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2020 NFL Combine: standout on-field performances from OL/RB

Big men moving fast and fast men playing big

Offensive line and running back are sneaky needs for the Buffalo Bills at the time of this writing. We don’t yet know what additions free agency will bring in the coming weeks, but if the Bills selected a guard, tackle, or running back in the top four rounds, very few people would be surprised. Thankfully, there was plenty of talent displayed at those positions Friday night in Indianapolis. Let’s take a gander at some of the notable Combine performances...

Mekhi Becton OT (Louisville)

Men who are 6’7” and 364 lbs should not run a 5.1 40-yard dash. It feels unfair to mortals. After being the largest human being in Indy, Becton ran a staggering 40 and that was all he needed to get the buzz going. Like Missouri TE Albert Okwuegbunam yesterday, the 40 made its point. Unlike Okwuegbunam, Becton is in play as high as the New York Giants at fourth overall.

Tristan Wirfs OT (Iowa)

A reasonable take exists that states Wirfs is the best athlete to ever play football at the University of Iowa. He didn’t do anything to stop that hype train when he ran an insane 4.85 40-yard dash, jumped 36.5” in the vertical, and added 121” in the broad jump. Wirfs wasn’t just a testing warrior either; he looked smooth, athletic and in control during the wave and mirror drills and, along with Becton, is absolutely in the conversation at fourth overall for the Giants after a legitimately historic Combine performance.

AJ Dillon RB (Boston College)

When you’re 6’0” and 247 lbs as a running back, it’s implied you may not be as agile as Devin Singletary, so being explosive gives you a nice trait to add to simply being big. Consider the box checked for BC’s powerful Dillon. Running a 4.53 at that size is already strong, but adding a 41” vertical, 23 bench reps, and 131” broad jump to the equation outlines an archetype that teams can see themselves investing in even if the stiffness showed up for Dillon during the on-field drills.

Jonathan Taylor RB (Wisconsin)

The RB1 race between Taylor, J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) and D’Andre Swift (Georgia) may have a clear front runner. Taylor astounded the audience in Indianapolis with a 4.39 40-yard dash at 226 lbs while benching 225 lbs 17 times, jumping 36” in the vertical, and 123” in the broad. Taylor looked fluid and agile in the on-field drills and may have pulled out in front of the pack ahead of Swift and Dobbins (who did not participate in the on-field drills or testing).

Cam Akers RB (Florida State)

My favorite drill this year was the “Duce Staley” drill. A long-time favorite of the former Philadelphia Eagles running back so much so that it was named after him, the drill focuses on quick feet while maintaining a quiet upper body and not jumping around the bags. Akers showed out in this drill after running a 4.47 40-yard dash and putting up 20 bench-press reps, helping to showcase what type of athletic potential he has after being saddled with a sub-par Florida State offensive line in 2019.

Isaiah Wilson OT (Georgia)

This massive right tackle prospect showed he has the foot speed to play tackle in the NFL, running a 5.33 40-yard dash with a 1.79 10-yard split at 6’6” and 350 lbs. He continued to show well in the on-field drills and proved that Andrew Thomas is not the only Bulldog tackle prospect to keep an eye on in this class.

Jedrick Wills Jr. OT (Alabama)

This tackle class is insane. Seriously. After running a 5.05 40-yard dash at 6’4” and 312 lbs (actually slightly undersized for this tackle class if you can believe it), Wills had the second-best vertical jump in the class at 34.5” and showed out during the mirror drill. He put a cap on his excellent night by popping a bag during a pass-blocking punch drill hard enough to send a sound into the upper decks that elicited cheers from the audience.

...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan for Buffalo Rumblings. Before the defensive players take the field on Saturday, catch up on some of my pre-Combine defensive draft crushes courtesy of the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network.