With the 2020 NFL Combine now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to examine which players managed to get some buzz going with their performances in the on-field drills and testing portions. NFL scouts and general managers use the NFL Combine as a chance to either confirm or contradict what they’ve seen in person or on tape. Sometimes, though, prospects can come out of nowhere to demonstrate athletic ability most didn’t think they had. Here are a handful of prospects who leave Indianapolis firmly with their arrows pointing up.
Mekhi Becton OT (Louisville)
Most observers knew Becton would register as a massive individual at the measurement portion of the combine—he’s a 6’7”, 364-lb tackle—but it seems few thought he would excel at both the 40-yard dash and the on-field movement drills. It’s a rare feat for the largest player at the combine to finish within the top 15 of his position group in the 40-yard dash, and Becton (5.11 in the 40) managed to follow that up by looking exceedingly comfortable in the offensive line field work. Despite being an athletic outlier, or maybe because of it, Becton should hear his name called fairly early during the draft’s first day.
Chase Claypool WR (Notre Dame)
Because of limited opportunities in Notre Dame’s passing offense, Claypool wasn’t allowed to show off what we now know is his elite athleticism. The receiver finished in the top ten among his peers in the 40-yard dash, the bench press, as well as the broad and vertical jumps, despite coming in at 6’4” and weighing nearly 240 lbs. Those numbers alone put him in rare company, but then he followed that up by looking very natural in the gauntlet drill. There were rumors teams might want to move the senior to the tight end position, but this performance should put those rumors to bed.
Chase Claypool at the 2020 NFL Combine— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) February 28, 2020
• Bigger than Cameron Wake
• Faster than Odell Beckham Jr.
• Stronger than Jared Allen
• Jumps higher than Julio Jones
• More explosive than Devin Hester@ChaseClaypool @NDFootball pic.twitter.com/4fLbNWInHv
Khalil Davis DT (Nebraska)
Coming into the Combine, Davis was considered a day three defensive tackle prospect, albeit one with very good upside. Although he only competed in two testing events, Davis should be very pleased with his performance, considering he finished the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds, sixth-best among all defensive linemen—including defensive ends—and No. 1 among defensive players over 270 lbs. He then finished second among defensive linemen in the bench press as well, while looking quick and nimble in most of the on-field drills. It wouldn’t be out of the question now to see Davis become a second-day pick for a team looking for a disruptive three-technique.
Jabari Zuniga DE (Florida)
Zuniga was held back by injuries during his final season at Florida, so a strong offseason and Combine performance were both essential to his NFL prospects. He’s certainly checked most athletic boxes with his performance on Saturday. Similar to Claypool above, Zuniga excelled at the tests designed to measure explosion and burst, while also finishing top five in the bench press. Following final tests, Zuniga’s spider chart puts him the same company as pass rushing staples Justin Smith and Olivier Vernon.
Jeremy Chinn S (Southern Illinois)
Every year it seems the Combine reveals a complete athletic freak at the safety position who winds up becoming a high second-day pick, and it appears this year’s example is Chinn. The small-school player’s results included the fastest 40-time for his position at a 4.45, and top-five finishes in the bench, the vertical and the broad jump. At 6’3” and 220 lbs, Chinn has catapulted his prospects into the stratosphere.