The Perfect Prospect at the Scouting Combine for Every NFL Team
It's time for the Underwear Olympics.
This week in Indianapolis, well over 300 of college football's best and brightest will gather for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. Players will be measured, interviewed, tested and put through the paces by coaches and scouts from around the league.
It's the NFL's biggest annual job interview, and it's massively important for the futures of the young players involved.
Most scouts would no doubt tell you that they enter the combine with an open mind—that they're there to see what each and every player can do. But that's not entirely true.
Every team has players of interest they will be looking at more closely. Maybe it's the player that just about everyone in the draft community thinks will be the No. 1 overall pick. Or a mid-first-rounder who would fill an area of need. Or a Day 2 selection with a chance to shoot up draft boards.
Everyone, whether picking first or 21st, is looking for the right talent at the right position in the right round. They're seeking a great fit.
They want the perfect prospect.
Arizona Cardinals: Auburn DL Derrick Brown
The Arizona Cardinals admittedly have bigger needs than the front seven, especially protecting young quarterback Kyler Murray on the offensive line.
But if Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown makes it to the Cardinals at pick No. 8, the Redbirds would have to pull the trigger with all due haste.
At 6'4" and 318 pounds, Brown is one of the most physically imposing players in the entire class of 2020. The only thing more imposing than his size is how well he moves for a guy pushing 320 pounds. As Chris Trapasso wrote for CBS Sports, he needs to work on his pass-rushing technique, but he's already a high-end edge-setter.
"Brown is a tall and chiseled defensive tackle with the scariest bull rush in of any defensive linemen in the class, outstanding reliability as a run defender and flashes of a swim move when attacking upfield. Because of his block-defeating skills and large tackling radius, Brown is further ahead as a run defender than he is as a pass rusher right now, but he did improve in the latter area during his senior season."
Pair Brown with Chandler Jones and Arizona would have quite the one-two punch defensively.
Atlanta Falcons: Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins
When the Atlanta Falcons make their first pick in the 2020 draft, odds are excellent that it will be an edge-rusher or defensive lineman. The Falcons were 29th in the NFL in sacks last year and aren't bringing back Vic Beasley Jr.
But Atlanta could really get some value on Day 2 while addressing its biggest need on offense in the process.
No team in the NFC was worse running the ball last season than the Falcons, who are reportedly considering parting ways with veteran Devonta Freeman. That would leave a gaping hole in an already shaky backfield—a hole that Ohio State's J.K. Dobbins would fill quite nicely.
Fresh off setting a single-season rushing record for the Buckeyes with 2,003 yards, Dobbins is a punishing runner who can beat defenses between the tackles and on the edge. If he can allay concerns about his passing-game chops at the combine, he'll be squarely in the mix as one of the first two or three running backs selected.
He'd be an excellent use of one of Atlanta's two second-round selections.
Baltimore Ravens: Penn State Edge Yetur Gross-Matos
Penn State edge-rusher Yetur Gross-Matos piled up 40 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks for the Nittany Lions in 2019. But as Tyler Donohue reported for 247 Sports, Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer thinks the 6'5", 264-pounder has only just scratched the surface of what he's capable of on the football field.
"I think the sky is the limit," Spencer said. "The guy's got some of the most natural ability I've ever been around, especially since I've been here. ... It's not just that he makes plays. It's his approach. His approach is full-speed go, all the time. What you guys see on game film and what that guy does in practice is the exact same thing."
Gross-Matos played with his hand in the dirt, but he's reported to have run the 40-yard dash in the low 4.5s—wheels that would indicate he's capable of making the move to outside linebacker.
If Gross-Matos can back that time up at this year's combine, a Baltimore Ravens team that may have to replace its sack leader in 2020 (free agent Matt Judon) is going to be keenly interested in him.
Buffalo Bills: Clemson WR Tee Higgins
With Shaq Lawson about to hit free agency and Jerry Hughes on the wrong side of 30, the pass rush is a major area of need for the Buffalo Bills. But that's true for more than a few other teams, as well. Depending on how Round 1 plays out, the position could already be picked over by the time Buffalo selects at No. 22.
A wiser course of action for the Bills may be to attack the pass rush with some of their $83 million in cap space while using that first pick to improve the passing-game weapons at Josh Allen's disposal.
The Bills have vertical speed with John Brown and a capable veteran chain-mover from the slot in Cole Beasley. What the team needs now is a lanky red-zone threat capable of bodying up cornerbacks and high-pointing the football.
At 6'4" and 216 pounds, Clemson's Tee Higgins certainly fits that bill. Over his career with the Tigers, he scored 27 touchdowns—tied with DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins for the most in school history.
That's pretty good company.
Carolina Panthers: ILB Kenneth Murray
There may not be a team undergoing bigger defensive changes than the Carolina Panthers. The shocking retirement of star linebacker Luke Kuechly leaves the Panthers without their best defensive player and leader as the Matt Rhule era begins.
It's possible the Panthers could look to replace Kuechly with Clemson's Isaiah Simmons at No. 7 overall. But the team could use that pick on another need, circle back in Round 2 and still potentially land a wildly productive prototypical Mike linebacker.
Kenneth Murray was one of the most prolific tacklers in college football two years ago, piling up 155 total stops for the Oklahoma Sooners. Those tackle numbers dipped to 102 in 2019, but he piled up 17 tackles for loss and chipped in four sacks.
Murray doesn't possess the otherworldly athleticism and range Simmons does, but he's quite capable of holding his own in pass coverage and would more than likely step into a three-down role as a starter from day one.
Chicago Bears: Temple C/G Matt Hennessy
For the Chicago Bears, the pressure is that much higher to make good use of their draft capital. Thanks to the trade that brought Khalil Mack to the Windy City, the Bears don't have a first-rounder in 2020.
However, just because the Bears don't pick until Day 2 doesn't mean that the team can't add a youngster capable of making an immediate impact.
Temple's Matt Hennessy has already helped his draft stock this year. He was arguably the best offensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. Not only does he plan to keep that momentum going at the combine, but he told Justin Melo of Draft Wire that he intends to be a force in the NFL for the next decade.
"Matt Hennessy is gonna be a long-term guy for whichever organization decides to draft me," he said. "I'm somebody that's gonna help move the culture forward. I'm gonna be around for at least 10 years."
Drafting an interior lineman might not be especially sexy, but Hennessy's high floor should be appealing to a team that can't afford to waste the first pick it will make in Las Vegas.
Cincinnati Bengals: LSU QB Joe Burrow
In recent weeks, there have been a number of reasons given as to why Joe Burrow might not be a no-brainer lock for the Cincinnati Bengals with the first overall pick.
Burrow has made statements that were just cryptic enough for some to take them as a sign the LSU quarterback doesn't want to play in Cincinnati. Former No. 1 overall pick Steve Bartkowski told Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Burrow should "pull an Eli Manning" and refuse to play for the Bengals.
Then there's Burrow's hands—his teeny-tiny, panic-inducing hands.
If Cincinnati doesn't make the Heisman Trophy winner the first overall pick in 2020, it will be the most Bengals bungle ever.
Andy Dalton had his moments with the team, but his time is over. After going 2-14 last year, it's time to hit the reset button. And there's no better way to do that than by making a record-setting signal-caller the new face of the franchise.
The dude is even from Southern Ohio.
Sometimes the obvious course of action is also the best one. Don't overthink this.
Cleveland Browns: Louisville OT Mekhi Becton
The Cleveland Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield are coming off a disappointing 2019 season.
While on a conference call with reporters ahead of the combine, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com said that if Mayfield is going to turn it around in 2020, he needs better protection up front (h/t Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal):
"You've got to be able to evaluate your quarterback. To fairly do that, you've got to protect him. ... If you look at the young quarterbacks that have been successful, for the most part, a lot of them have had good offensive line play around them, and that's been a huge benefit in their growth. So I'd like to see them give Baker Mayfield that benefit."
He went on to single out Louisville's Mekhi Becton as a potential target for the Browns at No. 10 overall:
"Mekhi Becton ... is an absolute freak. ... He is a left tackle. He's a better version of Bryant McKinnie. He's going to be that guy for the next 10, 12 years to protect your franchise quarterback.
"He's so big and so long and so athletic, even when he's not perfect, it doesn't matter 'cause nobody can get through him. He's 6-7, 370 pounds. You just don't see guys like that come around very often."
Tackle is one of the more interesting positions at this year's combine, as there are a fistful of young tackles who are widely expected to be taken on Day 1, including Jedrick Wills Jr., Tristan Wirfs, Becton, Andrew Thomas, Josh Jones and Austin Jackson, per B/R's Matt Miller. But there's not a consensus as to which of those tackles is the top dog.
The combine will give them an opportunity to stake a claim to that No. 1 spot, whether it's by impressing in interviews or dazzling in drills.
In that latter regard, Becton should shine. And according to Hayden Grove of Cleveland.com, the Browns have already started kicking the tires on him...along with many of the other highly regarded tackle prospects.
Dallas Cowboys: Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr.
There are a couple of valid reasons for singling out Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. as a perfect target for the Dallas Cowboys.
The first is that Dallas uses one of its first two picks on an edge-rusher and the other on a cornerback. Both are areas of need for the Cowboys—2019 team sack leader Robert Quinn and cornerback Byron Jones are both about to hit free agency. With quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout Amari Cooper also about to enter the market, Quinn and Jones are, more likely than not, moving on.
The second is that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really likes good football players, even if they're on the small side.
Just like his father, Winfield is a bit undersized at 5'10" and 205 pounds. And just like his father during a standout career with the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings, Winfield played bigger than his size with the Gophers. He's a ferocious hitter with excellent instincts and a nose for the football.
Whichever team spends a Day 2 pick on Winfield is going to get a versatile young defensive back—and an excellent value.
It also won't be a surprise if Winfield's stock is on the rise after this week's workouts in Indy.
Denver Broncos: Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb
As the Denver Broncos prepare for their first full season of the Drew Lock era, improving the weapons around the young quarterback is a priority. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign, but there isn't much behind him after Denver traded Emmanuel Sanders midway through the season.
Broncos beat writer Troy Renck wrote that the team should take a long look at Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, who sailed past the 1,000-yard mark each of the past two years in Norman.
"When I write his name," Renck explained, "I can hear [Fox Sports] announcer Gus Johnson blaring it as he makes a big play. That's all he seemed to do at OU. He baths in the spotlight, and would embrace the pressure of invigorating Denver's offense. He must improve as a route runner, but he is explosive with the ball in his hands."
This is a rare instance in which an NFL team might actually be hoping for a mediocre combine. There have been concerns voiced about Lamb's long speed, and if his 40 time in Indy is so-so, it would increase the odds he'll be there for the taking in the middle of Round 1.
Detroit Lions: Ohio State Edge Chase Young
To be clear, it's rather unlikely that Ohio State edge-rusher Chase Young will be available when the Detroit Lions make the third overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft. The prevailing school of thought is that Young's professional career will begin in Washington.
It may be unlikely that the Redskins would pass on Young. But it's possible that a quarterback-needy team will fall in love with Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert and move up on April 23.
If that's the case, it would be a dream scenario for head coach Matt Patricia and the Lions.
Only one NFL team (the Miami Dolphins) had fewer sacks than the 28 the Lions amassed in 2019. The team invested a fortune in Trey Flowers during free agency last year, and while he played relatively well in Motown, he has yet to notch 10 sacks in a season.
Long story short, the Lions desperately need to add pop to the pass rush. Young is a generational talent—a ridiculously athletic and gifted young player who led the nation in sacks last season.
If he's not the second overall pick, Lions general manager Bob Quinn will probably pull a hammy racing to the stage to turn in a card with Young's name on it.
Green Bay Packers: Colorado WR Laviska Shenault Jr.
There's very little question that the wide receiver position is an area of need for the Green Bay Packers. Allen Lazard came on a bit down the stretch, but the Pack badly needs a reliable secondary receiver opposite Davante Adams.
The question is which ones will be available by the time Green Bay goes on the clock at No. 30.
Among those who could be, Laviska Shenault Jr. of Colorado didn't have the gaudiest stats in 2019. But that had a lot more to do with the Buffaloes offense than anything the 6'1", 227-pound Shenault didn't do.
Shenault is not the biggest wideout in this class. He likely won't run the fastest 40 in Indianapolis, either. But he is a versatile pass-catcher capable of lining up all over the formation who is fantastic with the ball in his hands after the catch.
It's that versatility that would make Shenault especially appealing as a movable chess piece in Matt LaFleur's scheme, and he would make quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense that much more dangerous in 2020.
Houston Texans: Clemson CB A.J. Terrell
The Houston Texans were the most aggressive team in the NFL last year as far as trades are concerned. The flip side to all that wheeling and dealing is that Houston doesn't have a first-round pick in 2020—or a pick inside the top 50.
What the Texans do have are the same issues on the offensive line and in the secondary that spurred many of those deals a year ago.
There's a deep crop of cornerbacks in 2020, however, which could give the Texans an opportunity to get a player at No. 57 who, in other years, might have been selected earlier. Clemson's A.J. Terrell is just such a player.
Terrell isn't an elite athlete who will draw rave reviews for his performance in drills at the combine. But the 6'1", 190-pounder is sound in coverage, has great footwork and was a two-year starter for one of the nation's best defenses.
The Texans should actually hope that Terrell doesn't run especially well in Indy. If he does, he will more likely than not come off the board before Houston has a chance to snag him.
Indianapolis Colts: Utah State QB Jordan Love
Some might argue that Utah State quarterback Jordan Love isn't the ideal prospect for the Indianapolis Colts or that other players who should be available with the 13th overall pick could help them more in the short term.
However, as Zak Keefer wrote for The Athletic, you'd be hard-pressed to think of a better landing spot for Love.
"Love will be walking into as good a situation a young quarterback could hope for: he'll have one of the best play-callers in football in his ear, one of the best offensive lines in the game in front of him and a dynamic running back to hand the ball off to," Keefer explained.
Love's physical skills aren't in question. He has prototypical size for the position (6'4", 224 lbs) and a cannon for a right arm. But after a disappointing 2019 season in Logan, it appears that Love could use a year of holding a clipboard and adjusting to the NFL.
He'd get it behind Jacoby Brissett (or Philip Rivers) in Indianapolis.
Sometimes you have to play the long game.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. But it all started with the stunning announcement that weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith was walking away from the game. His absence was glaringly noticeable all season long.
The Jaguars have an opportunity to rectify that situation in the 2020 NFL draft with a player who is similar in some ways to Smith and who could be one of the stars of this year's combine.
There wasn't much that Isaiah Simmons didn't do at Clemson in 2019. Per Pro Football Focus, he played at least 100 snaps at four different positions: lined up out wide at linebacker, inside at linebacker, as a safety and even as a slot corner.
It's not just that Simmons lined up all over the field; he thrived all over the field. His athleticism, range and instincts all jump out on tape.
Frankly, if Simmons fares as well in Indianapolis as many expect, he may never make it to the Jaguars at No. 9 overall. But if he does drop that far, his talent and versatility would be too tempting for them to pass up.
Kansas City Chiefs: Georgia RB D'Andre Swift
The Kansas City Chiefs don't have many glaring holes on the roster. The offense is as lethal as any in the game. The defense was far better in 2020 than the season before.
However, the running back position could use a boost. At first glance, Damien Williams' 4.5 yards per carry look respectable. But almost 40 percent of his 498 rushing yards came on three carries. On the other 108, he averaged under three yards a pop.
Enter Georgia's D'Andre Swift, who some draftniks (such as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller) consider the top prospect at the position in 2020. The latest in a long line of Georgia stars like Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, Swift topped 1,000 yards on the ground in each of the past two seasons. The 5'8", 212-pounder also caught 73 passes over his collegiate career.
It's that receiving ability that makes the idea of Swift in a Chiefs uniform so intriguing. And while the final pick of Round 1 is a sizable investment for any running back, the Chiefs have the luxury of being able to spend that kind of draft capital in the backfield.
Las Vegas Raiders: Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy
In news that should surprise no one, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock admitted to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the team needs a major upgrade at wide receiver:
"You need playmakers in today's NFL. And I don't even think you need to put labels on them anymore. That's some of the things Jon [Gruden] and I talk about. Josh Jacobs can be a playmaker. Darren Waller can be a playmaker. [Hunter] Renfrow can be a playmaker. But we don't have enough outside speed. People started to load up on Josh and Darren. Our offensive line is a big, strong, tough group that we're happy with. But let's be honest. If we're going to take it to another level, that position has to get better."
With a pair of picks inside the top 20, the Raiders are in excellent position to find a receiver in the first round.
As ESPN's Louis Riddick pointed out, Jerry Jeudy of Alabama has the combination of physical skills and refinement needed to immediately assume a role as the team's No. 1 receiver: "Somebody tell me something that WR Jerry Jeudy does bad on tape...I'm having trouble finding something. He is so feeakin' good !!!"
To say that the Raiders need outside receiver help is a massive understatement. Tyrell Williams started strong last year but vanished for long stretches. As the franchise's tenure in Sin City gets underway, the Raiders need a No. 1 wideout.
After catching 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns last year on his way to winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver, Jeudy has demonstrated he can be that guy. He is about as close to the complete package as a prospect gets—whether it's long speed, soft hands or excellent route-running skills, he's got it all.
Los Angeles Chargers: Oregon QB Justin Herbert
The Los Angeles Chargers haven't been shy about their intention to turn the page under center in 2020. Long-time starter Philip Rivers has already been shown the door. The Bolts will be a player in the free-agent market, but when the draft rolls around, there's one signal-caller who makes the most sense for them.
By the time they pick at No. 6, LSU's Joe Burrow will be long gone. Odds are Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa will be, as well. But Oregon's Justin Herbert could be in play, provided that the 6'6", 236-pounder impresses in Indianapolis.
As ESPN's Mel Kiper said, per colleague Eric D. Williams:
"We know he has the athletic, physical talent -- the arm talent, the athleticism and mobility. We know how intelligent he is. We know what a great kid he is. But is he instinctive enough as a quarterback and does he have that 'it' factor to be that incredible, off-the-charts competitor that a lot of times separates the good ones from the average ones, the great ones from the good ones? ... What level of competitor are you? I think that's what teams want to find out here."
It's going to be a big week for Herbert—and maybe an even bigger one for the Chargers.
Los Angeles Rams: Auburn DL Marlon Davidson
Derrick Brown has received a ton of publicity leading up to the scouting combine, and with good reason. He's the best interior lineman in this draft class and may not make it out of the top 10.
But Brown isn't the only big man from Auburn with a chance to turn some heads in Indianapolis. Marlon Davidson actually had better numbers in 2020, notably recording more sacks (6.5) than his counterpart (4.0).
But while ESPN's Todd McShay believes Davidson is an excellent player, his stats came with a bit of an asterisk (h/t Sam Hellman of 247 Sports):
"He had a heck of a year. Davidson really did. He played well. He's not Derrick Brown, but he played his best football this past year. That whole defense played at a high level. I think what he did was he improved his hands and he knew how to rush the quarterback. That helped him. He became their best pass rusher. But when you have Derrick Brown on the inside and you're Davidson, you're able to get a lot of 1-on-1s."
Draft Davidson in Round 2 and put him on the same line as two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, and those one-on-ones are going to keep coming.
Miami Dolphins: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
The Miami Dolphins almost messed this up.
Well over a year ago, ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote that the Miami Dolphins might be willing to essentially punt on the 2019 season in the hopes of landing a top quarterback prospect this year.
But thanks to a late-season surge, the Dolphins wound up winning five games and sliding to the fifth overall spot in the draft. It cost them an opportunity to get in on Joe Burrow.
But thanks to the dislocated hip that ended his 2019 season, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa saw his stock take a hit—so much so that he'll likely be available when Miami goes on the clock.
Assuming that Tagovailoa's rehab is progressing well and his hip checks out, he's become the odds-on favorite to be Miami's first pick. With Ryan Fitzpatrick still in town, the Dolphins can effectively redshirt the incoming rookie and let him get completely healthy before handing him the reins.
Had Tagovailoa not gotten hurt, Burrow's status as this year's top-ranked quarterback wouldn't be nearly as solid. And if he returns to form, we could look back on this pick a few years from now as one of 2020's biggest steals.
Minnesota Vikings: Houston OT Josh Jones
There's more than a little uncertainty regarding this year's class of offensive tackles. Find five different draftniks, and you'll likely get five different pecking orders at the position.
According to Neal Driscoll of Pro Football Network, this week's combine gives Josh Jones of Houston a chance to stake his claim as a top option and no-doubt first-round pick:
"There is no doubt that the Houston prospect needs some work, but he is an ascending draft prospect with a high ceiling. His performance in 2019, paired with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, may have cemented Jones as a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. His stock could potentially soar even more, as the NFL Scouting Combine is an event where Jones’ outstanding athleticism could generate even more buzz."
Jones needs polish, but the 6'7", 310-pounder has as much raw talent as any O-line prospect in 2020.
The Vikings have other pressing needs (specifically the cornerback position), but there's more depth on the back end than along the offensive line this year. An upgrade from Riley Reiff at left tackle would be a welcome addition.
New England Patriots: Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet
If the New England Patriots convince quarterback Tom Brady to return to the team in 2020, it will likely come with assurances that steps will be taken to improve the team's skill-position talent.
Say by adding the top tight end prospect in this year's class.
In the opinion of Cole Kmet of Notre Dame, that young tight end is…Cole Kmet of Notre Dame. As he said, per Tom Loy of 247 Sports.
"I'm a balanced guy, kind of a true Y. I'm able to go inline, split out, kind of do all of the things that tight ends do these days… i just feel like my ability to do both, blocking and split out wide and receiving, is kind of unique in that sense. I'm one of the younger guys here, I'm still only 20, so I got a lot to improve on still, but I think for those reasons I'm the best guy here."
What better way to make the Golden Boy happy than with Gronk 2.0?
New Orleans Saints; Ohio State WR K.J. Hill
The New Orleans Saints have two pressing needs in 2020: help in the secondary opposite cornerback Marshon Lattimore and a dependable No. 2 receiver to complement Michael Thomas.
The Saints also don't have a second-round pick in 2020, so it's important they make good use of the 24th overall selection. This year, it's going to be easier to address wide receiver on Day 2 as a number of wideouts are capable of emerging as viable No. 2 options in short order.
One such player surging up draft boards is Ohio State's K.J. Hill.
Checking in at 6'0" and 196 pounds, Hill was one of the stars of January's Senior Bowl. He was named the North squad's wide receiver of the week in practices, consistently displaying excellent lateral movement and route-running.
If Hill follows that with a good showing in Indy, the all-time leader in receptions at Ohio State will cement his status as a Day 2 pick, just as former teammate Terry McLaurin did the year before.
Hill probably won't turn in as impressive a 40 time as McLaurin (4.35), but he doesn't have to. This isn't to say Hill's slow, but he wins with that lateral movement and by consistently running crisp routes.
It's a skill set that could make him an excellent No. 2 wideout opposite Thomas, who himself was a Day 2 pick of the Saints in 2016.
That worked out pretty well.
New York Giants: Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah
The New York Giants have holes all over the defense. The pass rush, inside linebacker and secondary are all areas of needs. They can't all be addressed with a single pick.
But if Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah makes it to Big Blue at No. 4 overall, it's an easy call for general manager Dave Gettleman to make.
As Kyle Meinke wrote for MLive.com, Okudah has drawn comparisons to fellow Buckeye standout (and 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year) Marshon Lattimore, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network expects the 6'1", 200-pounder to light up the 2020 combine.
"Some of the stuff you hear about him, and the workouts, like jumping 40 inches, going to less than 4 percent body fat, it's just crazy stuff," he said, per Meinke.
The Giants invested a first-round pick at the cornerback position a year ago in Georgia's Deandre Baker. While he struggled early, his play improved steadily as the season wore on.
Baker, safety Jabrill Peppers and Okudah would give the Giants the foundation for a strong secondary in years to come.
New York Jets: Alabama OT Jedrick Wills Jr.
After yet another losing season in New York, the Jets have a number of areas that need to be addressed. Chief among them is an offensive line that ranked in the NFL's bottom three for both run blocking and pass protection in 2019, per Football Outsiders.
Adding offensive line help is a must for Gang Green. And according to Miller, the top tackle in this year's class is Jedrick Wills Jr. of Alabama.
At first glance, spending a top-12 pick on a right tackle might seem like a reach. But it's important to bear in mind that Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a southpaw. Wills was charged with protecting his blind side last year.
As Lance Zierlein wrote for NFL.com, he is a powerful, technically sound tackle who should make an immediate impact in the pros: "Wills is one of the most impressive tackles in the draft; he has basketball-caliber foot quickness and the quick hands of a boxer, and all of it is wrapped in a stout, powerful package of bad intentions. His game is tailor-made for the NFL, and his range of success is good starter to All-Pro."
Frankly, it might take up a move up a few spots from No. 11 to land Wills, especially if he has a good combine. But finding a long-term answer in front of quarterback Sam Darnold is important enough to merit doing whatever it takes.
Philadelphia Eagles: Florida CB C.J. Henderson
As was the case for the New Orleans Saints, the two biggest weak spots on the Eagles roster are at wide receiver and in the secondary. But where the Saints have one Pro Bowl-caliber starter at each of those spots, the Eagles have a big bag of blah.
If an early run at cornerback chews most of the meat off the bone at that position, then Philly would be wise to grab a wide receiver, whether it's a bigger target like LSU's Justin Jefferson or a burner like Henry Ruggs III of Alabama. But it's significantly easier to land starter-caliber wideouts on Day 2, and this year's class is even deeper than usual.
If a high-end corner like Florida's C.J. Henderson is on the board at No. 21, that's the play.
Of course, if Henderson has his way, he won't even make it that far. He told Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated that he thinks he could pace all corners in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis.
A wildly athletic but admittedly raw prospect, Henderson needs to be coached up and to add weight. But the 6'1", 202-pounder might have the highest ceiling of any corner at this week's combine.
Pittsburgh Steelers: LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
After what seems like years of focusing on defense in the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to flip that script. Whether in the backfield, at wide receiver or along the offensive line, the team needs to get better around quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Unfortunately, it won't be able to start doing that until Day 2 of the draft. Pittsburgh's first-rounder is sitting in Miami thanks to the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade.
Still, the Steelers will also be receiving at least one compensatory pick as the result of Le'Veon Bell's departure—likely at the back end of Round 3. That pick could be the key to adding some pop to the run game.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU showed off a versatile skill set for the national champion Tigers in 2019, gaining over 1,400 yards on the ground, reeling in 55 passes and finding the end zone 17 times.
With James Conner coming off a down year in which he failed to rush for even 500 yards, Edwards-Helaire would, at the very least, add depth and competition in the backfield. It wouldn't even be a huge upset if he won the starting job outright.
San Francisco 49ers: LSU S Grant Delpit
During his tenure as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, John Lynch hasn't been shy about attacking perceived needs on the roster. That's easier said than done while sitting at the 31st spot in Round 1, but it's possible that LSU safety Grant Delpit will fall that far.
If he does, Lynch should make that pick without hesitation.
With Jimmie Ward about to hit free agency, the safety position could be a massive question mark for the Niners when they arrive in Las Vegas. And while Delpit's balky ankle will prevent him from working out in Indy, that may be a blessing in disguise for San Francisco.
Because when he's 100 percent healthy, Joe Marino of The Draft Network believes Delpit has the skill set to thrive in the 21st-century NFL.
"Delpit brings a lot to the table and he projects favorably to becoming a high-impact safety in the NFL," Marino wrote. "He's versatile, physical, urgent, smart, athletic and his skill set is perfect for matching up against the pace and space present in today's NFL offenses."
Seattle Seahawks: Notre Dame Edge Julian Okwara
If the Seattle Seahawks are able to retain Jadeveon Clowney, they'll need help for him on the edge. If they lose Clowney, they will essentially be starting the pass rush over from scratch.
As Rob Staton wrote for Seahawks Draft Blog, it's a safe bet that Seattle will once again hit the defensive front early.
"The Seahawks have selected a defensive lineman with one of their first two picks in each of the last five drafts (L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Malik McDowell, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark). With a strong D-line need this year, the chances are they'll make it six in a row even if the options are more limited in this draft."
Per Staton, the Seahawks lean toward edge-rushers who show excellent burst—think low times in drills like the short shuttle and 10-yard split. Among the fringe first-rounders in 2020, Julian Okwara has an excellent chance of impressing in those areas.
The 6'4", 248-pound Notre Dame product didn't post big numbers in an injury-marred 2019 season, but he oozes athleticism and potential as a "Leo" end. If he tests well in Indianapolis, Okwara will work his way into Round 1 consideration.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at a major crossroads. Should they give Jameis Winston another shot under center, pursue a veteran free-agent signal-caller or hit the reset button at the position?
Since the Buccaneers hold the 14th overall pick, it would take an aggressive move up to land one of this year's higher-end prospects. And regardless of who starts at quarterback, Tampa Bay needs to improve the protection in front of them.
From a size perspective, Georgia's Andrew Thomas is as impressive as any tackle prospect in this class. He checked in at the combine at 6'5⅛" and 305 pounds with 36⅛" arms—the longest among this year's big names at the tackle spot.
A three-year starter in a pro-style offense at Georgia, Thomas' experience and powerful frame should enable him to make an immediate impact at either tackle spot in the NFL.
It isn't a stretch to say he could be better than Buccaneers starting left tackle Donovan Smith the moment he steps onto an NFL field for the first time.
Tennessee Titans: TCU CB Jeff Gladney
The Tennessee Titans badly need pass-rushing help. If tackle Jack Conklin and cornerback Logan Ryan both depart in free agency, those positions will become significant needs as well.
Where the Titans go with the 29th overall pick will largely depend both on who leaves in free agency and how the picks in front of them play out. But this year's crop of cornerback prospects is deep enough that Tennessee can ostensibly find a replacement for Ryan in a player like Texas Christian's Jeff Gladney.
At 6'0" and 183 pounds, Gladney lacks ideal size for a corner, and he occasionally struggled in 2019 against big-bodied receivers. But Gladney's ball skills are solid, and he should have a chance to show off his sub-4.40 speed in Indianapolis.
If he does indeed run well, grabbing an edge-rusher or right tackle in Round 1 and then adding Gladney on Day 2 would get Tennessee's 2020 draft off to an excellent start.
Washington Redskins: Ohio State CB Damon Arnette
It will be stunning if Chase Young isn't the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Adding the Ohio State star to a defensive front that already boasts plenty of talent would give Ron Rivera's defense some real teeth.
However, the back end of the Redskins defense needs work, too. And Washington would be well-served to address the secondary on Day 2 with another Buckeye.
Damon Arnette may have taken a back seat to teammate Jeff Okudah in 2019, but the 6'0", 195-pounder is no slouch in his own right. Arnette is a physical press corner with good size who isn't shy about getting dirty in run support, making him just the sort of cornerback Rivera liked in Carolina.
If Arnette peels off a good 40 time at the combine, he could easily work his way into second-round consideration.
Doubling up with Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins in Round 1 and wide receiver Terry McLaurin on Day 2 worked out pretty well for Washington in 2019.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.