2020 NFL Combine Flops with the Most to Prove at Pro Days
The NFL has reached its second stage of the predraft process. With pro-day season in full swing, teams are getting an additional look at several of the draft's top prospects. This latest look will be more important for some prospects than others.
While last month's scouting combine was a showcase for many draft-eligible players, not every prospect was cast in a favorable light. Whether due to poor workouts, bad testing times or lackluster measurables, some NFL hopefuls hurt their draft stock in Indianapolis.
Here, we'll take a look at some combine disappointments who have the chance to reverse course at their pro days.
Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Georgia signal-caller Jake Fromm is known more for his football IQ, leadership and game-management skills than for his physical toolbox. Therefore, his disappointing QB workout didn't come as a major shock.
"Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm, they were below, to me, the line of acceptability in the areas of accuracy and ball placement," NFL Media's Charley Casserly said on NFL Network. "Especially Fromm on the shorter ones. You can't miss ball placement on short passes."
While the 6'6" and 231-pound Eason flashed some intriguing physical traits, Fromm underwhelmed. He came in at 6'2" and 219 pounds with hands blow nine inches. He also ran a disappointing 5.01-second 40, the slowest time among quarterbacks.
Fromm wasn't likely to be a first-round pick anyway, but if he hopes to hear his name called on Day 2, he'll have to show much better passing prowess at Georgia's pro day on March 18.
A.J. Epenesa, Edge, Iowa
After posting 11.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2019, Iowa's A.J. Epenesa was trending as a potential first-round pick but has seen his stock decline a bit. He was the 23rd pick in Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller's mock draft before the combine, but he fell to 28th in Miller's post-combine mock.
Epenesa's disappointing combine might eventually push him out of the first round entirely.
The former Hawkeyes standout ran the 40-yard dash in just 5.04 seconds, suggesting he might not be quick enough to attack from the edge in the pros. At 6'5" and 275 pounds, Epenesa may be asked to instead add mass and play more of a traditional interior defensive tackle role.
If Epenesa wants to be viewed as more of a sack-artist than a run-stuffer—and viewed as a first-round talent—he'll need to show more speed at Iowa's pro day on March 23.
Trevon Hill, Edge, Miami
Though not as highly touted as Epenesa, Miami (Florida) pass-rusher Trevon Hill has his fair share of intriguing traits.
"When MIA EDGE Trevon Hill wants to be physical ... he will affect plays despite not having a lot of sand in his pants. He could thrive in subpackages at the next level," NFL Media's Chad Reuter tweeted.
However, a disappointing combine outing could convince prospective NFL employers that his intriguing traits simply aren't enough.
Hill failed to flash the sort of quickness and burst expected of a light 6'3" and 248-pound prospect. He logged a 4.89-second 40-yard dash and a 28-inch vertical. He'll have to perform better in all areas at Miami's pro day on April 1 if he hopes to garner middle-round consideration.
Mitchell Wilcox, TE, South Florida
After posting 350 yards and five touchdowns on just 28 receptions in 2019, South Florida's Mitchell Wilcox was viewed as an intriguing middle-round tight end prospect. Unfortunately, his performance was forgettable at best.
Actually, it will be hard to forget for those who saw him get hit in the face with a pass during the gauntlet drill. It resulted in a popped blood vessel. That came after Wilcox posted a 4.88-second 40 at 6'3" and 247 pounds.
"Rough day at the office for sure," Wilcox tweeted, per Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times—Wilcox's Twitter account is private.
Not only must Wilcox post a faster 40 time during the Bulls' March 30 pro day, but he'll also have to show that he can do a better job of catching the ball away from his body.
Trey Adams, OT, Washington
Washington offensive tackle Trey Adams has a significant injury history to overcome but did flash enough potential before his torn ACL in 2017 to intrigue scouts.
"After watching his 2016 tape in the summer of 2017, I came away believing Adams might be the most talented young tackle in college football," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote. "However, a 2017 ACL tear and 2018 back injury have taken several points away from his athletic rating."
Adams' athletic rating was also hurt in Indianapolis, where he posted a 5.6-second 40-yard dash and a 24.5-inch vertical at 6'6" and 318 pounds. For comparison's sake, Louisville's Mekhi Becton posted a 5.1-second 40 at 364 pounds.
If Adams hopes to even see middle-round consideration, he'll have to show more quickness and more explosiveness at Washington's pro day on March 31.
K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
College production doesn't always lead to NFL success, as many prolific college stars have learned. However, it's hard not to take notice of all-time Ohio State receptions leader K.J. Hill. A reliable target on short and intermediate throws, Hill posted at least 56 receptions in each of the past three seasons.
Hill has the potential to be a dependable underneath target in the pros, if he can prove quick enough. His 4.6-second 40-yard dash time at the combine is what teams expect from a tight end, not a sub-200-pound receiver.
At 6'0" and 196 pounds, Hill is big and physical enough for the position—he posted 17 reps in the bench press. However, he isn't going to frequently create mismatches with his size the way a tight end might, and he could struggle to separate from most defensive backs.
If Hill hopes to be more than a late-round flier on draft weekend, he'll need to show that he's faster during the Buckeyes' March 25 pro day.
Myles Bryant, S, Washington
Washington's Myles Bryant came into the combine as an undersized-yet-intriguing safety prospect. Though just 5'8" and 183 pounds, Bryant was all over the field for the Huskies in 2019. He finished with 68 tackles, a sack, three interceptions and a forced fumble.
Unfortunately, Bryant presented a bad combination of small and slow in Indianapolis.
Bryant's 4.62-second 40 was painfully slow for a 183-pound prospect. He also posted an underwhelming 31.5-inch vertical and bypassed the bench press entirely. This likely leaves teams wondering where, exactly, Bryant might play in the pros—he could be too slow to be a free safety, too small to be a box safety and not explosive enough to play in the slot.
Naturally, a faster 40 time at Washington's pro day on March 31 would help Bryant's stock tremendously.
Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
Tennessee receiver Jauan Jennings isn't what one might consider a "clean" prospect. He was dismissed from the Volunteers program in 2017 after lashing out at the coaching staff on social media. He was reinstated in 2018 and then suspended this past season for stepping on the face of an opponent. Jennings insists that he's learned from his transgressions, though.
"You've got to always give it your all and just own up to your mistakes and own up to your responsibilities, and that's what I did as a person and as a growing man," he said, per Erik Bacharach of the Tennessean.
After posting a 4.72-second 40 time in Indianapolis, however, Jennings may be completely off some draft boards.
The 6'3", 215-pound pass-catcher showed enough talent at Tennessee—he had 969 yards and eight touchdowns this past season—that teams could overlook his character concerns. Unfortunately, 4.7 speed isn't good enough to win at the NFL level. Jennings may now have to post a faster time at Tennessee's pro day on March 26 to be anything more than a late-round pick.