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NFL Combine 2020: Day 1 Winners & Losers

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Fast guys are fast!

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The first day of athletic testing at the NFL Combine is in the books and we have all the numbers to tell us who is good and who is bad at football. All of that film work you’ve done? Throw it all out, you idiot.

Now that the receivers have run – and let’s be honest that’s all we care about from this group - we have to know… Who won? Who lost? Who is taking the top off NFL defenses? You came to the right place to find out.

NOTE: You can get my thoughts on all of this in audio form by listening to episode 6 of the 2020 BGN Draft specials! Listen on the player below or click here!

WINNERS

Henry Ruggs III, Alabama

He ran a disappointing 4.27, officially. A DISAPPOINTING 4.27. The world knew he was fast so it’s hard to call him a “winner”, but when he runs sub-4.3 how could I leave him out? The 42” vert is only icing on the cake. Trade up for him yesterday.

And did you notice how they put Doug Pederson on screen right before the run? It’s a sign from the Football Gods (or a smart guy in the production truck).

Justin Jefferson, LSU

The slot specialist with no discernible holes in his game checks another box by clocking an unexpected 4.43 40-time. At 6’1”, 202 pounds, the sure-handed Jefferson led the nation in slot receptions and yards and represents a high-floor, dependable target that could hear his name called as early as late round one.

Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

The guy weighs in at 238 pounds and suddenly everybody thought he was moving to tight end. Wrong. He just drank way too much water. Once he shed the extra weight, Claypool proceeded to run 4.42 and hit 40.5” on the vertical jump. Those are wide receiver numbers all day, and darn good ones.

Since 2003, only two wide receivers at the Combine have measured at least 6’4”, weighed 235 pounds or more, and run under 4.45. One is Claypool, the other is Calvin Johnson. MEGATRON 2.0?!

Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan

Just watch...

That 44.5” vert is tied with two others for the best in Combine history among wide receivers. Oh, he also launched a 11’7” broad jump. For the uninitiated, that’s coo-coo bonkers hops. His 4.56 40-yard dash was less impressive but he quickly recovered with a solid 4.48 that rounded out a great night.

Peoples-Jones was a heavily coveted 5-star recruit but suffered from the 4th most uncatchable targets in the class thanks to the scattershot accuracy of Shea Patterson. This performance will undoubtedly help repair his stock and send idiots like me sprinting to the film.

Denzel Mims, Baylor

At 6’3”, 207 pounds, Denzel Mims clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 38.5” vert, a 10’11” broad, a shocking 6.66 3-cone (by far the best among wideouts) and has crushed the process from A-to-Z. A big Senior Bowl standout, Mims has done everything in his power to make his name known.

LOSERS

Tee Higgins, Clemson

All that talk about running in the 4.4s and you pull out to “rest”? Come on, man!

Some betting sites had Higgins’ O/U at 4.57, which looks about right based on his film. He ran a 4.75 coming out of high school, which is not fast (#analysis). Maybe he was feeling more like his high school self and decided to save it for more favorable conditions at the Clemson pro day? Either way it’s a disappointment and a box left unchecked.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty

Per Pro Football Focus, Gandy-Golden’s 27 caught deep balls over the last two seasons combined were the second most in college football. The problem is he did it while playing for Liberty and he churned out a sluggish 4.60 40-time tonight.

Is Gandy-Golden’s play speed that much greater than his timed speed or did he benefit from poor competition? Considering how poor he showed during the Senior Bowl practices, I’m leaning towards the latter.

Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

Nobody expected Jennings to light up this event, but a 29” vertical jump is hard not to notice. Add to that an ugly 9’1” broad jump and you wonder if the guy has ever left the ground in his life. He followed all that up with a 4.73 40-yard dash. Definitely not the type of night he needed to help his stock in a loaded class.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

Word was that Shenault could possibly run in the 4.4s. That did not materialize. His 4.59 may be due to an injury, but even if it is, it’s another injury for a guy who had a lot to prove by clearing medical checks. Hopefully it doesn’t linger and he shows better at his pro day, but it definitely wasn’t the performance he wanted.

I’M CONFUSED

Jalen Reagor, TCU

Expectations were high for Reagor, who shows plenty of juice on film. Showing up at 206 pounds, 11 pounds heaver than listed, Reagor looked yoked and started off with some incredible jumps. The first news we got was that he hit 42” on the vert and 11’6” on the broad. Check, check. Then things got weird.

Far from competing with Ruggs for the fastest 40-yard dash, Reagor clocked in at just 4.47. Beyond that his super stiff 7.31 3-cone was one of the worst among wideouts. This is the question we always ask about prospects adding bulk. At what point does it begin sapping their athleticism? It’s a case-by-case deal, but for Reagor it appears that north of 200 pounds tanked portions of his Combine, while still retaining all the explosion in his jumps.