Winners and losers from the NFL Combine
For one week in Indianapolis, 335 prospective pros did their best to prove to front office personnel that they belong in the NFL.
Some made the most of their opportunity. Others struggled to perform at their peak. These are the winners and losers from the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.
Winner: Mekhi Becton
The offensive tackle from Louisville entered the Combine as a projected first-round pick. He left Indianapolis as arguably the most athletic offensive lineman to ever participate in the pre-draft process.
Becton measured in at 6-foot-7 and 364 pounds, the heaviest man at the combine. He still ran a 5.11-second 40-yard dash. Some might prefer to be hit by a car than get in the way of a sprinting Becton. It’s difficult to conceive just how fast Becton was rolling, until you lay the film over top of Tom Brady’s 40-yard dash performance at the 2000 Combine.
Loser: Cole McDonald
The quarterback from Hawaii was not a loser on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. He posted the best vertical leap and fastest 40-yard dash among quarterbacks. McDonald falls in the loser category because he lost his signature dreadlocks before he arrived in Indianapolis.
“I didn’t want to give anyone any ammunition to say, ‘You know, you’re a white guy with dreads. I don’t know if we want you in our organization.’ In my opinion, hair grows back. Opportunity doesn’t,” he said in Indy.
R.I.P. Dreads. Gone, but not soon forgotten.
Winner: Michael Turk
Finally, proof punters are people, too. The big leg from Arizona State showed off his arms with 25 reps of 225-pounds on the bench press. Jadeveon Clwney got 23 reps up before the defensive end was picked first overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
His legs are good for more than just punting. He ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and set a new record for punters in the vertical jump (34.5-inches).
Winner: Albert Okwuegbunam
The tight end from a Missouri became a sensation when he caught 29 passes for 11 touchdowns as a true freshman. Since that standout season, injuries and a pro-style system limited Okwuegbunam to only 12 more touchdowns over the next two years.
He came in at 6-foot-5 and posted a 4.49-second 40-yard dash, the fourth-fastest by a tight end since 2003, and proved he is worth taking a chance on as a red-zone weapon.
Loser: Jared Pinkney
As one SEC tight end rose through the rankings, another was told by the New England Patriots that he has a “loser’s mentality.” He did spend four years playing for Vanderbilt. He also ran the slowest 40-yard dash among the tight ends (4.96 seconds).
Winner: Isaiah Simmons
The defensive back/linebacker/defensive end from Clemson has already shown on tape he is one of the best athletes to ever play defense in college. Entering the Combine it seemed almost impossible for Simmons to exceed his lofty expectations, yet he still found a way to do it. He’s a freak—plain and simple.