I’ve used the information from the combine and updated the tier list. This is my attempt to try and reflect on where some of the shelves are in this draft.
Joe Burrow (QB, LSU)
Jeff Okudah (CB, Ohio State)
Isaiah Simmons (LB, Clemson)
Chase Young (DE, Ohio State)
Derrick Brown (DT, Auburn)
Andrew Thomas (T, Georgia)
I’ve narrowed the top tier to six prospects. Joe Burrow had a college football season for the ages in 2019 and fully deserves to be the #1 pick. He’s supremely accurate and poised but also has the ability to improvise and throw on the run.
Jeff Okudah is the best combination of talent and athleticism at cornerback since Patrick Peterson. He has ideal size, length and height and he’s a 142.56 SPARQ athlete, capable of running a 4.4, a 4.03 short shuttle and jumping a 41 inch vertical.
Isaiah Simmons is the complete package. He has great size and length (6-4, 238lbs, 33.5 inch arms), he ran a 4.39 forty and he was the heart and soul of Clemson’s Championship defense. He could change the game.
Derrick Brown didn’t have a great combine but not everything rests on a testing performance. He dominated for Auburn as a disruptive and disciplined defensive tackle with great size. It’s incredible how impactful Brown is. He’s so quick and aggressive and always has to be accounted for.
Chase Young skipped the combine which, to me, suggests our prediction of a poor workout was likely spot on. At SPARQ he ran a 4.94 forty and a 4.46 short shuttle. Even so, he had two terrific seasons at Ohio State and will almost certainly be the #2 pick in the draft.
The nonsense written about Andrew Thomas a few weeks ago shouldn’t be forgotten. All those people who were calling him a guard and putting him in the late first are now moving him back into the top-12. He has classic tackle size (6-5, 315lbs, 36 inch arms) and was a master at Georgia.
Tristan Wirfs (G, Iowa)
Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin)
Henry Ruggs III (WR, Alabama)
Mekhi Becton (T, Louisville)
Javon Kinlaw (DT, South Carolina)
Jedrick Wills (G, Alabama)
Cesar Ruiz (C, Michigan)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB, LSU)
Austin Jackson (T, USC)
C.J. Henderson (CB, Florida)
I’ve listed Tristan Wirfs as a guard. I think his frame is ideally suited to moving inside and it’s where he’ll make the most of his impossibly explosive traits. He was one of the stars of the combine, not unexpectedly, and will have teams salivating over his potential.
Jonathan Taylor is a deserved riser after a tremendous combine. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he goes a lot earlier than people are currently projecting. Some teams still value the idea of a special running back and that is what Taylor is. He showed he’s the perfect combination of size and speed while on tape he sprints away from defenders and he runs over them. He led draft eligible running backs for yards after contact (1257 yards).
Henry Ruggs III was always going to run fast and a 4.28 was fairly anti-climactic in the end. At the next level though, every opponent who faces Ruggs will have to account for his speed. He will dictate game-plans every week.
The concern with Mekhi Becton was two-fold. One — he needs a lot of work on his pass-sets. Two — how athletic is he considering he has to shift around a 364lbs frame? After running a 5.10 it’s quite simple — he’s a freak of nature and every team will be very happy to work on his pass-sets.
Javon Kinlaw didn’t workout at the combine but he showed enough in two days at the Senior Bowl to suggest that the Alabama tape (and others in 2019) wasn’t a fluke. He has Fletcher Cox-type potential as a wrecking-ball defensive lineman.
Like Tristan Wirfs, I’m listing Jedrick Wills as a guard. This is the body of a guard. That’s fine though. He showed he was very explosive with exceptional footwork at the combine. Plug him in at left or right guard and enjoy ten years of quality play.
Cesar Ruiz has been a blog favourite for months. He’s a first round pick. The combine shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s highly explosive and perfectly sized. Within two or three years he could be the best center in the NFL.
I’ve moved Clyde Edwards-Helaire down a few spots but he’s still very much a second tier prospect. I’m not bothered about a 4.6 forty. He jumped a 39.5 inch vertical and that’s a lot more important. He’s an incredible talent who plays with brutality as a runner. He’s an exceptional route runner and pass catcher. He energises his team mates. Draft the guy.
Austin Jackson needs time and might need a year or two to realise his potential. Left tackle prospects who are 6-5, 322lbs, run a 5.07 and jump a 31 inch vertical don’t last long in the draft for a reason though.
C.J. Henderson wasn’t much of a ballhawk at Florida but his coverage was always tight and he flashed a ton of potential. He can cover the slot or outside, he’s well sized for most teams and he ran a 4.39 to go with a 37.5 inch vertical. He’ll go early.
Ceedee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma)
Isaiah Wilson (T, Georgia)
Jalen Reagor (WR, TCU)
Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama)
Denzel Mims (WR, Baylor)
Kenneth Murray (LB, Oklahoma)
Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
Antoine Winfield Jr (S, Minnesota)
D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia)
Raekwon Davis (DT, Alabama)
K.J. Hamler (WR, Penn State)
Ezra Cleveland (T, Boise State)
A 4.50 forty is fine for Ceedee Lamb. The fear was he’d run a 4.56. He’s a magician as a YAC specialist but during catching drills he showed unique body control and contortion skills that were just exciting to watch.
Isaiah Wilson was second only to Tristan Wirfs as the best combination of massive size and explosive power at the combine. He had a fantastic 2019 season as he and Andrew Thomas combined to create a laughably good pocket for Jake Fromm. Run-blocking is his speciality though. He’s 6-6 and 350lbs and carries hardly any bad weight. He’s a terminator.
Jalen Reagor gained muscle for the combine and it slowed him down. We were expecting a 4.3 and we got a 4.47. He can rectify that at pro-day. However, his 42 inch vertical showed up on tape countless times. Despite only being 5-11 he regularly out-jumped bigger defenders to high-point the football. There aren’t many 5-11 red zone dynamo’s but that’s Reagor.
Jerry Jeudy didn’t sparkle as much as some of the other receivers. That’ll be fine for teams with a young quarterback who needs a reliable, consistent route runner. But there are just more exciting receivers in the class.
Denzel Mims was a combine star after running a 4.38 and excelling in the agility drills. I didn’t really see 4.38 on tape and that’s worth remembering. Yet his ability to win contested catches, create quick separation on shorter routes and provide chunk plays is all very appealing.
Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen both fly around the field with speed and quickness. They’re modern day linebackers. They both ran well at the combine before picking up injuries.
Antoine Winfield Jr had a ‘wow’ combine. He ran a 4.45 and jumped a 36 inch vertical. Then the drills started and he took the roof off. His ability to shift and change direction was eye-catching. He’s so sudden with almost no wasted movement. He has everything. Production (seven picks in 2019 alone), athleticism, quickness, bloodlines, focus and maturity.
D’Andre Swift did enough by running a 4.48 and jumping a 35.5 inch vertical to keep his stock ticking along.
Raekwon Davis is a beast. He’s just what you want lining up at defensive tackle. He looked terrific at the combine and his testing numbers and size are extremely similar to Calais Campbell. I’ll take a shot on anyone you can say that about.
K.J. Hamler put up 15 bench reps of 225lbs despite only weighing 178lbs. Do people realise how freakish that is? The guy is an absolute beast. Only 1% of the world can bench their own body weight. He benched an extra 47lbs 15 times. That was the best performance on the bench by any player at any position by far. He’s a great receiver too and very creative and slippery with the ball in his hands.
If you’re 6-6, 311lbs, run a 4.93, a 4.44 short shuttle, a 7.26 three cone and you have highly explosive traits — the NFL is going to make you, Ezra Cleveland, a high draft pick.
Grant Delpit (S, LSU)
Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama)
Brandon Aiyuk (WR, Arizona State)
Julian Okwara (DE, Notre Dame)
Justin Herbert (QB, Oregon)
Tua Tagovailoa (QB, Alabama)
Prince Tega Wanogho (T, Auburn)
Kristian Fulton (CB, LSU)
J.K. Dobbins (RB, Ohio State)
Justin Jefferson (WR, LSU)
Some of these players would be higher if they’d been able to test as expected or weren’t carrying injury question marks.
Grant Delpit didn’t work out at the combine. I’ve been resisting moving him down boards because he’s so ultra-talented. Yet Tony Pauline reported teams are getting a Greedy Williams vibe from him. I want to see him compete to restore his stock.
Trevon Diggs is an excellent athlete and does a great job tracking the ball in the air. You can work on flaws but generally you can either track the ball or you can’t and Diggs is ready to play. He didn’t take part at the combine but we know he’s a great athlete — just look at his brother.
Brandon Aiyuk is terrific. He has excellent size and acceleration. His catching technique, control, ball-tracking, positioning, ability to create easy separation and special teams dynamism makes him a fascinating talent. It was surprising that he only ran a 4.50 forty and I’ve dropped him a little as a consequence.
Julian Okwara is 6-4, 252lbs and he has 34.5 inch arms. He’s a dynamic speed rusher in a draft class with barely any dynamic speed rushers. He couldn’t run at the combine but will at Notre Dame’s pro-day. Expect a fast time.
I put the two quarterbacks in this tier. Justin Herbert is big with a good arm and he can create, improvise and deliver exceptional plays. He’s too erratic though and I think he’ll need a strong supporting cast and a quality offensive mind as a coach to get the best of him. Tua Tagovailoa would be higher but it’s as simple as this — nobody is going to know the full medical picture by the draft and I can’t rank him higher than this with major question marks about his future and his ability to play at the same level we saw pre-hip injury.
Prince Tega Wanogho has ended up becoming one of the most underrated players in the draft. With great size he was tipped to a run a 4.95 but he couldn’t run at the combine. If he falls, he’ll provide value.
Kristian Fulton is a physical corner who loves to get after it. He can line up outside or at nickel. He ran a 4.46 forty. That’s fast enough for the way he plays.
J.K. Dobbins could’ve owned the combine but he chose not to workout. He was also lighter and smaller than expected (5-9, 209lbs) which was a surprise.
I don’t really understand the hype around Justin Jefferson’s 4.43 forty. He’s always looked like a mid-4.4’s type. He’s solid and consistent.
Damien Lewis (G, LSU)
Willie Gay Jr (LB, Mississippi State)
Hunter Bryant (TE, Washington)
Anthony McFarland (RB, Maryland)
Matt Hennessy (C, Temple)
Jabari Zuniga (DE, Florida)
Curtis Weaver (DE, Boise State)
Logan Stenberg (G, Kentucky)
Shane Lemieux (G, Oregon)
John Simpson (G, Clemson)
Jalen Hurts (QB, Oklahoma)
Jordan Love (QB, Utah State)
The more I’ve watched of Damien Lewis the more I’ve liked. He’s a terror blocking in the run game, he recovers well and is very difficult to beat. He looked very polished and accomplished at the Senior Bowl. At the combine he showed he’s explosive with great size.
Willie Gay Jr jumped a 39.5 inch vertical, ran a 4.46 and a 4.3 short shuttle. He’s such a playmaker too and the only thing holding him back is some 2019 weirdness (suspensions, incidents).
Hunter Bryant is a dynamic big-slot or joker TE who will create endless mismatches. He ran a superb 7.08 short shuttle and his overall testing marks aren’t a million miles away from Jordan Reed.
I think Anthony McFarland is one of the most underrated players in the draft. He’s so quick, so electric. He destroyed Ohio State in 2018. He won’t fit every scheme but if he lands in the right place — watch out.
The more I watched of Matt Hennessy at the Senior Bowl the more impressive he looked. Hennessy was one of the top performers in Mobile having been able to make a full assessment. He could easily go in round two.
Jabari Zuniga is one of the most explosive pass rushers to enter the league in recent years and he ran a good 4.64 forty to rebuild his stock after an injury plagued 2019 season. He could be a value pick.
Curtis Weaver lacks length or a typical pass rushing body (he’s 6-2 and 265lbs but dropped weight from 300lbs). Even so, he had 18.5 TFL’s and 13.5 sacks in 2019 and ran a 4.27 short shuttle which catches the eye. That will translate.
I’m a huge Logan Stenberg fan. He absolutely batters opponents and is a true finisher. He reminds me of Alex Boone. He talks how you want a guard to talk. He lacks ideal length and profile but who cares with the way he plays. Shane Lemieux is also very aggressive yet controlled and was mightily impressive on tape. John Simpson has some iffy moments with his footwork but his size, tenacity and aggressive blocking style has some appeal.
I’m putting Jalen Hurts and Jordan Love in the same area. Both players have the tools to be starting NFL quarterbacks. Yet both players need to be more consistent and learn to handle pressure and slow the game down. Hurts was exceptional at the combine. I wouldn’t bet against him.
Davon Hamilton (DT, Ohio State)
Justin Madubuike (DT, Texas A&M)
Jonathan Greenard (DE, Florida)
Kyle Dugger (S, Lenoir Rhyne)
Devin Asiasi (TE, UCLA)
Adam Trautman (TE, Dayton)
Hakeem Adeniji (G, Kansas)
Chase Claypool (WR, Notre Dame)
Nick Harris (C, Washington)
Michael Pittman Jr (WR, USC)
Rashard Lawrence (DT, LSU)
Cam Akers (RB, Florida State)
Matt Peart (T, Connecticut)
Zack Moss (RB, Utah)
Davon Hamilton was highly explosive and has outstanding size (6-4, 320lbs, 33 inch arms). If you want someone to anchor the interior this is your guy. Justin Madubuike was by far the best performer during D-line drills at the combine. He just looked so smooth and fluid. The problem is — where’s he playing at his size?
It was no secret that Jonathan Greenard was going to run in the 4.8-4.9 range at the combine. However, a 4.34 short shuttle shows up on tape and he has 35 inch vines for arms. He’s always had something, he just lacks twitch.
Kyler Dugger has the size, he’s highly explosive, he’s a star special teamer and most importantly — he’s a true alpha. The Seahawks need some dogs and Dugger fits the bill. He does have a little stiffness though and ran a slower than expected 4.49.
Devin Asiasi is a very clean catcher of a football and while he appears heavy there’s no doubting his quickness and athletic elegance at tight end. Adam Trautman running a 6.78 three cone and a 4.27 short shuttle has piqued my interest. You can work with those numbers to create mismatches.
Every time I watched Hakeem Adeniji I thought he was impressive in Mobile. Now he had an explosive workout at the combine. He has tackle experience but will play guard. He’s a great prospect to try and develop.
Chase Claypool was one of the stars of the combine with his complete performance. I don’t think he’s quite the fluid athlete his testing might suggest but as a big target with rare speed and change of direction, he’s a worthwhile project.
Nick Harris is undersized and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t care. I love his tenacity, attitude, physical style, ability to get out into space and connect and his pissed off approach to the game. I thought he looked excellent during combine drills.
Michael Pittman Jr ran well at the combine (4.52 at 6-4, 223lbs) and he also excelled in the explosive and agility tests. I just didn’t see much separation on tape or an ability to win with quickness and suddenness. It’s key for most schemes these days. I suspect on some boards he’ll be rated a lot higher than others. It’ll just depend on how the offense is coordinated.
Rashard Lawrence equally just plays with a fire and intensity that you need in the trenches. As a former #12 overall recruit, he ran a 5.07 forty. He gives you everything and he’s well sized at 6-2, 308lbs and 34 1/8 inch arms.
Cam Akers fits the Seahawks’ profile for a running back with a great blend of explosive power and size. He also ran well in the forty.
Matt Peart just oozes potential. He’s 6-7, 318lbs and has nearly 37 inch arms. He’s a candidate to draft and develop.
Zack Moss has explosive qualities and he’s a really tough, physical runner. I just wonder about his upside and ability to shine at the next level.
To be determined…
Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson)
Joshua Uche (LB, Michigan)
Yetur Gross-Matos (DE, Penn State)
K’Lavon Chaisson (LB, LSU)
Bryan Edwards (WR, South Carolina)
Robert Hunt (T, Louisiana-Lafayette)
Lucas Niang (T, TCU)
Tee Higgins said he wasn’t doing anything at the combine because he needed a rest. I’m tempted to rest him from all of my mocks and tier lists for the rest of the year.
Joshua Uche, Yetur Gross-Matos and K’Lavon Chaisson didn’t run at the combine. All have strengths and weaknesses but all also rely quite a bit on upside (which is impossible to determine until we have testing numbers).
Bryan Edwards broke his foot during combine training. He’s a terrific receiver who shouldn’t fall too far.
I’m intrigued by Robert Hunt. He sets the tone as a blocker but he’s injured. It would’ve been interesting to see how he tested at the combine.
Lucas Niang is a forgotten man of the class due to injury but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he entered the league and quickly became a starting right tackle or guard.
If you missed yesterday’s post-combine, pre-free agency podcast, check it out below…
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