The NFL Network is going all out for their coverage of the 2020 NFL Combine, so we’re giving you guys an open thread to discuss all the on-field action each day. Today it’ll be the running backs, the offensive lineman, and the specialists going through their workouts and drills. Coverage will start at 3:00 p.m Central on the NFL Network.
Most NFL Draft prospects will go through the following workouts, 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill, and the shuttle run.
Running backs will still go through their off-tackle reaction drill, a blast read drill, and they’ll also run the usual running back pass routes, but new this year are some inside pass routes (angle/Texas routes) with change of direction added, and the Duce Staley drill.
Offensive linemen will do their usual COD wave drill, a long pull and short pull drill, they’ll work pass protection to the left and right, and do a drop and flip drill. New for the o-linemen this year is a revamped mirror drill and a screen drill.
The kickers, punters, and long snappers will be doing their thing.
Now I’ll turn it over to our Senior Draft Analyst, EJ Snyder, so he can go over a few prospects he’ll have his eye on today.
EJ’s prospects to keep an eye on:
RB: This group of RB’s has some serious firepower up top, a very wide middle of backs that can compliment the one a team already has in their RB corps, and some really intriguing guys with one strong skill down near the bottom. Should be a fun group.
Up High: Clyde Edwards-Helaire: I love Edwards-Helaire. End of story. Don’t care how tall he is (5’8”). Don’t care what he runs (he won’t blow your doors off). Don’t care if there are flashier options out there (there are). This is simply one of my favorite guys in this draft. He runs with tremendous balance, routinely embarrasses defenders, catches the ball extremely well, and somehow (no matter how unlikely) always seems to make it to the first down marker. If you like game tape, turn his on and just marvel at what he is regularly able to accomplish.
In the Middle: Zack Moss - Moss is a horse. A pounder. A hammer between the tackles. He’s 222 pounds and knows how to use it. In other words, he’s a perfect Seahawks running back. If he ends up in Seattle, just watch him roll to a 1200 yard rookie year. The 40 will be a bit of deciding line for him. Good time? Could ratchet up a round. Bad time? Might be hanging around a round later than some people think (which would be a great value as his game is not really speed-based).
Down Low: A.J. Dillon - This is a pure emotional pick. I could have gone with really explosive smaller players here (Darius Anderson, JaMycal Hasty) but Dillon is a throwback. He reminds me of what might have happened if a scientist blended the DNA of Mike Rozier (Google him youngsters) and Herschel Walker. He even wears his pads like that. At 250 pounds he might run in the 4.4’s. Trust me when I say that no DB in their right mind really wants to stand in and take that freight train head on.
OL: This draft is a loaded with top offensive tackle talent. The league hasn’t stared down this much quality outside protection in one year in a long time. As a result there will be a run on OT’s in the first round. It’s possible 6 could be selected. The talent in the middle isn’t shabby at all either; which is good news for the Bears who have a need for a starting RG.
OT: Up High: Take your pick of the R1 OT’s. Mekhi Becton is a 6’6”/355 and can flat-out move. Andrew Thomas has the wingspan of a condor and power to back it up. Jedrick Wills Jr. is regularly listed by defenders as the best player they faced in college. For my money you should focus on Tristan Wirfs. Watch his feet. The guy’s lower half is so good and so smooth that him not having the best hand usage barely matters. He’s the mirror king and at 6’5”/320 that makes him extremely coveted by teams looking to pencil in a blind-side protector for the next 8-10 years
In the Middle: Ben Bartch - Straight out of the football hotbed of St. John’s in Minnesota, Bartch headed to Mobile, AL for the Senior Bowl and took on all comers from the football factory powerhouse schools. He won some and he lost some and showed at the very least, excellent athleticism and a never-say-die attitude. He improved daily and this will be another chance for teams to decide how they think his size and skills will (or will not) translate to the big stage on Sundays.
Down Low: This one is a Bears homer pick as former Bears lineman Andy Heck’s son Charlie Heck is in the draft this year. Charlie is an impressive-looking dude at 6’8”/309. He got his lunch handed to him on day one of the Senior Bowl but rallied on the second and third days to put together a pretty good showing. Would Chicago gamble on his genetics and wingspan as a late-round developmental swing tackle? They might, so keep an eye on him.
IOL: Up High: Lloyd Cushenberry III. Remember that name. The LSU center looks exactly like a very experienced, national champion lineman should. He’s extremely stout and drops one of the heaviest anchors against the rush in this entire class. On top of that his ability to redirect when losing leverage is uncannily quick: it almost looks like he never lost it at all. This guy is an NFL starter from day 1 and doesn't give up that spot for years... maybe even his whole career.
In the Middle: Logan Stenberg - If you like results, you love Logan Stenberg. The big man (6’6”/317) from Kentucky just gets it done. You want people muscled to the ground and laid on top of? Logan’s your guy. He won’t look pretty or technically correct doing it, but the end results speak for themselves. This man handles his business time after time.
Down Low: Jon Runyan - Since we are talking about former lineman’s kids, keep an eye out for Jon Runyan. He’s not the player his dad was but somehow, almost inexplicably, Michigan lineman selected in the middle and lower rounds always tend to hang around and eventually contribute. Runyan could be next in that long line despite not being picked in the upper rounds.
Specialists: Umm yeah, about this. I know they’re important, and I don’t mean any disrespect... but it’s not my thing. I don’t scout kickers. Doesn’t mean the league doesn’t need them, it just means you’ll have to get that thrilling content from another source.
Also check out EJ’s latest venture, Bootleg Football, with The Film Room’s Brett Kollmann!
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