24 NFL Draft Prospects Matched to Pros (2020 Combine)
We are closing in on NFL free agency now that the NFL Combine is complete. We’ll have plenty of coverage on the top-tier free agents, but as for now, let’s take a look back at the combine results and use them to craft a picture of each skill player’s archetype. Some of these player metric comparisons are actually realistic upsides but you’d do better to just think of them as similar types of talents. I’ll give my personal big board rankings along with the draft round grade that I have on each of the 24 running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. If you want to do some sniffing around on other players, I conducted most of my research on MockDraftable.com which makes the process significantly easier.
Had Travis Ettiene also come out in this class, it would have been an even deeper crop of backs, but there is no elite runner like an Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley or Leonard Fournette in this class. There is a chance that any of the top four could outproduce a Fournette if they land in Tennessee, Atlanta or Tampa Bay, but more likely, they are fringe-RB1s at the height of their career like Cadillac and De’Angelo (listed below).
Edwards-Helaire is one to watch because he could excel even out of the 3rd round in the right scheme. The same can be said for McFarland, who is a smaller but elite athlete much like Ray Rice or his more direct comp, Ware. Either Akers or Moss could prove to be multiple-year starters as well if they end up with an opportunity sooner than later.
- Size – 5’10”, 226 lbs to 5’11”, 217 lbs
- Forty – 4.39s to 4.43s
- Broad – 123″ to 118″
- Shuttle – 4.24s to 4.17s
- Size – 5’8″, 212 lbs to 5’9″, 214 lbs
- Forty – 4.48s to 4.49s
- Vertical – 35″ to 35″
- Rudi Johnson: 5’10, 227 lbs, 4.57s, 37″
- #3 Clyde Edwards-Helaire — Devonta Freeman (late-2nd round grade)
- #4 J.K. Dobbins — Knowshon Moreno (3rd round grade)
- #5 Anthony McFarland — Spencer Ware (3rd round grade)
- #6 Cam Akers — Joseph Addai (3rd round grade)
- #7 Zack Moss — Terrance West (3rd round grade)
- #8 Darrynton Evans — Felix Jones (4th round grade)
You’ve surely heard it before and I’d agree that this wide receiver draft class is the best since 2014 and perhaps ever. I’ve got a 1st-round grade on seven wideouts and 2nd-round grades on seven others. In fact, you could make a case that if any of the top nine on my list were to be transported back to the 2019 draft, they may have been the top wideout selected.
Jeudy and Lamb are the clear-cut #1 and #2 on most lists and between them, I’m going with the dynamic route-runner in Jeudy. Beyond them, mant have Ruggs III as their #3 but I’ve persisted for months in having DPJ in that spot with Mims and Higgins close behind. The combine made my analysis look good as both DPJ and Mims have moved from 3rd or even 4th rounders up into likely Round 2 or late 1st round picks.
- Size – 6’1″, 193 lbs to 6’1″, 192 lbs
- Forty – 4.45s to 4.49s
- Vertical – 35″ to 36″
- Broad – 120″ to 120″
WR #2 CeeDee Lamb (top-10 grade, Oklahoma) vs Reggie Wayne
- Size – 6’2″, 198 lbs to 6’1″, 198 lbs
- Forty – 4.50s to 4.45s
- Vertical – 34″ to 36″
- Jeremy Maclin: 6’1″, 198 lbs, 4.45s, 35″
- #3 Donovan Peoples-Jones — D.J. Chark (mid-1st round grade)
- #4 Denzel Mims — DeVante Parker (mid-1st round grade)
- #5 Tee Higgins — Corey Davis (mid-1st round grade)
- #6 Laviska Shenault Jr. — Eric Decker (late-1st round grade)
- #7 Henry Ruggs III — Santana Moss (late-1st round grade)
- #8 Justin Jefferson — Miles Austin (early-2nd round grade)
- #9 Jalen Reagor — Nate Burleson (early-2nd round grade)
- #10 Tyler Johnson — DeSean Hamilton (late-2nd round grade)
- #11 Chase Claypool — Allen Lazard (late-2nd round grade)
You could look at five analyst’s tight end rankings and each of them would likely have a different #1 on their board. In fact, before the combine, I didn’t see anyone else who agreed with me that Albert O was the top tight end in this year’s class. Clearly, I don’t think a great deal about him because of the lapses in his film, but the athletic upside and flashes of a superstar make him worth a late-second investment.
Many have Jared Pickney and Hunter Bryant within their top three as well, and frankly, I don’t think either is far off from a third round grade. The point is, that this class is full of solid, but unspectacular prospects. You likely won’t find anyone who loves Harrison Bryant more than I do and it’s odd because he is the extreme opposite of Albert O: all polish and production, but not much athleticism or potential.
- Size – 6’5″, 258 lbs to 6’5″ 262 lbs
- Forty – 4.49s to 4.56s
- Travis Kelce: 6’5″, 256 lbs, 4.61s
- #2 Harrison Bryant — Tyler Kroft (3rd round grade)
- #3 Adam Trautman — Chris Herndon (3rd round grade)
- #4 Cole Kmet — Martellus Bennett (3rd round grade)
- #5 Thaddeus Moss — Brent Celek (3rd round grade)