While Thursday wasn’t the official day one of the NFL Scouting Combine, it did give us our first look at the 2020 NFL Draft prospects actually working out on the field. Not only did the NFL change up the Combine by having the events on at night, but they also make it so the quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends all went on the first day instead of offensive lineman and running backs. Listed below are the players who stood out from the first day of on field workouts.
NFL Combine Day 1 Standouts
The reason the NFL moved the Combine to prime time and receivers to be on the first day is because they wanted the drama around receivers who could blaze. And Ruggs was the main attraction with many people wondering whether the Alabama receiver would break John Ross’ record of 4.22. Instead Ruggs “only” ran a 4.27 which sounds crazy to think that this was a disappointment. Ruggs was not a one trick pony as he also posted the third best vertical leap (42.0″) and 4th best broad jump (10’11”). When you combine these testing numbers along with his game film, it’s no wonder why so many people have Ruggs as their top rated receiver.
Riding a tremendous season Justin Jefferson has many fans in the NFL Draft community as he’s shown to be a playmaker out of the slot. Jefferson continued his momentum at the Combine has he was one of the best all around performers at the Combine. Not only did Jefferson impress with a 4.43 40 yard dash showing off his speed but he also demonstrated his explosiveness 10’6″ broad jump. Then we you factor in that he made the receiver drills look effortless it’s safe to say Jefferson solidified his status as a late first round prospect.
Heading into the combine Denzel Mims stock was starting to climb as many analysts had him as someone just outside their top five rankings. With arguably the best all around performance out of the receivers you’re going to start to see some first round buzz from the Baylor receiver. Mims finished in the top 5 in three events while also finishing in the top 10 in the vertical leap. While his 4.38 40 yard dash was impressive it was the 6.66 second 3 cone drill where was 0.28 seconds faster than second place. Mims performance is going to cause many people to go back and watch his tape and when they do so, they’re going to see a player who plays to these measurables.
There is always a concern about how small school prospects will do transitioning to the NFL, but that shouldn’t be the case with Trautman. After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Trautman followed that up here in Indianapolis showing that he belongs with the elite. Truatman didn’t set the world on fire with his testing numbers but he looked the part on the field drills showing ease of movement and looking like a natural.
Heading into this past summer it was Okwuegbunam who was thought to be the top tight end in this class. But a quiet season on a bad Missouri team really kinda made him disappear while other tight ends started to get the attention. Well that changed on Thursday night as Albert O blazed a 4.49 40 yard dash at 6’5 258lbs. He’s always been a smooth athlete but nobody really saw that fast of a time for him.
Jordan Love and Justin Herbert
With Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa not doing any of the on field work, all the attention turned to these two as the top guys. And both did not disappoint. Herbert backed up talk of his athletic ability finishing in the top 5 in every single category he participated in while also throwing the ball well in drills.
For Love the buzz come from off the field as reports that teams are very high on him and that he could be working his way into the top 10. Love threw the ball well showing good touch and accuracy on his short throws while also showing some athleticism in the timed drills.
Higgins is one receiver who has been getting some first round attention in mock drafts but we’ll see how long that lasts as he chose not to participate in drills in a last minute decision. With no know injury it raises questions to whether Higgins didn’t feel he’d put up good numbers. Higgins isn’t seen as a blazer but if he ran in the 4.5s that would be seen as a success. Instead you have to wonder if he was testing slower in that which could really cause teams to question how high to draft him. This doesn’t look good for Higgins and will need a good Pro Day to help his cause.