.66 (devil emoji). Mims already showed out at the Senior Bowl, and this combine performance is the bow that wraps what could be a first-round grade.
Stephen Sullivan, tight end, LSU: Outside of Kmet and maybe a couple others, there shouldn’t be too many tight ends taken early in this year’s draft. Sullivan’s impressive combine performance at 6’5” and 248 pounds now gives him an edge to be taken earlier than most would have thought going into last week. He ran a 4.66 40-yard dash and was right behind Kmet in the vertical (36.5”) and matched his 123” broad jump. He’s one of the few athletic threats in this crop of tight ends.
Honorable mentions: Justin Herbert (quarterback, Oregon), Albert Okwuegbunam (tight end, Missouri), Donovan Peoples-Jones (wide receiver, Michigan)
Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Clemson: Higgins cited rest as the reason for him sitting out for the drills and athletic testing, but that doesn’t do him any favors in one of the best wide receiver classes in recent memory. He’ll test at Clemson’s pro day (March 12th) but pro day numbers aren’t official like they are at the combine. Higgins’ athleticism will remain a question mark in his evaluation.
Jared Pinkney, tight end, Vanderbilt: To Higgins’ point, not testing can be better than testing poorly. Pinkney ran the slowest 40 time for tight ends (4.96) and opted to not test in any other drills. Coming off a disappointing 2019 season, Pinkney essentially erased his chances of being a top-100 pick.
Friday (running backs, offensive linemen, special teams)
Mekhi Becton, offensive tackle, Louisville: Becton only did one drill, and that was all anyone needed to see. When you run a 5.10 40 at 364 pounds, you’ve done enough. Becton’s freakish athleticism on tape translated at the combine and he’ll likely be a top-16 pick because of it.
Ezra Cleveland, offensive tackle, Boise State: A once intriguing day three prospect who has now elevated his stock into the top-75, Cleveland put up impressive numbers at each drill. He ran the third-fastest 40 time (4.93) and the best 3-cone and short shuttle times (7.26 and 4.46, respectively). Whether teams want him at tackle or guard, he helped himself immensely with his testing.
AJ Dillon, running back, Boston College: Holy. Cow. At 6’0” and 247 pounds, Dillon ran a 4.53 40 and jumped 41” and 131” on the vertical and broad jumps, both jumps were the best for running backs. His 7.19 3-cone was one of the slowest for backs who participated in that drill, but at his size, it’s still a decent time. His speed and explosion, however, are insane and he definitely upped his draft stock.
Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin: Who would’ve thought a former track star would run fast in a sprinting drill? Taylor’s 4.39 40 time was tops for running backs in Indianapolis and he nailed the explosion and flexibility testing as well. The 226-pound Taylor has an argument for being RB1.
Tristan Wirfs, offensive tackle, Iowa: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the offensive lineman of the future. Everyone knew Wirfs was going to test well at the combine, but he put on absolute show. At 6’5” and 320 pounds, he ran a 4.85 40 and jumped 36.5” and 121” on the vertical and broad jumps. Needless to say, they were the best numbers from an O-lineman that tested in those drills, and those jumps actually put him in the 99th percentile for all offensive linemen. At either tackle or guard, Wirfs is going to bring the juice to the NFL.
Honorable mentions: Darrynton Evans (running back, Appalachian State), Matt Peart (offensive tackle, UConn).
Trey Adams, offensive tackle, Washington: Injuries suck, and they are why Adams could slide in the draft. It’s possible they are why Adams (6’8”, 318) tested so poorly at the combine as well. He ran the slowest 40 time (5.60) and ended up at the bottom in the vertical (24.5”) and broad jump (92”) as well. He’ll be lucky to be drafted in the top-150 now.
Calvin Throckmorton, offensive tackle, Oregon: While he offers experience at multiple spots along the offensive line, Throckmorton doesn’t have much athleticism to his game. He ran the second-slowest 40 (5.57) and ended up with small jumps and slow times in the flexibility testing. Late day three is where former Duck should go.
Saturday (defensive linemen, linebackers)
Khalil Davis, interior defender, Nebraska: A fast defensive linemen group saw Davis as the first to crack 4.8 running the 40, but Davis did it at 6’1” and 308 pounds. Davis’ 4.75 40 time was the only data point he provided aside from his 32 reps on the bench press, but he made a statement for sure.
Neville Gallimore, interior defender, Oklahoma: Murmurs spoke of a possible 4.6 time for the 304-pound Gallimore, but his official time 4.79 will certainly suffice for NFL teams.
Willie Gay Jr., linebacker, Mississippi State: With his off-field concerns, Gay needed an incredible combine to put him in the day two conversation, and he had just that. Coming in at 6’1” and 243 pounds, Gay darted a 4.46 40, and had the best broad jump for all linebackers (136”). He’s an asset in space, and this week proved it.
Malik Harrison, linebacker, Ohio State: Athleticism was actually the biggest concern for Harrison and he did his best to erase those concerns. His 4.66 40 at 6’3” and 247 pounds was solid, but he really impressed with his 6.83 3-cone time, which was the best time for all linebackers. Harrison shouldn’t escape the third round at this point.
Kenneth Murray, linebacker, Oklahoma: From purely a production and athleticism standpoint, Murray is the closest linebacker to Isaiah Simmons in this class (even if the gap is still relatively large). Murray suffered a minor hamstring injury after blazing a 4.52 40 time at 6’2” and 241 pounds, and also jumped 38” and 129” in the vertical and broad jumps, respectively.
Isaiah Simmons, linebacker, Clemson: What else is there to say besides he’s probably an extraterrestrial? 6’4” and 238 pounds. Combine-best 4.39 40 for linebackers. 39” vertical. 132” broad jump. Top-10 pick. Maybe top-five.
Honorable mentions: Ross Blacklock (interior defender, TCU), Patrick Queen (linebacker, LSU), Jabari Zuniga (edge defender, Florida)
Derrick Brown, interior defender, Auburn: Did Brown ruin his chances of being a top-10 pick? Probably not, but any chances of him going top-five have probably been evaporated. His 40 time (5.16) and 3-cone (8.22) are slightly concerning when thinking how his game will translate at a high-level in the NFL.
A.J. Epenesa, edge defender, Iowa: There just isn’t many—if any at all—edge rushers who’ve had high-quality NFL careers who can’t crack the five second mark in the 40-yard dash. Epenesa’s game isn’t built on speed, but his 5.04 40 is a red flag nonetheless. At 6’5” and 275 pounds, his jumps (32.5” vertical, 117” broad) were fine, but any team taking him early will be taking an analytical risk. A move inside full-time may be in his immediate future.
Sunday (defensive backs)
Jeremy Chinn, safety, Southern Illinois: Every team needs an athlete like Chinn. At 6’3” and 221 pounds, he ran a 4.45 40 and jumped 41” and 138” in the vertical and broad jump, respectively. The broad jump was a combine-best for defensive backs. That freakish athleticism at that size doesn’t last long in the draft, small school-status be damned.
Kyle Dugger, safety, Lenoir-Rhyne: That last point for Chinn applies just as much for Dugger. The D-II stud posted a 4.49 40, a 42” vertical (the best vertical of any defensive back). He measured in with a great build of 6’1” and 217 pounds as well.
CJ Henderson, cornerback, Florida: Jeff Okudah is CB1, but Henderson is probably right behind him. At 6’1” and 204 pounds, Henderson’s 4.39 40 time, vertical jump of 37.5” and broad jump of 127” solidifies his top-20 draft projection.
Tanner Muse, safety, Clemson: At 6’2” and 227 pounds, Muse scorched a 4.41 40 time along with vertical and broad jumps of 34.5” and 124”, respectively. For a day three prospect, Muse did all he could to boost his draft stock.
A.J. Terrell, cornerback, Clemson: Coming into last week, Terrell was a safe bet to be taken sometime on day two. After running a 4.42 40 and jumping 34.5” and 129” in the vertical and broad jumps at 6’1” and 195 pounds, he might just go in the first round.
Antoine Winfield Jr., safety, Minnesota: Like father, like son. Winfield’s 4.45 40 time at 5’9” and 203 pounds should help him get drafted somewhere soon after the first round. His vertical jump of 36” and broad jump of 124” aren’t too shabby either.
Honorable mentions: Jeff Okudah (cornerback, Ohio State), K’Von Wallace (safety, Clemson)
Cameron Dantzler, cornerback, Mississippi State: Many expected Dantzler to weigh-in on the slim side (6’2” and 188 pounds), so his 4.64 40 time is worrisome. You want to trust the tape with the former SEC standout, but it’s very tough for corners to last long with that level of speed.
Jeff Gladney, cornerback, TCU: After posting a disappointing 40 time of 4.48 and 3-cone of 7.26, it was reported that Gladney will undergo surgery to repair his meniscus that he originally tore last Summer. Gladney figures to have tested much better when fully healthy, but in a deep cornerback class, he certainly didn’t boost his stock.