The 2020 NFL Combine begins next week, and of all the events and activities taking place in Indianapolis, we’re all looking forward to the on-field workouts. This year’s draft has some outstanding talents, particularly at wide receiver and offensive tackle. Who can we expect to stand out among the hundreds of players making the trip? Here are five offensive players with a sterling reputation. If anyone makes the highlight reel, these five are great bets.
Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
25 touchdowns on 108 touches from scrimmage. In high school, he ran a 10.58 100-meter dash. School trainers have clocked him in the 4.2 range on the forty-yard dash. Ruggs has blazing speed and explosiveness, and he’s the biggest of big-play threats in this draft.
Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville
Becton features a rare blend of height, weight, and fluidity. Tipping the scales at nearly 370 pounds, he’ll demonstrate his massive power during the bag drills at the Combine. But he’s also an effective mover, so we’ll want to see how well he runs and jumps in comparison to past “BIG” big men at the event, like Orlando Brown, Zach Banner, and Trenton Brown.
Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado
You know a player is beloved by his coaching staff when they try to use him in any way they can manage. Shenault was the star talent for the Buffaloes, playing every receiver position, taking handoffs, and lining up as the Wildcat QB.
Shenault grew out his dreadlocks in memory of his father, killed in a car accident when Shenault was ten. In high school, the basketball team forced players to cut their hair, so Shenault quit and switched to weight lifting as his program during the football offseason. Now he’s a chiseled 6’2” and 220 lbs, but also a tightly wound spring of energy with the ball in his hands.
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Every year, Bruce Feldman writes his annual list of college football’s “Freaks”—the best athletes in the nation. Leading 2019’s recording was Wirfs, the first freshman to start at offensive tackle in Kirk Ferentz’s long tenure with Iowa. He reportedly leaped 35 inches vertically in the 2019 offseason, and broke Brandon Scherff’s school record in the power clean. At 6’5” and 320 lbs, Wirfs played right tackle for most of his career, but could probably handle the left side (and some are projecting him inside to guard).
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Sure, D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins are great prospects with first-round potential. But did we somehow forget about Jonathan Taylor? Maybe we just became accustomed to his greatness—he averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season, won the Doak Walker award twice, and was a unanimous first-team All-American in 2018 and 2019.
He finished his college career just 231 yards shy of the FBS rushing record—oh, a feat nearly accomplished in only three years.
Per Feldman’s reporting, which had Taylor ranked fifth-freakiest, Taylor ran his 40 in the 4.3 range, had a 37.5” vertical leap, and he squats more than 600 pounds.