As the NFL Draft gets closer and closer, any event can be huge for a player’s draft stock. The biggest of these is the NFL Combine, where over 300 college athletes participate in events like the 40-yard dash and vertical jump to show off their athletic abilities. Other non-athletic tests include team interviews and the Wonderlic test, which evaluates a player’s knowledge. While we won’t be able to see the results of these two, it gives teams a good indication of how smart a player is and how manageable they are as a teammate/leader.
The combine can be one the best ways for a player to up their draft stock, and many players have boosted themselves into the top spots because of it. Some of last year’s top performers like Deebo Samuel and Parris Campbell gained major traction from the combine, and this year it will be no different. There have been many great performers in the 2020 NFL Draft Combine, but here are the three biggest standouts from the combine process.
Isaiah Simmons: LB/DB Clemson
If you haven’t heard about Isaiah Simmons yet you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past college football season. Simmons was arguably the best defensive player in the country and definitely the most versatile one. Simmons comes into NFL Draft season listed as both a linebacker and defensive back, both of which he played at Clemson. Simmons was already in discussion for being a top-10 pick, but this combine has somehow elevated his stock even higher.
He measured in at 6’4 and 238 lbs, already an athletic freak from the get go. Not only is he shaped well for a defensive specialist, but his athletic talent was put on display at the combine. He ran a 4.39 40 yard dash, faster than any running back in this year’s class and the second best since 2006. He paired that with a 39-inch vertical jump and 132-inch broad jump to complete his combine profile.
Tristan Wirfs: OT Iowa
Wirfs is another player that had a lot of buzz pre-combine yet still seemed to elevate his stock. Wirfs was graded by many as the third-best tackle in this year’s class behind Andrew Thomas and Jedrick Wills. Wirfs came out of Iowa as a good blocker with slight mechanical issues, which is why he was behind the likes of Thomas and Wills. Wirfs mechanical downfalls can be overlooked when you see his athletic ability, whether it helps him get to the second level of the defense or cover edge rushers.
Wirfs ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive lineman with a 4.85-second run. Imagine a 6’5, 320-pound o-lineman running at you with that speed. One may question the importance of speed for an offensive tackle, but downfield blocks are vital to an O-lineman’s skill set. He also had the highest vertical and broad jump for o-lineman and was in the top 20 for 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle. Wirfs has solidified himself as one of if not the best offensive linemen in the draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the first one off the board.
Denzel Mims: WR Baylor
The least known out of the three is Denzel Mims. Mims is an explosive deep threat from Baylor who saw less success in college than many of his other wide receiver counterparts. In such a stacked wide receiver class featuring the likes of Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, and Ceedee Lamb, it can be hard for a player to stand out. Mims, however, did just that.
At 6’3 and 207 pounds, Mims is already built to be a deep threat. The one thing he may have been missing, however, is speed. This combine proved that’s not the case. His 4.38 40 yard dash was third out of all wide receivers and he was in the top 10 for his vertical jump. His broad jump was also fourth for all wideouts. These characteristics make him one of the best deep threat prospects for this year’s draft, and this combination may have boosted him up into an early day-2 type prospect.