Winners And Losers
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NFL scouting combine is now in the books.
More than 300 prospective NFL players were put through the ringer during the world’s most unconventional job interview.
After all, that’s what the combine is, a job interview. Some will get a job and others will leave temporarily unemployed.
Performing well in drills like the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, or the bench press can convince a team there’s untapped potential. On the contrary, a poor performance, an injury, or any other red flags can sink a player’s draft stock.
Here are some of the winners and losers from some NCAA headliners in the 2020 NFL Combine.
Winner: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida: The former Gator weighed in at a solid 204 pounds and still managed to run a 4.39 40-yard dash (third fastest among DBs).
His bench press reps (20) showed some dedication in the weight room. Henderson was the most impressive corner in on the field drills. He needed a good day to secure a first-round selection, and he got it.
Loser: Trevon Hill, edge rusher, Miami: Hill was a potential top 100 prospect this season, but teams will likely be disappointed in his athleticism results from the combine.
The former Cane weighed in at 248 pounds, he ran a 4.89 40-yard dash and managed pedestrian jump of 28 inch vertical and 9.5 broad.
Hill will probably be a day 3 selection. Still employed, but unexpectedly lower in status.
Winner: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State: Akers improved his draft stock with a solid showing at the combine. The former Seminole finished 5th in the 40-yard dash (4.47), broad jump 10 feet 2 inches and vertical jump was 35.5 inches. Akers is now the fourth ranked running back on my board behind Swift, Taylor and Dobbins.
Loser: Van Jefferson, WR, Florida: Jefferson did not participate at the combine after discovering a fracture in his foot that will require surgery. Jefferson was slotted as a day two selection now falls to day 3. Jefferson was at the combine and took part in the various team interviews.
Winner: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson: Simmons lined up at nearly every position imaginable in college.
Simmons, before the combine was a top 10 pick, and is still a top 10 pick. Measuring in at 6 foot 4 inches (93 percentile), a 39-inch vertical (92nd percentile), 11-foot broad jump (98th percentile) and a 4.39 40-yard dash (99th percentile). Impressive for a 230 pounder.
The percentiles are NFL Combine history rankings. Let’s put it in layman’s terms, Simmons is a Defensive Freak!
Loser: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia: There were no surprises with Fromm’s mostly average measurements earlier in the week. His arm strength during workouts was below average, his throws fluttered at times and his deep pass lacked velocity. Despite a poor showing, I suspect he’ll have an NFL career. However, his combine workout moved him down in QB stock below Eason.
While the timing, results, and measurements are key, data from the combine is not the whole story of the evaluation process.
Game film, physicals, interviews, and background checks will determine their career path. Some big differences and small similarities in the professional sports job market and regular people job markets. No matter the gig, these things can be challenging for anyone!
The Draft, however, is specifically tough on both candidates and staff. Simply put, it’s an educated gamble.