The Biggest Winners and Losers from the 2020 NFL Combine

The 2020 NFL Combine occurred last week in Indianapolis, there, 337 former college athletes were put under a microscope by each NFL team. Their hands, arms, wingspan, and height were measured, along with being weighed. Each NFL team interviewed 45 players of their choosing for 18 minutes. Players were also poked and prodded by team doctors to ensure that their health is in order.

For many of these players, this is their greatest opportunity to put their athleticism on display for all to see. They do so through the many events that occur at the combine including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, and 3-cone drill. Sadly though, for some, they will struggle in one or more of these competitions and instead of displaying their athleticism, it will lead to questions as to whether those players are athletic enough to make it in the greatest professional sports league of the world.

Here is a list of the best results from each of the previously listed drills. Henry Ruggs led the speedsters with a blazing 4.27 second 40-yard dash. Donovan Peoples-Jones demonstrating his leaping ability. He led both the vertical jump, with an outstanding 44.5-inch leap, and the broad jump, with another outstanding 139-inch leap. Netane Muti led the way in bench press with an impressive 44 reps of 225 lbs. Denzel Mims had the most outstanding 3-cone time with 6.66 seconds.

Here are the biggest winners and losers by position groups, from the NFL Combine this year:

Quarterbacks

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Justin Herbert continued to show off his big arm at the NFL combine, just like he did at the Senior Bowl practices. He was also able to show his athleticism, running a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, which was 3rd best among all quarterbacks. He also ran the fastest 3-cone drill among all quarterbacks with 7.06 seconds. Herbert had the 2nd highest Vertical Jump (35.5 inches), and 3rd longest broad jump (123 inches) among the quarterbacks. He continues to demonstrate why he will eventually be a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft, possibly even a top-5 pick.

Cole McDonald also had a great performance at the combine, he had the fastest 40 among QBs with a 4.58. He also had the best vertical jump at 36 inches. He had the 2nd 3-cone drill among QBs with a 7.13 and the 4th best broad jump at 121 inches.

Of all the quarterbacks, the one who’s limitations were most visible had to be Jake Fromm. He ran a 5.01 40-yard dash and had 8.875-inch hands. Considering most scouts see 9” hands as the minimum benchmark for an NFL QBs hand size, it might hurt Fromm’s draft stock. We already know Fromm doesn’t have a strong arm and the 5 second 40 simply adds to how limited Fromm is in his abilities.

The one other quarterback who might not have helped himself was Jacob Eason. He had the 2nd slowest 3-cone result among the QBs, along with the worst vertical, and 3rd worst broad jump. He has a cannon for an arm, and his height (being 6’5 7/8″) is always a plus, but Eason’s poor numbers demonstrate a lack of athleticism that others like Herbert and Love do possess. In today’s NFL where quarterbacks need to be more mobile than ever, these results just give one more reason for Love to be higher on draft boards than Eason.

Running Backs

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jonathan Taylor and A.J. Dillon had outstanding performances in the RBs group. Taylor had the fastest 40 among all RBs with a 4.39. meanwhile Dillon, ran a 4.53 which is quite an exceptional time for someone who weighed in at 247 lbs. Dillon was also the best leaper among all the RBs with a 41-inch vertical and 131-inch broad jump.

Taylor is already considered a consensus top 3 RB in this draft class and with his 40 time I wouldn’t be surprised if more people start naming him as the #1 RB in the 2020 class. He has the best vision among all the RBs in this draft class. The only thing that holds him back from being the first running back taken in this upcoming draft is his 18 fumbles (15 lost) over his 3-year span with Wisconsin. That is a huge concern for NFL teams. If he can clean up the fumbling issues, the gap between him and the rest of the running backs in this class is huge. I heard talk of teams wanting to move A.J. Dillon to FB once he’s in the NFL. This needs to end now. I’m sick of it. Watch his tape, he’s a unique talent. He is a smooth runner who glides down the field. He is far too athletic a talent to waste at fullback.

The only thing that stood out as disappointing in this RB group was that D’Andre Swift didn’t have a faster 40-yard dash time, and that KeShawn Vaughn didn’t impress me much in the drills he participated in.

Tight Ends

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Cole Kmet had a great day at the NFL combine. His 4.70 40 time was 4th best among TEs. His 37-inch vertical was the best among all tight ends and his 123-inch broad jump was 2nd best among TEs. the 3-cone time was unimpressive at 7.44 but his speed and leaping ability should overcome that one disappointment.

I’m pretty sure Albert Okwuegbunam shocked everyone, or at least almost everyone at the combine when he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash. At 255 lbs Albert O ran a 40 time faster than some notable names including Brandon Aiyuk, CeeDee Lamb, Jaylon Johnson, Patrick Queen, Kenneth Murray, and Laviska Shenault.

 On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jared Pinkney ran a 4.96 40 time, the slowest among TEs who ran. This surprised me, watching his tape I thought he would at least run a 4.8 with the chance of running in the mid 4.7 range. Pinkney will get a chance to improve that time on Vanderbilt’s Pro Day on March 16th. Hopefully, he will take full advantage of that opportunity and show scouts he can run faster than a 4.96.

one last impressive time to note was the 6.78 3-cone time ran by Adam Trautman. That was the 3rd best time among ALL athletes at the combine.

Wide receivers

Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports

Chase Claypool became the first player since Calvin “Megatron” Johnson to measure in at 6’4” or taller and 235 lbs or more and run a sub 4.45 40-yard dash. Claypool is 6’4”, 238 lbs and ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, which was 7th best among all WRs. Claypool was also one of only 6 WRs in this class to have an 80 inch or longer wingspan and had the 7th largest hand size among WRs. Claypool also had the 5th most bench reps among WRs with 19. Lastly, Claypool also had the 4th best vertical among all WRs with a 40.5 inch jump. Teams asked Claypool if he would play TE in the NFL days before he posted all these results. At this point, NFL teams shouldn’t care where they put Claypool on the field, because as long as he’s on the field, he’s going to be useful. Put him outside, in the slot, or even with his hand in the ground as in-line TE. No matter what, he’s going to help your team in the passing game.

Denzel Mims also had a great performance at the combine. He had the fastest 3-cone time among ALL athletes who performed in it, with a 6.66. he also ran the 3rd fastest 40-yard dash among WRs with a 4.38. his stock definitely went up last week, and probably should have been higher on everyone’s board long before the combine started.

Donovan Peoples-Jones jumped out of the building last Thursday in Indianapolis. His 44.5 inch vertical and 139-inch broad jump was the best among all athletes at the combine. He also had a 4.48 40-yard dash time. Those three numbers should help move him up draft boards and result in him being a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Devin Duvernay and Justin Jefferson showed off their speed posting a 4.39 (Duvernay) and 4.43 (Jefferson) in the 40-yard dash.

The biggest letdowns among the WRs was probably how slow Quintez Cephus (4.73), Jauan Jennings (4.72), K.J. Hill (4.60), and Laviska Shenault Jr. (4.58) ran in the 40-yard dash.

Jalen Reagor ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, which is respectable, but many thought he would run much faster, and that combined with the fact that he posted a 7.31 in the 3-cone drill probably disappointed some scouts. Reagor was still impressive in every other facet of the combine, posting 17 bench reps, a 42-inch vertical, and a 138-inch broad jump. It will be interesting to see if Reagor runs faster on his pro day, but in all I don’t think his stock moved up or down much, if at all.

Offensive Line

Brian Spurlock/USA Today Sports

Tristan Wirfs continued to provide an argument that he is the best offensive tackle in this draft class at the combine. He posted the fastest 40 time among O-Lineman with a 4.85, along with the best vertical (36.5 inches) and broad jump (121 inches) among the Offensive Line. He also had the 5th best 3-cone time for all offensive lineman.

Ezra Cleveland also had a nice combine performance. He had the best three-cone drill performance among all offensive lineman with a 7.26 (which was faster than Jalen Reagor’s 3-cone). He also had the third fastest 40-yard dash with a 4.93 and had 30 bench press reps of 225 for the 2nd best among all offensive lineman, and the best among offensive tackles.

Trey Adams and Calvin Throckmorton had two of the most disappointing performances among the Offensive lineman at the combine, they were both among the worst performers in almost all the drills they performed.

Defensive Line

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jabari Zuniga had possibly the most shocking and least talked about outstanding performance at the combine. He was the 2nd fastest defensive lineman in the 40-yard dash with a 6.64, he also had the 2nd most bench reps for all defensive ends with 29. He had the 7th best vertical (33 inches) for all defensive lineman, and the best broad jump for all defensive lineman (127 inches).

Justin Madubuike had the 4th best 40 time among Defensive Tackles with a 4.83. he also had the 4th most bench press reps with 31. This display of strength and speed should ensure that he is drafted somewhere in the second round of this year’s draft.

Of all the defensive lineman that performed at the combine, A.J. Epenesa’s performances were some of the more disappointing ones. I expected him to do better in almost every drill he participated in.

Linebackers

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Isaiah Simmons is a freak athlete who can play both linebacker and safety. He is 6’3 and 238lbs. he had the 4th longest wingspan of all linebackers measured at the combine. He runs a 4.39 40-yard dash, has a 39-inch vertical (3rd best among linebackers), and a 132-inch broad jump, which was 2nd best among linebackers. Everyone knew Simmons was an athletic freak before the combine started and his performances re-affirmed that fact. He could go as high as #4 in the NFL Draft.

Willie Gay Jr. had a tremendous performance at the combine also. Gay ran the 2nd fastest 40-yard dash among linebackers, with a 4.46 time. He’s tied for 5th in the bench press among linebackers with 21 reps. He leaped 39.5 inches in the vertical which was 2nd best for LBs and had the longest broad jump (136 inches) among linebackers. Willie also has the largest hands in this linebacker class measuring out to 10.5 inches.

Kenneth Murray also had a successful outing at the combine. He had the 3rd longest broad jump at 129 inches. He had the 6th highest vertical jump at 38 inches. He’s tied for 5th in the bench press at 21 reps. Lastly, he was also the 6th fastest linebacker with a 4.52 speed. Murray should be a top 20 pick in this draft and if he isn’t, he won’t fall past Green Bay at #30 overall.

The two most disappointing combine performances by linebackers were from Michael Divinity and Evan Weaver. Divinity had the 4th slowest 40, the 2nd lowest number of bench reps, the 4th lowest vertical jump and the 4th worst broad jump. He looked terrible in comparison to the competition. Evan Weaver didn’t perform quite as bad as Divinity, but I expected him to perform better than he did. He seemingly showed a lack of athleticism that is needed to be productive in the NFL.

Corners

Jeffrey Okudah had a great performance at the combine by simply showing up and getting his body measured. He had the longest arms (32 5/8) and the longest wingspan (78 5/8) of every corner in the draft. That is important for a corner because it helps them jam up the receiver at the line of scrimmage and for swatting away footballs thrown their way. Okudah was also the most impressive leaper of all the corners with a 41-inch vertical and 135-inch broad jump. Okudah also ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, which isn’t blazing fast speed but will get the job done sufficiently. Between Okudah’s speed, arm length, and leaping ability, don’t expect anything thrown to a receiver in his area to ever be caught.

C.J. Henderson ran the 2nd fastest 40 among the corners with a 4.39. he was 5th best among corners in both the bench press (with 20 reps) and the vertical leap at 37.5 inches. C.J. isn’t a great tackler, but his athleticism shined brightly at the combine. His speed will allow him to stay with anyone in coverage, his bench press shows he will be able to jam up receivers at the line of scrimmage, and his leaping ability means he will be swatting away passes directed his way.

Javelin Guidry is only 5’9” tall so will most likely be playing slot corner his entire career in the NFL, but with his 4.29 speed and his 21 bench reps, he has shown he will probably be the best slot corner in this draft class. Someone who can run with Henry Ruggs will be valued by NFL teams.

The most disappointing results among the corners at the combine have to be the 40 times by Stanford Samuels (4.65) and Cam Dantzler (4.64) these times will hurt these players. Hopefully, they can improve upon those times during their pro days, and if they don’t, you can expect to see them slide down draft boards.

Jeff Gladney ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, which as I said with Okudah is fine, but I do think many were disappointed because they expected him to run faster. Gladney’s 7.26 3-cone drill, which was the worst time among the 15 Corners that ran in it, could cause him to slide a bit on draft boards for NFL teams.

Safeties

USA Today Sports photo

Jeremy Chinn had a great performance at the combine and one that was needed considering he is a small school talent from Southern Illinois. Chinn was the largest safety at the combine, measuring in at 6’3 and weighing 221 lbs. Chinn had the 4th largest hands among safeties at 9.625 inches, the 5th longest arms at 32 1/8 inches and the 2nd longest wingspan at 77 5/8 inches. Chinn had the 3rd fastest 40-yard dash by a safety at 4.45 seconds. He had the 4th most bench reps among safeties with 20. He had the 2nd highest vertical leap at 41 inches and the longest broad jump at 138 inches. Chin is an athletic freak, who could develop into the next great NFL safety. Expect him to fly up draft boards over the coming weeks as teams continue to evaluate their options.

Kyle Dugger, the other small school product who hails from Lenoir Rhyne also had a great performance. He had the highest vertical leap by a safety at 42 inches and the 2nd highest broad jump by a safety at 134 inches. He ran the 6th fastest 40 time by a safety at 4.49. he had the biggest hands of any safety at 10.375 inches, along with the longest arms (32 7/8 inches) and longest wingspan (78 1/2 inches). Like Chinn, if Dugger continues to develop with the team that drafts him, he can become a star in the NFL.

The worst performance by a safety must be the one put out by Jalen Elliott. He ran a 4.8 40-yard dash and was 5th to last in both the bench press and vertical jump. His stock just plummeted.

Some people were complaining about how poorly Derrick Brown did in the drill at the combine, but I’m not bothered by them one bit and here’s why: HE’S A BULLDOZER! He’s not a nice sports car that can go real fast, he is a monstrosity that pancakes offensive lineman into their quarterback for sacks. He’s the guy who threw a running back to the ground with one arm. He’s a Titan, not like the kind in Nashville, but the kind that collects all six infinity stones and snaps his fingers. He’s Godzilla in shoulder pads and a helmet. Don’t doubt this man, it would be a terrible mistake… just ask the Avengers.

The other ridiculous thing I’ve heard is that by not competing in the combine drills it’s going to hurt Chase Young’s stock. Uh, guys, he had 27 sacks in the last 25 college games he played, and he played in the Big 10. He is being compared to guys like Von Miller, Jadeveon Clowney, and Myles Garrett. The latter two were 1st picks, and Miller, he went 2nd overall, and should have gone 1st overall. So if you hear anyone saying Chase Young hurt his draft stock by not performing in the combine drills then you probably need to cut them out of your life, or at the very least, never listen to a word they have to say about anything relating to football ever again.

This sums up my evaluation of how the NFL combine affected the stock of those players who participated.

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